AuRico Gold poured the first gold at its Young-Davidson mine in the Abitibi gold belt of northern Ontario April 30, 2012. Open-pit mining rates averaged about 24,000 mt/d of ore and waste during April, and AuRico is targeting 35,000 mt/d by the end of the second quarter. Commercial production will be declared once the mill averages a minimum throughput of 5,100 mt/d over a 30-day period and the open-pit averages 29,750 mt/d over a 30-day period. AuRico expects to achieve these operating rates early in the third quarter.
Wet commissioning of the Young-Davidson mill was essentially complete on March 22, at which time ore was introduced into the circuit and ore commissioning began. During the following three weeks, the mill moved to 24-hour continuous operation, and mill throughput began to ramp-up steadily. Between April 19 and April 29, the mill averaged about 5,000 mt/d, well above the budgeted throughput rate for the month, and a number of days saw throughputs near the 2012 design capacity of 6,000 mt/d.
As of April 29, 963,000 mt (approximately six months ore supply) had been stockpiled ahead of the mill for processing. Current estimates are call for production of 65,000 to 75,000 oz of gold during 2012, 135,000 to 155,000 oz during 2013, and 165,000 to 190,000 oz during 2014, with an ultimate target of 250,000 oz by 2016.
Young-Davidson’s proven and probable reserves at year-end 2011 totaled 3.8 million oz of gold in 46.6 million mt grading 2.56 g/mt gold.
The mine is located near the town of Matachewan, about 60 km west of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The property consists of contiguous mineral leases and claims totaling 11,000 acres and is situated on the site of two past producing mines.