Wasamac gold mine is low-cost advanced stage gold exploration project located near Rouyn-Noranda, in the Abitibi gold mining camp in Quebec, Canada.

Monarques Gold Corporation (Monarques) is developing the historical gold project with an estimated investment of £373m ($464m).

The annual average gold production from the mine is anticipated to be 1.56 million ounces (Moz) for more than 11 years of estimated mine life. Monarques aims to produce 2,000tpd in 2022 and ramp up to the full capacity of 6,000tpd in 2024.

The feasibility study (FS) of the project was completed in December 2018, while construction is scheduled to be started in 2020. Full production is planned to be commenced in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The peak construction period is expected to create 420 temporary jobs, while 300 permanent jobs will be created during operations.

Wasamac gold project location and geology

The Wasamac gold mine is located in the Wasamac property, which comprises three mining concessions and 11 mining claims covering 1,149ha.

The site is situated in Beauchastel Township, approximately 15km west of Rouyn-Noranda in the Abitibi gold mining district in Quebec.

The Wasamac property lies within the Abitibi greenstone belt of the Superior Province of the Canadian Shield.

The gold mineralisation is found within quartz, carbonate, sericite, albite, pyrite, and chlorite inside the shear zone, while the main mineralisation zone of the property is hosted by the WSZ.

Wasamac gold mine reserves 

The total proven and probable ore reserves at the Wasamac gold project are estimated to be 21.45Mt, grading 2.56g/t gold. Contained gold was estimated to be 1.77Moz as of December 2018.

Mining at Wasamac gold project

Underground mining method will be applied at the Wasamac gold project, which will be accessed through twin declines and ramps.

The underground mine will consist of five zones namely main zone (MZ), zone 1 (Z1), zone 2 (Z2), zone 3 (Z3), and zone 4 (Z4). The initial mining focus will be on the main zone and zone 2.

The ore will be extracted using Rail-Veyor technology by applying top-down long hole stoping method. The mined out stopes will be back-filled with paste fill, produced at the underground paste back-fill plant.

Major mining fleet to be used include Reclaim Feeders and7t LHDs along with Jumbo, ITH, and Slot drill.

Processing at Wasamac gold project

The ore will be transferred from the underground mine by a Rail-Veyor® conveying system to a jaw crusher, where it will be crushed, stored in a stockpile, and reclaimed.

The coarse ore from the reclaim system will be conveyed to the grinding circuit that consists of SAG and ball mill circuits. The overflow from the cyclone of the ball mill circuit will be transferred for pre-leaching and leaching.

PumpCell CIP circuit will be used to absorb gold from the leached material, following which it will undergo carbon washing and neutralisation. An adsorption-desorption-recovery (ADR) circuit and a gold room will recover gold from activated carbon and will produce doré.

The produced doré bars will be stored in the proposed secured gold room.

Infrastructure at Wasamac mine

Wasamac gold project can be accessed by Provincial Highway 117 connecting to Rouyn-Noranda to the community of Arntfield.

Power will be sourced from an existing 25kV hydroelectric power line that runs along Highway 117, owned by Hydro Quebec. A 120kV line is also available approximately 8km east of the project.

An electrical substation will be constructed at the processing plant, apart from a tailings management facility (TMF) for the dry-stacked tailings.

Underground infrastructure will include a cemented back-fill plant and distribution system, electrical distribution system, process water system garage & mobile equipment shop, and explosives and storage space for detonators.

Contractors involved

BBA prepared the technical report for the feasibility study of the project, with support from Roscoe Postle Associates (RPA) and Outotec.

Base Metallurgical Laboratories conducted metallurgical tests as part of the feasibility study of the Wasamac gold project.