Tag Archives: Red Lake

Evolution enlists RCT and its Guidance Automation tech to transform Red Lake gold mine

Evolution Mining has selected RCT and its ControlMaster® Guidance Automation technology to help “transform” its new Red Lake mine in Ontario, Canada.

Evolution has embarked on a three-year investment strategy to restore the newly acquired Red Lake mine to a safe, highly efficient, long life and low-cost operation providing strong value for shareholders. This followed its acquisition of the operation from Newmont in November 2019 in a deal that could eventually rise to $475 million.

RCT has previously worked with Evolution Mining on transitioning its Mungari operations in Western Australia’s Goldfields region to its fully-autonomous technology solution.

To assist in the Red Lake turnaround strategy, RCT will commission its interoperable and scalable ControlMaster Guidance Automation technology to the underground loader fleet.

RCT says it is working closely with Red Lake’s leadership team to seamlessly integrate the new technology to enable greater productivity efficiencies to support Evolution Mining’s transformation strategy.

“The technology will unlock significant value for Evolution Mining by ensuring optimal machine performance, higher speed autonomous tramming, and reduced machine damage,” RCT said. “The technology will deliver faster production cycle times and reduced unplanned downtime across the loader fleet.”

The loaders will be controlled from either the surface-based ControlMaster Automation Centre or the customised underground Automation Centres designed specifically for easier transfer via the mine shaft hoist system.

This solution safeguards machine operators by relocating them away from hazards commonly found at the mine face and significantly reduces shift handover times, lowering overhead costs and resulting in greater site efficiencies, RCT said.

Kirsty Liddicoat, Red Lake General Manager, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with RCT to introduce modern technologies to Red Lake as part of our transformation process. RCT equipment will enable higher productivity and efficiencies from our underground scoop fleet, while improving safety for our people.”

RCT’s Mining Business Development Manager, Ryan Noden, said ControlMaster is an ideal solution to help deliver the operational transformation that is aligned to Evolution Mining’s Red Lake strategy.

“The advanced features of the ControlMaster Automation technology means Red Lake will be able to quickly achieve improved production efficiencies from its loader fleet, with a greater level of safety for its operators,” he said. “Red Lake will also benefit from selecting a truly interoperable technology provider that can collaborate closely with them to realise further mobile equipment automation opportunities as further optimisation of the asset is achieved.”

Noden added: “RCT has a proud history of delivering value to the Canadian mining sector and we look forward to continually delivering to them with our cutting-edge technology backed by our dedicated in-country support team based at the company’s facility in Sudbury, Ontario.”

Evolution’s vision is to restore Red Lake to be one of Canada’s premier gold mines sustainably producing 300,000-500,000 oz/y of low-cost gold, Jake Klein, Evolution’s Executive Chairman, has said.

Evolution Mining’s Red Lake transformation taking shape with CYD decline

Evolution Mining’s transformation plans at the Red Lake gold mine in Ontario, Canada, are tracking ahead of schedule with the Australia-based company’s board signing off the development of a surface decline at the operation.

The company acquired the Red Lake Complex from Newmont in November 2019 in a deal that could eventually rise to $475 million. When the deal was completed, it committed to invest $100 million on existing operations and an additional $50 million in exploration at Red Lake over the first three-year period following completion of the transaction.

The company says the surface decline, which is expected to cost A$60-A$70 million ($47-55 million), will provide a near-term opportunity to access additional low-cost ounces in the Upper Campbell mine at Red Lake with two additional mining fronts independent of the current shaft-constrained infrastructure.

The decline has been named the Campbell Young Dickenson (CYD) in recognition of three early developers of the Red Lake deposit, Evolution said.

Red Lake currently hosts a total reserve of 2.93 Moz at an average grade of 6.9 g/t gold. The decline will enable access to the Upper Campbell area of the mine, which hosts reserves of 1.85 Moz at an average grade of 7.4 g/t Au. Access to the HG Young orebody will also be established, which hosts a resource of 427,000 oz at 5.5 g/t Au and has the potential to be converted to reserves with additional drilling, Evolution said.

 

Annual gold production rates from these additional mining fronts are expected to be in excess of 1 Mt, according to the company.

