Construction of the Magino open-pit mine, outside Dubreuilville, is completed and the operational ramp-up is underway.
Argonaut Gold delivered that news in releasing its fiscal 2023 second quarter results on Aug. 11.
Though not yet in full commercial production, Magino produced 3,295 ounces during the quarter ending June 30.
In a web conference call, the company said the focus is on commissioning activities as they fine-tune the processing mill to a “steady state,” said Marc Leduc, Argonaut’s chief operating officer.
Argonaut had plans for a mine ribbon-cutting on Aug. 10 but postponed it to a later date.
The first gold pour at Canada’s newest mine took place in the middle of June. The transition into commercial production begins this quarter. Permits are in hand to operate the processing plant and the tailings facility.
The company announced this week that ore from Magino pit was introduced into the new crushing and grinding circuits in mid-May. Higher grade material is expected to enter the mill this week.
“We’re on plan,” said Argonaut President-CEO Richard Young in expressing confidence that Magino will ramp up to capacity this year. .
Magino is a low grade, big tonnage operation, 12 kilometres southeast of Dubreuilville and 40 kilometres northeast of Wawa. Alamos Gold’s prolific Island Gold Mine is Argonaut’s neighbour to the east.
Magino is a revival of an historic underground mine of the same name. The mine now runs as a conventional truck-and-shovel operation with the capability to produce 150,000 ounces of gold a year.
The company sees open-ended potential to lengthen Magino’s 19-year mine life. There’s further gold potential to the east, towards Island Gold, and to the west.
Argonaut has budgeted $25 million for a drilling program focused on outlining the gold resource within the pit and high-grade occurrences deeper down. Drill crews will also be testing gold targets further to the west on its 2,200-hectare land package.
The company is already studying a mill expansion to boost the daily throughput to 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes and to ratchet up gold production to 200,000 ounces a year.
Argonaut management have high hopes that Magino and its Florida Canyon Mine in Nevada will grow into cornerstone assets as the company begins to wind down operations at three mines in Mexico.
Young said these two operations will receive the lion’s share of capital spending in the years to come as these assets hold the greatest value and have the best potential for a long mine lives.