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Forest fires halt mining in White River

Silver Lake Resources' Sugar Zone Mine site was evacuated in late May
Harte Gold Sugar Zone mill (aerial)
Silver Lake Resources' Sugar Zone Mine north of White River was evacuated on May 29 due to ongoing forest fires.

Forest fires in northeastern Ontario forced the halt to mining activities at the Sugar Zone Mine north of White River.

Silver Lake Resources reported last week that the mine site was evacuated on May 29 following instructions by the Ontario Provincial Police.

The company said in a news release last week that there is no reported damage to the site, but the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry advised the company that the fire is not under control and site access is restricted to essential staff.

Power to the site was cut following damage to the power line coming from White River. Damage is limited to a four-kilometre section of line, of which one kilometre requires replacement of wooden poles and conductor cleaning.

Backup diesel generators are on site to restore underground access and essential services, but mining and processing are suspended until the power supply is fully restored. That's not expected until June 19 with power line repairs expected in the coming days.

At Wesdome's Eagle operations, west of Wawa, no infrastructure or power supply problems have been reported and operations are running normally. The company said in a news release that the closest fire is more than 100 kilometres away and there's no threat of smoke in the area at this time.

Fires in western Quebec did force Wesdome to suspend underground mining and surface exploration at its Kiena Mine in Val d’Or. There were no fire within a 50-kilometre radius of Kiena but officials were monitoring wind conditions and were evaluating conditions on a shift-by-shift basis.