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Dome underground operations ended Dec. 31

'It’s just amazing what this mine has done for the community'
2017-12-29 Dome Underground crew MH
One of the Dome underground crews on their last shift at the mine. (Supplied photo)

The final day of 2017 marked the end of an era at a Timmins mine.

More than 100 years after the Dome underground mine started, work permanently ceased on Dec. 31.

Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) announced the closure, which directly affects about 140 people, in August.

To mark the end of the historic operation, mine general manager Marc Lauzier said each crew enjoyed cake, a photographer took keepsake photos for interested crew members, and the workers received a memento to bring home.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our crews; they’ve done a phenomenal job, they’ve kept their heads up right until the end, and the morale is actually better than it could be," Lauzier said.

He complemented the professionalism of PGM's staff, which he said remained focused on their work right until the end.

Although mining operations stopped Dec. 31, Lauzier said there will be work over the next couple of weeks before the conveyances are stopped.

The Dome commenced operation in 1910.

In its time, Lauzier noted that 17 million ounces of gold have come out of the ore body, and Project Century – a planned expansion of the original Dome open-pit operation – has the potential for an additional five million ounces.

“It’s a 22- to 23-million-ounce ore body; very few ore bodies around the world have that much gold and have been open this long,” he said.

“And if you think about what it’s done for the community – 100-plus years of solid contributions in the community kept people employed for all that time – a lot of what’s happened in Timmins is because of mines like the Dome, and it’s the only one that was open that long. It’s just amazing what this mine has done for the community.”

The Dome underground is just one part of the company’s operations in the Timmins area.

Project Century, which is currently in the prefeasibility stage, could double the depth and diameter of the open pit. Lauzier said the company will provide an update on the project at an investor day in January.

Hoyle Pond and the mill are also still operational. Lauzier said the company's Borden gold project, currently under construction in Chapleau, is going very well.

While Lauzier never worked as a miner, he did spend time underground at the Dome as a geologist.

“When I started as a geologist in ’91 I never thought I’d be the one closing the mine," he said. "It’s just been such a special ore body."