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COVID outbreak at White River gold mine

Harte Gold reports three cases from exposure at Sugar Zone Mine mill facilities
Harte Gold mill and portal (aerial)
(Harte Gold photo)

Harte Gold reported its first brush with the pandemic at its Sugar Zone Mine, north of White River.

The Toronto-based gold miner said contact tracing has determined there are three cases of COVID-19 among its employees at the mine, two of which are asymptomatic.

Harte said the employees potentially affected, are self-isolating, and its health and safety protocols will remain in place for 14 days, as endorsed by Algoma Public Health, with regular monitoring for symptoms.

In a June 22 news release, the company didn't identify when the initial infection was discovered but it's determined the workplace transmission occurred in the mill facilities. Underground operations were not impacted by this workplace transmission.

Operations in the mill were temporarily suspended as the impacted crews self-isolate.

Harte says business continuity plans are in place and an incoming crew will start its rotation by the middle of this week. The mill is expected to resume operations June 23 at which time all stockpiled ore will be processed by the end of the month.

At the outbreak of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, Harte decided to halt operations and endured a lengthy shutdown before a phased restart last July.

In the release, Harte said its priority is to protect the health and safety of all its employees, contractors, and the surrounding communities.

The company said it's been in constant communication with Algoma Public Health and will continue to monitor the situation until the outbreak is declared over. An active COVID-19 antigen testing program is at site and the company said it is offering voluntary site vaccinations for its employees.