Hudbay said March 29 in an updated mine plan that production at Lalor Mine in Snow Lake could reach 5,300 tonnes per day by 2023, up from a previously projected 4,500, and that the identification of more inferred resources could extend the mine life beyond 10 years.
The company is also contemplating mining of the 1901 deposit near Snow Lake by 2026 and says total gold reserves in the Snow Lake area could be as much as 2.2 ounces when other regional deposits such as WIM and 3 Zone are included.
As a result of the higher expected production, the predicted life-of-mine gold production from Lalor has increased by 41 per cent.
Gold, copper and silver production in Snow Lake could increase by 18, 35 and 27 per cent from 2022 to 2027 compared to the previous mine plan, Hudbay said, while $19 million worth of future technological upgrades to the refurbished New Britannia mill could increase recovery percentages for all three metals. First production at the New Britannia gold plant is now expected to take place in the third quarter of 2021, earlier than previously scheduled.
Increased production targets for Lalor beginning in 2022 are forecast partly due to more ore being mined late in 2020 when additional resources were deployed there while repairs were being made to 777 Mine in Flin Flon, which is expected to shut down in mid-2022 along with the Flin Flon zinc plant. Personnel will be transferred from Flin Flon to Snow Lake at that point. The Flin Flon concentrator and tailing impoundment area are scheduled to be placed on care and maintenance status when 777 closes.
“We are excited to publish these updated mine plans, which solidify our copper and gold production growth over the next several years,” said Hudbay CEO Peter Kukielski in a press release. “Our project execution, operational optimization and exploration efforts over the past year have been successful in setting up the business for this next phase of growth, which sees Constancia’s annual copper production above 100,000 tonnes for the next eight years and Snow Lake’s annual gold production over 180,000 ounces once New Britannia is fully operational. We also continue to maintain our low-cost profile as demonstrated by the cash costs in our updated mine plans. Hudbay has a proven track record of delivering value through exploration, mine development and successful operations, and we look forward to continuing to create value through leveraging our core competencies.”