Congratulations to the reopened Lamaque mine on the occasion of its first gold pour April 30, 2010. The mine, located near Val d'Or, QC, is owned by Century Mining of Blaine, WA. Material for the first pour came from gravity table concentrate and yielded a gold doré bar weighing 230 oz. The pour was accomplished a month ahead of schedule.
The company says the carbon-in-pulp circuit in the new mill is also fully operational, and weekly pours will be made using material stripped from the carbon circuit as well as from the gravity circuit. Target production for 2010 is 45,000 oz of gold, which will double in 2011. Mine life will be at least 11 years, and average cash costs over the life of the mine will be US$450-$500 an ounce.
I seem to find another new gold producer every time I turn around. First to come along are Meadowbank, Lamaque, La Ronge and the Canadian Malartic mine. Development plans have been announced for Young-Davidson, Detour Lake, Westwood, Thunder Creek, Timmins, Hislop, Cochenour-Willans, Yellowknife, Ming, Phoenix and a new zone at Kiena. Also in the pipeline are the Afton, Vezza, Galore Creek, Ketza River, Lac Pelletier, Rainy River and a host of other advanced projects that hope to take advantage of the surge in gold prices.
With the price of gold regularly in the US$1,150-$1,200 range, mining gold looks like a sure route to getting rich. Well, it would if you didn't have to spend tens of millions exploring, hundreds of millions developing, and even more on operating costs. Financing at such levels is not always easy.
While I was writing the above, Century announced it has received the permit to access the Bedard dyke at the Lamaque mine, and will collar the portal access drift this week (May 10). Exploration drilling and a 20,000-tonne bulk sample are planned. This news coming so close on the heels of the first pour is another proof that the gold mining sector is exceedingly active these days.
I think the vast majority of Canadian gold miners must be optimists. Give them a Canadian deposit, a strong gold price and some backing, and this country will be a steady gold producer for years to come.