NWT shocked at Witte's reappearance
WebPosted Dec 4 2001 07:00 AM MST
Yellowknife, N.W.T. - People in the Northwest Territories are reacting with shock and disbelief to news that Peggy Witte has returned to the northern mining scene. The former president of Royal Oak Mines is trying to re-open the old Pine Point lead-zinc mine on the south shore of Great Slave Lake. As Royal Oak president, Witte presided over a strike in Yellowknife that left nine replacement workers dead in 1992.
When her company went bankrupt in 1999, it left businesses in the North and across Canada with $600 million dollars in unpaid bills. A seriously underfunded company pension plan short-changed many retired mine workers.
Steve Peterson of the Canadian Auto workers said it's incredible that Witte would consider working in the Northwest Territories again.
"I couldn't believe that someone who'd done such damage to the environment and to workers would be allowed in any capacity to come back to the north," he said.
When Royal Oak went bankrupt it also left taxpayers with a multi-million dollar environmental clean up bill at its Colomac mine, on Dogrib lands northwest of Yellowknife.
"We'll certainly take a closer look at the fact that she's back up here," said Ted Blondin, a negotiator for the Dogrib.
Witte now goes by her maiden name, Margaret Kent.
Her new company is called the Kent Burns Group.
It has applied for an exploration permit to drill in the Pine Point area this winter.
A company spokesman says it could be the first step toward re-opening the decommisioned lead-zinc mine.
[If you got here from frontpage Native News Online, click here to return: http://184.108.40.206/
Reprinted under the Fair Use http://nativenewsonline.org/fairuse.htm
Tsonkwadiyonrat (We are ONE Spirit)
Native News Online
a Service of Barefoot Connection
FREE LEONARD PELTIER!! "YOU ~ARE~ THE MESSAGE"