TORONTO, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Wet Commissioning Commenced
AuRico Gold Inc. (TSX: AUQ) (NYSE: AUQ), ("AuRico", " AuRico Gold" or "the Company") is pleased to provide the second monthly status update on the exciting Young- Davidson mine located in the prolific Abitibi gold belt in Northern Ontario.
The wet commissioning process has commenced, which allows the site team to test the process systems in order to have the mill and ancillary equipment operational and optimized prior to the delivery of ore.Young-Davidson Project Construction Update The Young-Davidson Project is nearing completion of the 18-month pre-production construction phase. Mill processing construction for commissioning is 97% complete (see figure 1). Over 900 contractors and employees are diligently working towards achieving the first gold pour, a key project milestone. The Company will be providing an update on commissioning activities as well as the expanded three-year production profile at our March 28 th Analyst Day. "There is a very high level of activity in the mill as we get closer to full-scale startup. Construction crews are working side by side with the operations team to ensure a smooth transition to operations as processing components are commissioned. All processing equipment required for the first gold pour is installed and is in the commissioning stage," said Peter MacPhail, Chief Operating Officer, Canada and Australia. He continued, "It is very gratifying to see that we have been able to staff the mill operations and maintenance crews with experienced local people who call the Kirkland Lake region their home. In a time when the mining industry is facing shortages of skilled workers, the location of this project is a significant advantage for us." The following major project milestones have been achieved:
- Mill systems required for initial production are 97% complete.
- Open pit mining rates during February averaged 21,300 tonnes per day of ore and waste, targeting 35,000 tonnes per day by the end of the second quarter.
- Approximately 380,000 ore tonnes (over two months mill feed) have already been stockpiled by the beginning of March. This tonnage represents approximately 5% of the reserves in the open pit and blastholes have thus far reconciled positively to the reserve model.
- Mechanical and electrical / instrumentation construction teams are continuing commissioning activities on process equipment required for initial production.
- Wet commissioning is underway with ore expected to be introduced once the wet commissioning phase has been successfully completed.
- All operating and maintenance personnel are in place to assist with commissioning and handover of the various process systems as they become available.
- Mill power has been successfully changed over from temporary to grid power.
- In excess of 500,000 cubic meters of water is currently being stored in the tailings facility and the historic Young- Davidson pit. This initial process-water inventory is per design requirements for mill startup.
- Underground development continues to focus on ramp and shaft access to the mid-shaft ore and waste handling systems. Current vertical access is 815 meters below surface, at the level access for the crusher station.
- On March 5, 2012 the Company announced significant increases to the Young Davidson Reserves and Resources:
- Proven and Probable reserves increased by 36%, or 1.01 million gold ounces, to 3.83 million ounces
- Measured and Indicated Resources increased by 74%, or 407 thousand gold ounces, to 956 thousand ounces
- Inferred Resources increased by 103%, or 727 thousand gold ounces, to 1.43 million ounces