Construction begins on new northern Ontario gold mine
Groundbreaking begins on a new gold mine in northern Ontario that will be one of Canada's largest and is expected to produce more than 5-million ounces.
The mine is being developed by Canadian-based Equinox Gold along with Orion Mine Finance Group in the Municipality of Greenstone, about 300 kilometres west of Hearst, Ont. on Highway 11, and will cost approximately $1.23 billion.
Once up and running, the mine is expected to produce 400,000 ounces of gold each year for the first five years and operate for at least 14 years. Officials said expansion is possible through underground and near-mine deposits.
Construction is expected to take two years, with mining to start in the last quarter of 2022 and the first gold pour anticipated for H1 2024. Some early work has been underway since March 2021.
"The project is fully permitted to start major construction activities and has Long-term Relationship Agreements in place with five Indigenous groups: Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation, Long Lake #58 First Nation and the Métis Nation of Ontario," Equinox Gold said in a news release.
Part of the development includes relocating a Hydro One electrical substation and distribution lines, an Ontario Provincial Police station and a portion of Highway 11.
"Equinox Gold and the Greenstone Mine team have shown terrific leadership in working with Indigenous communities and with our government to get to this point—starting construction for a major project that will create jobs and bring prosperity to the region, and to every corner of our province. This world-class gold mine is an example of what we can accomplish when we come together and work towards a common goal. I know Minister Rickford will continue to work with the Greenstone Mine team in the months ahead to ensure a smooth start," Premier Doug Ford said in a news release.
During construction, the project is expected to create 800 local and 1,300 regional jobs. While in operation, the mine will employ 500 people with the opportunity for indirect and support businesses in the region.
"Greenstone Mine will be an economic driver for Northwestern Ontario and the latest in a series of recent success stories in Ontario’s mining sector," said Greg Rickford, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "This project will bring good-paying jobs and prosperity to northern and Indigenous communities in the region."
The groundbreaking ceremony will be streamed live from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 27.