Eldorado scales down operations at Lamaque mine in Quebec

Lamaque produces ore from the Triangle-deposit and process it at the refurbished Sigma mill. (Image courtesy of Eldorado Gold.)

Canada’s Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD)(NYSE:EGO) is temporarily minimizing operations at its Lamaque mine in Quebec until April 13 as the province has shuttered all non-essential services following a dramatic spike in the number of novel coronavirus cases.

Quebec’s Premier François Legault said Monday cases had reached 628, adding that there were four reported deaths in the province linked to the pandemic.

“There is reason to believe that there is beginning to be community transmission,” Legault said.

All Quebec businesses considered to be non-essential services must close their doors as of midnight on Tuesday.

The surge in cases — up 409 from Sunday — meant the province was forced to roll out more stringent measures to slow the spread.

“We are putting Quebec on pause,” Legault said.

Effective March 25, Eldorado will ramp down operational activity and maintain only essential personnel on-site, located in the Val d’Or mining camp, at the eastern end of the prolific Southern Abitibi Greenstone Belt.

The Vancouver-based gold miner also had some good news to share, as the provincial government has granted the company an environmental permit for the expansion of underground production from the Triangle deposit at Lamaque.

The project would allow the miner to churn out 2,650 tonnes per day once operations resume, up from 1,800 tonnes per day.

Lamaque, which began commercial operations last year, has an initial mine life of seven years and its output is set to increase to 125,000-135,000 ounces of gold in 2020 and 2021. Eldorado Gold also has mining, development and exploration operations in Greece, Romania, Serbia and Brazil.