There are layoffs at the salt mine in Goderich.

Forty-eight miners were let go today and are not seasonal. They are permanent and effective immediately.

Compass Minerals, who operate the Goderich mine, blame the layoffs on a move to more mechanized continuous mining, which requires less miners.

Goderich’s mine is the largest rock salt mine in the world.

The following statement was released by Compass Minerals.

Since 1959 the Goderich Mine has been in operation and since 1990 Compass Minerals has operated the site. This mine is an important part of the Goderich community and an important part of Compass Minerals’ operations.

Over the last six years, Compass Minerals has invested $225 million to ensure the longevity of the Goderich Mine, which included investment in the transition to continuous mining from the traditional drill and blast process. The transformation to continuous mining is important for the long-term success of the mine – it helps improve efficiency and increases our competiveness in the market and, more importantly, it creates a safer work environment for our employees and contractors and reduces our environmental impact.

Over the course of implementing continuous mining, we have communicated to our employees and the union that we anticipated layoffs would occur. It was with a heavy heart this morning that we informed less than 50 miners that they have been laid off. This restructuring is in keeping with the current collective bargaining agreement between the company and the union.

This decision was not made lightly. Compass Minerals remains committed to its employees and to the Goderich community as we focus on positioning the business for long-term success.