Mine work progressing on schedule

Heather Latter

The massive yellow parts are beginning to look more like trucks, excavators, and dozers as equipment assembly continues on site at New Gold’s Rainy River Project.
“It’s coming along—things are looking good,” project general manager Grant Goddard noted Monday.
“Everything is on track for assembly.”
One of the six Komatsu 830E trucks was completed earlier this month while one of the two PC5500 shovels was ready this week.
Several other pieces of equipment are nearing completion, which then will undergo commissioning and start-up testing.
There also will be a WA1200 loader, as well as several bulldozers, drills, and other support equipment.
Goddard explained the 830E trucks carry more than 240 tons of material and use a 2,500 h.p. engine.
The diesel-powered shovels, meanwhile, can load the trucks in four-five bucket loads, with each shovel weighing up to 1.2 million pounds.
Maintenance superintendent Leo Faykes said it takes a lot of hours and manpower to put together the massive equipment.
For instance, the trucks take 19 days each to assemble, with a crew of 14 putting the
roughly 40 pieces together.
The shovels take 30 days each to assemble.
Each truck cost about $3 million (U.S.) and are electric, meaning they are quieter and more environmentally-friendly.
Goddard said the completed equipment will be getting right to work.
“We had our first development blast [on Sept. 14] so we’re excited about that,” he remarked, noting the equipment will start to load and move rock as they continue with the open-pit mine development.
A second blast is set to take place next week.
Work also is ramping up at other areas of the mine site, including constructing ditches for water management, creating haul roads and access roads, and preparing the areas for the mill and crusher.
Goddard noted they want to have the foundation for the mill and crusher poured before winter.
“Then you will start to see steel going up on the processing plant,” he added.
Once the plant is closed in, they’ll be able to work on the interior during the winter months.
In addition to all the site work, New Gold also is busy hiring new employees, working on community engagement, and keeping an eye on the financials.
“We’re well-positioned financially,” he pledged, though noting they have to remain vigilant.
“We’re constantly focused on cost and productivity.”
Goddard said the team continues to educate the public about mining in general and the work on the project.
For instance, they will be presenting “Mining Rocks” to students at Fort Frances High School on Oct. 1, as well as offer a public session that evening from 6-8 p.m.
Other workshops and presentations will be given throughout the district periodically.
And Goddard indicated more employees will be starting jobs there next week.
“Our offers have gone out,” he said about the small crew of 12 surface miners and seven maintenance workers that will begin Oct. 1.
However, they also are hiring another 70 surface miners and adding to their maintenance team in early 2016.
Having received about 1,800 applications in total, Goddard said it has been a busy process.
He noted they wanted the small crew to start so they will have some employees trained and ready for when the big wave comes.
The bulk of the surface miners will be starting between January and March.
“We’re almost to the end of that process,” Goddard said, noting offers will be going out soon.
He added about 85 percent of the surface miners will be local and half are aboriginal.
“We have the talent here and the people we are looking for,” he remarked.
“It’s all about having the local talent be part of the team.”