Since the 1930s, Hudbay Minerals (Hudbay) has operated a mine and base smelting complex in Flin Flon, Manitoba. Today, Hudbay is still one of the largest employers in the area, and mining remains critical to the economic prosperity of the region.
Recent studies, including a 2007 report from Manitoba Conservation, suggested that elevated levels of certain minerals – like arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and selenium – were present in some samples taken from area soils. Although Manitoba Conservation concluded in their report that there was no immediate risk to human health, they recommended further studies to better understand any potential health risks for people living in the area.
Hudbay is committed to the health and well-being of the communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The Flin Flon Soil Study (Soil Study) was a multi-year investigation led by Hudbay in co-operation with the Manitoba and Saskatchewan provincial governments. The purpose of this study was to determine if the communities of Flin Flon and Channing, Manitoba and Flin Flon and Creighton, Saskatchewan are being exposed to metals in their environment, and, if so, whether or not these exposures could affect people’s health.
The Soil Study was comprehensive in nature and was completed with the help of the local community, technical experts, and government agencies. The Study was completed in 2013 and concluded that the likelihood of adverse health effects among Flin Flon area residents from exposure to the metals studied was negligible to low.
Although the study is now complete, some activities are on-going to further reduce metal levels in the community and to be protective of human health. Hudbay Minerals will continue to take action to improve air quality by reducing the dust produced from its industrial activities. And education programs will continue to raise awareness about how to reduce exposure to lead – like proper hand washing and house renovation techniques.