One of Northern Ontario’s most quietly successful remote mines celebrated a major production milestone in November.
Newmont’s Musselwhite Mine poured its 8,000th gold doré bar since commercial production began in 1997. The operation celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.
In a statement, General Manager Mark Kiessling said the milestone is a “testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment that everyone at Musselwhite has made to ensuring our best days lie ahead.”
The fly-in/fly-out operation, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, is situated on the traditional territory of North Caribou Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario.
Musselwhite was one of the first mines in Canada to enter into a comprehensive agreement with First Nations communities.
About 1,000 full-time employees and contractors are on the payroll, some having worked for the full 26 years of operation.
Musselwhite’s ore is mined from two main zones under Lake Opapimiskan.
Musselwhite became an asset of Newmont as part of its acquisition of Goldcrop in 2019, which included Porcupine Gold Mines in Timmins, which comprises the Hoyle Pond underground mine and the Hollinger open-pit mine.
The operation has had its challenges in recent years.
After a 2019 conveyor fire halted production for almost a year, followed by pandemic related shutdowns in 2020 and 2021. But Newmont said the down time was used wisely to figure out ways to operate more efficiently and position the asset for long-term success.
“If you look at where the Newmont Musselwhite operation was in 2019 with the conveyor fire, you can see the improvements in development now,” said Kiessling. “You can see the improvement in ore tons and the improvement in gold ounces mined. And we expect that trend to continue.”