Tag Archives: Wasamac

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.

Monarch Gold ties up ore transport options with Ontario Northland Railway pact

Monarch Gold has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ontario Northland Railway for the transportation of ore from its Wasamac gold project to the Kidd concentrator in Timmins, Ontario, pursuant to a separate MoU with Glencore Canada.

The first phase of the agreement consists of an economic study on the infrastructure for the transportation of ore by train from Wasamac to Kidd, to be completed no later than December 31, 2020, Monarch said.

“This is another important step in the development of our Wasamac gold project with respect to the custom milling option, the objective of which will be to negotiate a favourable rate for the transportation of Wasamac ore to the Kidd concentrator,” Jean-Marc Lacoste, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch, said. “Ontario Northland has the necessary capacity, a solid reputation and has been providing this transportation service to mining companies for more than a century.

“It is important to remember that if we choose the custom milling option, we will be able to significantly reduce the construction costs of the Wasamac mine compared to the initial option of building the mill and tailings facility directly on site, in addition to reducing the impact on the environment and neighbouring communities. The other important aspect will be to ensure that our operating costs are as low as possible, including transportation costs, which will allow us to increase the profitability of the project.”

Last month, Monarch said it had retained Ausenco Engineering Canada to conduct an upgrading study on the Glencore-owned Kidd concentrator in connection with its potential use to treat ore mined from its Wasamac gold project. The study constitutes “Phase 1” of the MoU recently signed with Glencore Canada, Monarch said.

Located in Timmins, Ontario, the Kidd concentrator was built in 1966 with numerous upgrades over the years. It currently processes metal ore to produce copper and zinc concentrates, with the facility having a design rated capacity of 12,500 t/d. The site has incoming and outgoing rail service via Ontario Northland.

In addition to northern Ontario, Ontario Northland serves northern Quebec to Rouyn-Noranda, where the railway connects and interchanges traffic with CN, which then serves other major Abitibi region mills, including Canadian Malartic (Yamana Gold/Agnico Eagle), Westwood (IAMGold) and Lamaque (Eldorado Gold), as well as Monarch’s Camflo and Beacon mills.

The December 2018 feasibility study on Wasamac forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

Ausenco to work on integrating Glencore Kidd concentrator into Monarch’s Wasamac plan

Monarch Gold says it has retained Ausenco Engineering Canada to conduct an upgrading study on the Glencore-owned Kidd concentrator in connection with its potential use to treat ore mined from Monarch’s Wasamac gold project in Quebec, Canada.

The study constitutes “Phase 1” of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) recently signed with Glencore Canada, Monarch said.

Under Phase 1, Monarch is to launch a study on upgrading all or part of the Kidd concentrator and related infrastructure with a view to transporting the ore from the Wasamac property to the concentrator by railway for processing and transformation into doré bars. The upgrading study is expected to be completed by October 2020.

The study mandate calls for Ausenco to execute the study in two distinct phases. Phase one will focus on developing high-level costs and financials for two practical project options, whole ore leach and flotation leach, and phase two will develop the preferred option to a prefeasibility study level.

Located in Timmins, Ontario, the Kidd concentrator was built in 1966 with numerous upgrades over the years. It currently processes metal ore to produce copper and zinc concentrates, with the facility having a design rated capacity of 12,500 t/d. The site has incoming and outgoing rail service via Ontario Northland Railway.

Jean-Marc Lacoste, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch, said: “We are excited to be working with an engineering firm like Ausenco, which has produced numerous solid studies and developed successful large mining projects around the globe, including recent and relevant benchmark projects such as Moose River gold (Nova Scotia).

“Ausenco has a strong track record of delivering project studies that go the extra step in optimising the project economics.”

Garry Warren, President North America Project Delivery of Ausenco, said: “Ausenco has a project development ethos centred on cost-effective process and rail design coupled with efficient delivery, driving strong project economics and return on shareholder investment.

“We intend to apply that ethos to provide a differentiated approach for the Wasamac project, one that extracts the maximum value for Monarch and sets the stage to move from the upgrading study into project execution and commercial production.”

The December 2018 feasibility study on Wasamac forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.