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Mining the Northwest: New mine boss tapped to restart shuttered Red Lake operation

Shane Williams will steer West Red Lake Gold Mines in making the jump from explorer to producer
(Pure Gold Mining photo)

The new owners of the former Pure Gold mine in Red Lake are making some internal moves in their transition from explorers to mine operators.

West Red Lake Gold Mines has appointed Shane Williams as president-CEO to restart the operation that was mothballed last fall when the Pure Gold entered creditor protection. Williams succeeds Tom Meredith who now becomes West Red Lake’s executive chairman, according to a news release. The move was effective June 1.

The acquisition of the northwestern Ontario mine was finalized in a B.C. court last week.

The underground gold mine and mill, also known as the Madsen Mine, entered commercial production in August 2021 but halted mining and milling operations last Oct. 24, a week before Pure Gold Mining entered the CCAA process.

West Red Lake provided no information in its release this week about the timeline to restart the operation.

The company also announced this week that former Wesdome CEO Duncan Middlemiss has also joined the company as an independent director.

In the release, the company said Williams is an accomplished mining executive and engineer with a career track record in successful mine restarts and construction, particularly in the gold sector. He was most recently the COO at Skeena Resources, playing a key role in bringing the Eskay Creek gold mine in B.C. back into production. 

“Our goal is to build the premier growth-focused gold company,” said Williams in a statement. “We will expand and de-risk the company’s assets through comprehensive and modern techniques. Getting Madsen back up and running better than ever is just one part of our vision to create a world-class company and I will bring all of my energy to the role."

In the release, Frank Guistra, advisor and major shareholder, said the company is fortunate to land someone like Williams.

“His impressive track record in the mining sector and his ability to build high-performance teams and cultures make him an excellent fit for the company.”

West Red Lake holds the Rowan exploration property in the Red Lake camp, host to three historic gold mines. The company recently raised $25 million through a share offering to fund the restart of the mine.