Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lake Shore Gold moving towards production

Lake Shore Gold Corp. (LSG) in Timmins says it’s well on it’s way to becoming North America’s next significant “mid-tier” gold producer.
Company president Tony Makuch told reporters in Timmins Tuesday that he is confident his company’s Timmins West project will eventually push the company into the big leagues.
When asked to define mid-tier, Makuch said, “ We expect to fill the marketplace between the junior and the senior producers. We’re something above a junior company and something below the Barricks and Newmonts of this world.”
Makuch said Lake Shore Gold is different from a lot of other smaller gold companies. “We already have 1.2 million ounces in reserves in the ground,” said Makuch. “So that gives us the foundation to start with and to build upon. We have sufficient gold reserves right now here at Timmins West for at least 11 years.”
The company held a family day Tuesday to show off all the work that has been at the Timmins West site in the past year and to bring the local media up to date on the status of the project, which so far has seen a local investment of roughly $26 million.
“We are on track, we are well on track with what we said we were going to do here,” said Makuch, who is also a Timmins native.
“We expect to be producing ore by 2009 from Timmins West,” said Makuch adding that he expects the company to produce about 30,000 ounces of gold in that first year.
“It’s a good time for Timmins, and definitely a good time for Lake Shore Gold and a good time for Northeastern Ontario,” he declared.
The shaft sinking process has just begun. Operations vice-president Chris Stewart says the new 18-foot diameter circular concrete and steel shaft is currently sunk to 35 metres, but will eventually reach 650 metres.
Makuch says production at the mine is expected to eventually reach 150,000 ounces per year. Once production begins, LSG will be shipping its ore, by truck, to the Bell Creek mill in Porcupine.
Stewart says the job of refurbishing the mill is “progressing very well’ and he expects it will be done by the end of the year and will be able to begin processing ore in the first quarter of 2009.
“The mill was put away well,” said Stewart referring to the fact that the Bell Creek property shut down several years ago. It was purchased by LSG last year. Stewart said an inspection of the mill showed that of 50 electric motors inside the plant, only two needed serious repairs.
In September, the company will also drive a ramp at the Timmins West mine. As part of process of developing the ramp, Makuch says the company will also be able to begin extracting ore as the ramp moves through the ore zones.
Makuch says for all the that the new mine has to offer in the way of reserves and brand new equipment and facilities, “ the real main asset we have is people.”
He says Lake Shore is working towards international standards in terms of health and safety. as well as the environment. Makuch says the company’s goal is “zero harm” to the people who work at the mine and to the community that surrounds it.
Currently there are roughly 160 staff and contractor workers employed at the mine. Makuch says he expects that will reach 230 by the end of this year and 300 employees in 2009-10 when the mine goes into full production.

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