Battery-electric equipment confirmed for Odyssey gold project

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Canadian Malartic gold mine infrastructure in Quebec, Canada.
Large new Abitibi mine to employ some electric machines

Swedish equipment manufacturer Epiroc has won a second US$10 million-plus order from 50-50 owners Agnico Eagle Mines and Yamana Gold for the US$1.15 billion Odyssey underground gold project near Malartic in Quebec, Canada. The new mine is spending circa-$170m on underground equipment and systems that are now likely to be partly electric after the owners did their “base case analysis” on diesel machines.

They signed off on a NI 43-101 technical report on the underground development last March.

The Odyssey decline and shaft underground mine adjacent to the 11-year-old openpit operation at Canadian Malartic is projected to produce 500,000-600,000oz (average c545,400oz) at US$630 an ounce average total cash cost between 2029 and 2039. Initial production off a decline into the Odyssey South area is expected to start late next year. Sinking of the US$490m, 6.4m-diameter, 1.8km-deep production shaft, which will have 20,000 tonnes a day of hoisting capacity, is scheduled to begin at the end of this year.

Four different mining zones at Odyssey are expected to produce a combined 19,000tpd of ore by 2031.

Epiroc said the new order included “some … battery-powered machines, and automation solutions” such as battery-electric development, bolting and production drills. The use of its truck and loader automation, and traffic management technology, could “virtually [eliminate] the risk of collisions”, while the manufacturer’s Certiq telematics system would enable “intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time”.

“The Canadian Malartic Partnership is taking a massive next step with the new underground mine where our battery-electric and other advanced machines with state-of-the-art automation and traffic management solutions will help optimize safety and productivity,” Epiroc CEO Helena Hedblom said.

Agnico and Yamana say the site’s private LTE (long-term evolution) wireless broadband communication network will support underground digital architecture. Optic-fibre cable connecting Odyssey with the Canadian Malartic mine site would link “every operational aspect that requires data acquisition, imaging [cameras], access control on site, etc”, they said in last year’s NI 43-101 technical report. “The Odyssey project is expected to be a modern underground mine and will utilise real-time monitoring and communication with workers, anti-collision technology, and ventilation-on-demand.”

Odyssey’s mine plan is based on indicated and inferred resources totalling 82 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.76 grams per tonne for a total of 7.3 million ounces of contained gold, with the deeper East Gouldie zone accounting for more than 72% of the estimated contained gold. The historical Malartic mining camp has produced about 13.7Moz at an average 1.7gpt.

Odyssey will use mainly transverse, long-hole stoping to mine primary and secondary stopes, and paste backfill to fill voids.

Non-shaft underground development and construction work is forecast to cost about US$518m.


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