As Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM)-Goldcorp’s mining reserves become more depleted in Timmins, the company is embarking on a new project to take its operations into the next century. The proposed Century Project would expand the original Dome open-pit operation, which was mined between 1996 and 2004, to the northeast, and operate for 10 or more years.
PGM’s Dome underground and Hollinger open-pit mines have limited resources left, and so the Century Project is a way for the company to extend its longevity in the Timmins camp, said Marc Lauzier, general manager at Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM)-Goldcorp.
“If we just stay with the one underground concept, then at some point we’ll disappear; we won’t survive,” he said. “If we want to be economically viable and if we want to continue to contribute to Timmins, we need projects like this to make that happen, and so this is just an example of some of the ideas we have to take PGM into a second century in the Timmins camp.”
Dome underground mine has been in operation since 1910, but its reserves are dwindling, and Hollinger is set to shut down by 2019. That leaves PGM with the Hoyle Pond underground mine and the processing facility, which is fed by all three mines. PGM has just completed a conceptual analysis of the Century Project and is entering prefeasibility, which Lauzier expects to take about 18 months.
Details will be hammered out during this stage, but Lauzier said the mine is expected to have a life of more than 10 years. Much of the existing infrastructure — including shops, offices and the Dome headframe — will have to be dismantled to make way for new infrastructure to accommodate the larger size of the new pit. PGM will also have to construct a new mill, as the current facility can only process 12,000 tonnes of ore per day.
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