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Windsor Salt mine idled, dozens laid off due to warmer weather

Windsor Salt says consumer demand has prompted the idling of its mine in the southwestern Ontario city. (Dalson Chen/CBC - image credit)
Windsor Salt says consumer demand has prompted the idling of its mine in the southwestern Ontario city. (Dalson Chen/CBC - image credit)

The owner of an Ontario mine that produces road salt says it's idling operations because warmer weather has reduced customer demand.

Dozens of Windsor Salt workers have been laid off indefinitely while the company monitors market conditions.

"The key factor to this decision has been unfavourable weather conditions leading to soft customer demand," said a spokesperson for Morton Salt, the company that owns the operation in the southwestern Ontario city.

A union spokesperson said it will mean the layoff of 150 people, including mine workers and clerical members.

"The weather conditions are not demanding the salt that they once were," said Lindsay Meloche, chair for Local Unifor 240 representing clerical staff.

"What we're producing is not being ordered and sold at the current time."

Warm temperatures impact services

Meloche said the Ojibway mine produces road salt, safety salt bags and agricultural salt for animal seed.

It has been in operation since 1955, with around 250 people on staff, and produces up to three million tonnes of salt annually.

Communities across Ontario have notched unseasonably warm temperatures that have impacted everything from road-clearing operations to ski hill hours.

Meloche said she has been working at Windsor Salt for eight years and hasn't seen a layoff like this before.

The company said it will keep 18 hourly people on staff to maintain operations.

"The company currently does not know how long the layoff will last," a spokesperson said.

"We plan to regularly evaluate market and other conditions to determine when mining operations will resume."