Tag Archives: Quebec

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.”

Yamana ups its climate action ante, considers further use of BEVs, automation

Yamana Gold Inc has announced the outcome of its foundational work on its Climate Action Strategy, raising its climate action ambition by adopting a 1.5ºC target compared to pre-industrial levels and laying the groundwork for the incorporation of more renewable energy sources and battery-electric vehicles at its mines.

The foundational work began in early 2021 and Yamana previously indicated it would complete its work and establish science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement targets by the end of the year. This has seen the company determine base year emissions, emissions forecasts, GHG abatement pathways for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and physical and transition risks aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

After conducting top-down and bottom-up GHG reduction opportunity assessments at each operation, Yamana has raised its ambition from a 2ºC-aligned target in early 2021 to a 1.5ºC target.

Work has been performed in conformance with evolving international best practice, including the GHG Protocol, Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidelines, and the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Climate Change Protocol.

Based on the company’s analysis of a 1.5ºC temperature scenario, an annual emissions reduction of approximately 4.2% will be required until 2030. Yamana has concluded it will be able to meet these reduction targets by its 2030 target through a focus on efficient, high-grade underground mines and operating in jurisdictions that have a large proportion of available renewable, green electricity.

A newly signed power purchase agreement at its Minera Florida operation (Chile), scheduled to become effective in 2022, will provide 100% renewable electricity over the next five years. When coupled with similar agreements at Jacobina (Brazil, pictured) and El Peñon (Chile), approximately 85% of the company’s gold-equivalent ounces will be produced with renewable energy by the end of next year.

As part of its previously announced growth plans at Wasamac (Canada), Odyssey (Canada) and Jacobina (Brazil), Yamana is evaluating opportunities to further reduce its GHG emissions by investing in battery-electric vehicles, automation and other emerging technologies. Meanwhile, the company’s near-term growth in both Quebec and Brazil will leverage electrical grids that have a high proportion of green, renewable energy. Hydroelectric and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy constituted more than 99.9% of the Quebec grid energy in 2020, it said.

In 2022, the company will continue to refine its analysis and transition to a more operations-focused approach as it continues work to identify and assess additional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. The company will also begin to define its Scope 3 GHG emissions, including those from its 50% owned Canadian Malartic Mine.

MacLean battery-electric support fleet set for Odyssey gold mine

A fleet of MacLean battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are set to operate at the Odyssey Mine, one of Canada’s largest underground gold mining projects, after the OEM and Canadian Malartic Partnership agreed on a fleet order.

The mine, currently under construction, is owned 50:50 by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd. The partners have already said it is expected to be one of the most modernised electric underground mines, with all major mobile production equipment (such as trucks, scoop trams, jumbos, bolters, and longhole drill rigs electric powered).

The MacLean BEV fleet at Odyssey Mine will be used for ground support installation, explosives charging, materials transport, and construction and maintenance, the OEM said.

The Odyssey Mine, located near the Town of Malartic in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northern Quebec, will extract ore from an orebody that lies underneath the historical East Malartic Gold Mines, whose Mine Manager from the late 1930s to late 1940s was none other than ‘Ducky’ MacLean, father of Don MacLean, who founded his namesake mobile equipment company in 1973 and spent close to a decade of his childhood in the Malartic mine camp.

Don MacLean’s son Kevin MacLean now leads the mining vehicle manufacturer, having assumed the role of company President in 2009. He said: “Every fleet order is special but this one has particular resonance because it connects the MacLean family past with the MacLean company future in the form of battery-powered mining vehicles. The underground project of the partnership provides a perfect opportunity for MacLean mobile equipment to return to East Malartic in support of diesel-free operations.”

Don MacLean added: “I’m thrilled to see underground mining coming back to Malartic and grateful that the partnership has put their faith in MacLean BEVs to get the job done safely and productively.”

