The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.
TIMMINS – Excavators and trucks have started moving earth and rocks around as construction begins on the Hollinger open-pit mine.
“We finally got our permits a couple of weeks ago, so construction is slowly beginning,” Marc Lauzier, general manager of Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines, told The Daily Press Thursday. “We’re actually just finishing up the roads now and the contractor who will be doing the overburden stripping is starting to mobilize.
“There may be a couple of drills drilling. We don’t expect to be blasting before mid to end of January. Initially, all we’re going to do is move some earth around … For the most part, it will look like a pretty regular construction project.”
The open-pit operation is expected to create about 60 new jobs. “We’re on a slow ramp-up. Right now we have the people we need, but over the next two or three months, I definitely expect we will start hiring people,” said Lauzier.
“We have about 120 who are already here and we will eventually have a total workforce of about 180. Certainly, over the next year, we will create probably 60 new positions but they won’t all happen in the first couple of months of the year. We will gradually build this up.
“We can’t go to night shift until the berm is complete so we won’t be hiring on the second shift until that berm is complete or close to completion. Over the next year, we will gradually build up that manpower.”
The berm will be a 20-metre high wall of rock and earth piled around the site as a buffer between the mine pit and the areas outside. The berm is intended to provide a physical barrier for stones and dust from the pit operation as well as help to reduce the amount of noise heard outside the enclosed area.
“We have the whole berm to build over a period of one year as per our BMP (best management practice) that we submitted to the City of Timmins,” said Lauzier. “The material we are pulling out now will either go to building the road or building berms, because we have to get our roads established and we have to get our berms established. So, we will be moving overburden and then eventually in mid January or late January, we’ll start blasting rock and using that to build the berms as well.”
He said they need to “complete that berm so we can go to a full 24-hour operation.”
Lauzier said the mining of ore begins as soon as they begin blasting rock.
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