Goldcorp Inc. Red Lake Mine Design and Commissioning

Author(s): G. Ritson, R. Tyreman

The Red Lake Mine is situated in Balmer Township, Red Lake area in northwestern Ontario. It is an underground mine that has been in production since 1948. The property was originally known as the Dickensen Mine and was shut down in 1996.

A feasibility study was carried out in 1998 and it was determined that a new mill should be constructed with a throughput rate of 600 stpd. The life-of-mine average gold grade was projected to be 1.35 oz/t with gold predominantly associated with arsenopyrite and pyrite. Metallurgical testwork indicated that the optimal flowsheet for gold recovery would include an autoclave for oxidation with a carbon circuit for adsorption. To limit capital cost and establish cashflow, the mill was constructed without an autoclave. The recovery by gravity and cyanidation was projected to be 83%. A flotation plant was constructed at the tail end of the circuit to recover the additional gold associated with sulphides from the leach circuit tailings. This material is being stockpiled onsite for future oxidation treatment.

Detailed engineering was started in early 1999 and the first gold was poured in August 2000. One feature of the project was the use of Contact Lake equipment from Cameco’s Contact Lake project. The entire mill was purchased and eq