More than four months after Barrick Gold announced it intended to phase out open-pit mining and move to an underground contract mining model at its Hemlo operations in Ontario, Canada, a contract miner has been named.
Perenti confirmed its underground hard-rock contract mining subsidiary, Barminco, had received the nod from the gold miner, being issued a letter of intent to provide underground contract mining services at the mine, which has produced more than 21 Moz of gold over 30 years of operation.
Under the proposed three-year, circa-A$200 million ($131 million) mining services contract, Barminco will “bring industry-leading technology and productivity to Hemlo in support of Barrick’s goal to modernise and improve the performance of the mine and establish it as a Tier Two asset within its group”, ASX-listed Perenti said.
Barminco’s scope includes undertaking mine development, production and haulage, using mining equipment provided by Barrick. Up until recently there was a significant degree of autonomy in the Hemlo fleet including trucks and LHDs from Sandvik and Epiroc.
Barminco said it anticipates employing more than 300 people at the operation, with works commencing in April.
Perenti Group Managing Director, Mark Norwell, said the contract award was another significant step in the group’s international growth strategy to enter attractive and stable mining jurisdictions.
“This is Barminco and Perenti’s first significant contract in North America and builds on our regional growth capabilities, after expanding into Botswana last year with an A$800 million contract. We look forward to supporting Barrick to deliver outstanding results at Hemlo,” he said.
Underground Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, said: “We are thrilled to be in a position to support Barrick to improve the performance of the Hemlo mine. We intend to work very closely with Barrick and all key stakeholders, including the incumbent workforce at Hemlo, the Pic River and Pic Mobert First Nations people and the Marathon community more generally to deliver a sustainable improvement in performance, thereby assuring the future of Hemlo.”