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Everything's Golden In Timmins

May 27, 2014 - 5 years ago

By Supply Post

The city of Timmins, Ontario is destined to reap significant economic and environmental benefits over the next decade as a result of a new mining project that will create dozens of new jobs, while rehabilitating a major plot of land in the city’s downtown core.

By Mark Wolfe

The historic underground gold mine, now known as the Hollinger Project, ramped up production in early 2014, and is bordered on all four sides by a mix of businesses, a trailer park, an apartment complex, and residential areas.

“Hollinger is very critical to our long-term future in town here. It’s our first open pit since the Pamour [mine] closed, and it’s also important as it’s a reclamation site, as well as one of the legacy projects we have that we need to clean up,” says Brendan Zuidema, Acting Mine General Manager of Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines. “We’re kind of killing two birds with one stone with this one.”

According to the Goldcorp web site, the Hollinger gold deposit was discovered by Benny Hollinger and Alex Gillies in 1909. For almost 60 years (from 1910 to 1968), the mine was fully operational and produced more than 19.3-million ounces of gold. This output made it one of the most important and richest mines in the Western hemisphere.

From 1968 to 1989, smaller open pits were mined followed by an unsuccessful attempt to restart the underground operations. Since 1989, the 250-acre site was a significant public-safety hazard, closed off for more than 20 years.

In 2006, the company completed its formal closure plan and determined, in consultation with the community, that an openpit mine was the best longterm solution. “We support the project 100 per cent; however, we want it to have as little impact on the lives of the people who live closest to the mine and the haul road,” says Rick Dubeau, Chair of the Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee.

Goldcorp is focusing its initial production efforts on the southern portion of the site to ultimately create the large open pit that will be completed in four phases over the next eight years.

The Hollinger project will involve the use of a large fleet of heavy equipment, trucks, and machinery to drill, blast, load, and haul the ore and waste rock. As part of the reclamation process, a 10-to- 25-metre environmental control berm will be constructed around the perimeter of the site to act as a buffer between the mine and the adjacent community. The berm, along with real-time monitoring, and an ongoing two-way line of communication with the community through the advisory committee, will help mitigate the challenges of noise, dust, and vibration.

And Dubeau says that the advisory committee will be closely involved during the eight-year mining process and beyond as part of the overall mine closure plan through 2022. “Timmins relies on mining,” he says. The Hollinger Project “supports jobs in the community, and also it’s an opportunity to reclaim some land which has been dangerous and unusable for a long period of time.”

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