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They may be the new kids on the block in the Timmins mining community, but Lake Shore Gold foresees an extremely prosperous future in the city.
“We see ourselves as being able to grow to be much larger,” Tony Makuch, CEO of Lake Shore Gold, said in an interview on Friday, “and to go from a junior producer to an intermediate to maybe a more senior producer” that is still producing gold in Timmins “and still being profitable even beyond the next five years.”
At a luncheon at the Dante Club on Friday afternoon, Makuch provided an update on the Lake Shore Gold operations at the Timmins West mining complex by Highway 101 west, and the Bell Creek mine in Porcupine.
As one of the newest gold mining operation in Timmins, Lake Shore Gold has produced almost 650,000 ounces of gold since going into full operation back in 2011. They hit a record last year, producing 185,000 ounces in 2014 alone.
Despite concern about the global price of gold, Makuch is confident that the company’s operation will continue to be financially viable.
With cash costs last year below $600 an ounce, the company sits in the lower one-third of gold producers in the world.
“Right now I would say that we have a lot of opportunity,” he explained. “There’s a lot of talk about the price of gold being down, but in Canadian dollar terms, the price of gold is actually pretty strong. There’s a great opportunity right now with where the price of gold is and what it does in terms of advancing our projects.”
The economic viability of the company is also good news for workforce in the city. Currently, the company employs 525 employees in Timmins and approximately 230 additional contractors with its operations.
Fred Gibbons, the chairman of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation, said the company’s impact on the sustainability of the workforce in Timmins cannot be overstated.
“For every job in the mining sector, three-and-a-half to four other jobs are created in the periphery, whether that be mining supply and service companies or people employed in the school system to educate those next mining professionals,” he said. “It has a tremendous impact on our community. The last set of stats I saw indicated there are approximately 8,000 people directly employed in the mining industry here in Timmins, so in a population of 45,000 that’s significant.”
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