Top 10 largest gold mines in Canada in 2020 – report

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(Kitco News) – Kitco ranked gold mines in Canada by reported production in 2020.

With 569 koz of gold produced in 2020 Canadian Malartic, jointly owned by Yamana Gold and Agnico Eagle, was the largest gold mine in Canada. Gold production in the full-year 2020 decreased 15% when compared to the prior-year primarily as a result of lower grades and lower throughput in the first nine months of the year. The lower throughput was primarily caused by the government mandated suspension of milling operations from March 23, 2020 to April 17, 2020. 

Production at Canada’s second largest Detour Lake gold mine, owned by Kirkland Lake, totalled 517 koz in 2020, which resulted from processing 21,091,938 tonnes at an average grade of 0.83 g/t with average recoveries of 91.3%. Production in 2020 was below the reissued full-year 2020 guidance range of 520,000 – 540,000 ounces and 14% less than in 2019 (602 koz), reflecting slightly lower than planned average grades and tonnes processed during the second half of 2020.

Agnico Eagle’s LaRonde mine complex is third with 350 koz of gold produced in 2020.  Gold production in 2020 decreased 13% when compared to 2019 (403 koz) primarily due to the government mandated suspension of operations (LaRonde mill circuit from March 23, 2020 to April 29, 2020 and the LZ5 mill circuit from March 23, 2020 to May 2, 2020), to the delay in accessing higher grade ore from the West mine area as additional ground support work was being completed in the first quarter of 2020 and as a higher proportion of ore milled was sourced from the lower grade LZ5 mine in the second half of 2020.

Pretium’s Brucejack mine is fourth. In 2020, the Brucejack mine produced 348 koz of gold and 472 koz of silver. In the comparable period in 2019, the company produced 354 koz of gold and 517 koz of silver. The decrease in production was due to decreased head grade resultant from the areas mined during the year partially offset by tonnes milled.

Canada’s fifth largest Porcupine gold mine was acquired by Newmont during the second quarter of 2019 as part of the Newmont Goldcorp transaction. 2020 gold production of 319 koz increased 43% primarily driven by twelve months of operations in 2020 as compared to nine months in 2019, in addition to Borden achieving commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine mine sits sixth with 312 koz produced in 2020, a 63% increase over 2019 (191 koz). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, activity levels at Meliadine were reduced from the end of March to early June. The mill was gradually ramped-up through April and May to achieve more normal operating levels in June. The reduction in activities for most of the second quarter of 2020 caused a substantial reduction in production and a corresponding increase in unit production costs. As the Meliadine mine achieved commercial production on May 14, 2019, the full year of 2019 does not represent a comparable period.

Rainy River mine, owned by New Gold, is seventh largest gold operation in Canada. For the year, gold production was 229 koz of gold and 362 koz of silver, achieving the higher end of revised annual production guidance. For the year, production decreased when compared to the prior year primarily due to planned lower grades and a two-week voluntary shutdown due to COVID-19.

At eighth largest Barrick’s Hemlo mine gold production was 223 koz in 2020, which was above the guidance range of 200 to 220 thousand ounces. Hemlo’s gold production in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 4% higher than the prior quarter primarily due to higher grades.

Kirkland Lake’s Macassa mine is ninth. Production at Macassa in 2020 totalled 183 koz, which resulted from processing 312,759 tonnes at an average grade of 18.6 g/t and at average recoveries of 97.7%. FY 2020 production was 24% less compared to production of 241 koz for FY 2019. The reduction from FY 2019 reflected both reduced tonnes processed and a significantly lower average grade resulting from the transition to reduced operations as part of the company’s COVID-19 response during Q2 2020.

Centerra’s Mount Milligan mine is closing the top ten list. Gold production at Mount Milligan was 162 koz in 2020, or 12% less compared to 183 koz mined in 2019. The decrease was due to lower grades and recoveries, partially offset by higher throughput.

Top 10 largest gold mines in Canada in 2020 – Kitco.

Mine

Province / Territory

Major owner / operator

2020 Au output, koz

2019 Au output, koz

% change

1

Canadian Malartic

Quebec

Yamana / Agnico Eagle

569

669

-15

2

Detour Lake

Ontario

Kirkland Lake

517

602

-14

3

LaRonde (incl. LZ5)

Quebec

Agnico Eagle

350

403

-13

4

Brucejack

BC

Pretium

348

354

-2

5

Porcupine

Ontario

Newmont

319

223*

n/a

6

Meliadine

Nunavut

Agnico Eagle

312

191

63

7

Rainy River

Ontario

New Gold

229

254

-10

8

Hemlo

Ontario

Barrick

223

213

5

9

Macassa

Ontario

Kirkland Lake

183

241

-24

10

Mount Milligan

BC

Centerra

162

183

-12

Total

3,212

3,333

-4

*Results have been included from the date of acquisition on April 18, 2019.

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