Tag Archives: Nunavut

Agnico Eagle Arctic gold mining asset management program lowers costs, downtime

Agnico Eagle is reflecting on a series of gains it has made on the asset management front, just over three years after beginning a project focused on maximising the value of its assets, ensuring peak performance and building resiliency while managing risk.

This journey started at its Arctic gold mining operations in Nunavut.

Facing logistical hurdles such as reliance on marine sealift and air cargo, coupled with the lack of a robust clean energy infrastructure, a new asset management program was introduced in 2020. This program focused on its Meliadine mine and Meadowbank complex, aiming to develop a collaborative framework based on the global standard: ISO 55000 for Asset Management.

In 2022, Agnico Eagle’s Asset Management team focused on effective communication and implementing new tactics across various departments. The goal was to blend the concepts of ISO 55000 standards with the unique challenges it faces, while enhancing value of its assets.

Rick Derkach, from the Asset Management team, highlights this journey, saying: “We wanted to add value to our mining operations by aligning with Agnico Eagle’s values and business strategies, aligning organisational objectives to tactical plans for maintenance and reliability. We carefully collaborated, creating detailed plans to support the new practices. Our intention was to make sure that these new practices would remain effective by standardising activities, ensuring resiliency year-after-year for any operations within Agnico Eagle.”

The collaborative effort involved over 15 internal departments and more than 40 individuals, forming partnerships with equipment manufacturers and suppliers. The Asset Management team notes: “Our impact extended across the equipment to safety, environmental considerations and a sustainable business plan. Through improved efficiency and innovation, we focused on optimising assets, reducing costs of ownership, and enhancing engagement with all our internal and external partners.”

Focusing on managing assets throughout their life cycle, Agnico Eagle made informed decisions on new investments, maintenance, refurbishment and retirement. This approach resulted in multi-million-dollar cost avoidance and the introduction of new processes for fleet renewal and new equipment purchases, emphasising cost, risk and performance management, while establishing equipment standards that can be reused across its divisions.

To support inventory control challenges, the team developed maintenance activity-related Bill of Material plans to support high value, long-lead time components. This increased accuracy of part requirements supported the Supply Chain, Inventory Management teams to better assess and align parts required for its asset maintenance activities.

One critical challenge addressed was the timely transportation of materials to Arctic operations within a defined operating window, due to sea-ice breakup. Through strategic planning, the Asset Management team implemented an 18-plus month forecasting tool for major and minor component changes, supporting parts orders.

Agnico Eagle also controlled and standardised its data usage, creating applications to improve data integrity for business analytics. This enhanced transparency and facilitated better decision-making.

The scope of the Asset Management team’s project reached across various services within the Nunavut division, collaborating with procurement, finance, operations, IT and operational technology, data management, training, regulatory compliance, risk management, and strategic planning. This resulted in substantial cost savings and avoidance events, the company said. The team’s strategies and tactics helped create a portfolio of tools for Agnico Eagle to deploy – tools that establish operational behaviours and program foundations that ultimately promote best practices in managing physical assets globally.

The team promoted a workplace culture centred around asset management, fostering collaboration and accountability. Noted by many partners in this journey from Nunavut, and across the organisation, the results increased inter-departmental relationships and synergies, creating an enhanced cultural environment of autonomy, mastery and purpose which greatly supported the nuances of asset management.

The hard work of the Nunavut Division and the supporting Service Groups, teamed with Asset Management, earned Agnico Eagle two awards in 2023. Nationally, within Canada, from PEMAC – Asset Management Association of Canada, and internationally from IAM – The Institute of Asset Management, United Kingdom, in the category of “Asset Management Excellence – Team Achievement Award for 2023”.

The company concluded: “These awards underscore the collaborative effort and extensive engagement of Agnico Eagle’s most important asset, our employees, who have played a crucial role in developing essential programs to help us build a high quality, easy to understand business, generating long-term value, and creating a great place to work, while contributing positively to our communities and the future of Agnico Eagle.”

