Toronto’s Argonaut Gold is looking at mid-June for its first gold pour at the Magino Mine, outside Dubreuilville.
In a June 1 news release, Argonaut Gold announced that operating trials of its processing plant at Magino are well underway. Ore was fed into the crushing circuit on May 13 and into the grinding circuit on May 19.
The start of commercial mining operations will be sometime during the third quarter of Argonaut’s fiscal year, meaning a mid to late-summer start.
Magino is 14 kilometres southwest of Dubreuilville and 40 kilometres northeast of Wawa. Its neighbour to the east is Alamos Gold’s prolific Island Gold Mine, currently undergoing its third phase of underground expansion.
Designed as a pit operation, Magino is a revival of a former underground gold mine of the same name which was first developed after the First World War. It ran sporadically over the decades producing 114,319 ounces. Construction of the $980-million project began in early 2021.
Mineralized ore was stockpiled over the winter as construction continued to carve out the open-pit mine.
When in commercial operation, Magino will provide direct mining employment for 350 with plenty of jobs still available to be filled.
The company said in the release that it’s working with its project manager, Ausenco Engineering, to meet any anticipated hiccups usually associated with the startup of a new mill during the commissioning phase.
In a statement, Chuck Hennessy, Argonaut’s vice president of Canadian operations, said the initial 48-hour run of the mills was completed on May 30 followed by the necessary re-torquing of the grinding mills, mechanical inspections and minor repairs and modifications. Milling resumes on June 4.
So far, things look good, he said.
“Initial results during commissioning indicate that throughput targets in the crushing and grinding circuits should be easily achieved, and the team is now working on achieving design availabilities as we work through instrumentation, electrical, and communications issues that are common in the startup of a process plant of this size.”
Commissioning of the tailings area, where mined waste rock is disposed, is finished and Argonaut has pocketed all the permits to run the plant and tailings dump.
“Overall, the ramp up to commercial production remains on schedule and is expected in the third quarter,” added Hennessy.
This is Toronto-based Argonaut’s first Canadian mining asset, outside of its four other mines in Mexico and Nevada. Magino is poised to be the company’s flagship operation.
Magino’s current mine life is pegged at 19 years but the company is optimistic the operation has more longevity with the discovery of high-grade gold, found during exploration drilling, below the pit, which may lead to a transition once again to an underground mine at some point.