Mining the Northwest: Impala Canada looks to open doors wider to Thunder Bay mining suppliers – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 29, 2021)

Lac des Iles Mine prepares to boost production, adopt new technologies, go exploring for new deposits

Mining in northwestern Ontario has become a huge part of Thunder Bay’s economy, much of that attributed to the resurgence of the Lac des Iles Mine (LDI), 90 kilometres northwest of the city.

In the five years since the once-struggling palladium mine made an impressive operational turnaround. A total of $1.7 billion has been invested in capital and operational spending, half of that with Ontario companies and a good chunk within the Thunder Bay business community where LDI has contracts with about 300 service and supply companies.

While LDI has a current 11-year mine life, Tim Hill, CEO of Impala Canada, the owners of the mine, implied the operation looks to have some longevity for years to come based on the resource potential of their expansive land holdings.

“We want to find and build the next LDI mine,” said Hill, repeatedly, during a virtual chat with Eric Zakrewski, CEO of the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) on April 28.

Lac des Iles, one of six operating mines in northwestern Ontario, is regarded as a world-class deposit, mining predominately palladium for the past 25 years and producing 30 per cent of Canada’s supply of the silvery-white metal used in automobile catalytic converters.

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