Mining, all underground, is carried out using three main mining methods—underground overhand cut and fill, underhand cut and fill, and longhole—allowing maximum ore extraction. The high-grade zone, which primarily consists of a narrow vein system, is mined at the rate of 635 tons per day with an average grade of over 68 grams per tonne (two ounces per ton). The high-grade mineralization and complex geometry of the ore body require specialized operations expertise.
Innovative mining techniques have improved efficiency, such as a wet shotcrete system, the use of larger trucks, use of electric man carriers and a portable diamond drill mounted on a jumbo carrier. The operation is supported by two mill processing facilities, providing a total milling capacity of 3000 tons per day, including crushing, processing and pastefill plants. The processing plant's operations consist of grinding, gravity concentrating, leaching, carbon-in-pulp (CIP), carbon elution and reactivation, electrowinning, bullion smelting/refining and cyanide destruction, flotation and concentrate handling—all of which are required to recover the three types of gold in the Red Lake ore.
The Cochenour/Bruce Channel deposit is key to plans for future consolidation. Work is underway on enlarging and upgrading the existing Cochenour shaft, and further developing the 5-kilometre haulage drift connecting it to the existing Red Lake underground infrastructure. This will enable the efficient hauling of Cochenour/Bruce Channel ore to the Campbell mine for processing at the existing mill. The drift also opens up exploration of five kilometers of untested ground in one of the world’s richest gold districts.