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Dubreuilville mine builders on the path to completion

Argonaut Gold expects first gold pour at Magino Mine in April 2023
Construction at the Magino Mine Project site in October (Argonaut Gold photo)

The finish line is in sight for the completion of construction and the spring 2023 start of production at the Magino open-pit mine outside Dubreuilville.

Argonaut Gold management said the project is at 70 per cent completion as the Toronto-based gold company announced its third quarter financials for the period ending Sept. 30.

The company reported quarterly production of 49,939 gold ounces from its four mine complexes in Mexico and Nevada with revenues of US$75.3 million but posted a loss of US$1.3 million. 

The first gold pour at Magino is scheduled for April 2023.

“We’re now on solid footing to move Magino forward,” said Argonaut President-CEO Larry Radford in a Nov. 4 webcall with mining analysts.

The company said significant progress has been made at Magino, which will become Argonaut’s flagship operation. As its only Canadian operation, gold production at Magino is pegged at 142,000 ounces per year during the first five years of its 19-year mine life.

Magino is 14 kilometres southeast of Dubreuilville and 40 kilometres northeast of Wawa. It’s a revival of an underground mine of the same name that was developed after the First World War.

When in operation, Magino will create 350 direct mining jobs. The area remains a very robust gold mining and exploration camp.

Radford reported significant progress has been made on completing the first stage of the waste rock tailings dam and the power generators are in place for the liquid natural gas plant.

All the major mill processing equipment is on site. Pumping, piping and electrical systems are being installed and all the buildings are enclosed for winter. 

After some staff turnover this year, 35-year mining veteran Chuck Hennessey was brought aboard last summer as vice-president of Canadian operations to take Magino through to completion. Teams are in place to prepare to operate the processing mill.

There were rocky times predicted late last year as cost estimates to finish the mine began to skyrocket due to inflation and the pandemic. Another review in April further boosted the pricetag. 

But since a management shakeup this year, Argonaut has done plenty of work in raising more than $500 million in financing to finish the project.

As of the end of September, about $920 million is the estimated cost to completion with $626 million having been spent.

About 1.5 years worth of gold ore production has been drilled out.

Cost-wise, Radford said there's been some relief in diesel prices but not much in natural gas and blasting material. With inflation running at 12.5 per cent, all mining companies are feeling the same pressures, he said.

Heading into 2023, there’s expected to be continued geopolitical and economic instability and they’ll remained focused on optimization and efficiencies at all their operations, the company said. Cost control is equally important as gold production.

“Exciting times at Argonaut as we can see the finish line at Magino. It’s coming fast and we’re all looking forward to commissioning and ramp up and getting the project into production,” said Radford.