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Forest fire threatens northwestern Ontario gold mine project

First Mining pulls staff, contractors from Springpole site northeast of Red Lake
Dryden Airport (2)

A forest fire in northwestern Ontario has forced a Vancouver mine developer to suspend operations, 110 kilometres northeast of Red Lake.

Vancouver's First Mining Gold said in a July 5 news release that the fire is within one kilometre of its Springpole camp. Natural Resources and Forestry fire crews were working over the weekend to containment it with both ground and aerial suppression using water bombers and helicopters. Crews are currently staging at the Springpole site to contain the fire.

The company said all staff and contractors have been demobilized from the site, all are safe and accounted for, and at this point there is no damage to infrastructure at the camp. First Mining said it is closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates to the situation.

"First Mining would like to thank the MNRF firefighters and our air service partners who played a critical role in demobilizing personnel from site safely and efficiently," the company said in a release.

Springpole is a proposed open-pit gold mine and mill with 3.8 million ounces of gold and 20.5 million ounces of silver in the ground. It has an estimated 11-year mine life.

First Mining is in the midst of the permitting stage of an environmental impact study document to be submitted to the federal and provincial government this summer. The government review process takes two years. If all goes well, construction of the mine could begin in late 2023.

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