Blasting and mining work at the Hollinger Open Pit Mine will end by 2019 Brian Neeley Sustainability Manager for Goldcorp told a meeting of the Hollinger Project Community Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday March 29, 2016.
“After the mining work stops in 2019, closure operations will continue for another four years before the property is turned over to the City of Timmins for use as a recreational area,” Neeley said.
Neeley indicated that the end to the blasting would also put an end to the myriad of complaints about noise, vibrations and dust that were the focus of most of the meeting.
Neeley and Hollinger Open Pit Manager, Don Burke were on hand at the meeting to provide information and also responses to the HPCAC’s concerns.
Closure of the open pit mine might not be the end of mining for Goldcorp in the Timmins area.
Someone from the Committee asked the Goldcorp representatives if it was true that after Hollinger is completed Goldcorp planned to start mining under Pearl Lake which is in front of the old McIntyre Headframe, site of the historic McIntyre Gold Mine.
“Our company does exploration work and tests for the potential of mining on our properties all the time,” Neeley said. “I wouldn’t read to much in what you may have heard.”
A local official involved with mining confirmed that there is potential for gold mining under Pearl Lake as well as Little Pearl Lake to the west of the McIntyre Community Centre.
According to this individual Placer Dome, the company that owned the McIntyre Mine prior to selling to Goldcorp had conducted numerous feasibility studies on mining the lake bottom back in the 1980s and 1990s.
Much of the economic feasibility of whether goldmining is profitable depends on the price of gold and in the 1990s the gold price collapsed leading to Placer Dome dropping its plans to further explore the economic feasibility of mine under the lake.
Around the same time the late 1980s, Jimberlana, an Australian mining company, got permission to reclaim gold from city park that was build over a rehabilitated tailings area from the old McIntyre Operation.
The park contained athletic fields, picnic area and was very popular with the people of Schumacher and Timmins.
But then the price of gold plummeted in the early to mid-1990s and the company walked away from the project after it had dug a huge pit.
Rapidly that pit filled with water and became officially known as Little Pearl Lake... more popularly known around town as Lake Welin, named after former Timmins Mayor Dennis Welin.
Some of Welin's supporters quickly point out that is rather unfair as Welin only had one vote.
Goldcorp bought mining rights to the old McIntyre Mine from Placer Dome and Kinross Gold in 2006 and also assumed responsibility for final closure plans for the old sites.