With regulatory approval for this decline already in place, the box cut is expected to be completed in the March 2021 quarter. It will be located proximal to the Campbell mill.

Following this, development activities are scheduled to commence in the June 2021 quarter and first ore is currently expected in the June 2022 quarter. Studies are ongoing to assess opportunities to accelerate development and ultimate access to first ore, the company said.

Evolution’s stage 1 transformation plan at Red Lake is to cement production of plus-200,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of less than $1,000/oz by 2023. As part of this program, it has already decommissioned around 70 pieces of underground equipment and completed the phase 1 “hoist automation project” among other things.

Jake Klein, Evolution’s Executive Chairman, said on February 17: “Red Lake has consistently exceeded our expectations in almost every respect. With today’s announcement of the 2.93 Moz gold JORC Code ore reserve and board approval for the decline development, we are excited about the continued momentum we are building at this operation.

“This commitment is a significant step towards achieving Evolution’s vision of restoring Red Lake to be one of Canada’s premier gold mines sustainably producing 300,000-500,000 oz per annum of low-cost gold.”

Pure Gold pours first gold in Red Lake, Ontario

Pure Gold Mining says it has poured first gold at its PureGold Mine, in Red Lake, Ontario.

The first pour occurred on December 29, following the introduction of ore to the mill on December 15, 2020.

Darin Labrenz, President and CEO of PureGold, said: “Today, the PureGold Mine has come to life. With our first gold pour, we have transitioned to producer, and delivered on our promise to build Canada’s newest gold mine in the heart of Red Lake, Ontario, on budget and on schedule.

“To build a mine at any time requires a complete team effort comprised of dedicated, driven, and focused individuals. To do so under the unique challenges of 2020 speaks to the quality and dedication of the entire team. With this first gold bar, we are now focused on ramping up the operation to steady-state production as we continue to build a long-life growth company in Red Lake.”

With the commencement of production at the PureGold Mine, activities at site are now concentrated on optimising the operation, with commercial production anticipated by the end of the March quarter, at which time the company will be providing guidance.

A February 2019 feasibility study on the PureGold Mine outlined a probable mineral reserve of 3.5 Mt at 9 g/t, containing 1 Moz of gold. This saw the company project a 12-year operation, producing an average of 80,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $787/oz.

PureGold will also continue to pursue its aggressive growth strategy in 2021, it said, with ongoing exploration drilling from both surface and underground, an update of mineral resources to include drilling completed over the last two years, and incorporation of significant improvements in mine design and mine plan.

MacLean ANFO loader goes underground at Pure Gold’s Madsen project

The ramp up to first production at Pure Gold Mining’s Madsen gold project in Red Lake, Ontario, continues, with the company having recently taken delivery of an ANFO loader from MacLean Engineering.

The ANFO loader, which has just headed underground for the first time at the project, is one of several new pieces of kit the company has added to its fleet as it heads towards its goal of pouring first gold at Madsen by the end of the year.

In a June 21 update, Pure Gold said procurement of major equipment was now 94% complete; a total of 1,285 m of underground mine development had been completed, with an advance rate 60% better than the mine plan; initial access development to longhole stopes had commenced; and an alimak had been installed in the existing shaft to support dewatering and shaft rehabilitation.

In the update, the company said new mine equipment delivered to date included four underground LHDs, two jumbo drills, two haul trucks, two scissor lifts, multiple utility vehicles and the ANFO loader.

One of these haul trucks is a DUX DT-26N articulated truck, while at least one Epiroc jumbo drill has been commissioned at Madsen.

Based on the 2019 feasibility study, Madsen is expected to produce an average of 80,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $787/oz over a 12-year mine life. The operation will feature a combination of diesel and battery-powered load and haul equipment, with first gold production planned for the December quarter.

DUX dump truck makes its way to Pure Gold Mining’s Madsen project

New underground mining equipment has been arriving at Pure Gold Mining’s Madsen gold project in Red Lake, Ontario, with the company recently taking delivery of a DUX DT-26N articulated truck.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pure Gold has continued to progress the construction of Madsen, with Pure Gold President and CEO, Darin Labrenz, saying at the end of March that underground development had commenced safely and ahead of schedule.

