TIMMINS – As a mine manager, Goldcorp’s Brendan Zuidema said Friday he holds a bit of sadness in his heart to be the man at the helm as the last of three great gold mines of the Porcupine Camp is about to come to a close.
“Yeah, the Hollinger Mine, the McIntyre Mine and the Dome Mine were the Big Three,” said Zuidema. “The Hollinger and the McIntyre are both closed. We are still mining the Hollinger open pit, but that is more a reclamation project to close that property. So Dome is the last of the Big Three. I think in terms of ounces over 105 years, Dome has been around 17 million ounces.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Zuidema outlined the details for the eventual shutdown of what is believed to be the longest running gold mine in Canada, the Dome Mine. Discovered in 1909, it was the first major discovery in the Porcupine Camp. The Dome went into production in 1910 and went on to outlast every major gold mining operation discovered in those early days of Timmins.
Zuidema agreed it is the end of an era.
There is in fact still gold to be found underground at the Dome, but Zuidema said it is just not profitable to recover it. He conceded that the shutdown announcement was surprising for some people, but said it was inevitable.
“We’ve been working the numbers every year and we’ve been running our costs, and at this point where the market is, where the gold price is and where the mining costs were in 2015, it is just not feasible to keep the mine open anymore,” Zuidema explained.
He said the price per ounce to recover gold ore from deep in the mine is higher than the cost of pouring an ounce of gold, especially given that the mine is so old, and also that the market price of gold has dropped significantly in the past year.
“We’ve done lots of good work here at the Dome. We have phenomenal crews here. They work very hard, but with the ageing infrastructure and what we’re up against here, we are mining remnant stopes. It is very hard mining and we just couldn’t make it work anymore.”
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