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Pan American Silver reducing throughput at Timmins operations

Gold producer furthering physical distancing in response to COVID-19
Pan American Silver's Bell Creek Mill in Timmins (Supplied photo)

Pan American Silver said it’s begun to reduce throughput at its Timmins gold operations in an effort to protect employees’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an April 1 news release, the company said it would voluntarily reduce throughput by 10 to 20 per cent “in order to further enhance physical distancing throughout the operation, offices, and personnel transport systems.”

In Timmins, Pan American operates the Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines, which both feed the Bell Creek Mill, under the Lake Shore Gold subsidiary.

"We are carefully monitoring new developments regarding the pandemic, implementing the preventative measures recommended by health authorities and adapting our operations to government or company-led directives,” Michael Steinmann, Pan American’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“The efforts of our employees have been invaluable in helping us manage this very challenging but temporary period, and I am grateful for their dedication."

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Earlier in the week, the company announced it would offer employees voluntary temporary layoffs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said the option of the voluntary temporary layoffs is to allow staff "to remain home to care for their families, while accessing the government programs available to support them in their social isolation efforts."

The company has taken additional measures at its other operations.

In Mexico, following an executive order for the immediate suspension of non-essential activities until April 30, Pan American said it would “bring its La Colorada and Dolores operations into compliance.”

The company had previously reduced the number of people on site at those operations to increase physical distancing.

Normal operations have already been suspended at Pan American’s operations in Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia in compliance with government orders in those countries.

Pan American said there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at any of its operations.

As of April 2, the Porcupine Health Unit, which oversees the Timmins area, was reporting 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the area, five of which are considered resolved.