The Springpole gold project is located approximately 110km to the north-east of Red Lake, Ontario. Image courtesy of First Mining Finance Corp.
The project is estimated to produce an average of 296,500oz of gold and 1.63Moz of silver a year. Image courtesy of First Mining Finance Corp.
The infrastructure facilities also include a 300-member accommodation camp. Image courtesy of First Mining Finance Corp.

Located approximately 110km to the north-east of Red Lake, Ontario, the currently undeveloped Springpole gold project is expected to be one of the biggest of its kind in Canada.

First Mining Finance Corp. (First Mining) acquired the project in November 2015 through an acquisition of Gold Canyon Resources. The mine is estimated to have a lifespan of 12 years.

Results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) were announced on 21 September 2017, and an environmental assessment is expected to be filed in Q1, 2018.

The mine is expected to achieve an average annual production of 296,500oz of gold and 1.63Moz of silver at full production, and will include a 36,000tpd processing facility.

Springpole gold project geology and mineralisation

The Springpole gold project covers an area of 32,448ha (more than 80,000 acres) within the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt.

Mineralisation at the site is dominated by large tonnage, low-grade disseminated porphyry-style or epithermal-style gold mineralisation associated with the emplacement of the alkali trachyte intrusive.

The main intrusive complex appears to contain many of the characteristics of alkaline porphyry style mineralisation associated with diatreme breccias.

Gold is mostly associated with potassium / rubidium in the main area of the deposit, where fine-grained disseminated gold mineralisation occurs with biotite.

“The mine is estimated to have a lifespan of 12 years.”

Springpole gold project reserves

The project is expected to contain indicated resources of 139.1Mt containing 4.67Moz of gold and 24.19Moz of silver, as well as inferred resources of 11.4Mt containing 230,000oz of gold and 1.12Moz of silver.

Mining and processing at Springpole project

Conventional open-pit mining methods involving drilling, blasting, loading and hauling will be applied at the gold project.

At the processing plant, ore will be passed through a conventional semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill and a ball mill to reduce the ore size to 70μm. It will then be forwarded to the gravity recovery circuit, which will treat the cyclone underflow stream when processing higher grade feeds with possibly higher amounts of gravity-recoverable gold.

The resulting gravity concentrate will be processed in an intensive leach reactor, with the pregnant solution reporting to the electro-winning gold recovery circuit.

Grinding cyclone overflow will pass over a trash screen and be thickened prior to cyanide leaching. The leaching circuit will comprise a primary stage of aeration and leaching followed by secondary carbon-in-pulp (CIP) tanks.

Gold-loaded carbon will then be forwarded to stripping and reactivation with the pregnant strip solution passing through the electro-winning circuit. The final gold sludge will be sent to the furnace for recovering gold as doré bullion.

Infrastructure at Springpole

The mine can be accessed by a two-lane, unpaved, corridor road along the Birch River from Wenasaga Road.

Workers and staff will be accommodated at a 300-member camp, featuring single rooms with dormitory-style washrooms.

Power supply for the project will be provided through a 115kV wood pole transmission line.

Contractors involved

SRK Consulting (Canada) prepared the PEA report for the project.