Battery tech is the new gold for Kirkland Lake – Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 2, 2017)

California’s Artisan Vehicle Systems chooses northeast town for Canadian assembly, R & D hub

A leading edge California manufacturer of battery-powered underground mining vehicles is putting down roots in Kirkland Lake.

Artisan Vehicle Systems announced Oct. 31 that it’s building a 60,000-square-foot Canadian headquarters featuring a service centre, vehicle assembly shop, and product research facility in the northeastern Ontario gold mining town to be closest to its biggest customer, Kirkland Lake Gold.

The company is talking about creating 60 jobs over the next two years as they put shovels in the ground within a year-and-a-half to build a state-of-the-art “Centre of Excellence” in the Archer Drive business park.

“Our goal and objective is anything that’s sold in Canada, we’re going to build in Canada,” said Mike Mayhew, Artisan’s director of mining, who is overseeing the development of the facility. Mayhew said some may question why the manufacturer isn’t plopping a state-of-the-art shop in his hometown of Sudbury, an industry-renowned mining supply hub.

But his company’s relationship with Kirkland Lake Gold goes back seven years to former CEO Brian Hinchcliffe, who first introduced Artisan’s battery-operated vehicles to the mining company’s flagship Macassa Mine.

More than 80 per cent of gold production at Macassa is linked to Artisan’s battery vehicles, with a track record underground of more than 200,000 hours of production.

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