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Northern gold miner celebrates $320M mining shaft that will boost production, cut costs


Kirkland Lake-based Agnico Eagle Mines celebrated the opening of its No. 4 Shaft at its Macassa Mine on Wednesday, which is expected to boost production and cut costs.

To celebrate that milestone -- and the mine’s 90th anniversary – the company announced it’s donating $3 million to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The donation will support “people living in rural and remote communities in northern Ontario by providing access to cancer prevention programs and support services to help them navigate through a cancer experience following a diagnosis,” Agnico said in a news release.

Agnico marked the completion of the shaft with an event Wednesday.

“The completion of the No. 4 Shaft is an important step in our plan to build a new Macassa Mine for the future,” Andre Leite, Agnico vice-president, Ontario, said in the news release.

“The new shaft will allow the team to increase production, improve unit costs, de-risk the mine, increase our exploration capacity and most importantly, significantly improve the working conditions for our employees.”

Ontario Minister of Mines George Pirie attended the event and praised the Macassa Mine as “one of the highest-grade gold mines worldwide.” He was also given a private tour.

 "We went down to 6,300 feet," Pirie said.

"We went to the loading pocket. The conveyor system, it’s all designed to be as safe as possible ... They’ve thought about everything.”

The new shaft has been under construction since 2019. It is 6,395 feet deep and has a 216-foot-tall concrete headframe that was built in just 11 days.

Natasha Vaz, Agnico's executive vice-president and COO, said Macassa has been in production since 1933.

"They’ve been in operation for 90 years and it’s a huge accomplishment -- you don’t see that very often," Vaz said.

"And here’s to another 90 years. We have a large land package in the area that crosses over in the Abitibi from Ontario to Quebec, so Agnico Eagle is looking at our opportunities there -- whether it’s Upper Beaver in Doby Mine -- looking at the synergies, looking what we can utilize here.”

Kirkland Lake Mayor Stacy Wright said that, as a daughter of a miner herself, she's impressed by the sheer scale of the project.

“To be inside of it is just completely overwhelming," Wright said.

"It’s overwhelming as the daughter of a miner -- and it’s overwhelming as mayor of the community. This is an investment in our community and really a testament to our future.”

The donation to the cancer society includes “improved facilitation of northern Ontario Indigenous populations’ ability to source and receive culturally appropriate and relevant cancer resources and support,” the company said.

“The commitment will create the Canadian Cancer Society Agnico Eagle cancer access and navigation hub.”

“Everyone needs and deserves cancer information and support following a cancer diagnosis. Rural and remote communities in Northern Ontario, especially Indigenous communities, do not have the same access to care and the barriers can impact someone’s overall health,” Stuart Edmonds, executive vice-president of mission, research and advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society, said in the release.

“At CCS, our priority is making cancer prevention programs and support services more readily available to northern Ontarians. Thanks to the generosity of Agnico Eagle and programs like the Cancer Access and navigation hub, we can get there faster.”

Agnico Eagle is a Canadian gold mining company, producing precious metals from operations in Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico. Top Stories

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