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ALAMOS GOLD INC. Young-Davidson weathers COVID-19 with minor disruption

Jul 22, 2020

By Kevin Vincent
Alamos Gold's Young-Davidson Mine in Matachewan, Ontario weathered the coronavirus storm better than most.
The company has donated PPE (personal protective equipment) to three area hospitals, Kirkland Lake, Englehart and Temiskaming Shores, during the first half of this unprecedented year.
"We were able to continue to operate throughout the pandemic," Mine General Manager Luc Guimond told Mining Life & Exploration News. "We lost a little speed during March and April, but we were able to maintain and keep our facility up and running."
The Young-Davidson is one of the biggest employers in the northeast. The mine operates with 700 employees and 100 contract personnel.
"In our case, most of our employees reside in their homes (as opposed to Alamos' Island Mine north of Dubreuilville which is a camp mine) so they were able to go back to their home communities," he added.
Meanwhile, at Young-Davidson, the multi-year, multi-million-dollar lower mine expansion is in the final stages with the tie-in having commenced in February. Several critical path items have been completed, including the installation of the crusher, the breakthrough of the upper and lower mine ramp system, and connecting the upper and lower portions of the Northgate shaft. The company says the lower mine tie-in is now expected to be completed in July 2020, notwithstanding minor labour and productivity constraints related to COVID-19.
In its June 2020 corporate presentation Alamos indicated the lower mine completion will deliver significant cost reductions and an increase in free cash flow.
Young-Davidson produced 28,700 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2020, a decrease from the same period in 2019. That dip was due to lower tonnes mined and processed as a result of
shutting down the Northgate shaft in early February to complete the lower mine construction and tie-in.
Ore was trucked to surface from the upper mine during the downtime of the Northgate shaft which resulted in lower tonnes mined during February and March. Underground mining rates averaged 4,290tpd in the first quarter, with January mining rates in line with the prior year period at 6,700 tpd, lowering to 3,000 tpd in the months of February and March using the ramp system.
The good news is that tonnes mined in February and March exceeded budgeted rates of 2,500 tpd. Mill throughput was 5,107tpd in the first quarter, a decrease from the same period of 2019 due to the lower mining rates in February and March of this year.
Mining activities in the first quarter focused on remnant stopes in the upper part of the mine to facilitate trucking up the ramp. The average mined grade was 2.17g/t Au in the quarter.
Consistent with planned downtime and capital spending on the lower mine expansion, mine-site free cash flow at Young-Davidson was negative $18.9million in the first quarter. With declining capital spending following the completion of the lower mine expansion in July 2020, and a corresponding increase in gold production and lower operating costs as mining rates ramp up, Young-Davidson is expected to generate strong free cash flow starting in the second half of 2020.
The Young-Davidson mine is located near the town of Matachewan just west of Kirkland Lake. The property consists of contiguous mineral leases and claims totaling 5,587 hectares and is situated on the site of two past producing mines that delivered over one million ounces of gold between 1934 and 1957. The Young-Davidson mine restarted commercial production in 2013. Guimond says the Young-Davidson has a full complement of employees right now but they are just now starting to look to fill a few vacancies that popped up during the height of the COVID pandemic.

Tags: Northern Ontario / Operational Updates / Gold / All Articles