Home > News > Impala Canada INVESTED

Impala Canada INVESTED

Dec 12, 2022

Impala Canada Limited was formed on December 13, 2019 when North American Palladium was acquired by Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (the Implats Group), an integrated global platinum group metal (PGM) producer. Implats was attracted by the Company’s focus on palladium, its reliable growth potential, its highly engaged team and the revenue-generating potential of its Lac des Iles Mine.
The Lac des Iles Mine (LDI), is a palladium operation with more than 28 years of production located northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario and employs over 700 employees and features a unique, world-class ore body and modern infrastructure, including both an underground mine and surface operations. The mine is noted for its modern infrastructure, advanced underground technologies and world-class exploration portfolio.
This past year, more than ever, Impala Canada has made significant investments in their business, in their people, in the local economy and in the community — all of which reflect their Company values: Respect, Care and Deliver.
“We believe that an investment in the future of LDI — which has expended almost $98.5 million in local businesses and Indigenous joint ventures last year alone — is an investment in Northwestern Ontario. Our confidence to increase investments at LDI and in the community is anchored on our people and on palladium — a critical metal used in catalytic converters, which reduce harmful emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles. We are one of the largest and safest mines in Canada, and our workforce is one of the best — skilled, dedicated and hardworking.
Increasing global emissions standards are driving demand for palladium, and our capital investment strategy is focused on increasing mine production to 12,000 tonnes per day by 2024. In the last year we have invested $12 million on exploration drilling, nearly $29 million on mobile equipment, and $18 million on a new crushing circuit.
Impala Canada’s LDI Mine is well-positioned to be a leader in the critical minerals movement. We are invested in being a significant player in Northwestern Ontario for many years to come, and we are now more invested than ever”, stated Tim Hill, CEO of Impala Canada.
The Lac des Iles Mine operates on the Robinson-Superior Treaty territory which is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg and the Métis. The operation’s longstanding relationships are with five local communities of this land and place in Northwestern Ontario: Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay), Whitesand and Fort William First Nations, Métis Nation of Ontario and Red Sky Métis Independent Nation.

Impala pic 3


Invested in Health and Safety


Impala’s care for the health and safety of their employees, their families and the community are paramount in all that they do. This past year, they became a fully vaccinated site while they continued to stringently follow and implement their pandemic protocols to prevent the entry and spread of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Impala Canada has purchased and delivered more than 20,000 masks to Thunder Bay-based organizations and Indigenous communities.  
To keep health and safety at the forefront, every day, employees and contractors complete a daily safety card which includes, among other things, the LDI 5-Point Safety System. This is a joint program run by Impala Canada and the United Steelworkers Union Local 9422.
At the start of each shift, workers provide yes or no answers to five safety-related questions, including: Are your workplace and equipment in good condition? Any question answered with a ‘no’ is a hard stop. The crew member then corrects the issue or, if needed, flags it with the supervisor, who will investigate and take corrective action. The daily 5-Point Risk Assessment questionnaire is one of many tools used to keep our people safe and ingrain safety into our Company culture. There are 12,400 5-Point Risk Assessments completed each month. There are 33,836 total training hours delivered to their workforce via the Safety Team.
“Many of us see our colleagues as “work family.” During our shifts we live and eat together; and after hours we fish, snowshoe and work out in the on-site gym together. Our workforce is now more than 875 employees and contractors, and as we work to mine 12,000 tonnes of ore per day, we are invested in attracting the industry’s top talent to join our Impala Canada family.
We just wrapped up our second Impala Canada Recruitment Roadshow in which, over eight days, our team travelled to 13 cities and towns across Northwestern Ontario and as far away as Alberta, interviewing potential candidates in person.
While we are actively growing today’s team, we also have our eye on the future of our workforce. In February 2022, we announced a $120,000 partnership investment with Confederation College to help build a pipeline of skilled trades over the next three years. On site, we continue our robust apprenticeship, internship and co-op programs, which also include a key mentorship component to ensure the success and wellbeing of our young talent.
Our operation is growing, and so too is our Impala Canada family. If you want to join, visit www.impalacanada.com/joinus. We are always looking for good people”, stated Mike Newbold, General Manager of LDI.




Invested in Operations and Exploration


Impala Canada is committed to a long-term future. The company is making the right investments now, to ensure a sustainable mining operation that can weather the ebbs and flows of the global metals market, and to continue to be a flagship employer in Northwestern Ontario.
The company began a capital project in May 2021 to build a new crushing circuit for their mill. This $29 million capital investment essentially “decouples” or “unlinks” their current crushing circuit, which produces fine ore (a.k.a. “feed”), from the mill, which then further processes the feed to produce the final product: a concentrate. The new system will allow for a more consistent feed to be provided to the mill. It will be completed by the end of this calendar year, and will enable an increase in production from 500 to 600 tonnes of ore per hour.   
Over the past five years, production at our LDI underground operations has increased from 4,000 to 10,000 tonnes of ore per day. By 2024, we expect to reach 12,000 tonnes per day.
To meet that target, the mine will need more muscle in the form of people and equipment. The mine expansion project is addressing the demand on two fronts: creating a nimble and versatile workforce and also growing the workforce. In addition to $4 million invested in new mobile equipment, they now have dedicated trainers for underground, newly trained supervisors and coordinators, and they’ve increased the total number of crews working around the clock.
The Lac des Iles Mine is exploring more opportunities. Over the past two years, in addition to investing in geological research at Lakehead University, they have invested $30 million in exploration drilling to identify near- and longer-term opportunities. In the first year, the primary focus was on conversion drilling, which involved replacing depleted resources. The second year saw their strategy evolve as they added focus on discovery drilling to identify new mining zones for the company’s growth pipeline. They will continue to invest in the exploration of their LDI properties with an aim to adding more value and prolonging the longevity of the operation. There was 50,000+ Metres of diamond drilling completed in 2021 alone and there is 1,000,000 Metres of core stored at LDI.


