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KINROSS Great Bear Project - Red Lake’s next potential large, long-life mine complex with a first pour targeted in 2029

Dec 11, 2022

Jeremy Brans, Vice President and General Manager of Kinross Ontario speaks to a full house at the CEN CAN Expo in Thunder Bay, Sept. 15/2022


In February 2022, Kinross acquired Great Bear Resources Ltd. and its flagship Dixie project located in the renowned and prolific Red Lake mining district in Ontario, Canada. With all of the elements of a world-class gold deposit, the project is a centerpiece of the Company’s development portfolio and has excellent potential to support a large, long-life mine complex. Drilling results continue to fulfill expectations, including high-grade intercepts at depth, and the Company is on track to declare an initial mineral resource estimate in early 2023.
On a global scale, Kinross produces approximately two million ounces of gold annually and expects to continue that trend through the end of the decade. Kinross is one of the top 10 gold producers in the world. The company is primarily Americas focused, with three operations in North America, two in South America and one in West Africa.
Jeremy Brans, Vice President and General Manager of Kinross Ontario, spoke recently at the Projects in the Pipeline Conference held in Thunder Bay. In his presentation, Jeremy gave an overview of the exciting milestones and schedule envisioned ahead for the Great Bear project, since renamed from Dixie following the project acquisition.
Kinross is a Canadian gold mining company that is over 25 years old and currently has no operating mines in Canada. “It has been 16 years since Kinross has mined in Canada,” said Jeremy. “We are excited to be back and are committed to working in Northern Ontario on our newly acquired Great Bear project”.
The Great Bear project hosts several gold discoveries on-property. First discovered in 2019, the largest and most significant of these is the LP Fault zone, which has top-tier potential to support a large, long-life mine complex and to bolster the company’s long-term production outlook.
Kinross is a company that is committed to operating responsibly and this was a message that was echoed throughout the presentation. Kinross Great Bear is proud to be working within the traditional territory of their partners in the Wabauskang First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation, and of the collective members of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3.
Kinross Great Bear recently hosted an environmental monitor training and certification course for members of the partner First Nations’ communities. The purpose of the training was to build technical capacity among members to enable the communities to monitor and access the project site environment, with the goal of building trust through transparency as Kinross undertakes their work on the Great Bear property.
The five-day training focused on providing the skills and resources needed to perform techniques according to current environmental regulations in Ontario for all areas of site environmental monitoring including water, wildlife, plants soil and air. The newly trained and certified monitors are encouraged to visit the project site regularly, with the goal of supporting an inclusive environmental permitting process and putting in action Kinross’ commitment to responsible mining.
As Kinross works in their host communities, the focus is on making a positive and lasting impact
through job creation, local investment and strong environmental stewardship. “There are many metrics that we track in this area. We have a social responsibility plan for each mine site, and we pay very close attention to our engagement metrics as we work to fulfill our commitments to the communities in which we operate”, said Jeremy Brans.
Kinross spent three and a half billion dollars investing in local economies in 2021, the vast majority of which was spent in the local communities and countries in which the mines operate. The majority of employees are also local, either from the country or from the local community. “This is all part of the Kinross overall philosophy on sustainable mining”, stated Jeremy.


Environment course
Photo: Participants kick off their field session as Kinross hosted an environmental monitoring training certification course for members of the Wabauskang & Lac Seul First Nations communities.


The company’s approach to sustainability has three different tenets associated with it.

The first is to Do No Harm. Jeremy explained it this way. “In short, this is not just a safety perspective, but also an environmental one. Anywhere that we’re building, operating, or closing an operation, we aim for the higher standard of the land. It’s either the highest standard in environment for that jurisdiction or the Kinross standard, whichever is highest.”

The second is Making a Positive Contribution. This is what they like to say is taking a ‘legacy’ approach to maximizing the local benefit footprint. Jeremy explains it this way, “If we imagine a Kinross mine closed 10-20 years ago in your community and now Kinross comes back into the community and finds a new ore body.  Is the community excited to welcome us back? Are they cheering that Kinross is back in town? We would hope so. That’s the principle that we use to guide all of our decisions, both up front and throughout any operation’s life.”

