Detour Gold Corp. reported in late July that construction of its Detour Lake open-pit gold mine in northeastern Ontario is on schedule for gold production to start in the first quarter of 2013.

                Construction was reported to be at the 75% completion mark. A significant portion of the remaining construction activities are within the process plant building where workers are proceeding with the mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation installations. In other areas, concrete placement and building structure for the primary gyratory crusher is complete and mechanical installation is under way; geodesic dome installation is progressing over the reclaim area; secondary and pebble crushers have been installed for both grinding lines; the first grinding line’s mechanical installation is nearly completed, and second grinding line mechanical installation is progressing in parallel.

                Gerald Panneton, president and CEO, commented, “We have achieved another significant milestone with the successful connection of the 230 kV transmission line, which will allow for the full commissioning of the grinding mills to start as planned before year-end. We are pleased with the performance of our contractors in achieving the 75% completion mark at the end of June. Our site and Cochrane team of 279 employees are actively preparing for the commencement of operations. The company remains on budget with sufficient cash to complete the project construction and on schedule for gold production to commence in the first quarter of 2013.”

                The 230 kV transmission line, according to the company, will provide more than the 85 MW of power consumption needed to service the entire Detour Lake mine operation once in full production.

                According to the company, pre-production capital cost estimates for the project remain unchanged at $1.45 billion, of which approximately $969 million had been spent as of June 30, 2012. Approximately $1.29 billion has been committed. It also noted that it is seeking a $100-million secured credit facility to provide additional financial flexibility and working capital during the initial mine ramp-up period.

                The company also noted that pre-stripping is under way in the western portion of the Detour Lake deposit. Detour Lake said it started its mining activities in this mineralized zone—although it’s a lower grade zone than the average grade of the mineral reserves—because the zone is wider and thus easier to mine in the ramp-up year.

                Production rates were reported to be steadily increasing and had reached nearly 120,000 t/d. The company is targeting to have up to 3 million metric tons of ore at an average grade of 0.85 g/t Au available for processing prior to the commencement of operations.

                In preparation for 2013 production, the mine will have by year-end 2012 a loading and haulage fleet at site comprising 26 haulage trucks; including 20 Cat 795Fs and six Cat 777Fs; two Cat 6060FS and two Cat 7495 shovels, and two Cat 385 hydraulic excavators to load the smaller haulers.

                When completed, the Detour Gold operation will most likely become Canada’s largest operating gold mine.