Fire threat shutters Red Lake gold mine and other projects

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An outbreak of forest fires in the Red Lake region of northwestern Ontario has prompted a number of mining companies to update investors on the status of their operations in the area.

The move comes after provincial officials ordered the evacuation of roughly 4,000 Red Lake residents on Monday August 10, 2020.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the fire known as Red Lake 49 is currently burning around three kilometres west of Highway 105, and about three kilometres south of the Town of Red Lake.

Evolution Mining Ltd. [EVN-ASX] on Wednesday issued an advisory stating that operations at its Red Lake gold mine have been temporarily suspended. “The mine has been evacuated and all Evolution employees and contractors are safe and accounted for,” the company said. “There has been no damage to any infrastructure at the operation.”

Evolution’s Red Lake mine has been in production since the late 1940s, and produced 235,000 ounces of gold in 2019. Evolution bought the operation from Newmont Goldcorp [NGT-TSX; NYSE-NEM] last year.

Pure Gold Mining Inc. [PGM-TSXV] issued a statement on August 10, 2020, saying it has temporarily suspended operations at its Madsen Mine project while the fire is being contained. “At this time, all Pure Gold staff and contractors are safely accounted for, out of harm’s way and there is no damage to infrastructure of equipment at the mine site,” Pure Gold said in a press release.

Pure Gold’s Madsen Mine near Red Lake, Ont., is scheduled to pour its first gold bar by December, 2020.

Meanwhile, Battle North Gold Corp. [BNAU-TSX; BNAUF-OTCQX] said in an August 11, 2020, press release that there is an active forest fire more than 20 kilometres southwest of its Bateman Gold Project and three kilometres south of Red Lake.

“At this point in time, all Battle North Gold Red Lake employees and contractors are safe and the Bateman Project site is secured,” the company said, adding that it is monitoring the situation closely and will update investors on any material developments as they occur.

Battle North was previously known as Rubicon Minerals. The Bateman Gold Project has also undergone a change of name. It was previously known as the Phoenix Project.

Other active companies in the region include Great Bear Resources Ltd. [GBR-TSXV] which has been engaged in a $21 million exploration program at its 100%-owned Dixie Project.

The project is located approximately 25 kilometres southeast of Red Lake.

Due to smoke in the region, a spokeswoman for Great Bear said the camp has been evacuated. “If you can’t breathe, you can’t work. So, everyone is off site,” she said.

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