QUEBEC – Now that it has all the permits for its Vezza gold mine 25 km south of Matagami have been received, owner North American Palladium of Toronto has announced its intention to divest the property.
The company has begun mining the initial stoping panels. It says that grades are as predicted but that dilution is higher than anticipated. The dilution problem means that the daily mining rate is ramping up more slowly than planned due to longer stope preparation times. Commercial production at 750 t/d was expected in Q3 2012, but has been postponed to the end of this year.
NAP is in the process of optimizing its mining techniques by adding and improving longhole benching techniques to complement Alimak stoping. These changes are expected to improve the long term production capacity once the mine achieves its target of 40,000 oz of gold per year.
"While we continue to believe in Vezza's cash generation potential, we believe we can build better shareholder value by focusing on palladium," said NAP president and CEO William J. Biggar. "LDI [Lac des Iles mine] is a world class asset and the long term palladium market fundamentals are strong. The expansion program at LDI will be the main driver of our future growth in production and cash flow."
Information about the Lac des Iles mine is posted at NAPalladium.com.