Abitibi region, Quebec
The Lapa underground mine is located near our LaRonde operation. It is one of Agnico Eagle’s highest grade mines, with gold grades almost twice as rich as the company’s average.
2016 production and costs
Production - 73,930 oz gold
Production costs - $717/oz gold
Total cash costs - $732/oz gold
The Lapa underground mine is located in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec, just 11 km east of our LaRonde mine, and 49 km west of our Goldex property. Lapa has proven and probable reserves containing approximately 38,000 ounces of gold (0.3 million tonnes grading 4.58 grams/tonne gold) as of December 31, 2016. Lapa is expected to pour 15,000 ounces of gold in 2017 , which is expected to be the last year of its mine life.
The Lapa property straddles the Cadillac-Larder Lake Fault Zone, a regional structure that hosts numerous gold prospects and past producers. The Fault Zone is taken up by the Archean-age Piché Volcanic Group rocks, which are locally folded; many of the gold-mineralized zones are located in the hinges of the fold structures.
Gold mineralization is located in zones of deformation within the Piché Group volcanic rocks. Gold is known to occur in three styles: as quartz veins, as tabular zones or as biotite-altered zones. The Contact Zone is the major economic lens of mineralization that has been traced for up to 600 metres, horizontally, and over 1,000 metres, vertically. The zone is currently open at depth in all directions.
Lapa hosts an underground mining operation accessed by a 1,369-metre-deep shaft. Two mining methods are used – longitudinal retreat with cemented backfill, and locally transverse open stoping with cemented backfill. The dilution rate for mining the reserves averages 71%. The production rate averages 1,700 tonnes/day.
Excavated ore is trucked to a dedicated Lapa processing plant within the LaRonde processing facility with grinding, gravity and leaching circuits. Concentrates from Lapa’s gravity and leach circuits are sent to the LaRonde refinery to produce doré bars.
Two areas (Zone 8 East - Upper mine and the Zulapa 7 - Deep 2 Zone) have been identified as areas that could potentially support future mining activity post-2017. However, any potential production from these areas would likely require synergies with other production opportunities such as the LaRonde Zone 5 or the Pandora project. At the Pandora property, 23 diamond drill holes (15,767 metres) were completed in 2016 focusing on the western portion of the property, with a 3,000-metre supplemental drill program in early 2017. Additional exploration work at Pandora will depend on the results from the 2017 supplemental program.