Sleeping Giant Awakens

North American Palladium poured first gold at its reactivated
Sleeping Giant mine on October 6. The mine—
the company’s first gold producer—is targeted to provide
50,000 oz of gold in its first full year of production.
(Photos courtesy of North American Palladium
North American Palladium poured its first gold bars at its reactivated Sleeping Giant mine on October 6, 2009, and is ramping up to a commercial production rate of 50,000 oz/y of gold during the fourth quarter of 2009. The restart of production at Sleeping Giant is North American Palladium’s first step toward its corporate goal of becoming a diversified, mid-tier precious metals producer.

The Sleeping Giant mine is located 80 km north of Amos in the Abitibi region of Quebec and is typical of the narrow-vein gold mines commonly found in the region. Mining methods at Sleeping Giant are a combination of room-and-pillar, shrinkage, and longhole stoping, depending on the grade and geometry of the veins. The mill has a rated capacity of 900 mt/d. The mine produced more than 1 million oz of gold at an average grade of 11.44 g/mt from 1988 to 2008, when it was placed on care and maintenance by Iamgold.

Cadiscor Resources acquired the Sleeping Giant mine from Iamgold in 2008, and North American Palladium acquired the mine when it acquired Cadiscor in March 2009. Cadiscor’s other significant asset was its Discovery gold project, located 70 km from Sleeping Giant. A scoping study for Discovery released in August 2008 outlined a project that could produce an average of 44,000 oz/y of gold over a four-year mine life.

Sleeping Giant is North American Palladium’s first gold producer. The company’s primary asset is its Lac des Iles palladium mine in Ontario, which was placed on care and maintenance in October 2008 due to low metal prices. The company has said it will consider restarting production at Lac des Iles once the price of palladium reaches a sustainable price of $300 to $325/oz. At mid-October 2009, the price had moved up to $330/oz, its highest level since August 2009.

As featured in Womp 2009 Vol 09 -