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Project Century work ongoing

Recruitment a challenge for Goldcorp in Timmins

By making the right business decisions, Marc Lauzier is hoping to put Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) in a good position for the future.

Lauzier, the mine general manager, was the featured speaker at the Timmins Chamber of Commerce’s Inside their Business event at the Dante Club on Jan. 11.

He gave guests a peek at what’s happening at Goldcorp’s projects in the area, their involvement in the community, and recruitment challenges.

In 2017, the Dome underground was closed.

Having been in operation for 107 years, closing it wasn't an easy decision, Lauzier said. With a prefeasibility study currently being done for Project Century, however, he believes it was the right business decision.

“And by doing that, we’re showing Goldcorp that we’re running the business responsibly and when I go to ask for the money for a project like Century we’ll be at the top of the list instead of the bottom of the list,” Lauzier said.

“So, it’s not the closing of a mine; it’s the opening of a new mine and that’s the way we have to look at it.”

Century is a large-scale project that would double the depth and diameter of the existing open pit above the Dome underground.

Lauzier said he expects the prefeasibility study to be done by the end of the third or early fourth quarter of this year. If approved, the next stage is the feasibility study.

For Century, all of the existing infrastructure would be torn down.

“The mill, the guardhouse, the offices, the shops. Everything that’s around that pit has to come down,” he said, clarifying that there is no plan to move the back road (Gold Mine Road).

He said a couple of locations are being considered for a new mill.

One possibility that he noted is on the other side of Gold Mine Road near the overpass.

The company will also have to build new shops and offices. With the layout of the pit going up to the road, he said they are also figuring out how to access the site.

Work is ongoing at Goldcorp’s other operations in the region as well.

At the Hollinger Pit, Lauzier said the productivity is good and should keep going until late 2021 or early 2022. Hoyle Pond and the mill are also still running.  

The Borden project near Chapleau should be in full production next year.

He said the company also has a healthy exploration budget of $15 to $20 million.

One of the biggest challenges Lauzier said the company faces is recruitment.

Mining has changed, and he said specialized workers such as mechanics, electricians and engineers are needed

“The second challenge I have with recruiting is Timmins isn’t as attractive as it used to be. No one wants to hear it, but it’s true. And when you hire professionals, they don’t necessarily want to move to Timmins, Ontario,” he said.

Overall, Lauzier said 2017 was a great year for Goldcorp in the community.

The company donated more than $850,000 to over 120 partners in the community, bringing their donation total for the last 10 years to $6 million.

Some of the highlights he noted is a state-of-the-art multi-sensory room at the Cochrane Temiskaming Resource Room, challenging local high schools to help with the disappearance of bees, and educating elementary schools on the mining industry with Mining Matters.