Mammoth $1.45 billion project creates northern Ontario opportunities
Detour Lake – What will be Canada’s largest gold mine, located 185 km northeast of Cochrane, Ontario is expected to be 45-50 per cent complete by the end of 2011. The $1.45 billion project, set under a 24 to 27-month construction cycle, includes a temporary on-site construction camp capable of housing some 1,200 workers.
Pierre Beaudoin, senior vice president of capital projects for Detour Gold, says the plant will be 10 times bigger than most of the mineral processing facilities in Canada and will process 55,000-60,000 tonnes per day. “When the plant begins operations, likely in the first quarter of 2013,we expect to reach an average annual gold production of 650,000 ounces and 200,000 ounces of silver.”
To achieve this task, Beaudoin says an indoor facility is being constructed using 80,000 cubic metres of concrete, 8,000 tonnes of steel and requires 180km of transmission line to connect to the Ontario power grid. “Work on the concrete and steel is being finished now and the plant building is now enclosed for winter in order to proceed with the next stage of contracts, which will be for installing mechanical, plumbing, electrical and instrumentation (MPEI) for the process plant.”
BBA project engineering manager Guy Decoste says his firm began work on the Detour Lake project in 2009 with a feasibility study, development of a mining plan, engineering for the preparation of the site, design of the construction camp and the utilities needed to support it, detailed engineering plans and the procurement of $220million worth of equipment. Work then went on to include installation of the construction camp, supervision of the deforestation of the site and the installation of the overhead line to connect the plant to the Hydro One network. “We are able to handle every aspect of the project from start to finish; from foundations to electrical.”
BBA is an employee-owned company established 30 years ago. Vice-president Andre Allaire, responsible for mining and metallurgy, says his firm has two specialty niches: mining (they design mines and mineral processing plants) and energy (specifically high voltage work). “We have been involved with several mines in Quebec and were just finishing a large job when the Detour Lake project came up,” Allaire said. “We were able to mobilize 40 to 50 staff immediately and since then have had about 140 staff working on the project at any given time.”