Epiroc Canada strengthens Quebec, Nunavut presence with ACE partnership

Epiroc Canada says it is partering with ACE Services Mécaniques for parts and services in Quebec and Nunavut, Canada.

The new partnership reinforces Epiroc Canada’s commitment to strengthen its presence in the Quebec region through strategic partnerships to expand its parts and service offerings, it said

Quebec’s mining industry has been achieving sustained growth and Epiroc expects this trend will continue. “Our objective is to continue supporting these operations, so they reach their productivity goals safely and efficiently,” the company said.

ACE’s reputation as a mechanical labour services supplier complements Epiroc’s customer first approach and was a deciding factor in choosing the organisation as Epiroc’s aftermarket parts and service provider in the area, the company said.

“Epiroc’s goal in this partnership with ACE Services Mécaniques is to continue to further accelerate our ability to meet and surpass customer needs on site,” Andre Bertrand, Business Line Manager Parts & Services division Canada, Epiroc, said. “Quebec and Nunavut are important regions, and we continue to increase our presence in these areas. Epiroc has already prioritised expanding our presence in the region through completing the strategic acquisitions of Fordia and Meglab, as well as our Epiroc branch in Rouyn-Noranda (Cadillac).”

Steve Ethier, General Director, ACE Services Mécaniques, said: “After several months of work and discussions with our new partner Epiroc, we are proud to lay the foundation for us being the cornerstone of Epiroc’s aftermarket service in Abitibi and Nunavut.”

FLSmidth to supply Sabina Gold & Silver with full flowsheet offering at Goose gold mine

FLSmidth says it has been chosen to supply the full equipment and processing flowsheet, including ore leaching, for Sabina Gold & Silver Corp’s Goose gold mine in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada.

The order is valued at approximately DKK270 million ($38.1 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022. The equipment is due to be delivered in the middle of 2023, ahead of the mine start-up date in the March quarter of 2025.

FLSmidth will supply the jaw crusher, Raptor® Cone Crushers, ball mill, VXP-Stirred Mill (secondary grinding) and KREBS® cyclones, pumps as well as screens, feeders and Knelson™ gravity concentrators. The order also includes equipment for pre-oxidation and leaching; carbon in pulp (CIP) extraction; absorption, desorption and refining (ADR); and detoxification.

In addition, Sabina is progressing contract negotiations with FLSmidth for commissioning support, operational readiness, site training, an optimised spare management strategy, as well as a performance guarantee for the process equipment.

“We are very happy to receive this complete flowsheet order from Sabina’s Goose Mine, the first mine on the Back River Gold District,” Mikko Keto, Group CEO and Mining President at FLSmidth, said. “Our proven ability in providing an industry-leading and productivity maximising gold flowsheet, combined with our capability to supply services and parts to this remote region throughout the lifecycle of the project were key factors in Sabina’s decision. This is also one of many recent orders we have received to supply the key equipment, technologies and services for gold processing plants, showing the recognition among miners of our leading position in this arena.”

Bruce McLeod, President and CEO of Sabina, said: “We are pleased to have these critical technologies procured with a vendor that has a proven track record for providing equipment and support to remote projects around the world. We look forward to receiving this equipment for installation over the next two years and to working with FLSmidth as we advance to become a mid-tier gold producer.”

Sandvik partners with Arctic distribution expert Northern Networks Ltd

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has made Northern Networks Ltd its new distribution partner for equipment and aftermarket solutions in Nunavut, Canada.

Northern Networks Ltd is an Arviat, Nunavut-based, majority Inuit-owned distributor with operations in Rankin Inlet, and specialises in contracting, procurement, and strategic partnerships. The company is a part of the Eskimo Point Lumber Supply group of companies, which was named one of Canada’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2018.

Northern Networks has been operating and generating employment opportunities in its community since 1993 and obtained its official certification of Inuit firm status in 1995.

Peter Corcoran, Managing Director of Sandvik Canada Inc, started thinking about potential distribution channels in Canada’s north as soon as it became clear major miners like Agnico Eagle Mines (Meliadine and Amaruq mines) would not be deterred by challenges presented by a northern environment when developing their arctic mines.

