Production is expected get back online at Vale's Coleman Mine by the middle of next month, according to Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti.
Operations at the Levack mine were suspended indefinitely back on Nov. 10 so that repairs could be done on the shaft's ventilation compartment. The shutdown was originally expected to last for about a month, but on Dec. 1, a press release from Steelworkers Local 6500 indicated that the interruption would continue until the end of January.
Approximately 300 workers were impacted by the shutdown and were temporarily laid off.
Some maintenance employees have been recalled to support the repair work to the shaft but Coleman Mine remains on temporary shutdown to make necessary repairs.
"Based on our most recent inspections, we estimate the mine will return to production in mid-February," said Pagnutti in a Jan. 12 email.
"In order to mitigate impacts to our people at Coleman who have been temporarily laid off, we have recalled and transferred more than 200 production and maintenance employees to temporarily work at Coleman and other mine sites. To support those employees for whom work is not available, we are topping up EI benefits through a supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) plan."
Pagnutti said that the company's first priority is to ensure the shaft is safe to operate before bringing the mine back to production.
"We will not bring our people back to work until we are confident the work can be done safely," said Pagnutti.