Sleeping Giant Mine
Sleeping Giant Public Information
Sleeping Giant is an underground gold mine and mill located in the Abitibi region of northeastern Quebec, near the town of Amos.
The mine was discovered in 1976 and mining began in 1988. It was shut down in 1991 and reopened in 1993. The Mine is a typical "narrow vein" gold mine as it commonly found in the region.
On May 26, 2009, North American Palladium completed a merger with Cadiscor Resrouces Inc and retains 100% ownership of the property. The poperty covers an area of 3141 hectares comprising 69 claims and 4 mining leases.
The mine has a workforce of 200. The company is currently deepening the sleeping Giant mine shaft by 200 meters to gain access to three new higher grade mining levels, the underutilized mill has the potential to serve NAP's nearby projects in the Abiti region.
The Sleeping Giant mine is located in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec, approximately 80 kilometres north of Amos, a town of about 13,000. This an area of vast open spaces, forests and countless lakes, paradise for those who want to hunt, fish and snowmobile. The terrain is slightly uneven, wooded and bordered, west and south, with the Harricana and Coigny rivers.
The discovery of gold in the 1920s started a gold rush. The region still preserves its boomtown atmosphere, as the mining industry still employs one fifth of the local workforce. More than 20% of Quebec's mining activities take place in the Abitibi region. Mining is an important part of the region's economic structure.
Provincial highway 109 connecting Amos and Matagami is less than 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) east of the mine site. By road Amos is 600 km from Montreal, a seven hour drive, and 480 km and five and a half hour drive to Ottawa. From Montreal, the route is Highway 15 north, Highway 117 to Val d'Or, Highway 111 north to Amos, Highway 109 north past the mine and on to the James Bay Highway. There are paved roads and excellent water and electric power sources. There is a regional airport in Val d'Or, which is 130 km from the mine.
Geology and Mineralization
The Abitibi region is internationally known for its gold mines. The Sleeping Giant property is located in the first volcanic cycle of the North Volcanic Zone of the Abitibi sub-province. The location of the Sleeping Giant Mine matches a disturbance in the regional tectonic grain which forms a triple junction emphasized by the three tonalitic polyphase and synvolcanic plutons arrangement. This area is affected by major deformation zones E-W and NW-SE. The Joutel mining camp is located at 50 km NW, and the Matagami mining camp is located 65 km from the Sleeping Giant Mine. At the deposit scale, the orebody geometry increases in complexity towards the south which corresponds to the paleo-surface. No other Abitibi deposit presents a geological setting similar to the Sleeping Giant Mine. Its origin is thus different in at least some respects from other synorogenic vein type gold mineralization.
The Sleeping Giant is a quartz-sulphide vein type gold deposit. The best mineralised veins typically contain four sulphide minerals: pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite, which form 5 to 60% of the veins. The typical vein thickness is between 20 and 80 cm with average grade between 35 and 85 Au g/t (uncut channel sample analyses). Besides gold, the veins contain silver and a small proportion of copper and zinc. The ratio Au : Ag is about 1 : 2. Zones 20 and 30 have a lateral/vertical continuity of 300 / 670 meters, that is to say a much more important vertical continuity than a lateral one. In zone 8, the lateral/vertical continuities are over 600 / 500 meters. In new extensions of the multi-vein gold system, no change was observed in the nature of veins, i.e. no improvement related to tonnes and grades. Therefore, it is considered that future exploration in the extensions of the mineralized system is likely to show veins of the same type, tonnes and grades than those found up until now.
Mining & Operation
The Sleeping Giant mine was in production from 1988 to 1991 and 1993 to September 2008, when it was placed on care and maintenance by Iamgold, its previous owner. At the end of 2008, cumulative production was approximately 960,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of about 11.44 g/t Au.
North American Palladium poured its first gold bars at the Sleeping Giant mine on October 6, 2009 and declared commercial production on January 1, 2010.
The mine is accessed by a four-compartment production shaft with a total depth of 1,053 metres. Levels are spaced at 45 metres from surface to a depth of 235 metres, and from there to a depth of 975 metres are spaced at 60 metres. The exploration shaft and various raises allow all portions of the mine to be ventilated with fresh air. An ore pass and a waste pass allow material to be handled and raised to the surface. The deepest working level of the mine is presently 975 metres but North American Palladium began to deepen the shaft with a view to extending it by up to another 180 metres in 2009. The mine uses 3 and 5 tonne electric locomotives and rail cars.
Three mining methods have been used to extract ore, with the method being determined according to the dip of a particular zone. For dips over 65 degrees, long-hole and shrinkage stope extraction is used. For slopes between 65 and 45 degrees, the method employed is generally shrinkage stope mining (with some stopes mined by long-hole methods). For slopes below 45 degrees, the room and pillar extraction method is used.
Mine facilities include a three compartment shaft to 490 m and a 160 tonne/hour hoist accessing 7 levels, a 900 tonne/day mill, and tailings disposal.
The mill was originally built to use the Merrill-Crowe process. However, in 1998 the mill process was changed to a carbon-in-leach plant, which resulted in increased recoveries and decreased costs. This system also reduces the demand for fresh water, as well as the amount of water that needs to be treated. The Sleeping Giant mill has a rated capacity of 900 tonnes per day and was operating at approximately 570 tonnes per scheduled operating day in December 2009.
Environment & Community
Sleeping Giant recycles and reduces energy consumption as much as possible. Water recirculation to the mill has been increased by 20%, 40% of grease and 15% of used oil was recovered. Recognizing that traffic flow to the mine is an issue, three buses and three minibuses transport the workforce to the mine, replacing more than 50 automobiles.
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