“Our customers are our partners,” Corcoran says, “and they are building these new mines in the north.”

The northern environment brings unique challenges to providing support to customers like monitoring the springtime ice melt to schedule parts and equipment for barges, building ice roads and working with local communities’ resources, according to Sandvik.

In order to properly serve these customers Corcoran knew that, in the long run, Sandvik would need to leverage the expertise of an established and experienced local Inuit partner to efficiently bring Sandvik’s products to Nunavut’s mines.

“Sandvik believes for mining to prosper in Canada the communities that are impacted by these mining projects will need to be involved,” Corcoran explains, “and the mining companies need Indigenous groups in the region to be a part of their businesses long term. Recognising that, Sandvik has built this strategy to have a partner in these areas and we have been fortunate in finding Northern Networks Ltd in Nunavut.”

According to Derrick Webster, Chief Operating Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, the company was built to serve Nunavut: “We are actually in the community, with local infrastructure, people, equipment, and when a mine needs something we are here.”

Becoming an authorised Sandvik distribution partner will allow Northern Networks Ltd to leverage its extensive knowledge of Canada’s north to support the growth of the mining industry and stimulate further economic development in their community, according to Sandvik.

For Ryan St John, President & Chief Executive Officer of Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Northern Networks Ltd, it has always been about supporting his community and staying true to his values. The company is proud 60% of its 170 employees come from local Inuit communities.

“Sandvik is a really good fit for [Northern Networks Ltd] because our values align in terms of honesty and transparency,” St John says.

“We like aligning ourselves with companies that want to be the best, that is what we strive to do every day,” St John explains. “What appealed to us with Sandvik was that they are the best in their field in terms of technology, they are continually improving, advancing, creating that value for customers, and creating opportunities for the communities we serve.”

St John expects partnering with a technologically advanced company like Sandvik will have positive implications for Nunavut in the future, and that his community is ready to take advantage.

“As you automate [in mining] there is more opportunity for people in the community to be a part of that industry and gain employment thanks to new technology, a lot of younger people are so computer-savvy, and they are already working with their hands and equipment every day,” he said.

Corcoran is also excited to witness the changes mining – and Sandvik’s new distribution partnership – could bring to a community with such a large population of ambitious young people ready to enter the workforce.

“A company like Sandvik could bring opportunities to the community because of the reach we have with technology,” he explains. “We have to excite the young people! Technology excites them. People need to be aware that mining is an exciting industry and you can make a good living and get a good education.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s full suite of products including surface and underground drills, underground loaders and trucks, automation and digital solutions, rock tools, and parts is available through Northern Networks Ltd, effective November 1, 2019.

Agnico overcomes adverse weather to reach Amaruq gold deposit milestone

Agnico Eagle Mines says it has achieved commercial production at its Amaruq satellite deposit at the Meadowbank Complex, in Nunavut, Canada.

The achievement was completed on September 30, despite dewatering problems and adverse weather conditions in the June and September quarters, the company said.

Amaruq is around 50 km northwest of the Meadowbank mine, which in turn is located some 110 km by road north of Baker Lake in the Kivalliq District of Nunavut, Canada. Development of Amaruq was approved in February 2017 as a satellite deposit to supply ore to the existing Meadowbank mill.

Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Congratulations to all of our employees at Amaruq for achieving commercial production in line with the original schedule despite ongoing challenges related to dewatering and adverse weather conditions in the second (June) and third (September) quarters of 2019. We would also like to thank the various government agencies and the local communities for their continued support in Nunavut.”

With the start of production at both Amaruq and Meliadine in 2019, the company is well positioned to deliver on its goal of generating net free cash flow in the second half of this year, Boyd said. “This is expected to allow us to reduce net debt and potentially increase the dividend while continuing to steadily grow our business,” he added.

The Amaruq mining operation uses the existing infrastructure at the Meadowbank mine (mining equipment, mill, tailings, camp and airstrip), but additional infrastructure has been built at the Amaruq site (truck shop/warehouse, fuel storage and an additional camp facility). Amaruq ore is transported using long haul off-road type trucks to the mill at the Meadowbank site for processing.

