NORTHERN ONTARIO – Last year was a tough one for NORTH AMERICAN PALLADIUM at its Lac des Iles mine near Thunder Bay. “Throughout 2005 the company faced the challenges of low mill availability, lower grade ore reflective of the pit life cycle, and in the latter part of the year the primary crusher problems,” said the new president & CEO Jim Excell in a press release.
The numbers tell the story. The mill processed 4.78 million tonnes of ore at an average of 13,098 tonnes/day with a palladium head grade of 1.66 g/t, producing 177,167 oz of palladium at a recovery rate of 69.6%. This compares with 2004 palladium production of 308,931 oz. Byproduct metal production in 2005 included 18,833 oz of platinum, 14,308 oz of gold, 2,353,227 lb of nickel and 5,514,670 lb of copper, all down significantly from the year before.
Excell expects that palladium production will again be on the upswing this year. The new underground mine will reach full operation this quarter, and it will be sending 2,000 tonnes of ore daily to the mill. The existing pit will contribute another 13,500 tonnes/day.
Visit North American Palladium’s website at www.NAPalladium.com.