TORONTO, May 28 (Reuters) - Gold mining operations in Northern Ontario are slowly returning to normal after rain over the weekend dampened forest fires raging near the communities of Kirkland Lake and Timmins.
Production resumed Monday morning at Lake Shore Gold Corp’s Timmins West mine, company spokesman Mark Utting said.
Lake Shore halted operations at the mine site on Thursday due to smoke from a fire burning outside the city of Timmins, located some 700 kilometers (450 miles) northwest of Toronto.
“Up where we are the fire hasn’t advanced since Friday and the winds changed, so that’s helped us with the smoke,” said Utting. “The smoke isn’t an issue (anymore) and that’s really why we’ve been able to return to work.”
A state of emergency in Timmins has been lifted, though a large fire is still burning some 35 kilometers from the city.
Kirkland Lake, located some 140 kilometers southeast of Timmins, remained under a state of emergency on Monday. A fire just three kilometers north of the city was still listed as “not under control”.
AuRico Gold Inc, which faced a power outage at its Young-Davidson project early last week, said it was informed by utility provider Hydro One that electricity would be restored on Monday afternoon.
“We are expecting the mill powered up and running for a night shift tonight,” said Nicole Leaver, a spokeswoman for AuRico. The fire is some 70 kilometers east of the project.
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc, which also halted mining operations due to power outages last week, said it expects power to be restored to its mine site later this week.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said it was able to bring a number of the nearly 50 forest fires in northern Ontario under control over the weekend.
“There are presently 27 active fires in the province, five of which are listed as ‘not under control,'” the Ministry said on its website.