Éléonore could be the next Val d’Or [Quebec mining] – by Kevin Dougherty (Montreal Gazette – January 11, 2012)


The prospecting mission led by Premier Jean Charest and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume to promote Charest’s Plan Nord struck gold Tuesday in the wilderness of northern Quebec, visiting the site of the Goldcorp Inc.’s Éléonore gold mine.
Labeaume, who led a delegation of about 25 Quebec City-area business people and who made his personal fortune in the mining business, said Éléonore is “opening up a new mining region in Canada.”
“It is major, major, major,” he said. Guy Belleau, director of the $2.2-billion mining project, set to begin production of 600,000 ounces of gold yearly in 2017, went further.
“The Plan Nord is Éléonore,” he said in a presentation to the business delegation, political leaders and representatives of the Cree First Nations who count on landing about half the 700 construction jobs and 400 mining jobs Éléonore will generate.
At $1,638 an ounce for gold, and with its production costs under $400 an ounce, Éléonore will be a profitable venture for the next 20 years, Belleau said, and possibly longer, as the full extent of the mineral deposit is defined.
He noted that kitchen staff at Éléonore start at $55,000 a year, while the most skilled miners are paid $160,000 a year.
Éléonore is a “fly-in, fly-out” operation, where workers can work rotations of 14 days, 12 hours a day, then return to the south for 14 days off.
“We think one day this discovery could lead to a mining camp as prolific as Rouyn-Noranda or Val d’Or were,” Belleau told reporters later, referring to two towns in Quebec’s Abitibi region that grew out of mining projects.
“We will know that in about 40 years,” he added, noting there are several other mining exploration projects near Éléonore.
“We believe this mining camp will lead to several, several more mines in the coming years,” Belleau said.
Charest called Éléonore “a magnificent project to open this great territory of all Quebecers,” and said it would “generate a great deal of wealth for Quebec,” but sounded a note of caution.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Montreal Gazette website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/%C3%89l%C3%A9onore+could+next/5976910/story.html?id=5976910