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Lac des Iles Mine COVID cases reach 20

Impala postpones plans to restart palladium mine on April 28
North American Palladium_Cropped
Lac des Iles mine, northwest of Thunder Bay

The number of positive cases related to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Lac des Iles Mine has grown to 20.

The latest case was confirmed April 23 by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. An infected worker in their 30s is self-isolating at home in a community in the area.

In an emailed statement, Impala Canada said there are no plans to resume operations on April 28, as previously announced.

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The palladium mine, northwest of Thunder Bay, was placed on temporary care and maintenance on April 13.

“The operations will remain in care and maintenance for the time being and we will only re-start operations when we are confident it is safe to do so within the realities of a global pandemic," the company said.

Impala said the combination of the province being under a state of emergency and their ability to provide a safe work environment will be key determinants in choosing a start-up date.

“As all considerations are discussed, we will continue to closely collaborate with public health authorities and all our stakeholders, including our Indigenous partners.”

Most of the mine’s workforce have been evacuated. Fly-in/fly-out workers were directed to stay home.

A skeleton crew of less than 50 remains on the site to maintain essential infrastructure and handle environmental management duties.

The company insists pandemic response protocols are being followed, including daily temperature checks, with a “deep and comprehensive sanitization of the mine site” currently underway in consultation with the health unit.