The third tenet is Acting Ethically and Transparently. “Transparency is our default, like being an open book. It is in our DNA. We find that being transparent, open and honest is just good business. We work to operate with respect for human rights and engage with our partners and stakeholders”, stated Jeremy.

One element that attracted Kinross to the Great Bear project was the favourable location and access to infrastructure. Just south of the town of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario, the project is situated along paved Highway 105 with access to a provincial power line and gas line running parallel to the highway. The second thing that continues to excite Kinross about the project is the large gold discovery called the LP Fault zone. This large mineralized zone was first discovered in May 2019, only three and a half years ago. Since then, there has already been 500,000 meters of drilling in the LP Fault zone alone. If you accompany that with the additional high-grade gold vein discoveries that were made in 2017 and 2018 you can’t blame the Company for its excitement.
When Kinross acquired the Great Bear project this past February, they paid about one and a half billion dollars for it, with a strong belief in the potential of the project that had not yet even defined a mineral resource. The Company is planning to deliver the project’s initial mineral resource estimate in early 2023, along with the release of the global 2022 year-end results.
Finally, this project is particularly exciting to Kinross, simply because the project is starting from a truly blank slate; as a greenfield project. This provides the Company ample opportunities to make the right decisions that will guide everything ahead, such as making the project a low emission mine right from the start. It provides the opportunity to work in safety and environmental stewardship right from the beginning.
Kinross Great Bear is currently completing scoping studies to assess the prospect for a large-scale mining complex with a first production pour by 2029. Work continues daily, and activities such as drilling and baseline environmental activities are currently taking place on site. The company hopes to be conducting advanced exploration activities in 2024-2025, which would allow access to the deeper mineralization and enable underground drilling for a better understanding of the geology and mineral resource. If all goes well, activity would gradually advance from surface exploration to driving a decline in advanced exploration, construction and finally reaching production starting in 2029.


There are multiple high-grade zones located across the Great Bear property. The greater LP Fault zone is approximately 10.8 kilometres in strike length, 4.6 kilometres of which comprises the current area of focus. The LP Fault zone remains open along strike in both directions and at depth. There are other Red Lake style discoveries also located on the property. The Hinge and Limb zones might have supported a mine and mill on their own but have fallen second attraction when compared to the LP Fault zone. Additional exciting early discoveries on site include the Arrow and Midwest zones. While Kinross is currently putting most of their drilling efforts into defining the mineral resource within the known LP Fault Zone, there is still quite a bit of upside potential in either extending the LP Fault zone or even making another discovery on the large, prospective Great Bear property.
In addition to drilling activity, preparation for environmental permitting is currently underway on site. It is projected to take approximately 5 years to get the permits in place to start construction, and the environmental baseline studies are key.

Jeremy stated, “For any mine that’s starting up, we must make sure that if we’re going to close it properly, we need to have a very solid baseline understanding of where we started. Water, air, land, fish, land animals, everything from the outset and that’s what we are focused on right now. The same applies on the social side of things, working with our First Nation partners and the nearby communities of Red Lake and Ear Falls, researching local health and wellbeing, land use, Traditional Knowledge, recreation, employment and other socio-economic elements. We need to understand where the communities are today in order to measure our impact tomorrow and to be sure that we are making a long term positive contribution.”

What’s Next in 2022-2023?

“We will continue our work in collecting baseline information and updating our understanding of cultural values, sensitive areas and site constraints so that these can be protected and avoided as we plan our project footprint and continue with exploration activities on site. We are also looking to deliver an Initial Mineral Resource Estimate (National Instrument 43-101 compliant) in 2023 and a Pre-feasibility Study to follow,” stated Jeremy Brans. Without a doubt, it is certainly shaping up to be a very exciting next few years for the Kinross Great Bear project.


For this article and more visit the digital copy of: The Northern Ontario Mining Report

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Tags: Northern Ontario / Exploration / Gold / All Articles