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Large operators take root in Timmins.

Timmins has not seen so much exploration work and mining activity in years with production underway at three new mines. Continued development work on gold and base metal projects such as the Porcupine Joint Venture, Montcalm and St. Andrews Gold Field, are keeping contractors and developers and drill crews busy these days.

The Porcupine Joint Venture, a Placer Dome Inc./Kinross Gold Corp. partnership, is now feeding ore from their Pamour open pit mine to the Dome mill.

Both companies have developed new ways to look at further exploration development. They believe some of the past rock samples may been improperly classified, says Ann Wilson, resident geologist with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. They are using Discover Abitibi geophysical tools and the companies' shared data to examine some of the findings.

The Discover Abitibi initiative has been an economic boost to the community, with about 13,000 active claims registered as of this month.

Recently, Discover Abitibi was provided information on ore deposits in the area by locally operating mining and exploration companies, Project Manager Robert Calhoun says. The data included deposit models, regional, geological, geochemical and geophysical mapping studies, drill hole locations and logs not previously made public. The availability of the data has allowed companies such as Kinross and Placer Dome to explore their properties in more detail.

St. Andrew Goldfields Ltd. recently completed a $2.5 million investment to refurbish the 1,300 tonne-a-day mill. Stopes are being developed on the 100-, 150- and 200-metre levels on the Clavos property, and mineralized rock has been hauled to surface to provide metallurgical test samples. Exploration drilling is continuing, with the drifting carried out by Dumas Contracting.

St. Andrews is also looking to recommission the mothballed Stock Mine. The company is in the midst of bringing ore to surface for testing.

If gold prices remain high, the company will have to assess resources and production potential to determine their next move.

Wilson says the refurbishment is a good indication the company is willing to proceed further.

Falconbridge's Kidd Metallurgical Division is now processing ore from Montcalm, their newest high-grade project located approximately 70 kilometres northwest of Timmins. The mine contains approximately five million tonnes of resource with an average nickel-copper production of 8,000 tonnes annually.

The production has created an estimated 150 jobs (including contractors): 50 trucking contractors, 90 Redpath Group workers and 10 other existing positions from Falconbridge, according to Montcalm president John McDonald.

He adds the staff complement will decrease by about 20 when the mine ramps up into full production.

Instead of sinking a shaft from surface, McDonald says they have installed a ramp. It is a relatively shallow mine with a depth of just over 400 metres. They are mining at a very high rate (150,000 tonnes a year) compared to the mine's reserves.

"At the rate we are mining right now, we should be good up until roughly 2011."


Northern Ontario Business
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Author:Louiseize, Kelly
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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