Detour Gold said the start of mining at its West Detour project would be delayed due to the expected wait time for the completion of a federal environmental assessment process.
In a news release, the company said it had filed an environmental study report with the province on Jan. 30, which it believed met the requirements of the provincial and federal environmental assessment process.
Detour later found out its Indigenous partners have requested an additional federal environmental assessment process, which the company anticipates will take between two and three years to complete.
The company is therefore delaying its original 2018 mining start date and will redesign its mine plan. It plans to file a new life-of-mine plan and technical report by the end of March.
“Although we are disappointed with the permitting delay for West Detour, having the benefit of a large reserve base allows us to manage this schedule change,” said Paul Martin, Detour’s president and CEO, in a news release.
“The company is currently in discussions with the federal authorities and looks forward to concluding this matter shortly.”
The company said it doesn’t yet have the support of all its Indigenous partners, but would continue to work with them during the environmental assessment process.
In the base plan currently being developed, the company said mining at the North satellite pit could commence in 2019, while mining at West Detour would not start until 2021.
In both cases, annual mining rates are projected to ramp up to approximately 120 million tonnes from 100 million tonnes in 2017.
Detour Gold operates the Detour Lake open-pit gold mine 185 kilometres north of Cochrane. It is expected to produce 550,000 to 600,000 ounces of gold in 2017.