CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Two workers were killed in a vehicle collision at Suncor Energy’s Fort Hills oil sands mine in northern Alberta, a Suncor spokeswoman said on Wednesday, prompting the company to halt mine operations while an investigation was underway.
A bulldozer hit a light vehicle truck at around 5:30 p.m. local time on Monday, resulting in the death of two workers employed by Clearstream, which provides mining services at Fort Hills, Suncor said.
“Mine operations have been stood down while the investigation is underway and the rest of the site is focused on critical work only,” Suncor spokeswoman Jennifer Lomas said.
The company does not yet know how long operations will be halted for, Lomas added.
Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is at the site investigating. Spokeswoman Natasha McKenzie said OHS was notified about a fatal accident involving two workers on Monday, but did not provide any further information.
Suncor is Canada’s second-largest oil producer and its Fort Hills mine, approximately 90 km (56 miles) north of Fort McMurray, is on track to produce around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The mine, which started up in early 2018, has capacity to produce 180,000 bpd but shut in barrels earlier this year as the novel coronavirus pandemic crushed global oil demand.
Suncor restarted an idled production train at Fort Hills in the third quarter and is restoring that lost output.
Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bernadette Baum