A new lookout offers spectacular views of the city and into an active open-pit mining operation.
Newmont Porcupine has officially opened its Hollinger Open Pit Lookout. It will be open every year from June 1 to Sept. 30. During that period, people can access it seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except during blasting periods that run from 11:30 a.m. to noon and 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The road to access it is off of Brunette, just south of Water Tower Road.
On a nice, beautiful day, people can see the Kidd Creek headframe, Mount Jamieson and more, said Bryan Neeley, Newmont Porcupine's sustainability and external relations manager.
Looking into the open pit, he said the pit closest to the water tower has about 1.5 years of production to go, and the other one has about six to eight months of production to go.
Work on the lookout started in 2015. At that time, Neeley recalled the design was for a staircase.
In 2019, just before the pandemic, a lookout area was opened for a limited time. The four-day event offered a great viewing area into the mine, but the surface was all gravel.
Today, the area is fully accessible. The road, parking lot, viewing areas and walking path are paved. There are now also three lookouts into the open pit, with the top-level offering a unique view of Timmins as well. There are 10 parking spots and one accessible parking spot available.
Over the years, the project was hindered by short construction seasons, the Stars and Thunder music festival impacted work, and then COVID-19 hit.
J.L. Richards designed the lookout and incorporated the mine into the landscaping. Instead of grass outside the railing, spokesperson Leah Shorrock said there are rocks so there isn't a harsh transition between the open pit and viewing platforms. To tie in the rocks on inside of the railing, there are precast concrete rocks.
"We actually looked at the line of sight when you’re looking out so that you don’t see the other fence … it’s not in the way of your view,” she said.
When work started and they noticed the nice view of Timmins, it was incorporated into the design as well.
During its limited opening in 2019, just under 4,000 people visited the lookout and there were lineups down the road to get in.
“We’re expecting high numbers and high volumes, especially on good days,” said Neeley.
When there is blasting, the viewing area will be closed.
Neeley asks the public to be patient with security guards, who will start ushering people out of the area about 45 minutes prior to the blast.
"That’s going to be different for us because it’s the public, it’s not our own employees. It’s to move them out then move them back in — we want people to be collaborative,” he said.