In the same update, the company said detailed engineering was on track to support the completion of the project as scheduled for late 2020.

“To date the company has placed equipment purchase orders representing approximately 74% of the long lead items by value, including electrical equipment packages, key gold room equipment, gravity and intensive leach systems as well as the new ball mill to provide for planned processing rates of 800 t/d,” Pure Gold said.

One of the more recent pieces of equipment to arrive in Red Lake is a 26 t capacity articulated dump truck from DUX Machinery (pictured). This underground four-wheel drive truck is well suited for hauling ore, waste and backfill on level and steep grades, according to DUX. It also has the highest power to weight ratio in its class the company said, adding that it permits efficient chute, side and end loading in narrow drifts with low headings.

From mid-December to late March, some 740 m of development had been completed at Madsen, with Pure Gold saying early initiation of ramp development through the company’s test mining program and, to date, a 50% improvement on development productivity from underground, had provided an opportunity to access key stopes ahead of schedule, optimise the mine plan, and provide a larger ore stockpile in advance of mill start-up.

Based on the 2019 feasibility study, Madsen is expected to produce an average of 80,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $787/oz over a 12-year mine life. The operation will feature a combination of diesel and battery-powered load and haul equipment.

Pure Gold makes its electric investment case

Newmont Goldcorp’s Borden development may have stolen the mine electrification limelight in the last 12-24 months in Ontario, Canada, but with this all-electric mine close to starting up, another project in the province is laying the groundwork to follow in its footsteps.

The Madsen project is a former-operating underground gold mine situated in the renowned Red Lake region. Since acquisition, Pure Gold Mining has been adding ounces to the 43-101 reserve and resource categories, while rehabilitating the old workings to generate a viable plan to re-start mining.

The February feasibility study outlined an economically sound project, costing C$95 million ($72 million) in upfront capital and returning an after-tax net present value (5% discount) of C$247 million using a gold price of $1,275/oz. This study included details of a mining and development fleet made up of a combination of diesel and battery-powered load and haul equipment.

With mine electrification still high on IM’s agenda following the inaugural Electric Mine conference in April, in Toronto, Dan Gleeson spoke with Pure Gold President and CEO, Darin Labrenz, to find out more about the company’s electric equipment plans.

IM: You recently raised C$47.5 million to continue development work and carry out further exploration at Madsen. Can you breakdown how much will go towards exploration/development?

DL: We’ve closed two raisings this year. The one earlier in the year was a C$5.2 million flowthrough raise designated for exploration. Those funds will go towards a drilling program in the order of 12,000 m directed towards those resources and discoveries that lie outside of the feasibility study mine plan…with the goal of being able to bring them into a future mine plan.

The C$47.5 million is what I would call the ‘equity component’ of a project financing package. Some of it may ultimately go into exploration.

Then, in August, we announced the $90 million project financing package with Sprott Resource Lending Corp comprised of a credit facility for $65 million, and a $25 million callable gold stream. This allows us even more flexibility on how we want to explore the exciting tenement as well as other opportunities.

IM: What type of development work is going on at Madsen currently?

DL: Last year, we conducted some trial mining, which involved extending the ramp a short distance; lateral development underneath the base of two stoping areas (as well as a couple of raises into those areas); and rehabilitation of the historical Number 2 level back to the existing shaft to provide secondary egress to the mine. We also initiated dewatering last year and have brought the water level down; right now, we’re holding it constant at about 250 m below surface. We’ve also done a lot of surface work to clean up and prepare the site for future activities.

With the debt financing now complete and a decision to construct by the board, detailed engineering in advance of site development work will commence immediately. We expect surface works and underground development to commence in Q4 (December quarter) of 2019.

IM: Based on current progress, when do you expect to produce first gold at Madsen?

DL: With access to the capital provided by the recently announced financing, the construction of the Madsen Red Lake mine is now fully funded. Combined with the equity financing, this secured approximately C$90 million of immediate funding enabling us to initiate construction and put us on track for first gold pour by late 2020.

IM: What factors came into play when deciding on the use of battery-electric equipment at Madsen?

