CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVE: Three new gold mines on horizon

Sometimes bad things come in threes, but not this time. Allow me to offer a triple-helping of good news: There...

Sometimes bad things come in threes, but not this time. Allow me to offer a triple-helping of good news: There are new Canadian gold producers on the horizon in three provinces. I am writing, of course, about the new Detour Lake, Ming and La Ronge projects that have reached the development point.

First up is the Detour Lake project in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, north of Timmins, ON. It belongs to Toronto-based Detour Gold, which purchased the property in early 2007. The former gold mine produced over 1.75 million oz between 1983 and 1999 by both open pit and underground means.

Now Detour Gold says it has agreed to purchase long lead-time equipment for the mill at Detour Lake. That sounds like a development commitment to me. FLSmidth Minerals has been awarded the contract for a 1,525x2,870-cm gyratory crusher, two 6x11-m semi-autogenous (SAG) mills and two 8x12-metre ball mills. ABB Switzerland will supply eight drive systems for the two grinding lines. Delivery has been requested for the second half of 2011.

Detour Gold is awaiting the necessary permits with an early 2013 production date in mind. The operation will mine and mill 55,000 t/d of ore to produce 600,000 oz/y of gold, making it one of the largest gold mines in North American, says the company. The feasibility study is due to be completed by the end of Q2 2010.

Golden Band Resources of Saskatoon continues to advance development at is La Ronge project where gold production is expected by the end of the year. Underground development on the 1355 and 1340 levels is well underway to ready them for initial ore production. Work is also underway to bring electricity to the Jolu mill in time for start-up. Meanwhile the final touches are being put on the drawings for refurbishment and expansion of the mill. The company is planning a 70,000 oz/y open pit operation.

On Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula, Rambler Metals and Mining of London, UK, has submitted the environmental registration for the Ming gold-copper project. Rambler acquired the Nugget Pond gold mill (which it is expanding) in 2009, and it has ordered long lead-time equipment. The company hopes to begin construction in Q3 2010 and production in 2011. Two years ago Rambler dewatered the old Ming mine and began preproduction development in the 1807 zone.

Well, technically Ming could be considered a copper mine, but for the sake of this editorial, I am stretching the definition of "gold mine". In my defence, I offer Rambler's plan to re-examine the potential of the former Nugget Pond gold mine.

So there we have it - three new gold mines spread around the country. Big or small, they will be welcome additions to Canadian gold production.


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