All workers who were underground at Lalor mine after a fire broke out Wednesday afternoon are back up and safe. The mine is closed Thursday after the fire flared up again overnight.
The situation began when a scooptram caught fire Wednesday afternoon at the mine and was unable to be quickly put out. Lalor's mine rescue team was called to the scene and workers were sent to refuge stations, where they stayed into the evening Wednesday.
As of about 4:30 p.m. local time Wednesday, all employees of the mine had been accounted for by the company. Several dozen miners were stuck underground for hours, but no injuries were reported.
"On Sept. 14, 2022, a scooptram unexpectedly caught fire underground at the Lalor mine in Snow Lake. Mine rescue have been dispatched and they are working to restore services to the mine," reads a notice to employees sent out by Hudbay and obtained by The Reminder.
"All employees have been safely accounted for."
Under health and safety protocol, workers could not be brought back up to surface until the fire was extinguished. As of 10 p.m., workers were starting to be taken up to surface, with each station's workers heading up one at a time. By the wee hours of Thursday morning, all Hudbay employees had made it out of the mine.
"That fire was extinguished and we can confirm all 177 employees were safely brought to the surface," reads a statement to The Reminder from a Hudbay spokesperson.
Sadly, that fire didn't stay extinguished for long. The scooptram that started the fracas in the first place flared up again overnight Thursday, requiring a second evacuation of the mine. Once again, all workers underground were brought back onto surface without incident. As a result of the fire, work at the mine has temporarily stopped.
"That same piece of equipment had a flare up and, once again, our team initiated our emergency response system and evacuated everyone from the mine a second time. The mine rescue teams were dispatched underground and successfully extinguished the fire. Initial reports indicate that the fire originated in a rear tire and our team will continue to monitor this," reads the Hudbay spokesperson's statement.
"We can also confirm that all employees who were underground at that time were safely brought to the surface."
Day shift Thursday afternoon was cancelled at the mine while the fire is monitored and an investigation is carried out. The company currently is aiming to reopen the mine again within 24 hours.
"We are grateful to our mine rescue teams for their efforts in responding quickly and efficiently as they work on this situation, as well as our employees for their patience as they followed emergency evacuation procedures," reads the spokesperson's statement.