Tsetsaut Ventures Ltd’s George Simpson (left) with Pretivm president, CEO and director Joseph Ovsenek in 2013, before the Brucejack Mine was developed. (Indigenous Business and Investment Council photo)

172 layoff notices for Hazelton company

Pretivm extends jobs invite to Tsetsaut employees contracted for Brucejack Mine.

Hazelton-based Tsetsaut Ventures Ltd. has sent out 172 layoff notices after negotiations failed with Pretivm to continue contract work at Brucejack Mine, according to Tsetsaut owner Darlene Simpson.

She said she and her husband and co-owner George Simpson were “gutted on rates.” They could not divulge the offers due to an agreement with Pretivm, she said, but did give examples of what going rates were for some of the services they offered.

The jobs lost would be in a variety of areas.

“We offer them cooks, housekeeping, buses, vans, operators, we’ve been freighting, road maintenance,” explained Darlene Simpson.

Workers still have about 12 weeks until the layoffs take effect.

Tsetsaut uses suppliers and hires most people from Houston to Terrace, said Simpson.

“Pretivm won’t talk to us anymore,” she said.

Simpson is from the Skii km Lax Ha First Nation according to the Indigenous Business and Investment Council, a nation of 30 people surrounded by Gitxsan territory. She pointed out that the company is a big employer of Indigenous people along with other locals.

Pretivm responded through executive vice president Michelle Romero:

“Darlene and George Simpson and their company Tsetsaut Ventures Ltd. (TVL) have been a big part of the Brucejack project, and we appreciate the role their contracting company TVL has played since we first started out as an exploration company seven years ago. We have always been supportive of their growth and success as a contracting company at Brucejack,” read the email.

“Our transition to mining operations has brought changes throughout Pretivm, and the changes in our management of the Brucejack site are enabling us to successfully perform at a new level both safely and efficiently for the long haul. The maintenance of the 75-kilometer long mine access road and lower support camps is a critical part of our operations.”

Romero’s email said on Sept. 12 that re-negotiations were still ongoing with Tsetsaut.

“Regardless of the outcome of those negotiations, which are based on commercially competitive considerations, we’re committed to maintaining a high level of local employment and supporting long-term capacity building for the workforce in local communities. As part of that commitment, we would certainly extend opportunities for employment to TVL’s employees for available roles.”

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