Impala Picture
Impala Canada 2022 Report to the Community Erin Satterthwaite, Impala Canada’s VP Communications and Corporate Affairs, opens the launch of the Province of Ontario’s Critical Minerals Framework. LDI was proud to be chosen as the site of this announcement, which detailed, among other things, investments in Ontario’s mining industry.


Invested in Northwestern Ontario


Impala Canada believe sustainable communities are held up by three major pillars: a strong economy, healthy people and a thriving natural environment and they are proud to contribute to all three. As a major employer and a large purchaser of local goods and services, they support the economy. Their strong partnerships with local organizations and institutions empower people, particularly those most vulnerable, and at their LDI mine site they’re continually working on new ways to minimize their carbon footprint and practice good water management.
As production at LDI has steadily increased with a goal of 12,000 tonnes of ore per day by 2024, so too has our reliance on local businesses and joint ventures. In 2021, the company invested nearly $90 million in contracts with 299 Northwestern Ontario businesses, and 99% of all our goods and services are purchased from Canadian suppliers, of which 76% are from Ontario.  The annual value of contracts with Indigenous joint ventures in 2021 was $39.3 million which has increased year over year for the past 5 years. What are Joint Ventures?  At Impala Canada, the term joint ventures refers to businesses that are 51% or more Indigenous-owned. Contracting joint ventures is one way our Impala Canada seeks to be more diverse and inclusive.
Impala has made their largest social investment to date — a $375,000 donation to Roots to Harvest, a community organization that harnesses the power of food to build belonging and dignity. By supporting Roots to Harvest and their regional food-based programming, Impala Canada is living one of their core values, Care, by helping to bolster the resilience, health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Ontario’s Northwestern region.
Impala has invested $150,000 in Indspire including 10 new scholarships per year. The company has also Partnered with Confederation College by encouraging young people to consider a future in skilled trades is the focus of a new partnership between Impala Canada and Confederation College. Their recent $120,000 investment will help the college recruit broadly in Northwestern Ontario, provide tuition support to students in need and facilitate on-the-job training.
Impala contributes $10,000 annually in partnership with the Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP), a national network of training, education and employment opportunities for Indigenous youth. Their contribution has been leveraged by OYEP to fully serve and support Indigenous youth in several ways, including: 1) Mining education as a main area of focus on the curriculum, 2) Wrap-around support services such as resume development, bursaries, housing supports, mentorship and more, 3) PPE such as hardhats, high-visibility safety vests and work gloves to ensure the youth are protected and working safely, and 4) Helping participants and graduates to progress into leadership positions within the program.


Impala Canada’s Green Pledge


The electrical energy used at LDI is 100% renewable hydro-electric power and therefore is not a major producer of C02 emissions. With a focus on understanding our carbon footprint, we have implemented incremental changes such as recycling as much as possible, sourcing cleaner burning fuels and more.
In tandem, we are working on larger, longer-term initiatives such as the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM)’s Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management. We have a comprehensive water monitoring program that is in accordance with government regulations and permits that monitors surface and ground water quality, sediment quality, fish populations studies and more. Surrounding our Mine site is a network for 28 groundwater monitoring wells, which are continually monitored throughout the year.
82% of LDI’s water is recycled (8,021,178 litres) and there are 35 bodies of water monitored by Impala Canada with 3,400 hours spent on water management.


Investing in People


Impala Canada believes they have an important role to play in nurturing the pipeline of mining professionals, so they invest in apprenticeships, co-ops, enhanced education and in-house training to upskill and motivate their people, and to support the next generation of mining talent. There are 22 apprentices currently employed at LDI in the apprenticeship program.
Impala is investing in the Next-Gen Trades. The apprenticeship program at Lac des Iles (LDI) is a partnership between the Company, the apprentices, and their college, combining on-the-job training with classroom education to develop the next generation of skilled tradespeople. Alternating a year of work with eight weeks of study, their apprentices accumulate the required 6,500 to 9,000 work hours (depending on the trade) to write their provincial Red Seal examinations.
The program covers the apprentices’ salaries while working and 100% of their tuition costs — and each time they return to school for the next level of training, they receive a pay bump. Apprentices agree to stay with Impala for a minimum of two years, post-graduation, and many of these graduates go on to become mentors to new apprentices. It is believed that an investment in the apprenticeship program is an investment in the future of the trades and in mining.
Last October, they created dedicated trainer roles and launched a cross-training program for their employees to develop new skills and work in different areas of the business. Cross-training some miners on the trucks, for example, and others on blasting and drilling, keeps the company nimble and positions them well to meet production targets — even during uncertain times like a global pandemic. Investing in training produces a more versatile workforce, increases job satisfaction and builds a better, more sustainable business.


For this article and more visit the digital copy of: The Northern Ontario Mining Report

front cover


Tags: Northern Ontario / Green Mining / Battery Metals / All Articles