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Hudbay’s New Britannia mill produces first gold

Hudbay Minerals’ Lalor mine in Manitoba. Image from Hudbay Minerals

Gold production has begun at the refurbished New Britannia mill belonging to Hudbay Minerals (TSX: HBM; NYSE: HBM). The first gold pour was Aug. 11, ahead of schedule, in Snow Lake, Manitoba.

“We are proud of the New Britannia project and operating teams for completing construction activities ahead of the original timelines and achieving a successful ramp up to first gold pour,” said Peter Kukielski, Hudbay’s president and CEO. “This is a major growth milestone for Hudbay and our Manitoba business as it marks the beginning of the transition of our Lalor mine to a primary gold operation.”

Hudbay expects to produce 180,000 oz. of gold annually in each of the next six years. The all-in sustaining cost, net of by-product credits, will be $788 per oz. gold.

Plans call for ramping up the Lalor mining rate to 5,800 tonnes/day up from the current 4,800 t/d rate. The mine has total proven and probable gold reserves of 17.2 million tonnes with an average grade of 3.8 g/t gold, 3.68% zinc,  0.66% copper, and 29 g/t silver. About 8 million tonnes of base metal reserves have also been outlined at the mine.

The New Britannia refurbishment carried a capex of $95 million, which Hudbay paid for by raising $115 million through a forward gold sale and prepay arrangement.

The company is also completing a new copper flotation circuit at New Britannia, and that should ramp up in the fourth quarter 2021.­­

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)