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Full-scale construction begins at Greenstone Gold Mine in northern Ontario

DCN-JOC News Services
Full-scale construction begins at Greenstone Gold Mine in northern Ontario

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Ground has been broken for full-scale construction at the Greenstone Gold Mine in Ontario, Equinox Gold Corp. announced recently.

The project, developed as a 60/40 partnership by Equinox Gold and Orion Mine Finance Group, Greenstone Mine will be one of the largest gold mines in Canada producing more than 400,000 ounces of gold annually for the first five years and more than five million ounces of gold over its initial 14-year mine life.

The initial construction capital budget for the project, on a 100 per cent basis, is approximately $1.53 billion, which includes more than $50 million spent to date and a $177 million contingency (approximately 14 per cent of total initial capital).

Early works have been underway since March. The project timeline estimates approximately two years of construction and six months of commissioning, with mining anticipated to commence in Q4 2022 and first gold pour targeted for 2024, the companies report.

The project is fully permitted to start major construction activities and has Long-term Relationship Agreements in place with five Indigenous groups including Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Long Lake #58 First Nation and the Métis Nation of Ontario.

Greenstone Mine is located approximately 275 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont. in the Municipality of Greenstone.

The Greenstone Mine plan contemplates construction of a 27,000 tonnes-per-day processing facility and open-pit mining operation for the Hardrock deposit. The process plant consists of a crushing circuit, grinding circuit, pre-leach thickening and leaching, carbon-in-pulp circuit, carbon elution and regeneration, electrowinning and gold refining, and tailings disposal, with overall gold recovery of 91.2 per cent.

Mining will use conventional open-pit blast, load and haul techniques.

Project highlights include the following:

  • The project scope includes $51 million of infrastructure repositioning for relocation of existing infrastructure including a Hydro One electrical substation and distribution lines, an Ontario Provincial Police station and a portion of Highway 11.
  • The $62 million for power and electrical includes construction of a power plant with a designed capacity of 46.5 MW that will connect by pipeline to the TC Energy Canadian Mainline. Additional new infrastructure of $70 million includes site access and haul roads, workforce living and kitchen facilities, potable water and sewage systems, a workshop and maintenance facility, warehousing and administration buildings, explosives and reagent storage, fuel storage and distribution, a recycling and sorting facility, fire water systems and site security.
  • The $80 million for water and tailings management includes construction of a downstream-design 145 million-tonnes-capacity tailings management facility. It also includes a series of runoff and seepage collection ponds that will direct all mine water, surface runoff and underground workings water to the centralized mine water collection pond and effluent water treatment plant, as well as construction of the potable water, sewage systems and fire systems required to safely operate the mine site.
  • The $121 million of pre-production, start-up and commissioning includes mining and process plant pre-production and commissioning, spares and first fills. Construction indirects of $217 million accounts for engineering, procurement and construction management, construction services, contractor mobilization and demobilization, temporary camp and site facilities, and freight and logistics.

Greenstone Mine construction milestones include:

  • Temporary effluent water treatment plant and feed pond complete
  • Phase one of the temporary lodging facility complete
  • Security and medical services on site
  • First phase of roadbuilding and tree clearing complete
  • Detailed engineering for process plant and auxiliary infrastructure is approximately 85 per cent complete
  • 30 per cent ($230 million) of major contracts awarded

More than 40 per cent of contract value to date awarded to Indigenous businesses or partnerships

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