Tag Archives: Detour Lake

Agnico Eagle’s Detour Lake mine adds Cat 798 haul trucks to fleet

With the aim of ramping up production at the Detour Lake gold mine in Ontario, Canada, Agnico Eagle Mines has commissioned four Cat® 798 AC haul trucks at the open-pit operation.

These trucks, which come with a 372-t payload and are electric drive, were introduced to the market in 2019, joining the mechanical-drive Cat 797F in the 400-short-ton size class.

Agnico said these new vehicles were introduced to the fleet in the March quarter, with an additional two units planned to be commissioned in the June quarter.

In the March quarter of 2023, the Detour Lake mill set a record for first quarter throughput and activities continued to focus on mill process optimisation and improving availability with the goal of achieving and potentially exceeding throughput of 28 Mt/y. This helped the company produce 161,857 oz of gold in the three-month period.

While the company’s near-term focus is on open-pit operations at the mine, it is also looking to integrate additional drill data into a revised mineral resource model that will be used to evaluate potential underground mining scenarios.

The population of Cat 798 AC trucks has been growing in the last few years, with the Antamina, Toquepala and Cuajone copper mines in Peru. Last year, Finning announced it would deliver 13 Caterpillar 798s to Codelco’s Ministro Hales open-pit copper mine, while BHP, Caterpillar and Finning International announced, in August, that a haul truck fleet replacement process at the Escondida mine, the world’s largest copper producer, would also the OEM and dealer provide Cat 798s to the operation.

Quebec miners shut down operations following COVID-19 government order

The latest provincial government-mandated restrictions to address the COVID-19 situation have seen miners down tools at operations in Quebec, Canada.

Announced on March 23, the order was for the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and services for a period of three weeks, starting on midnight on March 24.

While mining was listed as one of the priority services, those in the mining sector have been instructed to minimise activities.

Yamana Gold, which along with Agnico Gold Mines’ jointly owns the Canadian Malartic mine (pictured), said it would ramp down operations at the mine following discussions with representatives of the Government of Quebec to “obtain additional clarity in regard to the order”.

The operation, Canada’s largest gold mine, will be on care and maintenance and minimal work will be taking place until the date specified in the order (April 13), it said.

Yamana said it was demobilising employees and contractors in a safe and orderly manner, leaving only a small number of employees on site to maintain property and equipment and oversee all environmental responsibilities and obligations.

“A return to full capacity at Canadian Malartic is expected to occur in an expedited manner as soon as the temporary restriction is lifted,” it said.

Yamana’s partner, Agnico Eagle Mines, also announced its LaRonde Complex and Goldex Mine, in the Abitibi region of Quebec, would be ramped down in an orderly fashion while ensuring the safety of employees and the sustainability of the infrastructure.

“Each of these operations are to be placed on care and maintenance until April 13, 2020, and, as instructed, minimal work will take place during that time,” the company said.

With its Meliadine and Meadowbank mining operations in Nunavut being serviced out of Quebec, it said it will also slow activities there.

Eldorado Gold, meanwhile, has temporarily minimised operations at its Lamaque underground mine until April 13.

As of today, it will ramp down operational activity and maintain only essential personnel on site responsible for maintaining appropriate health, safety, security and environmental systems, it said.

“The company remains committed to resuming operations in a timely manner once the suspension is lifted,” Eldorado Gold added.

The news came on the same day it announced the receipt of a Certificate of Authorization from the Quebec Ministry of Environment to allow for the expansion of underground production from the Triangle deposit at Lamaque from 1,800 t/d to 2,650 t/d, once operations resume. This expansion could see annual average gold production rise to 170,000 oz, from close to 130,000 oz.

Hecla Mining has also slowed operations at its Casa Beradi gold mine in the province, with the company saying it will have limited operations in place to protect the facilities and environment while the suspension is ongoing.

Rio Tinto, which operates aluminium operations in the province, said it was working with the government to comply with its directive.

“Rio Tinto understands that the Quebec government has designated industrial complexes including the aluminium sector and the mining industry as essential industries but instructed that they must reduce their business activity to the minimum,” it said.

Over the border in Ontario, there has been a more mixed response to the COVID-19 situation, led by the provincial government taking a different tack to politicians in Quebec.

Some mines, such as Kirkland Lake Gold’s Detour Lake operation and Wesdome Gold Mines‘ Eagle River complex, have reduced the amount of workers on site, whereas others like Newmont (at Musselwhite) have put operations into care and maintenance mode.

Ontario’s government has issued a similar notice to its neighbour about non-essential businesses, but its definition is different.

Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products, including metals such as copper, nickel and gold, and that support supply chains in northern Ontario including mining operations, production and processing; mineral exploration and development; and mining supply and services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety, are all considered ‘essential’.

This extends beyond mining companies, too, with Maestro Digital Mine one of the recent Ontario-based suppliers to confirm it was “deemed an essential service”. It said it would continue to provide support to the underground mining sector, “keeping miners safe with gas sensors and airflow sensors” during this time.

Detour Lake acquisition to make Kirkland Lake Gold plus-1.5 Moz/y producer

Kirkland Lake Gold and Detour Gold Corp have entered into a definitive agreement will see the ASX- and TSX-listed miner become a plus-1.5 Moz/y gold producer through the all-share acquisition of Detour and its Detour Lake gold mine, in Ontario, Canada.

Under the terms of the transaction, which values Detour at C$4.9 billion ($3.3 billion), all the issued and outstanding common shares of Detour Gold will be exchanged at a ratio of 0.4343 of a Kirkland Lake Gold common share for each Detour Gold common share. Upon completion of the transaction, existing Kirkland Lake Gold and Detour Gold shareholders will own around 73% and 27% of the pro forma company, respectively.

Kirkland Lake says Detour Lake is a uniquely large-scale, long-life Canadian mine, with current production of around 600,000 oz/y and substantial growth potential.

The deal also solidifies Kirkland Lake’s position as a senior gold producer with pro-forma 2019 output targeted at more than 1.5 Moz and analyst consensus 2019 free cash flow of almost $700 million, Kirkland said.

The deal also increases Kirkland Lake’s mineral reserve base, adding 15.41 Moz to Kirkland Lake Gold’s mineral reserve base and extending its reserve life index by eight years.

The financial strength and technical expertise of the combined company is expected to support the continued optimisation and potential expansion of Detour Lake, Kirkland Lake said, explaining that opportunities exist to significantly increase production at improved unit costs and to expand current mineral reserves and mineral resources.

It also provides exploration upside, with Detour Gold’s land position covering 1,040 km2 along the northernmost sections of the prolific Abitibi Greenstone Belt (including 646 km² on existing Detour Lake property).

Tony Makuch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kirkland Lake Gold, said: “The acquisition of Detour Gold is an excellent fit for Kirkland Lake Gold. We have already taken two mining operations, Macassa and Fosterville, and transformed them into high-quality assets that generate industry-leading earnings and free cash flow. The addition of Detour Lake provides an opportunity to add a third cornerstone asset that is located in our back yard in northern Ontario.

“Detour Lake will provide the pro forma company with a 20-plus year mine life which provides unparalleled optionality and excellent growth potential for the benefit of all shareholders. The management team at Detour Gold has done an exceptional job in making improvements and building momentum at the mine.

“Once the transaction is completed, we will continue efforts to optimise current operations and commence engineering work to evaluate expansion opportunities at Detour Lake, which we anticipate could lead to significant production growth, improved unit costs and higher levels of mineral reserves and mineral resources.”