North American Palladium to expand flagship Ontario mine

Canada’s North American Palladium said it plans to expand its flagship mine in Northern Ontario at a cost of around $75 million for the first phase of the project. Phase 1 of the Lac des Iles expansion should be completed in the fourth quarter of next year when the shaft will begin operating at a rate of 3,500 tonnes per day.

The mine is located northwest of the city of Thunder Bay, and its primary deposits are palladium with some platinum, gold, nickel, and copper by-products. The company, which also operates two gold mines in Quebec, received a bump at the opening of trade in New York with the stock up 3.3% in a softer broader market.

William J. Biggar, President and Chief Executive Officer said in a statement LDI is poised to become the lowest cost primary palladium producer in the world.

The company will gradually increase our production to the rate of 5,500 tonnes per day by 2015, at which point production should increase to over 250,000 ounces per year at much lower cash costs, attributable to the higher volumes mined and the benefits of the developed infrastructure. Cash costs then are forecasted to be approximately US$200 per ounce using current metal price assumptions.

North American Palladium’s (AMEX:PAL) 2011 capital expenditure budget is $175 million.

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