Miners know that the best place to find gold is in a gold mine. Montreal-based OSISKO EXPLORATION has been investigating the former Canadian Malartic mine 20 km west of Val dOr, Que. An estimate made in July 2007 put the amount of gold remaining in the deposit at 8.4 million oz, a quantity well worth recovering.
Specifically, Osisko issued an NI43-101-compliant estimate that put inferred resources at between 270 million and 288 million tonnes grading between 0.92 and 0.98 g/t Au, using a cut-off of 0.4 g/t. The range of numbers was postulated depending on the estimation method that might be used. In August the company said it has outlined a new mineralized system on the property – the Western porphyry zone that could extend over 1,200 metres. Drilling continues.
With the outlook at Malartic continuing to improve, Osisko has begun to recruit an experienced development team, and has awarded the contract for a feasibility study to BBA INC. and GOLDER ASSOCIATES. The company has also acquired the east Malartic mill complex, last operated by BARRICK GOLD. The 3,000-t/d mill has been on care-and-maintenance since 2002.
The proposed open pit is coming closer to becoming reality. One detail that remains to be completed is the relocation of part of the town of Malartic. There are residential and industrial buildings on the south side of town that lie within the proposed pit outline.
Moving Canadian towns is rare, but this is not the first time a Canadian town has been relocated to facilitate mining. The buildings of Lynn Lake, Man., were moved from Sherridan in the 1950s when Sherritt Gordon readied its nickel-copper mine for production. Placer Dome removed its employee housing when it developed the Dome open pit in South Porcupine, Ont. Only the mine manager’s home was actually relocated.
Osisko employees, town planners, professional advisors and residents have been working together since early 2006. The first phase of work is beginning this month with the construction of infrastructure for the initial 23 lots. Osisko is spending $2 million toward community development (including acquisitions and development of new infrastructure), and the company says that amount will increase as the program advances.
Osisko president and CEO Sean Roosen is quick to thank Malartic residents for their support of the new mine. Osisko and the town of Malartic have worked together to provide a well-thought-out, viable and desirable relocation plan to the residents. It is our goal to make the Canadian Malartic project a significant contributor to the ongoing development of the community of Malartic. We are very appreciative of the tremendous efforts and support of the town council, the community consultation group, and the urban planning and engineering professionals involved in the project.
Contrast the attitudes surrounding Osisko’s Canadian Malartic project to those in Latin America or Romania, and readers will be reassured that relocation can be done to the benefit of all parties. I find it heartening that mining can be discussed and advanced in a reasonable way.