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Goldcorp announces $90 million investment for winze construction at Musselwhite Mine

New winze will improve ore handling

Goldcorp Inc. has approved a $90 million capital project to improve ore handling at its Musselwhite Mine in northwestern Ontario.

The project will see the construction of a raisebored winze, which will dramatically reduce truck haulage to the mine’s underground crusher.

Currently, mining is at a depth of 1,000 metres under Lake Opapimiskan and 17 haul trucks are used to transport ore a distance of 7.5 kilometres to the crusher at the 400-metre level. The current system is taxing the ventilation system and forced the mine to plan for a more economical and practical material handling solution.

The project will enable hoisting of ore through the winze and associated infrastructure, reducing reliance on high-cost truck haulage. The new material handling solution will improve energy efficiency, reduce ventilation requirements, lower costs and extend the life of the mine.

The winz is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and is expected to generate incremental production of 20 per cent, as well as cost savings of approximately 10 per cent for the life of the operation.

In other news, Goldcorp announced second quarter gold production of 613,400 ounces at all-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $1,067 and a net loss of $78 million, compared with net earnings of $392 million for the same period last year.

For the six months ending June 30th, the company reported gold production of 1,397,100 ounces, net earnings of $2 million and AISC of $936 per ounce.

Goldcorp has three operations in Northern Ontario – Red Lake, Musselwhite and Porcupine. It also owns the Borden development project 200 kilometres east of its Timmins’ Porcupine operation.

Second quarter gold production at Red Lake totaled 73,000 ounces at an AISC of $958 per ounce. The Porcupine operating unit also reported second quarter gold production of 73,000 ounces, but at a lower AISC of $844 per ounce, while Musselwhite produced 59,000 ounces at an AISC of $721 per ounce.

At its Porcupine unit in Timmins, Goldcorp completed its Hoyle Deep project, allowing for more efficient movement of personnel and equipment to the lower levels of the mine and reducing travel time by two hours per shift. During the quarter, a decision was also made to continue underground operations at Dome Mine. Originally, Goldcorp planned to cease underground mining at Dome by mid-year, but higher gold prices and operating cost savings persuaded management to look at options for extending the life of the mine.

In Red Lake, Goldcorp plans to complete “a concept study” on the HG Young deposit, a high-grade discovery near its existing operations. A pre-feasibility study is expected to commence in the first half of 2017 with a decline from surface to allow for further drilling and the extraction of a bulk sample. At its Cochenour development project, drilling, sampling and test mining is expected to the completed by the end of this year.

The company announced several cost saving measures in its second quarter report, including the adoption of a new decentralized organization that will give individual operations greater “accountability for growing the net asset value of their individual businesses.”

One-third of the company’s employees at corporate and regional offices have been terminated for annual administrative savings of $55 million.

The restructuring has also resulted in new management at its Northern Ontario operations with Bill Gascon taking over the reins in Red Lake, Marc Lauzier, returning as mine general manager at Porcupine and Peter Gula, assuming responsibility at Musselwhite.

Goldcorp has also announced plans to complete a pre-feasibility study on its Borden project by the first quarter of 2017 and to begin construction of a ramp to extract a 30,000-tonne bulk sample early next year

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