Panorama: Canada’s largest gold mine
MINING.COM recently had the opportunity to view Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine up close.
The scale of the pit and the operation’s proximity to the town of Malartic, in Quebec, impress upon the observer a sense of the massive remaining discovery potential of the Abitibi Gold Belt, as evidenced by continued exploration funding flowing to the prospective region.
The mine is jointly owned on a 50/50-basis by Agnico Eagle (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) and Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY).
The underground mine is expected to be in full production from 2029 until at least 2039, and produce about 500,000 to 600,000 oz. gold a year.
Yamana CEO Peter Marrone has said the mine represents a generational opportunity for the two partners.
Canadian Malartic, in which Yamana acquired a 50% stake in 2014, entered production as an open-pit operation in 2011 and will remain in production until at least 2040 based on the underground mine now in development.
“We come to the end of the mine life in late 2027 or early 2028. But what’s happened since 2014 is we’ve made three discoveries underground, that cumulatively come to just over 14 million ounces at an average grade of 2.5 grams per tonne. These are big ore bodies,” he told MINING.COM.
Yamana and partner Agnico Eagle made a construction decision on the underground mine at Malartic in February. Yamana’s portion of the capex is about $650 million, which will be spent over a roughly seven-year horizon as that project comes into production.
The underground mine, some areas of which will be accessed by ramp and some by shaft, is expected to be in full production from 2029 until at least 2039, and produce about 500,000 to 600,000 oz. gold a year.
Much of Yamana’s portion of the capex will be funded by cash flow. “It doesn’t cost us very much — in the range of C$60 to C$80 million per year — for the development of a mine that will be producing 550,000 ounces per year and that will extend at least until 2040 and likely substantially longer than that.”