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Argonaut making progress in optimising its Magino mine

Argonaut's Magino mine

Argonaut's Magino mine

19th December 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Canada-based gold producer Argonaut Gold says its flagship Magino mine, in Ontario, is nearing the gold production rates set out in its National Instrument 43-101 technical report following the implementation of various technical and operational improvements.

The mine began producing gold in June and achieved commercial production on November 1; however, during the early commissioning period, the mine faced challenges as it transitioned into a steady feed of higher-grade ore, in line with the technical report.

Following the implementation of improved mining practices in late October, the operations have delivered a consistent increase in feed grade to the mill, which have averaged at or above the life of mine reserve grade, the company points out.

Further, during November, Argonaut executed a test campaign at the mine site using OREPro3D on a test block of high-grade ore. The software program created a test block including ore tonnes and grade, before and after blasting, that was then flitch mined and batch tested through the mill.

The average estimated grade of the test block was 1.53 g/t gold, including external dilution, while 1.50 g/t was received at the mill, demonstrating that strong grade control practices are working well.

"Implementing the right technology is expected to be instrumental to our success. We believe that OREPro3D will play a pivotal role in providing precise data for blast movement.

“Based on the excellent results of this test campaign, the mine is currently installing the software and carrying out training, which should be completed by the end of the year. We are also in the process of implementing a high-precision global positioning system (GPS) fleet management system in our four principle loading tools, anticipated to be completed by year-end, which is also expected to further enhance grade control, mining efficiency and minimise dilution of ore delivered to the mill,” Argonaut COO Marc Leduc says.

In addition to investments in the GPS fleet management system to improve mining selectivity by enabling more precise identification of ore and waste blocks to operators, given that the Magino orebody is not visually controlled, the company is also working to improve mining productivity by optimising the payload capacity of the current truck fleet. The company expects these changes to result in increased haulage capacity.

Argonaut expects the implementation of the above-mentioned technical and operational enhancements to afford the company a significantly greater ability to mine more accurately and selectively, thereby increasing the predictability of grades from the mine to the mill on a go forward basis.

Meanwhile, the company has also hired international engineering firm Lycopodium to complete a plant optimisation and expansion study, with the goal of increasing throughput. The capital cost to complete the optimisation work is not expected to be material and should, if supported by the study, largely be completed by the end of 2024.

The overall objective of the optimisation and expansion study is to increase plant throughput to between 17 500 t and 20 000 t a day.

The company expects this work will support an expansion study forming part of an updated technical report for the Magino mine by the end of third quarter of 2024.

“The goal is to build Magino into a 200 000 oz/y to 250 000 oz/y gold mine. Through the year, we have strengthened our team, processes and technology, all of which are critical to building Magino into a large, low-cost, long-life gold mine,” says president and CEO Richard Young.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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