When the pandemic hit, local mining companies stepped up.
Since March, three mines have donated more than $780,000 back into local communities.
Newmont Porcupine has led the way with $508,750 being doled out so far during the COVID-19 crisis. Through the global Glencore Community Support Fund, Kidd Operations has donated over $150,000, and Lake Shore Gold has given more than $120,000 back to the community.
Their stories start similarly, by reaching out to the emergency management committee to see where there was a need. Together, they've boosted the local supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), helped out the food banks, hospital, local businesses, and more.
Sustainability and external relations manager Bryan Neeley said they wanted to help quickly to help protect their employees, their families and the community.
The three pillars they focused on are employee and community health, food security, and local business support.
Their donations have boosted Timmins and District Hospital, the Timmins PPE Drive, Chapleau Health Services, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) food security programs, and Chapleau food banks. They've also invested $250,000 into the local business community by partnering with the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.
“We did a lot of little things too that they’re lesser dollars but quite impactful with dropping off a few things here and there at local businesses or people that needed stuff that we had heard through the grapevine, but we didn’t really want to publicize a lot of it,” Neeley said.
By being a founding member of the business continuity and recovery fund administered by The Chamber, Neeley said it opened up more opportunities. Other local businesses jumped in to boost various areas.
There were four initiatives within the program that's available to businesses in Timmins and Chapleau, where Newmont operates the Borden Mine.
A $100,000 PPE support grant has helped small businesses and organizations procure PPE and other supplies to safely restart. So far, 182 businesses have received about $120,000.
An emergency business loan saw The Venture Centre match Newmont's $100,000 donation to create a $200,000 fund. Eleven businesses have received $110,000 to date.
They contributed $20,000 to a professional services fund that had MNP LLP match the mining company's investment to help businesses assess their eligibility for federal programs. So far 57 businesses have received services worth nearly $10,000.
The final piece was $30,000 to direct shoppers to support local instead of shopping online.
Supporting businesses was important for Newmont Porcupine.
Neeley said the community relies on the small and medium-sized businesses and they wanted to make sure they were safe to open.
“It reduced the risk in the community, but it also reduced the risk for our operations. We were able to continue, we were deemed essential. We wanted to make sure that as we moved around through the community that we were able to support the community in their safe restart,” he said.
Over the past couple months, Neeley said the donations have slowed down.
Right now, he noted the community is doing its part to keep the COVID-19 case numbers down.
"We didn’t want to exhaust all of our opportunities right now because...there is a second wave potentially coming. There is back to school, there is the flu season coming in, where is that going to leave this community? We want to make sure that we’re still around and still have some funds available under the greater Newmont COVID relief fund and also the opportunity to do some things within the community,” he said.
Glencore Kidd Operations
Over the last six months, Kidd Operations has been supporting local organizations' COVID-19 relief efforts.
Their biggest investment has been with Compass Brewing to make locally-produced hand sanitizer. Glencore bought the materials and supplies for the local brewer. According to Kidd Operations, 5,000 bottles have been donated to frontline health care workers, emergency response teams, long-term care facilities, and non-profits, as well as to the Chamber's PPE support grant program. The value of the donation is $50,000.
Other areas the company has helped is the TADH Foundation, Timmins and District Victim Services, United Way Centraid North East Community Response Fund for emergency grants, Timmins Food Bank, South Porcupine Food Bank, Lord's Kitchen, and the Downtown Timmins BIA to develop a new strategic plan to help businesses recover.
"As part of their continued commitment to the community, Kidd Operations also provides funding for eligible non-profit organizations through the Kidd Operations Community Partnership Program," said the company in a statement.
"The aim of the Community Partnership Program goes beyond traditional charitable corporate donations and strives towards creating a meaningful and lasting positive impact within the community. Through the Community Partnership Program, Kidd Operations supports projects and initiatives that align with community priorities, meet local needs, and deliver measurable and concrete outcomes for the community."
Lake Shore Gold
The donations of the subsidiary of Pan American Silver have boosted the local food banks, shelters, DSSAB, hospital foundation, and Spruce Hill Lodge, according to director of environmental and sustainability.
“We recognized that with the pandemic... that support was required that we were able to assist in areas in which we thought were required,” he said.
By working with community partners, he said they made sure money were going to areas in need.
“We continue to play a role in making sure we maintain communications with people that are in the areas, our partners, and making sure that they have the materials needed to get through these times,” he said.
Lake Shore Gold employees are also leading by example.
Through payroll deductions, they raised $10,000, which was matched by the company. It was donated to the Timmins and South Porcupine food banks.
Moving forward, Cardinal said Lake Shore Gold will continue to do things.
“As we see areas in need, we’ll definitely be around to assist in those areas and making sure that people have what they need to get through these difficult times,” he said.