Amaruq ore processing commenced in August 2019 using low-grade stockpiles. In the September quarter of 2019, production at the Meadowbank Complex totalled 48,869 oz of gold, which included 13,588 oz from Meadowbank and pre-commercial payable gold production at Amaruq of 35,281 oz, compared with pre-commercial production guidance of 40,000 oz of gold. Pre-commercial production gold sales totalled 32,042 oz.

An update on total project capital costs will be provided with the company’s 2019 September quarter results scheduled for release on October 23.

The company noted: “During the third (September) quarter of 2019, mining activities at Amaruq continued to be affected by slower than expected dewatering activities (largely related to heavier than expected rainfall). Dewatering is now substantially complete (approximately one month later than previously expected).

“Given the slower than expected ramp up of mining activities, the company took the opportunity to accelerate planned maintenance to the milling and crushing circuits, which was originally scheduled for 2020. As a result, the mill was temporarily shut down in mid-September and is expected to restart on or about October 14, 2019. During the shutdown ore continues to be mined and trucked to the Meadowbank mill, where it is being stockpiled for future processing.”

As a result, production guidance at the Meadowbank Complex for 2019 is now anticipated to be 200,000 oz of gold (previous forecast of 230,000 oz). Despite the lower forecast for the Meadowbank Complex, the company’s full year 2019 production guidance of 1.75 Moz of gold remains unchanged.

Nunavut Government tables Mine Training Centre plan

Following a mid-term retreat in Arviat, Nunavut, last week, the territory’s cabinet has said it plans to establish a Nunavut Mine Training Centre in Rankin Inlet, with engagement from industry partners in the region.

Such a centre would come on top of the territory’s trades training centre, called Sanatuliqsarvik, which offers courses on maintenance operations and underground mining.

In the past decade or so as devolution has neared, Nunavut has risen in the mining investment rankings as the government has looked to attract more miners with exploration incentive schemes and, recently, government-funded infrastructure plans.

Only recently, the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) pledged investment towards the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port project, which would support mineral development in the Nunavut portion of the Slave Geological Province where base and precious metal deposits are thought to lie.

Such moves have seen the likes of Agnico Eagle Mines (Meadowbank, Meliadine (pictured) and Amaruq), Baffinland Iron Mines (Mary River), MMG (Izok), Sabina Gold & Silver (Back River) and TMAC Resources (Hope Bay) retain and build on their strategic positions in this northerly part of Canada.

The proposed training centre from the government would potentially see more local First Nations take part in the future of these operations.

Reflecting on the mid-term retreat, Nunavut Premier, Joe Savikataaq, said: “We are a united Executive Council, with clear goals and strong ideas for Nunavut. We are now close to halfway through our mandate, and we remain committed to accountability and ensuring the Government of Nunavut achieves the goals of our mandate.

“After a productive two days, we have specific direction to move forward and accomplish our work to benefit all Nunavummiut.”

Agnico Eagle brings Meliadine gold mine in ahead of schedule and budget

Agnico Eagle Mines says it has achieved commercial production at its Meliadine gold mine, in Nunavut, Canada, ahead of the original schedule and below initial guidance.

The company hit this mark on May 14, less than nine years after the company acquired the project and just over two years since the board of directors approved the mine’s construction.

Meliadine is Agnico Eagle’s largest gold deposit in terms of mineral resources, boasting 3.18 Moz of gold in the measured and indicated categories and 2.60 Moz in the inferred category.

Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “With Meliadine ramping up production over the balance of the year and Amaruq (also in Nunavut) on schedule to achieve commercial production in the third (September) quarter of 2019, the company is well positioned to achieve its gold production target of 1.75 Moz for 2019.”

The current mine plan at Meliadine outlines a phased approach to the development. The Phase 1 mill capacity is expected to be around 3,750 t/d, with ore being sourced entirely from underground accessed by two ramps. The mill capacity in Phase 2 is expected to increase to approximately 6,000 t/d, with ore being sourced from both the underground and open pits starting in year five.