DL: The key drivers for us were operating costs, environmental benefits and improved working conditions.

The use of electric equipment underground really eliminates a large component of the operational greenhouse gases that would be emitted from the mining operation, but also key is the reduction in ventilation requirements: the use of an electric fleet is going to require about 50% less ventilation. When you look at the life of mine at Madsen – with the combination of power and propane that would be used – you’re looking at savings of around C$41 million by going down the electrification route.

The ventilation benefits really increase with depth as you continue to push the mine down. Electrification allows the mine to push ramps down more efficiently, while reducing operating costs at the same time.

From a social, community and regulatory perspective, the move to a more environmentally friendly operating environment is also being well received.

IM: How did the company balance the capex issues with the opex benefits when choosing battery-electric haulage equipment over conventional diesel?

DL: The capex is higher for electric fleets – these costs are reducing, and I would expect to see them to continue to reduce into the future as that technology advances. Saying that, the increases in capital over diesel equipment are more than covered by the operating cost improvements that come with the reduced ventilation and heating requirements.

In an earlier study we completed we had a more pronounced combination of diesel and electric equipment. One of the things that has allowed us to further electrify this operation is the use of the existing shaft on the property. With this existing shaft, we will be transitioning to an operation that hoists ore and waste up the shaft, which reduces the haulage distance for the electric equipment. From an operational standpoint, in terms of the battery capacity and the need to recharge/replace batteries, it really advances our potential use of electric equipment.

One of the limiting factors in ramp-supported operations is ventilation. As you go deeper and deeper in a mine, you need to drive more and more air down to these depths. Ultimately, you get to a point with deepening a mine where you just cannot push enough air to clean out the diesel from the operating environment. With an electrified fleet, you can have narrower openings and you can push those ramps much deeper as the ventilation requirements are reduced.

IM: Have any investors raised concerns about this planned mine electrification?

DL: While we haven’t received any specific concerns, we have been asked about the technology’s availability and reliability. We can now point to several operations in Canada that are transitioning to electrical equipment. Many of the major equipment suppliers are also transitioning and starting to provide electrified versions of existing diesel equipment. That technology has been rapidly advancing and will continue to do so.

For us, looking to go into operations in the near-term, initially starting with the diesel equipment and transitioning into the electrical equipment reduces any risk from an availability and operating perspective.

IM: Is the move to start with diesel and go into electric also predicated on the flexibility required during development/production?

DL: It’s a few things. Primarily, when you look at the early years of mining, we are mining much shallower and the ventilation requirements are that much lower, so you see limited operational cost benefits when using electric equipment. From a capital perspective, initiating operations with diesel equipment allows us to be capital efficient, as well as equipment availability being high.

As we continue to deepen the mine, we transition into electric technology and then see operational cost improvements. This strategy also allows the industry more time to advance the electric technology.

IM: What was the reason behind the plan to use a tethered 6 t LHD close to the loading station and 6 t diesel LHDs elsewhere?

DL: The use of tethered equipment is a function of how much this 6 t LHD has to travel in the mine plan. Its purpose is to transfer muck into the loading pocket shoot, so it has a limited travel path.

On the other large LHDS, obviously we would use electric equipment should it be available at the time we need to procure it.

IM: Are you looking to use any other battery-powered or tethered equipment underground?

DL: We would look at electric equipment wherever it is practical and available. Currently utility vehicles such as man carriers, telehandlers, etc are available and will be utilised.

It will be something we consider at the time of the purchasing. We would look to use electric equipment as much as possible.

IM: Do you envisage other juniors going down a similar mine electrification route in the near-term?

DL: I believe so.

My perspective on this is that electrification of underground equipment is one of the great innovations in underground mining technology over the last decade. It has a very pronounced impact on operating costs, it obviously improves working conditions underground without the occurrence of diesel particulate matter and improves the ability to move your mine system deeper. It, importantly, also results in a real reduction in greenhouse gases, which reduces the environmental impact of underground mining.

Electrification is one of those rare cases where we see not only a strong operational reason for a move to that technology, but also a pronounced positive impact on the workforce and surrounding community.