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Message: Ontario forest fire halts gold projects

News Article.


UPDATE 1-11 minutes ago by Thomson Reuters

TORONTO, May 25 (Reuters) - Brigus Gold Corp and Lake Shore Gold Corp are the latest two miners to halt operations at projects in northern Ontario as a spate of forest fires caused power outages and forced evacuations in the region.

Brigus said on Friday that it had temporarily suspended gold production at its Black Fox mill near Timmins, which is roughly 700 kilometers (450 miles) north of Toronto, due to a power outage. The miner expects power to be restored early next week.

Meanwhile, Lake Shore said late on Thursday that smoke from a forest fire about 15 km southwest of its Timmins West project had forced it to halt operations at the gold mine.

There are now 45 fires active in the province, 43 of which are in the northeast region. The city of Timmins has declared a state of emergency and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said the fire has forced the evacuation of about 120 people.

Operations in the gold mining hubs of Timmins and Kirkland Lake have been hurt by the fires, which were caused by dry weather and strong winds over the last week.

The fire has not affected operations at Brigus' Black Fox mine, the company said in a statement, adding that ore is being stockpiled to be processed once power is restored at the mill. Brigus does not expect the outage to impact its second quarter output.

Lake Shore said the fire has not hit mining and milling operations at its Bell Creek project and noted that it has large stockpiles of ore available at both Bell Creek and the Timmins West mine.

"With the large stockpile we have at the mill we expect there to be no impact on our processing activities," Lake Shore Chief Executive Tony Makuch said in a statement. "Our production guidance for the second quarter and full year 2012 remain unchanged."

Earlier this week, fires near Kirkland Lake, 600 km north of Toronto, caused power outages and disrupted operations at mines owned by Kirkland Lake Gold Inc and AuRico Gold Inc . The fires damaged electricity lines used to power mining and milling operations at the sites.

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