ONTARIO — North American Palladium (NAP) of Toronto has begun the process of restarting operations at its Lac des Iles mine with the goal of producing the first concentrates in Q2 2010, thanks to a palladium price nearing US$400/oz. The open pit, underground mine and mill were placed on care-and-maintenance at the end of October 2008.
Mining will resume in the Roby underground zone only at a rate of 76,500 t/m over a two-year period. That is a rate of 140,000 oz of palladium per year. The company will hire 150 employees for the restart, bringing its workforce at the site to 180.
Development of the Offset zone will begin in January 2010 with C$16-million ramp project. The length of the ramp will be 1,600 metres to a depth of 200 metres, and it will take approximately 12 months to complete. The ramp will provide access for the planned raise bored shaft to the surface.
“We view the next two years of mining in the Roby zone as a bridge to the future, as we plan to commence production from the Offset zone in 2012”, said NAP president and CEO William Biggar. “We believe that the Offset zone has the potential to add at least an additional 10 years of mine life to Lac des Iles at an annual production rate of at least 250,000 oz of palladium per year at significantly lower cost and higher profitability. We intend to publish a resource update for the Offset zone early in the second quarter of 2010 and a scoping study in the third quarter of 2010.”
Complete details of the Lac des Iles project are posted at www.NAPalladium.com.