Arctic conditions a challenge for Meadowbank mine
The process design for the greenfield Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut, a Canadian territory, is based on a conventional gold plant flow sheet. The mill is designed to operate with a throughput capacity of 8,500 tonnes per day.
The project is a logistical challenge because site access is limited to the short Arctic summer. More than 50,000 tonnes of materials and equipment had to be shipped by barge over three 10-week summers between August and October.
Once in operation, Meadowbank ore will be accessed using drilling and blasting with truck haulage to a primary crusher adjacent to the mill. Waste material from the pre-stripping will be used as bulk construction materials for dikes, and fill material around the site.
The Meadowbank project is located near the western shore of Hudson Bay, and has expected gold reserves of 3.6 million ounces (32.8 million tonnes at 3.45 g/t). Startup is expected in the first quarter of 2010.
Four major buildings including the process plant, truck shop and power plant were erected during the summer of 2008. This allowed the concrete and equipment construction to continue indoors during the minus 50°C Arctic winter.
To ensure that the local population had a role in the development of the mine, there was close collaboration between the owner and Inuit stakeholders, as set out in the Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement (IIBA).
Hatch is providing detailed engineering, procurement and construction management support for the 8,500-t/d gold processing facility, which includes
Hatch also provided construction and logistics support for the project.
For further information, please contact Bruce Rustad: BRustad@hatch.ca