TMAC Resources has started construction on the Madrid North underground portal. The portal and underground development is targeting the Naartok West zone, enabling access to first production stopes in late 2020.

“This is an important milestone as Madrid North development will provide both near-term operational flexibility and enable medium-term potential growth alternatives at Hope Bay,” said Jason Neal, president and CEO of TMAC. “The Naartok West zone will be the first underground area developed within the overall Madrid North deposit, which has a defined reserve of 2.17 million ounces (oz) of gold, almost entirely above the 400-meter (m) level. Near surface, the Naartok West zone includes a wide, high-grade core as demonstrated by the results of a 2018 surface drilling program.”

Drilling results in 2018, according to TMAC, targeted from surface to the 150-m level, include drill-hole intersections up to 7.4 grams per metric ton (g/mt) gold over 65.7 m, including 14.4 g/t gold over 26.1 m and 12.9 g/mt gold over 50 m, including 60.1 g/mt over 8 m. The Naartok West deposit will lend itself to efficient mining via conventional long-hole stopes, with increased mining widths and ounces per vertical meter, Neal explained.

TMAC will use the Madrid North portal to drive exploration drifts toward Naartok East, Suluk, Rand and Spur deposits for future bulk samples and exploration. Also, opening the underground mine will establish the key infrastructure for further overall development of the deposit, according to the company.