Goldcorp wants to take a low profile in developing an all-electric mine at its Borden Lake deposit.
The Canadian gold miner is determined to make its physical presence less felt with the first mine out of the chute in the Chapleau area's emerging gold camp.
Situated 10 kilometres east of the town, Goldcorp's 2015 acquisition of the project from Probe Mines was touted as one of the best new development assets in the industry.
Since mining is relatively new to this part of northeastern Ontario, Marc Lauzier, mine general manager at Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) in Timmins, said his team is taking extra care to educate everyone and gather residents' feedback in developing a "green mine" that will have minimal environmental impact.
"Borden is a bit unique," he explained, "ft's a new mine and it's in a pristine area. So we're trying to minimize noise, dust and take the smallest possible footprint. Everything we're doing revolves around that. If we do a good job, (people) actually see very little."
In 2015, Goldcorp reported Borden Lake contained an indicated resource of 1.6 million ounces of gold. Exploration continues as the deposit remains open at depth.
A pre-feasibility study is underway, which should be completed by year's end, with a feasibility study slated to start soon after.
Planned as a ramp-access mine, construction of the portal will start in February. The ramp will be driven into the deposit towards extracting a 30,000-tonne bulk sample in 2018. The sample will confirm the mine's metallurgical and geological continuity. Commercial production starts in mid-2019.
While the study work goes on, Goldcorp will be applying for provincial and federal permits for commercial operations, said Lauzier.
"Right now, we're permitted for advanced exploration and when that's complete we hope that the timing will be such that we'll get our permanent permits and we'll continue on."
The concept of an all-electric mine had suppliers like Sandvik Mining and MacLean Engineering crowing of their involvement with the "world's first 100 per cent diesel-free hard rock mine" at the MINExpo International convention in Las Vegas in September.
Sandvik will be supplying Borden with two electric DD422iE twin-boomed jumbos --used in underground drilling and blasting--while MacLean is providing two battery-powered MacLean 975 scaler-bolters, used for ground support.
"We'll be the first to try this jumbo, as far as I know," said Lauzier. "Some of this gear has already...