Mining seen as the key to prosperity: The Advocate reports

Mining and exploration continue to feature strongly in Queenstown and the West Coast’s future says the West Coast Economic Working Group chairman, Adam Brooks.

Mr Brooks said with exploration still going on at Mt Lyell's CMT project they were still hopeful it would reopen and combined with the other new mines in the pipeline, create new jobs and diversify the industry.

It seems that the majority of West Coast residents believe the economy won't start to pick up again until Mt Lyell and new mines start up.
WBF Contracting business partners Jason Shepheard and Shane Alexander employed a number of people at Mt Lyell, while the mine was still in operation.

Mr Shepheard said his business was a contract company that had labour hire, carpenters, fitters, boilermakers and miners working across the whole Mt Lyell mine site.

He said the company was hit hard when the decision was made to close the mine.

"It was a huge whack - we had to put a lot of people off and last year was a real struggle," Mr Shepheard said.

"There was a temptation (to move away) but we just wanted to try and ride it out.

"We thought the mine was going to reopen quicker than what it has done. Everyone has tried to hang in there as much as they can."

Times have been tough for miners who have been affected by the closure of My Lyell, with some able to pick up work around town.
"We have been able to get carpentry work around town and bits in other places but the work has been very limited at the moment," Mr Shepheard said.

He said the West Coast Economic Working Group's final report was good, but there was still a little way to go.

The working group's report has seen his company employed to work on the new mountain bike tracks. 'It will employ a lot of the local people that have lost their jobs, so that is really good."