SSR Mining Seabee19 Aerial

Rise Air and Seabee: A Golden Partnership

March 21, 2022 in News
Explorer: Spring 2022

By Kathy Hay

Nothing illustrates the critical role aviation plays in Northern Saskatchewan like the story of the Seabee mine site, which would not exist without Athabasca Basin Development-owned Rise Air. Today, hundreds of workers at the mine site are totally dependent on Rise Air Twin Otters for crew rotations, fresh food, medical evacuations, spare parts, and every other aspect of normal life. Rise Air is so critical to the mine’s success that production stops whenever the weather falls below the minimums the airline needs to operate safely into the airstrip.

Located in Northern Saskatchewan 125 kilometres from the town of La Ronge, SSR Mining’s Seabee high grade underground gold mine is the only mine site we know that is named after an aircraft (the Republic RC3 Seabee), in recognition of the critical role aviation played in opening the area to exploration, and then to the construction of the mine site itself.

Operations began at the Seabee mine site in 1991. All ore is processed on site at the Seabee mill facility, which produces gold doré bars that are then shipped to a third-party refinery. Today most access to the mine site is by fixed wing aircraft to a small 1,275-meter airstrip blasted out of the side of a hill. Heavy equipment and bulk supplies are transported to the site via a 60-kilometer winter ice road, which is typically only in use from late January through March, but the ice road is unsafe for workers and other personnel.

Rise Air has decades of experience providing contract charter flights, including mine personnel shift changes and transportation of supplies. Rise Air is the only air operator in Saskatchewan with the capability of moving people and goods to and from virtually any location in the province and beyond. Drawing on its unique efficiencies and broad spectrum of expertise and experience, Rise Air continues to offer high-quality tailored aviation solutions which serve, support, and promote the growth and success of Saskatchewan.