Kirkland Lake, Ontario, forest fire impacts 2 gold mining operations

Kirkland Lake, Ontario, forest fire impacts 2 gold mining operations

22 May 2012

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 Canada — Kirkland Lake Gold suspended mining operations as the Young-Davidson gold mine put ore processing on hold as they cope with power outages caused by the Kirkland Lake forest fire.

About 300 residents of Goodfish and Nettie Lakes near the town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, were ordered to vacate their homes and cottages as a state of emergency was declared as fire crews and water bombers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Kirkland Lake Fire Department battled a forest fire in the area.

Natural Resources officials said the manmade fire, which broke out Sunday, also forced the evacuation of Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa mine and mill and cut a power supply to AuRico Gold’s Young-Davidson operation.

Canada’s Northeast Region was battling 13 new fires on Sunday including Algonquin Park, Chapleau, Kirkland Lake, Midhurst, North Bay, Sudbury and Timmins. As of Sunday there were a total of 34 active fires in the region.

AuRico said the forest fire, located 70 kilometers east of the Young-Davidson mine, had disrupted the 115 kV power supply to the mine site. The operation is currently using a separate 44 kV line (used for construction and development), which has not been affected.

“Ontario Hydro One is expected to re-establish full power to the mine within a week,” said AuRico Gold in a news release Monday. “Operations at the open pit have not been impacted and continue at normal levels, however ore processing has been suspended.”

In a news release Monday Kirkland Lake Gold said the fire passed near the company’s property and mill, but did not damage the company’s assets. However, “a short section of the power line feeding the mill and the three shaft complex was damaged by the fire.”

“Company employees were able to close down and evacuate the mine in an organized and orderly way,” said Kirkland Lake Gold. “A skeleton crew remains on site to keep the site secure, monitor the situation, and assist government and utility efforts as required. The two shaft power system remains on line and the company’s emergency power systems are operating.”

Hydro-One crews have begun the work of repairing the damaged transmission line. “All production activities are halted until power is restored,” said Kirkland Lake Gold.

As of Monday night, the fire was not under control with Ministry of Natural Resources officials could be active for several more days due to dry conditions. Schools were canceled for Tuesday so families could be together in the event of the evacuation of the town of Kirkland Lake.

So far no damage to any homes has been reported.

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