The mill will employ conventional carbon-in-leach processing technology, with metallurgical recoveries expected to average 96%, resulting in average annual gold production of approximately 400,000 oz/y in years two through 14.

Initial ore processing commenced in early February using low-grade stockpiles, with pre-commercial payable gold production totalling 47,281 oz, compared with guidance of 60,000 oz.

Total project construction costs (after crediting pre-commercial gold sales) came in below the 2017 guidance of $900 million, according to Agnico, explaining that a further update on capital costs will be provided with the June quarter results.

Expected production at Meliadine for 2019 remains unchanged at approximately 230,000 oz of gold (including pre-commercial production) at total cash costs of $612/oz.

North Arrow brings in Imilingo, TOMRA, Microlithics for modular diamond recovery

North Arrow Minerals says it has engaged Imilingo Mineral Processing of Pretoria, South Africa, TOMRA, and Microlithics Laboratories of Thunder Bay, Ontario, to investigate modular diamond recovery design options incorporating TOMRA’s X-Ray Transmission (XRT) sorting technology at its 100% owned Naujaat diamond project in Nunavut, Canada.

The engagement is with a view to recovering diamonds greater than 3 mm (nominally >0.5 ct) in size from a diamond recovery plant, it said.

North Arrow is currently planning for collection of a 10,000 t bulk sample from the Q1-4 deposit at Naujaat and, as part of this work, has initiated an engineering design and costing study of a small-scale mobile diamond recovery plant. The purpose of the sample will be to evaluate diamond size distribution and value characteristics, with emphasis on a distinct population of high-value, fancy, yellow to orangey-yellow diamonds that have been identified in the deposit, the company said.

Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of North Arrow, said: “We are pleased to be working with Imilingo, TOMRA and Microlithics to study diamond recovery plant design options for use in our continued evaluation of the Q1-4 diamond deposit.

“Over the last number of years, TOMRA’s XRT sorting technology has changed the diamond mining landscape by providing an XRT sorting solution that improves diamond recoveries while reducing breakage and water use compared to more traditional diamond recovery circuits. We believe XRT sorting technology can also be used for the evaluation of diamond deposits and is an ideal recovery solution for the Q1-4 diamond population.

“Locating a small-scale diamond recovery plant at or near the project site will also reduce costs, improve logistics and increase local employment and business opportunities for the residents of Naujaat,” he said.

Imilingo’s iPlant packages combine XRT solutions from the likes of TOMRA to sort and deliver feed material in a clean and well classified state, Managing Director, Jaco Prinsloo, told IM recently. Microlithics Laboratories, meanwhile, provides a number of diamond-specific services to clients in North America.

The focus on recovery of diamonds greater than 3 mm is an important component of the study, the company said, with a significant amount of the cost associated with processing past Q1-4 kimberlite samples related to ensuring and documenting the recovery of smaller diamonds (down to 1 mm in size).

Armstrong added: “While information on the 1 mm to 3 mm diamonds is important, most often the value of these diamonds does not impact the potential viability of the deposit being tested. This is certainly the case for Q1-4 where the value and size distribution of the fancy coloured diamond population will be critical in determining the economic potential of the deposit.

“We are therefore looking to design a small-scale mobile plant that can produce a hand-sortable concentrate for the recovery of +3 mm diamonds while saving significant costs and time delays associated with shipping bulk samples south for processing.”

Locating a diamond recovery plant at Naujaat as part of the Q1-4 bulk sampling program is possible due to the deposit’s proximity to marine transportation infrastructure and the improved accessibility that will be provided by a proposed new community access trail, the company said.

Canada renews northern energy pledge with investments in TUGLIQ projects

The Government of Canada has backed two new projects that could see an increase in the amount of renewable energy used on remote mine sites in the country’s north.

Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, this week announced a combined C$4.2-million ($3.2 million) investment for two TUGLIQ Energy Corp projects in Nunavut and Quebec.

An investment of C$283,000 will enable TUGLIQ to complete a front-end engineering and design study to integrate compressed air energy storage with its operations, enabling increased use of wind energy at a Nunavut mine – IM understands this to be the TMAC Resources-owned Hope Bay gold project.

