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B.C. wildfires prompt Taseko, Imperial to suspend some mining operations

Last Updated Jul 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm EDT

VANCOUVER – Two mines in British Columbia have halted some operations in the Cariboo region due to the ongoing wildfires.

Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) says it has idled its Gibraltar copper mine as evacuation orders for nearby communities have made it difficult for employees to travel to the site.

The company says it’s unclear when operations will resume.

Meanwhile, Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III) suspended operations at its Mount Polley mine on Sunday due to an evacuation order for nearby areas and increased restrictions on highway use in the area.

The company says it will resume operations once the situation stabilizes.

Both companies say their mines are not currently threatened by the fires.

The B.C. government declared a provincial state of emergency — its first for a wildfire since 2003 — on July 7, and since then a number of sites including forestry operations have been temporarily shut down or operating at reduced capacity.

Thousands of people have been forced from their homes as emergency responders continue to fight dozens of fires covering hundreds of square kilometres.

Taseko owns a 75 per cent stake in Gibraltar, which it says is the second largest open pit copper mine in the country.

Imperial owns the Mount Polley open pit copper and gold mine through a subsidiary.