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Greenstone Gold breaks ground this week on Geraldton-area open-pit mine

Greenstone Mine is among a string of new mine projects coming online along Lake Superior's North Shore
Premier Gold Greenstone Gold property

The start of construction of an open-pit gold mine near Geraldton kicks off on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 27, with a sod-turning ceremony.

Greenstone Gold Mines and its project operator, Equinox Gold, will have a groundbreaking ceremony attended by company officials and other ribboned dignitaries at the project site three kilometres south of Geraldton and 275 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Greenstone Gold Mines is a 60/40 joint venture between Equinox and Orion Mine Finance. The two companies took over the turnkey project last December, replacing Premier Gold and Centerra Gold as project co-developers.

The mine is a revival of a former gold mining property that was actually rehabilitated during the 1990s.

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The almost $1-billion development project is within the shadow of a legacy mining headframe and Highway 11 landmark at the site of the former Hardrock, MacLeod-Cockshutt and Mosher underground mines. The mines operated from the late 1930s until about 1970 and combined to produce more than two million ounces of gold.

The Greenstone Mine, formerly the Hardrock Project, is the first in a series of potential district-scale gold mines within Greenston Gold's string of claim groups, covering a cumultative strike length of more than 105 kilometres in a geological area known as the Geraldton-Beardmore Greenstone Belt. The properties run along Highway 11 and Trans-Canada Energy's natural gas pipeline.

Situated at the intersection of Highways 11 and 584, the roads will have to be rerouted to accommodate the pit operation.

The mine will built over a two to three-year period and will involve the construction of a 27,000-tonne per day processing plant, a 65-megawatt power plant, tailings management facility and supporting infrastructure.

While Equinox had kept a construction start date under wraps, plenty of preparatory work is already underway involving earth moving for the proposed pit and installation of all the necessary power lines and access roads.

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There will also be training opportunities for area Indigenous community members and some contracts have already been awarded to First Nations-owned firms for tree clearing and worker camp installation.

Greenstone Gold is one of many exciting mining developments taking place or about to take place along the north shore of Lake Superior, including Generation Mining's proposed palladium and copper mine project, north of Marathon; the construction of Argonaut Gold's Magino Mine outside Dubreuilville, and underground expansion taking place nearby at Alamos' Island Gold Mine.

There's also a raft of exploration activity up and down the North Shore for gold and other high-tech metals needed to drive the global electric vehicle revolution.

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