Tony Caron, MacLean VP of Quebec, Nunavut, and Latin America, said: “The fact that the MacLean fleet in Malartic will represent a return to Don’s childhood roots adds a special dynamic to this story, one that everyone at the MacLean branch in Val-d’Or will keep at heart as we dedicate ourselves to supporting the success of Odyssey Mine.”

The partners approved construction to transform the Odyssey Project into the Odyssey Mine over the coming years in February, spelling out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t Au and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operation. It will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep.

Eldorado Gold looks to ARES PRISM project controls software to optimise Lamaque

Eldorado Gold’s Lamaque mine in Quebec, Canada, is set to implement ARES PRISM project controls software to help manage the underground operation.

The mine was seeking a project management tool to provide earned value management, process optimisation and accurate reporting, according to ARES PRISM.

Mehdi Bouanani, Projects and Construction Manager at Eldorado Gold Québec, said: “At Eldorado Gold Québec, we are always looking for innovations and tools to optimise our efficiency. The software ARES PRISM allows us to monitor our costs relating to our various projects closely. In addition, reports that show progress status and execution performance are useful. In general, the software meets our expectations very well.”

Eldorado Gold Québec selected Progesys, a project management firm located in Quebec, Canada, to implement ARES PRISM’s cost management software module, PRISM Cost. Progesys provided training for PRISM Cost users at Eldorado Gold and implemented the software on diverse pilot projects.

Kevin McAleese, Cost Control Specialist at Progesys, said: “By using ARES PRISM, the goal was to streamline the project control processes by centralising all data in one place, standardising and accelerating reporting, and improving the reliability and quality of the data. We implemented it conjointly with Eldorado Gold to make sure that the structure and the systems reflected their specific needs.”

With ARES PRISM, the mining organisation will be able to effectively manage the Lamaque Mine project’s budgeting, resource planning, change management, time-phasing, progress, and performance measurement, earned value management, and forecasting all in a single, central location, according to the software vendor.

Geoffrey Stubson, Chief Financial Officer of ARES Project Management LLC, said: “Eldorado Gold Québec clearly embodies its values of responsibility, integrity and accountability. ARES PRISM will help Eldorado further uphold these values by effectively managing project cost, optimising processes and providing accurate reporting.”

Lamaque began commercial production in March 2019 and is expected to mine and process more than 750,000 t of ore at an average gold grade of 6.6 g/t Au.

Nouveau Monde files US patent for thermochemical purification anode tech

Nouveau Monde Graphite has submitted a patent application for its proprietary thermochemical purification technology to the US Patent and Trademark Office that could see it gain intellectual property over a “greener” and more sustainable alternative process to that currently used in the traditional anode material production.

Leveraging Québec’s abundant, clean and affordable hydropower, the company’s technology avoids using hydrofluoric acid in favour of high temperatures and the addition of chlor-based reagent, it says.

Tests in labs and at third-party facilities have already demonstrated the technology’s performance and the products’ high purity, reaching 99.95% and over, according to the company.

Its Phase 1 purification facilities are in the final stages of commissioning, prior to starting production, process optimisation and material qualification with potential customers. At the same time, Nouveau Monde is carrying out its definitive feasibility study for the Phase 2 plant in Bécancour, Quebec, Canada.

The company’s 200,000 sq.m industrial site, adjacent to the Phase 1 location, is intended to consolidate manufacturing facilities for the production of 42,000 t/y of lithium-ion battery anode material and 3,000 t/y of purified flakes for specialty applications. The plant will process material from the Matawinie mine.

In addition to energy applications, Nouveau Monde’s thermochemical process has shown to be effective at purifying larger particle sizes that are expected to allow the company to supply high-purity, carbon-neutral graphite flakes for bipolar plates used in fuel cells, foils for heat dissipation in electronics, expandable graphite for fire retardant applications and other specialty products, it said.

Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, said: “Research and development is a critical component of our business model. The filing of this important patent application is a tangible manifestation of our commitment to sustainable development and the success Nouveau Monde has already achieved from its Center of Excellence in Québec.”

