Jobs In Exploration Scarce For Far North Residents

Thursday, December 08, 2005 at 15:37



A group in the Far North feels exploration companies could be doing a lot more to involve residents in that region.


The Athabasca Basin has become a hotbed for exploration activity, especially now that the spot price for uranium on the markets has nearly tripled in the last two years.


It’s estimated 40 companies will spend nearly $60 million searching for various minerals in that region in the next year.


Athabasca Economic Development and Training Corporation spokesman Glen Strong says the problem is those companies aren’t communicating well enough with local leaders — and they are also not ensuring participation by Athabasca residents.


He knows people in the exploration business are usually very tight-lipped about their work to avoid rival companies from also putting up stakes, but Strong feels they could still be more proactive by informing his group of potential employment opportunities.


Strong says some exploration companies are utilizing local suppliers, but they are the exception.


He says possible incentives for more companies to follow suit include having training funds in the North committed to their exploration projects. Strong also says employing locals would mean the companies wouln’t have to spend as much money flying in workers from other parts of the country.


Strong’s organization estimates there are hundreds of people working in the Athabasca Basin in exploration, but only about a dozen are from that region.