Barrick Gold Corp. has recently announced its plans to extend the life of the Hemlo gold mine in Canada by transitioning it to a modernised Tier Two asset with a purely underground operation are well underway as opencast mining at the mine starts winding down.
The Hemlo opencast mine has been mined since 1989 and has produced over 2.8 million oz of gold. It was originally used to produce blasted rock for the backfilling of the mine’s underground stopes but in 2002 a CAT 777 truck fleet and key personnel were seconded from Barrick’s Nevada mines to establish the pit as a separate division. In 2013, the David Bell mine closed, leaving the opencast and the Williams underground mine as the chief sources of ore for the mill feed. Over the next 6 years, the opencast mine ramped up and became the primary source of ore for Hemlo.
With mining at the opencast mine scheduled to wind down at the end of October, with less than 200 000 t of ore remaining, a transition plan has been put in place to transfer most of the 70 plus opencast employees to the current underground contractor, Barminco. The opencast crew has already worked with the contractor in digging a new portal from within the opecncast, that will open up new mining fronts in the underground mine creating more flexibility and allowing the underground to ramp up throughput.
Catherine Raw, Chief Operating Officer for North America, said that by repositioning and expanding Hemlo as an underground operation, it would continue delivering benefits to the community, employees and other stakeholders for years to come.
Barrick Hemlo’s General Manager, Adam Foulstone, thanked the opencast employees for their years of dedication and hard work: “It’s been a great run and I am honoured to have worked with such a great team. The last years of the mine were very challenging but we completed the work with zero lost time injuries, a testament to the commitment and professionalism of our people,” he said.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/14102020/barrick-gold-to-modernise-hemlo-gold-mine/