Montreal's Monarch Gold has retained Ausenco Engineering of Toronto to carry out an upgrading study on the Glencore's Metallurgical Site (Kidd Met) near Timmins.
The study is part of a memorandum of understanding announced in May with Glencore, owners of the smelter.
Monarch Gold is bringing its Wasamac property in western Quebec into production and is looking for a processor to treat ore mined from the Wasamac deposit, 15 kilometres west of Rouyn-Noranda. The ore would be railed from the mine site to Timmins for processing into dore bar.
The upgrading study is due out by October.
In a previous release, Monarch said if both companies agree the results of the study is in each other's interests, Monarch and Glencore agree to negotiate a toll milling agreement by March 30, 2021.
Monarch would also agree to fund upgrades to the concentrator and any related infrastructure.
The first rail cars from Wasamac could arrive by December 2023.
"We are excited to be working with an engineering firm like Ausenco, which has produced numerous solid studies and developed successful large mining projects around the globe, including recent and relevant benchmark projects such as Moose River Gold (Nova Scotia)," said Jean-Marc Lacoste, Monarch president-CEO in a June 22 release.
Monarch said, for confidentiality reasons, it reserves the right to not disclose the results of the study on the Kidd concentrator.
Ausenco was chosen in 2019 to do the feasibility study for First Cobalt's refinery near the town of Cobalt in northeastern Ontario.
"Ausenco has a project development ethos centred on cost-effective process and rail design coupled with efficient delivery, driving strong project economics and return on shareholder investment," aid Garry Warren, Ausenco's president of North America project delivery.
"We intend to apply that ethos to provide a differentiated approach for the Wasamac project, one that extracts the maximum value for Monarch and sets the stage to move from the upgrading study into project execution and commercial production."
According to Monarch's news release, the study mandate calls for Ausenco to focus on developing high-level costs and financials for two practical project options, whole ore leach and flotation leach, and also develop the preferred option to a pre-feasibility study level.