Brucejack Gold Mine Construction
As Pretivm Resources’ Brucejack Gold mine nears production, it’s exciting to look back on the construction process.
As Pretivm Resources’ Brucejack Gold mine nears production, it’s exciting to look back on the construction process. Pretivm and their contractors overcame the intense challenge of constructing the mine and facilities in northwestern British Columbia. Diligent planning allowed them to work ahead of schedule even through the harsh winter months.
Construction began September 2015
The focus of the fall of 2015 was preparing the site for construction of the buildings to begin in the following spring. Earthwork began, and diversion ditches were excavated. Brucejack Road was widened for transportation. Underground, the focus switched from exploration development to mine infrastructure construction.
All major equipment had been ordered, including the ball mill and SAG mill. Temporary generators were delivered, commissioned, and ready to power construction.
Earthwork as well as building the mill and camp pads is the focus throughout the winter of 2016. Pretivm updates the construction cost and working capital estimate for the project in February from the numbers estimated in the June 2014 feasibility study.
The winter conditions, while challenging, do not slow Pretivm’s construction pace. In March 2016, the foundation of the camp is poured, and the mill pad levelled. Over 700 employees and contractors are working to complete the project.
The winter weather starts to fade as Pretivm continues to work on the permanent 330-person camp foundations. The camp modules were constructed offsite, and brought in for assembly. Pretivm begins building the Valley of the Kings portal pad. This portal building is where the gold ore is conveyed to the mill. Underground construction advances at an impressive rate of 20 metres each day.
By June of 2016, the construction team moves forward at record speed to optimize their window of good weather. The shell of the permanent camp neared completion, including electrical work and plumbing. The foundation of the mill is poured, and the site is prepared for the arrival of the SAG and ball mills. The steel structure construction begins.
The transmission line towers are the focus of July. The bases and towers are successfully installed using a high capacity air crane. These transmission towers will connect Brucejack to the BC Hydro power grid. The roof of the mill is installed. The surge bin discharge chutes also arrive as the interior of the mill becomes the focus.
Throughout August, the walls of the mill are installed. The goal is to completely enclose the mill building so construction can continue indoors. Mill equipment continues to arrive.
Snow starts to fall as the last towers are constructed, and the mill building is fully enclosed. This allows construction to advance quickly indoors over the winter months. The foundations and steel structures for the major pieces of equipment are installed. The fire and water tanks, and electrical room are constructed. The tailings concentrator and stock tank foundations are poured. The electrical surge bin is entirely enclosed.
Construction continues at the Brucejack site, despite heavy snowfall. The tailings thickener and the SAG mill main bearing housings are installed. Other milestones include the assembly of the floatation tanks and tailings thickener, and electrical installations. Across the site, the portal construction continues at an increased speed of 30 metres each day. Vents are installed, and 30,000 tonnes of ore are stockpiled for commissioning. Most notably, the transmission towers are completed, and the line is beginning to be energized.
Work continues at the underground portal building. Equipment assembly inside the mill nears completion. The permanent camp is fully operational.
Construction is ahead of schedule and 110,000 tonnes of ore has been stockpiled for commissioning.
March is a noteworthy month at the Brucejack mine. The transmission line is completely energized, and dry commissioning begins.
Wet commissioning begins with the introduction of the first ore.