Overview of the Goldex site
Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited is positioned to triple gold production
by 2009, and Quebec is the major hotbed of activity for the
company. With three new mines under
construction, within short distances
from the company’s current operation,
LaRonde, there is no time for rest.
Paul-Henri Girard, general manager for Agnico-Eagle in the
Abitibi area, is proud of his people and their accomplishments.
New gold mines at Goldex, Lapa, and LaRonde II are all on schedule
to open within the next two years for Lapa and Goldex, and
within five years for LaRonde II.
Construction of the Goldex mine is well advanced for production
startup in 2008. At a capital cost of $135 million, this project
boasts gold reserves of 1.6 million ounces, while the deposit
remains open to the east and at depth. Estimated average annual
production of 170,000 ounces at total cash costs of approximately
$225 per ounce over a nine-year mine life positions Goldex as an
important part of Agnico-Eagle’s future growth.
Work is ongoing at two locations on site. Shaft 1 is the old
exploration shaft. From it, underground development is well
underway, including the mining area,mucking, and ore levels.Also,
a ventilation raise is being driven from level 36 to the surface.
Currently, the ventilation system is approximately 50 per cent
2.5 kilometres of lateral
development has been
completed. Additionally, lateral
development is ongoing
at a rate of 400 metres
per month. “The success at
Goldex is largely due to utilizing
our experienced and
flexible workforce,” Girard
said. “We transferred over
70 people from the
LaRonde operation and we
rebuilt old equipment,
requiring that we purchase
Shaft 2 is a new site,
where the surface plant is
being constructed.To date, a
120 kW power station has
been built, as well as a service
building including an
electrical distribution system, five 3,000 CFM compressors, and two
generators – two compressors are already in use for shaft sinking.
The headframe for the planned 860-metre deep Shaft 2 is complete
and the production hoist will be installed at the top within
the next six months. A temporary sinking hoist is being used to
speed up the shaft sinking now underway by Dumas
Construction. As well, the Marian cage is installed.
The warehouse is completed and a building has been selected
for the mill, while two bridges to the new tailings pond are being
constructed. “The detailed engineering for the tailings pond and
mill is underway,” Girard added. “By the end of October the mill
building will be completed, to enable us to install equipment this
winter.” The main components of the mill have been purchased
with the SAG mill, flotation circuit,pumps, gravity circuits, furnace,
and overhead crane ordered and awaiting delivery.
“Construction started about a year ago—we received the goahead
in August 2005,” Girard said. “Goldex will provide around
200 jobs once in production in 2008.”
Goldex will be mined by an open stope method and mucked
like a block caving operation at 6,900 tonnes per day using two
scooptrams to work 35 to 45 drawpoints on the same level.“With
eight to twelve million tonnes per block,we’ll blast like open stoping,
and access four to six million tonnes on a single level,”Girard
highlighted.“The ground condition is good, and all simulations for
rock stress and ore drawing have been successful.”
Once the ore enters the mill, approximately 66 per cent of the
gold is recovered in the gravity circuit. To recover the remainder, a
sulphide concentrate will be produced too and sent to the
LaRonde complex for leachable gold recovery.