Goldcorp announced in mid-November 2011 that the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks issued a certificate of authorization allowing full construction of Goldcorp’s Éléonore gold project in the James Bay region of northern Quebec. The Éléonore development plan calls for average plant throughput of 7,000 mt/d and average gold production of 600,000 oz/y at cash costs below $400/oz over an approximate 15-year mine life. Total capital cost to full production is expected to be about $1.4 billion.
Proven and probable reserves at Éléonore as of the end of 2010 totaled 3.3 million oz of gold; measured and indicated resources totaled 480,000 oz; and inferred resources totaled 4.17 million oz. The deposit remains open at depth, and future exploration success would create the potential for increased gold production.
Significant progress has already been achieved at the Éléonore site. As of mid-November, the exploration shaft had advanced to a depth of 588 m, with completion to full 725-m depth on track for the second quarter of 2012. The exploration ramp had reached 663 m in length and will provide drilling locations for further resource definition as mine development progresses. Initial production from the upper portions of the deposit, above 650 m, will be from these shaft and ramp facilities.
A second shaft will be sunk to a depth of 1,400 m to access the deeper ore. Receipt of the certificate of authorization allows construction to begin on this shaft and related infrastructure, as well as on the 7,000-mt/d processing facility, the 63-km access road, and the 120-kV electrical sub-station.
The Éléonore mine will be one of the largest underground gold mines in Canada and is a key element of Goldcorp’s growth profile. “Receipt of approvals for construction at Éléonore ensures that the strong pace of development will continue at this pure gold project,” said Goldcorp President and CEO Chuck Jeannes said. “With robust, low-cost gold production in the heart of one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world, Éléonore is well positioned as one of Goldcorp’s future cornerstone assets. A strong, experienced team is already in place, and we remain on track for first gold production in late 2014.”