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “I believe there is much appetite in the marketplace for alternatives to China’s dominant chemical-heavy processes. We have developed a technology that takes full advantage of Québec’s green hydroelectric asset and operates in a closed loop with our chemical supplier to minimise the environmental footprint of our purified products. This patent application reiterates our engagement towards R&D, innovation, and environmental stewardship to drive greater sustainability into the battery value chain.”

Nouveau Monde Graphite turns to Metso Outotec for key Matawinie processing equipment

Nouveau Monde Graphite has launched civil construction works at its flagship Matawinie graphite mining project in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Québec, having steadily advanced detailed engineering and engaged in the procurement of key service providers, long-lead equipment and contractors to deliver the project, billed as a “zero-emission mine”, in Québec by the end of 2023.

One of these service providers has been confirmed as Metso Outotec, which has been engaged to supply key mineral processing equipment required for the Matawinie concentrator plant for high-purity graphite flake production.

The agreement with the OEM will support the development of design and integration efficiencies through process equipment chain optimisation objectives, NMG said. It also seeks to promote planning efforts, optimisation of the project cost curve and support the company during the construction, commissioning and operation phases.

“This agreement complements Nouveau Monde’s de-risking strategy and helps ensure a rapid progression of final design elements and construction of the ore processing facility,” the company added.

Following the governmental authorisation of the project in February, Nouveau Monde executed its phased program to initiate preliminary works in March. For the site preparation of the mine industrial platform and the access road connecting the project to the local highway, tree clearing was completed before the nesting season to limit impacts to avifauna.

To protect the environment and the community’s well-being, Nouveau Monde has developed an environmental surveillance and monitoring program to oversee the construction, operation and closure activities of the Matawinie project. Nouveau Monde has hired an environmental coordinator to support construction and environmental monitoring activities on-site and enlisted third-party biologists to conduct inspections for the presence of vulnerable species.

Nouveau Monde is also delivering on its commitment to maximise local opportunities and support service providers by engaging with Atikamekw, local and regional contractors and service providers via dedicated activities related to its construction procurement strategy, the associated business opportunities, as well as health, environment and safety requirements for bidding.

The company has retained mining contractor L Fournier & Fils to build the access road connecting the main Highway 131 to Matawinie’s industrial platform. Works for the 7.8-km access road began in July as part of the company’s 30-month construction and commissioning timeline. Construction of the access road is scheduled to be completed in September 2021 to facilitate subsequent civil works and on-site activities.

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: “This first milestone kick starts the construction of the Matawinie mine, as we strive to build the high-quality, ethical and sustainable project that can cater to the growing electric vehicle and energy storage markets. We have spent the past months refining our execution plan to carry out engineering, procurement and construction activities safely and with a focus on cost and timeline efficiency. I am confident in the expertise of the technical team that we have assembled, coupled with the support of Tier 1 service providers such as Metso Outotec, L Fournier & Fils and many local contractors, to deliver on our commitments of safety, responsible practices and excellence.”

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, the mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Yamana Gold retains electrification path for Wasamac in new study

Yamana Gold has reiterated a plan to minimise the amount of carbon emissions generated with the development and operation of the Wasamac gold project in Quebec, Canada, in its first study since acquiring the asset from Monarch Gold.

Monarch, prior to being taken over by Yamana Gold, had laid out plans for an underground mine at Wasamac producing 6,000 t/d, on average, with an expected mine life of 11 years. It expected to use a Rail-Veyor® electrically powered, remote-controlled underground haulage system in addition to an almost entirely electric fleet of production and development equipment.

The December 2018 feasibility study by BBA indicated the Wasamac deposit hosted a measured and indicated mineral resource of 29.86 Mt at an average grade of 2.7 g/t Au, for a total of 2.6 Moz of gold, and proven and probable mineral reserves of 21.46 Mt at an average grade of 2.56 g/t Au, for a total of 1.8 Moz of gold. The study forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

With drilling, due diligence and further studies, Yamana Gold, in studies forming the new feasibility level studies, has come up with baseline technical and financial aspects of the Wasamac project that, it says, underpin the decision to advance the project to production.

