TORONTO, May 25 (Reuters) - Lake Shore Gold Corp has halted operations at its Timmins West mine in northern Ontario, making the miner the latest to stop or curtail work because a spate of forest fires in the region.
Toronto-based Lake Shore said in a statement late on Thursday that smoke from a forest fire about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) southwest of the gold mine forced its hand. The mine is located west of the city of Timmins, which is roughly 700 km north of Toronto.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said the fire has forced the evacuation of about 120 people from the area. There are now 45 fires active in the province, 43 of these are in the northeast region.
Lake Shore said the fire has not affected milling and mining operations at its Bell Creek site on the east side of Timmins.
Operations in the gold mining hubs of Timmins and Kirkland Lake have been hurt by the fires, caused by dry weather and strong winds over the last week.
Earlier this week, fires near Kirkland Lake, 600 km north of Toronto, caused power outages and disrupted operations at mines owned by Kirkland Lake Gold Inc and AuRico Gold Inc . The fires damaged electricity lines used to power mining and milling operations at the sites.
Lake Shore sees no impact on processing right now, saying it has large stockpiles of ore available at both its Bell Creek mill and Timmins West mine.
"In terms of production, with the large stockpile we have at the mill we expect there to be no impact on our processing activities. Our production guidance for the second quarter and full year 2012 remain unchanged," Chief Executive Tony Makuch said in a statement.