TORONTO – North American Palladium Ltd. announced today that milling operations at its Lac des Iles (“LDI”) mine site were successfully restarted on June 26, 2015. Underground operations continued during the suspension of milling operations resulting in a large stockpile of approximately 250,000 tonnes of crushed ore on surface which is available for processing. Initial mill startup has been at approximately 8,400 tonnes per day (“tpd”) which will be increased to approximately 13,000 tpd for a period in July to work through the stockpile before reverting back to 8,400 tpd as per the 2015 plan.
Prior to the restart of milling operations, the Company received a dam safety report from an independent third-party engineering consulting firm that reconfirmed the integrity of the containment structures at LDI’s tailings management facility. The Company also successfully restored water balance levels at LDI to within permitted operating levels. Following consultations with relevant provincial ministries, the Company was in compliance with all criteria required for the restart of milling operations.
“Significant efforts by team members across the Company, led by those on-site at LDI, have put us in a position to restart milling operations,” said Phil du Toit, President and CEO. “I would also like to acknowledge the cooperation and support of various government ministries and other stakeholders who have been working with LDI.”
Since June 18, 2015, only treated water has been discharged. Extensive downstream monitoring and testing to date in the LDI reclaim ponds and of the treated and untreated water released in downstream discharge areas has confirmed the water to be non-toxic and there have been no observed detrimental effects on aquatic life.
Frequent consultation has been maintained with various First Nations groups in the area with regard to the recent water discharge and the actions being taken by LDI. The potential impact of the discharge on the environment, if any, has yet to be determined and LDI is working with experts in the field to prepare and implement a long term monitoring and remediation plan in consultation with stakeholders.
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