Cementation celebrates Big Lift at Macassa Mine
90-tonne Galloway lowered through headframe
November 24th was a day to remember for mining contractor Cementation Canada, as a 750-tonne Liebherr crane supplied by Northern Equipment in Sudbury safely lifted a 90-tonne, 26-metre long Galloway and lowered it through the interior of a 65-metre high concrete headframe to the collar of the soon to be sunk #4 shaft at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa Mine.
“Usually, we like to put the Galloway into the collar and then build the headframe, but we wanted to build the headframe in good weather, so we had it built first to help Kirkland Lake Gold advance the project,” explained Cementation president Roy Slack.
“It’s a concrete headframe, so it’s always better to slip form it when you’re not into the cold weather.”
Cementation had help from several other mining suppliers, including Anmar Mechanical, Niiwin General Parnership, Shaba Testing Services, MDB Mining and Tesc Contracting in Sudbury, which was responsible for the headframe construction.
The Big Lift began at 3 pm on November 24th and was completed in four and a half hours with the Galloway secured in the collar and the weight transferred.
The Ontario Provincial Police had to close the nearby highway and wind speed was carefully monitored to ensure the lift could proceed safely.
Several other cranes were used for the operation, including one that suspended a basket with two men communicating with the operator of the 750-tonne crane to make sure that the Galloway was precisely positioned as it was lowered through the headframe.
“We did a lot of engineering and hazard analysis and worked diligently on the safety review to make sure that it went without a hitch,” said Slack.
Shaft sinking is expected to commence in Q2 of this year.
The 21.5-foot diameter #4 shaft will be completed in two phases. The first phase will be to a depth of 5,450 feet and include a mid-shaft loading pocket. Completion of phase one is targeted for the second quarter of 2022 at a capital cost estimated at $240 million. Phase two of the project will be undertaken following the commencement of production from phase one, and will involve extending the shaft to an ultimate depth of approximately 7,000 feet. Completion of phase two is targeted for the end of 2023 at an estimated capital cost of approximately $80 million.
The #4 shaft de-risks the operation by providing redundant access to the mine in case of any problems with the existing shaft. It will enable more effective underground exploration to the east of the South Mine Complex, improve ventilation and general working conditions in the mine, and support higher levels of production and lower unit costs, according to Kirkland Lake Gold. The four-compartment shaft will have a total hoisting capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day, including waste.
Kirkland Lake Gold budgeted to spend $40 million on the project in 2018 and expects to spend between $50 and $55 million on the shaft this year.
Guidance for the next three years sees Macassa producing between 245,000 and 255,000 ounces of gold by 2021, with output increasing to over 400,000 ounces by 2024.