Barrick Gold's Hemlo operation has announced a new stimulus program to kickstart the economy in one area of northwestern Ontario.
The company, which operates the Williams open-pit and underground mine 350 kilometres east of Thunder Bay, has distributed $60,000 in Barrick Dollar Vouchers to its employees.
Each of the 360 recipients will have $150 to spend with businesses in the area.
Underground mining contractor Manroc is joining the initiative; it will provide its employees with $30,000 in vouchers, bringing the total to $90,000.
The program is designed to provide financial stimulus to local businesses in the communities of Marathon, Manitouwadge and White River, which neighbour the Hemlo operation.
“These are extremely challenging times for so many right now, and I believe it is the duty of essential businesses, that have continued operating, to lend a helping hand in restarting our local economy,” Hemlo’s general manager, Adam Foulstone, said in a June 22 news release.
“I encourage other businesses that have the means to consider a similar gesture. The more we can pull together and support each other, the stronger we will come out of this as a community.
“Hemlo is committed to the Northern communities and First Nation communities surrounding the mine and recognizes that it is at times like these that true partnerships are built.”
Hemlo Mine has also established the $200,000 North Superior Hemlo Fund, which, in its first phase, will provide disaster relief loans to small businesses in Marathon, Manitouwadge, and White River that have been affected by COVID-19.
In its second phase, Hemlo and the Manitouwadge Economic Development Office will partner to parcel out low-interest loans to encourage economic growth and community development.
A committee to vet applicants will comprise representatives from the three communities and the mine.
The company said it encourages other essential businesses to contribute to the fund.
“Hemlo Mine remains focused on diligently working to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our employees, business partners and community members, while still enabling operations to continue to keep our workforce employed, support our community and contribute to our local communities during this time of economic hardship,” added Foulstone.