This has resulted in a few changes to the Wasamac plan.

For starters, the company plans to use the extract the now 1.91 Moz of reserves quicker than Monarch’s strategy, with a rapid production ramp-up in the first year followed by sustained gold production of approximately 200,000 oz/y for at least the next four years.

Including the ramp-up phase, average annual production for the first five years of operation is expected to be 184,000 oz, the company said, with life of mine production of 169,000 oz/y. Mill throughput has been increased to 7,000 t/d, on average, but the plant and associated infrastructure were being sized for 7,500 t/d. Production could start up in the December quarter of 2026, the initial capital expense was expected to be $416 million and all-in sustaining costs over the life of mine had been calculated at $828/oz.

The use of a conveyor is still within this plan, but a company spokesperson told IM that Yamana was now considering a conventional belt conveyor rather than the Rail-Veyor system.

Yamana explained: “The optimised materials handling system uses ore passes and haul trucks to transport ore from the production levels to a central underground primary crusher. The haul trucks will be automated to allow haulage to continue between shifts. From the underground crusher, ore will be transported to the crushed-ore stockpile on the surface using a 3-km-long conventional conveyor system in two segments.”

Yamana added: “Using a conveyor rather than diesel trucks to transport ore to surface reduces CO2 emissions by 2,233 t/y, equivalent to taking 500 cars off the road. Over the life of mine, the company expects to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20,000 t.”

The aim to use electric vehicles wherever possible remains in place.

“The Wasamac underground mine is designed to create a safe working environment and reduce consumption of non-renewable energy through the use of electric and high-efficiency equipment,” the company said. “Yamana has selected electric and battery-electric mobile equipment provided that the equipment is available at the required specifications.

“Battery-electric underground haul trucks are not yet available at the required capacity with autonomous operation, so diesel trucks have been selected in combination with the underground conveyor. However, Yamana continues to collaborate with equipment suppliers with the expectation that the desired battery-electric equipment will be available before Wasamac is in operation.”

In tandem with this, the company plans to use a ventilation on demand solution and high-efficiency fans to reduce its power requirements. This will likely rely on an underground LTE network.

“Heating of the underground mine and surface facilities is designed with the assumption of propane burners, but an opportunity exists to extend the natural gas line to the project site,” it added. “Yamana has initiated discussions with the natural gas supplier and will study this opportunity further as the project advances.”

The site for the processing plant and offices is confined to a small footprint strategically located in a naturally concealed area, and the processing plant has been designed with a low profile to minimise the visual impact as well as minimise noise and dust, according to Yamana.

The primary crusher, previously planned to be located on surface, has been moved underground, with the crushed material transported to surface from the underground mining area using conventional conveyors and stored on surface in a covered stockpile to control dust.

Several design improvements to the previous Wasamac plans have also been made to reduce consumption of fresh water to minimise the effect on watersheds, according to Yamana. Underground mine water will be used in the processing plant, minimising the draw of fresh water and reducing the required size of the mill basin pond.

The Wasamac tailings storage strategy is designed to minimise environmental footprint and mitigate risk, it added.

“Around 39% of tailings will be deposited underground as paste fill and 61% of tailings will be pumped as a slurry to the filter plant located approximately 6 km northwest of the processing plant and then hauled to the nearby dry-stack tailings storage facility,” Yamana said.

Strategic phasing of the tailings storage facility design allows for the same footprint as previously planned, even with the increase in mineral reserves, the company clarified. Also, the progressive reclamation plan for this facility minimises the possibility of dust generation and expedites the return of the landscape to its natural state.

Cat to use NMG’s Matawinie graphite mine as ‘zero-emission machine’ testbed

Nouveau Monde Graphite and Caterpillar have signed an agreement pursuant to which Caterpillar will develop, test and produce Cat® “zero-emission machines” for the Matawinie graphite mine, in Quebec, Canada, with a view to becoming the exclusive supplier of an all-electric mining fleet for deployment at the mine by 2028.

