Skip to content

Greenstone Gold mine offers glimpse into commissioning process

After recently announcing construction is 96 per cent complete at the Greenstone Gold mine, the mine is looking to ramp up hiring, with a focus on local employment.

GREENSTONE — Things are set to heat up quite soon for the Greenstone Gold mine project just outside of Geraldton.

Equinox Gold Corporation, the Vancouver-based gold producer that acquired Premier Gold in 2020 along with their interest in the mine project, recently announced that the Greenstone Gold mine is 96 per cent complete construction and that pre-commissioning activities are well underway.

Development of the mine project is a joint venture between Equinox Gold and Orion Mine Finance.

The mine is set to pour its first gold in the first half of 2024.

Ahead of “wet” commissioning set to take place in January, Greenstone Gold mine General Manager Eric Lamontagne spoke to Dougall Media and said that he and his team are “very proud of the progress” that has been made.

“The highway transfer was amazing and, after that, to finalize all of the construction was a big milestone for us. We just now finalized some electrical and instrumentation. We’re pretty close to all done and we [have] already started the pre- and wet commissioning,” Lamontagne said.

In addition to the mine itself, a leach/carbon-in-pulp processing facility has been built onsite as well.

Lamontagne described pre-commissioning as a process that involves testing all of the equipment — machines, motors, etc. — while the “wet” commissioning entails using water to test out the mill’s processing capabilities.

Lamontagne noted that communication is key in the testing process but reiterated that he is extremely proud of how far operations have progressed.

Currently, there are 400 construction workers onsite and 350 mine operators.

As total construction is very nearly complete, Lamontagne expects that number of mine operators to increase in the coming months.

“In the mine, it’s an 18-month ramp-up and we hire people all the time when we start new equipment. For the next 18 months, we’ll start a lot of equipment,” Lamontagne said.

That equipment includes at least one big shovel truck, a loader, and 25 hauler trucks.

Lamontagne said that they are hiring an even split — 50/50 — of locals from the Greenstone area and transient workers.

“We are close to this target currently and with the next hiring of more mining operators, we’re very confident that we’ll achieve that target,” Lamontagne said.

“Of the fifty per cent local, half of them are in training… in Greenstone, we opened a lot of what we call ‘green’ positions where we hire people without experience… this means we started a lot of new employees with their first job in the mine and they will, over the year, obtain experience.”

He went on to say that his team’s goal is to hire 100 per cent local and that opportunities will continue to present themselves through employee turnover over time.

Besides offering gainful employment in a professional trade to local residents, the mine is also contributing to the local economy through property taxes.

Mayor Jamie McPherson expressed his gratitude for the mine’s contribution.

“We’re receiving approximately $270,000 in 2024 from the mine with the buildings that are commissioned and then once MPAC does their assessment after the mine is up and running, that will get us to what we hope will be coming through,” McPherson said. “It’s gonna help.”

Both McPherson and Lamontagne observed that MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) is still in the process of performing their assessment of the property and the total financial contribution the mine will provide to Greenstone.

With the Greenstone Gold mine well on track to open in the first half of 2024, everyone involved remains optimistic that this project will only continue to provide more and more opportunities for locals to get involved and offer a new, steady source of revenue for the municipality.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Austin Campbell is a local journal initiative reporter covering stories in the Superior North region.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks