The Tahltan Central Government, Iskut Band and Tahltan Band announced a collaboration with Newcrest to ensure community health and safety at the Red Chris mine and surrounding areas. Courtesy of Newcrest.

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Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week the mining industry continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, causing many companies to limit or shut down operations in several jurisdictions – but that’s not all.

In Quebec and Ontario, mining companies have limited operations after the two provincial governments announced they would be closing all non-essential businesses this week in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. While mining operations are on the list of essential services in both provinces, Quebec has asked mining operations to conduct only minimum activities. To comply with the directives, companies are scaling down their operations in the two provinces.

In British Columbia, mining, exploration and their respective supply and services companies were also included among that province’s essential services. There, too, companies are taking steps to manage operations including altering work schedules, reducing staffing and expanding the use of personal protective equipment on site.

Newmont has implemented additional measures to protect employees from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, such as scaling down operations at its mines in Argentina, Canada and Peru. The company put its Musselwhite and Eléonore mines in Ontario and Quebec into care and maintenance and limited on-site personnel, noting that the fly-in fly-out nature of the operations made them more susceptible to the virus through travel. Newmont also announced it was ramping down operations at its Cerro Negro and Yanacocha mines and would be updating its 2020 guidance for the year.

Cameco announced a temporary shut down of its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan to put the mine in care and maintenance for four weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though there is currently no declared state of emergency in Saskatchewan, according to the company the decision was based on concern from local remote communities and the challenges of maintaining social distancing at fly-in fly-out operations. A reduced workforce of 35 employees will remain on-site to carry out safety and maintenance activities.

Trevali also announced it is temporarily suspending operations at its Caribou mine in New Brunswick as a result of poor market conditions for zinc and the global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is putting the Caribou mine in care and maintenance, estimating a one-time cost of US$5 million and an additional US$500,000 for every month it is in care and maintenance. Trevali also announced it would withdraw its 2020 production guidance and examine the value of the mine when it releases its Q1 2020 results.

Suncor Energy has revised its capital spending and production guidance for 2020 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing downward trend of oil prices. The company has decreased its capital spending program by 26 per cent from its original range of between $5.4 billion and $6 billion to a range of $3.9 billion to $4.5 billion, while its 2020 production outlook has decreased from between 800,000 and 840,000 barrels of oil per day to between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels per day. According to Suncor, the Canadian government’s quarantine and social distancing measures requiring limited personnel on site also made it necessary to reduce production.

Vale and Cementation will donate medical supplies to hospitals in northern Ontario to protect healthcare workers from the COVID-19 virus, as reported by Northern Ontario Business. Following a call to the mining community from Sudbury oncologist Dr. Lacey Pitre, Vale agreed to donate 500 N95 masks to Health Sciences North while Cementation announced it would donate goods such as respirators, sanitizing wipes and goggles to the North Bay Regional Hospital. As of Mar. 25, there are currently 11 confirmed and one presumptive case of COVID-19 in northern Ontario.

The Tahltan Central Government, Iskut Band and Tahltan Band announced a collaboration with Newcrest to ensure community health and safety at the Red Chris mine and surrounding areas. The collaboration includes several new measures such as extended employee rosters, providing support for groceries and health supplies and sending additional medical supplies to the Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek communities in northern British Columbia. A joint working group will also be established to monitor the mine site for any updates or changes.

And in other news…

Endeavour Mining Corporation will be purchasing all of Montreal-based SEMAFO’s shares to merge in a US$1 billion deal that will create a top-15 global gold producer. According to Endeavour, the merger will allow for enhanced security and risk management at the operations, which have been cause for concern due to a number of terrorist attacks that have targeted employees working at SEMAFO’s Boungou and Mana mines in Burkina Faso over the past two years.

Nuclear power and the uranium industry have remained on shaky ground ever since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. As the world’s second-largest producer of uranium, Canada has invested in a number of programs promoting nuclear power and small modular reactors are becoming more attractive options for power generation. Despite the low price of uranium and decades-long building times for nuclear power, there may be cause to be optimistic for the future state of nuclear in Canada.

And for gearheads hungry for equipment news we have technological solutions for conveyors and drives which will tackle costly downtime, improve performance and decrease risks to workers who repair and maintain the equipment. And we consider how digital technology will open up the frontier for conveyor drives and motors.

That’s it for this week’s recap, remember to stay safe and wash your hands! If you’ve got feedback, you can always reach us at If you’ve got something to add, why not join the conversation at our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages? Like your recap with a few more gifs? Check out our mining news recap stories on our Instagram.