Looking to accelerate and tailor the equipment development, Caterpillar will engage with Nouveau Monde’s team to incorporate “voice of customer” throughout the development, and for testing of the zero-emission fleet and infrastructure prior to commercial production, the companies said.

To this point, Caterpillar has only disclosed the development of a battery-electric 15 t LHD, the R1700 XE, however it came to light just over a year ago that the OEM was working on a separate project called ‘Project Verde’.

Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, Caterpillar Inc, previously stated on Project Verde: “Caterpillar has responded to customers by launching a project that is focused on energy and emissions reduction, and helping customers decrease their carbon footprints through machinery and power solutions that contribute to lower greenhouse gas.”

Speaking about the latest agreement between NMG and Cat, Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, commented: “I recall our first meeting with Caterpillar some two years ago, outlining our vision of a zero-emission mine in Québec. Our commitment to this vision has taken us to this very important moment, not only for Nouveau Monde, but for the global mining industry as a whole. Today, alongside Caterpillar, which in my opinion is the most trusted and reputable supplier of heavy-mining equipment worldwide, we can bring the zero-emission machines vision into reality.

“I think it is remarkable that Nouveau Monde, as a representative for the new style green resources industry, is part of spearheading the electrification of the industry, by collaborating with Caterpillar.”

Eric Desaulniers, Founder, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “We are proud to be a driving force for our peers as we strive to electrify our operations to meet our carbon neutrality commitments while maintaining the productivity and efficiency standards of our mining operations. Even more gratifying and important to our corporate mission is that our project can serve as a springboard for the future of the mining industry by collaborating with Caterpillar on these cutting-edge technologies.”

Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President, said: “The collaboration between Caterpillar and Nouveau Monde marks an important milestone in the mining industry. Through integrated technology, machines and services, the entire Caterpillar team is proud to support Nouveau Monde as they work towards constructing and establishing their first zero-emission mine.”

In November last year, NMG issued an “international call for pre-qualification” related to the fleet and charging infrastructure at Matawinie following work by the company’s International Task Force Committee. This work had allowed Nouveau Monde to explore “technologies, best practices and operational parameters to bring its vision to life in a cost-effective and technologically advanced way”.

As part of this pre-qualification program, companies were able to submit detailed proposals and performance specifications from their production equipment solutions between November 30 and January 30, 2021.

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, Medatech Engineering Services Ltd and ABB Inc – both companies in Nouveau Monde’s taskforce committee – came up with the fleet outline at Matawinie.

“The mine will be using an all-electric, zero-emission mine fleet, consisting of electric battery-driven 36.3-t mining trucks, battery-driven front-end loaders, cable reel excavators and bulldozers, and battery-driven service vehicles,” the report read.

The mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was also expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

Weir ESCO takes advantage of expansion opportunities in Utah, Quebec

Weir ESCO’s growth trajectory has continued in 2021, with the ground engaging tool (GET) major capitalising on two fast-moving expansion opportunities in western USA and eastern Canada in the March quarter.

The acquisitions represent exciting new platforms for sales and brand recognition growth in the two regions, according to the Weir subsidiary.

With one of ESCO’s largest dealers, based in the Western US, set to retire last year, Weir ESCO decided to fill the void.

The company explained: “Without the dealer to represent us, our future with a significant mining operation in the region – a mine that generates approximately 11% of annual copper production in the US – was at stake.”

The mine’s cable shovels are outfitted exclusively with ESCO GET and multiple other pieces of equipment, including hydraulic machines and front-end loaders, are also fitted with ESCO products.

The company’s teams jumped into action to secure the business, with the new Salt Lake City branch becoming operational in early January. It got right to work establishing a direct service relationship with the key customer, Rio Tinto Kennecott, and expanding market share with other mining and infrastructure companies customers in the territory, the company said.

