Jaime Delgado

Jaime Delgado

Mill shut down at Huckleberry Mines

The Huckleberry Mines SAG mill is shut down for a temporary, unknown period of time because of a breakdown.

The Huckleberry Mines mill is shut down temporarily because of a breakdown.

The failure occurred Feb. 26 at the SAG mill, a mill that grinds large chunks of rock into smaller pieces. They found that there was a broken tooth in the bull gear.

Randall Thompson, Vice President of Operations at Huckleberry Mines, says no employees are laid off as a result of the breakdown.

“Right now, milling operations are suspended because of the bull gear being broken, however, our current operations are normal and the employees in the mill are continuing to work also… They are doing routine maintenance and clean up around the mill.

“We had plans throughout the year to have scheduled shut downs to do general maintenance projects. We’re starting to undertake some of those projects right now,”  Thompson said.

He says they are looking at replacing the broken gear, which may take up to four months depending on the availability of the needed parts.

“What we’re doing right now is we’re going through the process in terms of what is going to be the most quick and efficient way to repair the mill. All we know right now is that to procure (obtain) a new part is going to take months, but we’re obviously looking at other options in terms of getting the mill back to normal operation,” Thompson said.

Asked about the impact of this breakdown, Thompson said they cannot say.

“It’s a process we’re going through to estimate timelines and once we understand timelines, then we’ll be able to estimate cost [and] further understand the impact on operations.”

He added that they are planning to be at Huckleberry and in the region long-term.

“It’s a very unfortunate catastrophic failure of the mill – totally unexpected.

“We’re working extremely diligently in terms of getting ourselves back to normal operations and right now we’re in a process of looking at all options to do that.

“Our employees come first and working safely in parallel,” he said.