Canadian Malartic, 25 km west of Val-d’Or, is the largest operating gold mine in Canada. The large open-pit mine and plant built by Osisko Mining Corp. began commercial production in May 2011. In June 2014, Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold acquired Osisko and created the Canadian Malartic General Partnership that owns and operates the mine. Agnico Eagle and Yamana each have an indirect 50% ownership interest in the Partnership.
2016 production and costs (Agnico Eagle’s 50% share)
Production - 292,514 oz gold
Production costs - $628/oz gold
Total cash costs - $606/oz gold
Gold reserves - 3,548,000 oz
Canadian Malartic is one of the world’s largest pure gold producers. The 55,000-tonnes/day open-pit mine and plant produced a record 585,028 ounces of gold in 2016, with another 600,000 ounces expected in 2017 (300,000 ounces on 50% basis). Mine life is expected to last through 2026.
Proven and probable reserves total 3.55 million ounces of gold (102 million tonnes at 1.08 grams/tonne gold) on a 50% basis, as of December 31, 2016. Permitting activities are underway for the Canadian Malartic pit extension and deviation of Highway 117. The potential of the Odyssey North and South Zones are currently being explored, with initial Odyssey Zone inferred resources estimated at year-end 2016.
The property lies in the southern margin of the eastern portion of the Archean-age Abitibi volcanic belt, mainly within the Pontiac Group of metasedimentary rocks. The north-central portion of the property covers a 3.5-km long section of the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone and is underlain by mafic-ultramafic metavolcanic rocks of the Piché Group cut by intrusions, as well as meta-sediments of the Cadillac Group north of the fault zone.
Canadian Malartic is a large-tonnage, low grade Archean gold system, consisting of a widespread shell of disseminated gold-bearing pyrite mineralization hosted by porphyritic felsic to intermediate intrusions and altered meta-sediments. The system is open to the west and to the south at depth. Mineralization in the CM Extension (Barnat deposit) is largely along the southern edge of the Cadillac fault zone. The two deposits contain the bulk of the current reserves and are part of one large pit. The Jeffrey and Gouldie deposits, a few hundred metres east and south of the pit, respectively, contain some of the mineral resources.
Canadian Malartic is a large open-pit operation, encompassing the southern part of the Town of Malartic. Since start-up, mining activities have been mindful of the need to limit noise levels from the mining operations with drilling and blasting activities designed to control blast-induced vibrations and noise pressure on the neighbouring townsite. A green wall along the northern limit of the open pit helps shield the town from noise and dust from the open pit and plant. The ridge has been planted with shrubs, trees and grasses. The green wall is being enhanced by the addition of a park alongside, a bike trail and sculptures.
Ore is processed at the Canadian Malartic mineral processing complex, which has a 55,000-tonnes/day throughput capacity. Ore is transported to a crushing circuit and the crushed ore is stockpiled in a covered pile, then conveyed to the semi-autogenous grinding circuit followed by three identical ball mills, each in closed circuit with hydro-cyclones. The slurry is thickened to about 50% solids before being fed to the leach tank circuit for conventional cyanidation followed by carbon-in-pulp processing technology. The product is doré bars containing gold and silver.
To reduce the environmental impact, tailings are thickened and detoxified prior to being pumped to a tailings impoundment facility. Excess water is mainly re-used in the plant or treated prior to being discharged to the receiving environment.
Exploration is ongoing to evaluate a number of near-pit/underground targets at the mine and further define the extent of the mineralization at the Odyssey Zone. Both of these opportunities could provide new potential sources of ore for the Canadian Malartic mill. In 2017, the Company expects to spend $3.2 million on 46,000 metres of exploration drilling and $2.3 million on 53,700 metres of conversion drilling at the Canadian Malartic mine (reflecting 50% of the expense and 100% of the metres of drilling).
The Odyssey prospect lies on the east side of the Canadian Malartic property, approximately 1.5 km east of the current limit of the Canadian Malartic open pit.
The prospect is composed of multiple mineralized bodies spatially associated with a porphyritic intrusion close to the contact of the Pontiac Group sediments and the Piché Group of volcanic rocks. They are grouped into two elongated zones — the Odyssey North and Odyssey South zones — that strike east-southeast and dip steeply south. Odyssey North has been traced from a depth of 600 to 1,300 metres below surface along a strike length of approximately 1.5 km. Odyssey South currently has a strike length of 0.5 km and has been located between approximately 200 and 550 metres below surface.
The Odyssey North and Odyssey South Zones are being explored to assess the opportunity for new potential sources of ore for the Canadian Malartic mill.
Initial inferred mineral resources for the North and South Zones were estimated at 714,000 ounces gold (10.3 million tonnes grading 2.15 g/t gold) as of December 31, 2016, on a 50% basis. The Odyssey resources do not form part of the Canadian Malartic mine’s mineral resource estimate.
(Agnico Eagle’s 50% share)