Up north in Canada, the launch of Weir ESCO’s Quebec branch resulted from seizing a timely, high-stakes opportunity, as well, the company said.

Quebec is home to Canada’s largest operating open-pit gold mine, Canadian Malartic. The mine employs more than 2,000 workers around the clock and many pieces of equipment are outfitted with ESCO GET, according to the company.

“When changes in the local distribution channel occurred, Weir ESCO began considering how to parlay the situation into market expansion opportunities,” it said.

Weir Minerals, a division of the Weir parent company, already had an established presence in the area, presenting additional synergy opportunities.

By the end of January, Weir ESCO’s new Quebec team was on board and sharing office space with the Minerals branch (office pictured).

As in Salt Lake City, the Quebec branch will focus on growth through a direct service approach with customers, it said.

Pete Huget, Managing Director for North America, said: “This is an energising time for us as we move with more speed and agility to take advantage of market opportunities to grow the business. We are looking forward to capitalising on these opportunities to service our own customers directly. No one can service a customer like an ESCO employee.”

Autonomous loading and hauling pays off at Agnico’s LaRonde, Kittila gold mines

Increased uptake of autonomous loading and hauling technology at the LaRonde (pictured) and Kittila gold mines has helped Agnico Eagle Mines post a record quarter of production for the last three months of 2020.

Payable gold production in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 501,445 oz at all-in sustaining costs of $985/oz, the company reported. This compared with 494,678 oz at an AISC of $1,039/oz in the prior-year period.

Homing in on LaRonde Complex (including the LaRonde mine and the LZ5 Mine), in Quebec, Canada, Agnico put the good performance at LaRonde – production of 105,729 oz during the quarter, down from 112,704 oz in the prior-year period when gold grades were 7.3% higher – down partially to the automation strategy that, the company said, had helped improve productivity and allow continuation of mucking activities during non-entry protocols related to seismicity.

In 2020, 13% of tonnes mucked from stopes at the LaRonde mine were carried out in automation mode and, in December 2020, a record 39% of the production mucking at the LaRonde mine was carried out from surface, which included 100% of the production mucking from the West mine area.

At LZ5, in 2020, 14% of tonnes mucked and hauled to surface were accomplished in automated mode with operators based on surface. This surpassed the 15% target the company had set. For 2021, it is expected 17% of the tonnage will be mucked and hauled remotely to surface and the production rate is expected to be sustained at around 3,000 t/d. “The LZ5 automation team will continue optimising the automated mining techniques,” Agnico said.

Agnico said the target for 2021 is to muck over 17% of the total tonnage for the LaRonde Complex from surface. The company said it is also carrying out work to perform production drilling using automation.

In a January presentation, Agnico stated that 10 LHDs and four trucks had been equipped with Sandvik’s AutoMine® system. Back in 2018, Sandvik announced that the LaRonde mine would become the first operation to use AutoMine with LTE communication network underground on a production scale.

To continue tailings deposition through the LaRonde Complex life of mine, Agnico is also constructing dry-stack tailings facilities, which are expected to be operational by the end of 2022. Dry stacking will help limit the footprint of the new tailings facility and improve the closure of the main tailings ponds, Agnico said.

Moving to Finland at the Kittila gold mine, the use of automation also paid off.

The company said Kittila continued delivering strong performance in the December quarter of 2020, with production above forecast by around 6,000 t. This also coincided with the commissioning of the expanded mill at Kittila, which is now ramping up towards the design capacity of 2 Mt/y.

The mine delivered a record full-year ore production of around 1.85 Mt in 2020, according to the company.

“This performance (in Q4) is driven by an improved fleet management and an increased usage of automation,” Agnico said.

Kittila has been testing autonomous hauling trucks and tele-remote equipment and is targeting to achieve 50% of production drilling and 15% of hauling remotely in 2021, it said.

On top of this, Agnico said the mill had consistently increased availability and the company was evaluating the implementation of advanced process control in 2021.