Skip to content

Reclamation plans for the Hollinger open pit have changed: mine manager

Timmins' legacy mine is expected to close in 2024, and will make way for Newmont Porcupine's Pamour open pit project
Newmont Porcupine's mine manager, Dawid Pretorius, addressed members of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 6.

As one legacy mine's life is coming to an end, new life is being breathed into another project. The vision for how Timmins' Hollinger open pit will look after the mine closes has also changed.

Newmont Porcupine's mine manager, Dawid Pretorius, gave an update on the company's local operations at the Timmins Chamber's State of Mining on Dec. 6.

Newmont currently has four operating sites — the Dome, Hoyle Pond and Hollinger in Timmins, and Borden near Chapleau. A new US$685-million project — the Pamour open pit — was also approved.

The Hollinger open pit is expected to close at the end of 2024. 

It will mean the end of mining at the historic site, which operated as an underground mine for nearly 60 years, closing in 1968. It was given final approval for the open pit in 2014.

Located in the heart of the city, when the open pit project was pitched, it included working with the City of Timmins to rehabilitate the site. The vision sold at the time was to flood the open pit to create Hollinger Lake and develop a beach, trail system and green space. 

"That used to be, but we don't think that's the best for Timmins because they already have facilities that the ... city must maintain. If we give him another recreational facility, it's something they must maintain; it's something that's going to cost them money," said Pretorius after the presentation.

"So I don't think it's necessarily the right thing to do. We will figure out what is best with the with the city.".

The new reclamation plans will be determined in the next year. 

When activity at the Hollinger ceases, staff will be reallocated to the new Pamour open pit project. That project was given full approval about a month ago and is expected to run until at least 2036.

The Pamour is another legacy mine in the Porcupine Camp.

It operated from 1936 to 1999 under the ownership of different companies on a piece of land in Whitney Township.

"The employment will be similar to here, so we will not lose employees. As a matter of fact, we are adding a few employees as we speak," said Pretorius, adding that there's going to be more equipment at the Pamour because it's a larger operation than Hollinger.

"We're going to do about 60,000 tonnes a day there where in Hollinger we probably do 20,000 to 25,000 tons a day."

There are also other potential opportunities.

"Right under where the offices are at the Dome and the mill sits a five-million-ounce resource. You don't really find five million ounce resources in the world," he said. "It's there. We know it's there."

It's still up in the air whether it will be mined, a superpit or a smaller open pit. 

After the Pamour project successfully launches, Pretorius said the Newmont Porcupine team can focus on looking at that opportunity. The process will include dusting off past studies.

Doing more

Newmont is an active community partner. 

So far this year, the company has donated more than $480,000. Over the last two years, the amount contributed through cash and in-kind donations is more than $1.1 million.

The Timmins and District Hospital Foundation is one of the areas that Pretorius noted. 

While the province funds operating expenses at the facility, capital upgrades are not covered. That equipment, said Pretorius, keeps people alive and helps bring employees to town. 

When Newmont launched a charity golf tournament this year, the hospital foundation benefitted, receiving the $41,160 raised.

Still, Pretorius wants to be doing more in the community.

"Doing more looks look like spending more time in the community, more in-kind. I want to be there helping businesses out, I want my team to be out there in our supporting initiatives," he said.

And, he's leading by example.

Recently, he and his team were at the Lord's Kitchen baking cookies, for example.

"It's little things, but those are the things that we don't necessarily have to give money, just be there, support, help. Because if we don't do it, they get volunteers to do it. So where do they get those volunteers? That's what I was more like in-kind, be out there, be more visible," he said. 

Dual citizenship

Originally from Australia, Pretorius and his wife moved to Timmins about a year ago. 

They've already applied for permanent residency, which he hopes turns into Canadian citizenship. 

"And we would like to be dual citizens, Canadian-Australian, because it gives us quite a few options in life. My wife and I absolutely love Canada and we love what we do here and we love the temperatures, you won't believe it," he said.

"But we also like things in Australia and our kids are there so it means we can have the best of both worlds."

— TimminsToday