“This project will demonstrate that such a system can achieve significant reductions in diesel consumption,” the Government of Canada said.

A second investment of C$3.9 million in RAGLAN 2.0 will expand Nunavik’s first renewable energy production and storage centre (wind turbine pictured) for 16 regional mining operations and Inuit communities in this Arctic region, as well as other mining operations abroad.

RAGLAN 2.0, builds on a prior landmark project, RAGLAN 1.0, which conclusively proved the technical and operational capabilities of industrial-scale renewable energy at northern sites (Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine), under harsh industrial and climatic conditions, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRC).

With energy storage consisting of a flywheel to level-off any speed fluctuations and stabilise the strain and frequency of the autonomous grid, 250 kWh lithium-ion batteries to support the grid, a hydrogen loop comprised of an electrolyser, high pressure storage tanks and fuel cells, a microcontroller and supervisory control and data acquisition for remote monitoring, the project has so far been a success. In 2018, TUGLIQ doubled its installed wind capacity at the Raglan mine. A total of 6 MW is now up and running, producing clean electricity from wind energy in this remote area of the Canadian Arctic. More than 4 million litres of diesel is being avoided every year.

It involves project partners Enercon, Glencore Raglan mine, HATCH Ltd, Moreau Electrique and Québec’s Ministry of Natural Resources – EcoPerformance Program.

Both projects are being funded through NRC’s Energy Innovation Program, which received C$49 million over three years to support clean energy innovation, and “will ensure that clean energy technologies are widely affordable — helping drive economic growth, create jobs and help with the transition to a low-carbon economy”, the NRC said.

“Through Canada’s national energy dialogue, Generation Energy, Canadians expressed that Canada has an opportunity to be a leader in the transition to a clean growth economy. We will continue to support innovative and clean initiatives that create jobs for the middle class, support Canadian industry competitiveness, clean our air and act on climate change.”

TMAC’s Hope Bay gold options increase following licence approvals

TMAC Resources has received approval of two Type A Water licences for the Madrid and Boston projects, part of its wider plans on the Hope Bay belt in Nunavut, Canada.

On January 14, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade approved the two licences as recommended by the Nunavut Water Board (NWB) on December 7. This approval concludes the final step in the environmental permitting process and enables mine construction and operations and sets the closure bonding requirements, TMAC said.

Jason Neal, President and Chief Executive Officer of TMAC, said: “Receipt of these two water licences completes permitting for the Madrid and Boston projects and provides substantial development flexibility to TMAC. While 2018 has largely been about ongoing ramp up and implementing significant improvements to the Doris operations, in 2019, we balance optimisation of established operations with the initial steps of broader development of the Hope Bay Belt. We are looking forward to initiating development at Madrid North with the potential for first ore to the Doris plant and the commencement of underground development.”

In combination, the licences allow for the development and operation of three new gold mines at Madrid North, Madrid South and Boston, including a 55 km all-weather road connecting all four mines on the Hope Bay property.

The amended licence provides for the expansion of the existing Doris camp, expansion of the tailings impoundment area from 2.5 Mt to 18 Mt for Madrid tailings and the construction and operation of mines at Madrid North and Madrid South.

The company said: “The new licence for Boston provides development alternatives beyond our established plans, permitting the construction and operation of a fully independent mine site including a new 5.1 Mt facility and ore processing plant, allowing TMAC flexibility to evaluate options for what we expect will be a growing ore resource as we begin investing in exploration at Boston.”

Accomplishing this final step in permitting allows for the development scenario described in the 2015 prefeasibility study while significantly increasing water use thresholds for daily production and processing rates, according to TMAC. This study envisaged average annual gold production of 160,000 oz over a 20-year mine life, compared with the 33,100 oz record production posted in the most recent September quarter.

TMAC added: “The permitting strategy has also secured permissions to operate alternative wind power generation, expansion of TMAC’s port and includes surface mining of crown pillars at Madrid and Boston, similar to what is being executed at the Doris mine.”