A smelter, a town, these are the obstacles that Osisko hits reviving old gold camps in Canada.
The Horne gold project in Quebec, which sits 2.5km below an industrial park in the town of Rouyn-Noranda, is overlooked, misunderstood and one of the best gold properties in Canada, Osisko Gold’s chairman Sean Roosen told Global Mining Observer in an interview on Wednesday.
Horne is owned by Falco Resources, one of a rising number of companies backed by Osisko and its Quebec-based mine-building team. It has a 2.8m gold resource and is targeting 5m ounces, after drilling that ended last month, including 109m grading 3.1 grams per tonne.
High grades will be critical to reopening the mine, which was shuttered in the 1970s. The old mine’s smelter, which is owned by Glencore, is now used to recycle copper. But Roosen says he is “surprised” by criticism that the smelter could block Horne from being reopened.
“Every smelter in the world is on top of a mine,” he says. “The local managers are people that we’ve known for 30 years.”
Roosen is not known for letting obstacles get in his way. Quebec’s Malartic gold camp, which was abandoned in the 1980s, had low grades and a town on top, but Roosen built Malartic into Canada’s largest gold mine, shifting 200 homes and a church.
After a hostile bid by Goldcorp last year, he structured a rival offer by Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold, selling the mine for C$3.9bn ($3.5bn). The deal valued Malartic at $350 per ounce of reserves in the ground, higher than its profit margins at the time.
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