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Geraldton open-pit construction reaches the half-way mark

Greenstone Gold Mines making progress cleaning up old mine site to make way for a new one
(Equinox Gold photo)

Construction of the Greenstone Gold Mine is at the 50-per-cent mark with the project on schedule for the first gold pour during the first half of 2024.

In its latest newsletter, Equinox Gold delivered an update on activities at the site, four kilometres south of Geraldton. 

Greenstone Gold Mines is a joint venture between Equinox and Orion Mine Finance. Equinox reports it’s two million hours lost time injury-free on the project.

When operational, the open-pit mine will employ 450 over a projected 14-year mine life and will inject some economic stimulus into the area's economy.

Before winter sets in, a priority at the site is to close in all the key buildings to allow mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation crews to do their installations in relative comfort during the first few months of 2023, along with pouring interior concrete slabs.

Six generators from Finland have arrived for the power plant and work on the natural gas distribution piping at the site is done.

The new gold mine is being constructed at the site of a former gold mine.

Part of the $1.5-billion project budget is earmarked for rehabilitation work to clean up historic contaminants.   

Equinox and Orion are spending millions on a seepage collection system. It involves a series of collection ponds to divert mine water, surface runoff and contaminated water from the old mines and the tailings waste piles to a central collection pond and an effluent water treatment plant. 

Dewatering of the former MacLeod mine shaft began in September. The company reports it's no longer discharging into Kenogamisis Lake, marking a “milestone” in the cleanup of the historic underground mine site. 

The effluent water treatment plant is operational. The sewage and potable water treatments plants will be commissioned in early January.

Mine pre-production began in September as the pit is being excavated. Equinox said the mine is operating 24/7 with the first night shift beginning on Nov. 8.

A second giant excavator –  a PC-5500 shovel – has arrived and will be put to work by year’s end.  

Haul roads continue to be built across the mine site.

The foundation for the tailings dam for mine waste material is complete with the next step being construction of a cement bentonite cut-off wall. 

The mine is being built at the intersection of Highway 11 (the TransCanada Highway) and Highway 584. This involved demolition and rebuilding various buildings in the vicinity of the pit, such constructing a new patrol yard for the MTO.

The company said drilling, blasting and crushing work to realign the highway has wrapped up for the winter. The plan is eventually open the realigned highway later in 2023. 

Environmental teams with local Indigenous participation are gathering and relocating 12 different species of fish from Goldfield Creek into Kenogamisis Lake. Dogwood and willows are being harvested and replanted into the new creek diversion channel.