The long distance commute in the mining industry: the human dimension

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 84, No. 953, 1991

M. Phyllis Bray

Concurrent with the continuing demise of many Canadian mining towns is the rise of a new method of providing remote mine sites with a workforce. This is the Long Distance Commute (LDC) which uses commuter labour and requires no permanent settlements to support the mine operation. It provides a flexible and cost-effective method of operation to the industry and relieves both governments and industry of the expense of building and maintaining mining towns. However, little attention has been paid to the effect on workers or their families of the LDC work schedule whereby workers spend a fixed number of days at the site followed by a fixed number of days at home. Off-shore oil rig experience would indicate that negative social impacts may be expected. Research leading to an understanding of the problems involved seems to be indicated. One innovative suggestion has been to use already established but dying mining towns as workforce pick-up points for new LDC operations further north.
Mots Clés: Human resources.