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Mining companies suspend production due to COVID-19

Musselwhite and Rainy River mines are among the mines affected.
The Musselwhite mine is located 500 km north of Thunder Bay (Tbnewswatch file)

THUNDER BAY — Mining operations in Northwestern Ontario are being curtailed as a precaution because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Newmont Corporation on Monday announced that it is putting its Musselwhite gold mine, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, into "care and maintenance" status.

The mine employs about 700 people.

The company said it has decided to limit the number of personnel on site in order to minimize fly-in/fly-out activity, thereby preventing the possible transmission of the virus, including to nearby First Nations communities.

Newmont said only the staff who are essential for maintaining infrastructure, environmental management and security will be on duty at Musselwhite until further notice.

Earlier, New Gold announced a two-week suspension of operations at its Rainy River mine, northwest of Fort Frances.

The company said Friday that about 70 per cent of its workforce of 550 is made up of local residents who make frequent trips across the border to Minnesoata.

"A significant number of employees have voluntarily indicated that they have recently made such trips and are now in self-isolation...Accordingly, the company has made the decision to temporarily suspend operations for precautionary reasons, consistent with this recommended period of self-isolation," New Gold said in a statement.

During the production suspension, a crew will be on site to monitor and maintain essential services.


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