CADILLAC, Que. A 27,000-tonne rockburst in two production stopes will have a negative effect (perhaps as much as 20%) on production this year from the LaRonde gold mine belonging to AGNICO-EAGLE MINES. The fall occurred last month above Level 215 at 2,150 m below surface. There were no injuries or equipment damage. The area was under routine development for pyramid-shaped stoping. The fall happened on the eastern edge of the mining sequence, an area that is highly stressed until the sequence is fully established.
The cuts to gold production are due mainly to having to recover lower-grade ore rather than the higher-grade blocks that were under development. Agnico-Eagle estimates that the mining of 10 large blocks on the lower level will be delayed (see the longitudinal section at http://files.newswire.ca/3/2030331.pdf).
Agnico-Eagle has taken remedial steps in the affected area of the mine. The fallen ore has been mucked and the stopes are being backfilled. Studies have shown that the mining blocks in four blocks need to be narrower than originally planned, so that the pyramid sequence can be established more quickly. Narrower mining means that tonnage from Level 215 will be reduced until the end of the second quarter. The company anticipates no long-term changes to its original mining plan.
The company will update the situation at the LaRonde mine at its regular quarterly meeting in Toronto on April 24. Interested parties may attend in person or by phone or webcast. An investor and analyst visit to the mine on May 22 will go ahead. Please contact Hazel Winchester at 416-847-3717.