When fully built and commissioned in the first half of 2024, Greenstone Gold Mines, located in northwestern Ontario – a 60-40 partnership between Equinox Gold and Orion Mine Finance Group – will be one of Canada’s largest gold mines.
Located in the municipality of Greenstone, some 250 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay – an area that was home to numerous underground mines from the 1930s to the 1970s – the US$1.225 billion project is expected to produce an average of 366,000 ounces of gold annually over its 14-year mine life. Its all-in sustaining cost is calculated to be US$803 per ounce, putting it in the lower third of the industry average.
Construction at Greenstone finally officially began in October 2021, but the project has been almost a decade in the making. In 2014, when plans were initially announced by its then owner, Premier Gold Mines, it faced complex challenges that its predecessors, including the Hardrock, MacLeod-Cockshutt and Mosher mines that helped build the surrounding communities, could never have even imagined in the 1930s.
One of the most obvious problems was that much of the project’s potential footprint was already occupied. A golf course, 65 homes, a beloved scenic landmark commemorating the area’s mining history, a 5.4-kilometre stretch of Highway 11, and other vital infrastructure, including an Ontario Provincial Police [OPP] station, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation patrol yard, and a Hydro One electrical substation and distribution lines, already occupied the land.
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