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Commodities

Canada's Suncor restarts Fort Hills oil sands mining operations

FILE PHOTO: The Suncor Energy logo is seen at their head office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) -Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc has restarted operations at its Fort Hills oil sands mine in northern Alberta, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday, after operations were halted last week following the deaths of two workers in a vehicle collision.

“We have started a slow and safe restart at our Fort Hills operation and are prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our people through this process,” spokeswoman Lauren King said in an email.

Suncor paused mining operations on Dec. 28 after a bulldozer hit a light vehicle truck, resulting in the deaths of two workers employed by ClearStream Energy Services Inc, a company that provides mining services at Fort Hills.

Calgary-based Suncor is Canada’s second-largest oil producer and its Fort Hills mine, 90 km (56 miles) north of Fort McMurray, produced around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The mine has capacity to produce 180,000 bpd but shut in barrels last year as the COVID-19 pandemic crushed global oil demand. Suncor restarted an idled production train at Fort Hills in the third quarter of 2020 and is restoring that lost output.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney

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