Skip to content

Agnico Eagle looks to Mexican immigration for Kirkland Lake pilot project

Company employees and their families will relocate to the town from Mexico in 2024

A dozen immigrants from Mexico and their families will be coming to Kirkland Lake in 2024 as part of an Agnico Eagle pilot project.

According to the company, the idea stemmed from the need to prepare for projected workforce supply concerns. 

“We're assuming that there's going to be a massive shortage of workers available to operate current and future mines, including ourselves for our own growth potential,” said Nathan Cloet, director of human resources for the company’s Ontario region.

Cloet said they’re currently working on a number of initiatives for Macassa mine.

“Things like immigration is one and then transportation and busing, so, for example, we’re working on a pilot project right now where we bus people from Timmins and Matheson to Kirkland Lake,” he said. 

Following the closure of their sister mine in Mexico, Cloet said they used it as an opportunity to leverage some existing talent to support the Kirkland Lake location long-term.

“Because they are part of our sister mine, they're all current employees of ours within Mexico. So, obviously, we visited the site, talked to the operational personnel, and held interviews just to make sure that everything would be a fit,” he said. 

“In the end, we're actually very pleased. We think it's a strong cultural fit, safety fit, and performance fit for these participants.”

Immigration is an underutilized opportunity across the Canadian mining industry, Cloet said.

“For us, mechanics is a very hot job within the industry across Canada and, for us, we find it difficult to find skilled mechanics within the Kirkland Lake region,” he said. 

“So, this is one opportunity — bringing skilled people from another country to the Kirkland Lake region.”

Cloet said their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) has just recently been approved and said they hope to bring everyone over between January and March.

“There are permits in place that would be the maximum of two years as part of this LMIA, but our goal is and the goal of the people that we want to come is permanent residency,” he said. 

Housing, transportation, education and continuing language will all be provided for the workers and families, Cloet said. “We're trying to provide full support,” he said. 

To ensure Kirkland Lake was a good fit for everyone, the 12 workers visited the region late last month.

“We made sure that people had a chance to come and see potentially, if this all goes ahead, if Kirkland Lake is a fit for them — the culture, the weather, all that good stuff. The weather was probably the No. 1 question that we got,” he said.

“They very much appreciated the visit. We just wanted to make sure that they understood what they're getting into before they made the decision to come here next year.”

On Nov. 27, company members and the candidates had dinner with Mayor Stacy Wight at The Federal Tavern in Kirkland Lake. She said there were about 30 at the table.

“It was an amazing opportunity to meet these individuals because, you know, Kirkland Lake was built from people that came from everywhere during the gold rush days. And so 100 years later, to have people coming from all over the globe to continue to build our community is just incredible,” she said. 

“We're seeing a more diverse community, which is really something you don't see a lot in the North, especially in a small community. So, it’s actually wonderful.”

Cloet said it’s a win-win situation.

“Obviously, we have the need, and if people want to pursue this kind of opportunity to relocate from another country or another area to Canada or Kirkland Lake, that’s great,” he said. 

— TimminsToday