AuRico Gold has started pre-production development work at the Young-Davidson open pit mine in Ontario, Canada.

The mine is expected to establish an ore stockpile of between 500,000t and 750,000t prior to commissioning, and should produce ore for up to three years.

Currently the firm is progressing the mill construction by deepening the main ramp, sinking the MCM shaft and constructing the headframe on the Northgate production shaft at the mine.

The firm has started engineering studies at the mine to analyse if underground production can commence earlier than the scheduled first quarter of 2014.

The firm will also evaluate the potential to increase mine and mill production to more than the 6,000t a day.