A summary of the construction of the Brucejack Gold Mine

As Pretivm Resources’ Brucejack Mine nears production, it’s exciting to look back on the construction process.

by Jillian Clark
An aerial view of the Brucejack Mine site in September 2015

Brucejack Mine site, September 2015 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

As Pretivm Resources’ Brucejack Mine nears production, it’s exciting to look back on the construction process. Pretivm and its 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

September 2015 Brucejack Road

September 2015 Brucejack Road — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

This photo shows the underground construction on the mine infrastructure.

Construction on the mine infrastructure — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

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.

An aerial view of the mine site shows the location for the permanent camp and mill locations, October 2015.

Permanent camp and mill locations, October 2015 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

November 2015

All major equipment had been ordered, including the ball mill and SAG mill. Temporary generators were delivered, commissioned and ready to power construction.

February 2016

Earthwork, as well as building the mill and camp pads, was the focus throughout the winter of 2016. Pretivm updated the construction cost and working capital estimate for the project in February from the numbers estimated in the June 2014 feasibility study.

February 2016 Brucejack

February 2016 Brucejack — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

March 2016

The winter conditions, while challenging, did not slow Pretivm’s construction pace. In March 2016, the foundation of the camp was poured and the mill pad levelled. Over 700 employees and contractors were working to complete the project.

The landscape of the Brucejack Mine site is covered in snow, March 2016.

Brucejack Mine site, March 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

April 2016

The winter weather started to fade as Pretivm continued to work on the permanent 330-person camp foundations. The camp modules were constructed offsite and brought in for assembly. Pretivm began building the Valley of the Kings portal pad. The portal building is where the gold ore is conveyed to the mill. Underground construction advanced at an impressive rate of 20 metres each day.

A crane is working at the Brucejack Mine site, April 2016,

Brucejack Mine site, April 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

May 2016

May 2016 Brucejack Aerial

May 2016 Brucejack Aerial — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

June 2016

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Structure Complete

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Structure Complete — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Site

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Site — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Piers-Columns

June 2016 Brucejack Mill Piers-Columns — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Brucejack's camp building is shown in construction, June 2016.

Brucejack's camp, June 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

The roof trusses at Brucejack's mill are pictured, June 2016.

Roof trusses of Brucejack's mill, June 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

By June of 2016, the construction team moved forward at record speed to optimize its window of good weather. The shell of the permanent camp neared completion, including electrical work and plumbing. The foundation of the mill was poured, and the site was prepared for the arrival of the SAG and ball mills. The steel structure construction began.

July 2016

Brucejack's transmission line towers were installed, July 2016.

Brucejack's transmission line towers were installed, July 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

The transmission line towers were the focus in July. The bases and towers were successfully installed using a high-capacity air crane. These transmission towers connect Brucejack to the BC Hydro power grid. The roof of the mill was installed. The surge bin discharge chutes also arrived as the interior of the mill became the focus.

August 2016

The portal of the Brucejack's Valley of the Kings site, August 2016

Brucejack's Valley of the Kings portal, August 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Throughout August, the walls of the mill were installed. The goal was to completely enclose the mill building so construction could continue indoors. Mill equipment continued to arrive.

October 2016

October 2016 Brucejack Towers Constructed

October 2016 Brucejack Towers Constructed — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Internal steel structures of Brucejack's mill are shown, October 2016.

Internal steel structures of Brucejack's mill, October 2016 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Snow started to fall as the last towers were constructed, and the mill building was fully enclosed. This allowed construction to advance quickly indoors over the winter months. The foundations and steel structures for the major pieces of equipment were installed. The fire and water tanks, and electrical room were constructed. The tailings concentrator and stock tank foundations were poured. The electrical surge bin was entirely enclosed.

December 2016

December 2016 Brucejack Aerial

December 2016 Brucejack Aerial — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Construction continued at the Brucejack site, despite heavy snowfall. The tailings thickener and the SAG mill main bearing housings were installed. Other milestones included the assembly of the floatation tanks and tailings thickener, and electrical installations. Across the site, the portal construction continued at an increased speed of 30 metres each day. Vents were installed, and 30,000 tonnes of ore were stockpiled for commissioning. Most notably, the transmission towers were completed, and workers began the process of energizing the line.

January 2017

Work continued at the underground portal building. Equipment assembly inside the mill neared completion. The permanent camp was fully operational.

February 2017

Construction was ahead of schedule, and 110,000 tonnes of ore had been stockpiled for commissioning.

March 2017

March 2017 Brucejack Sag and Ball Mills

March 2017 Brucejack Sag and Ball Mills — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

March was a noteworthy month at the Brucejack Mine. The transmission line was completely energized, and dry commissioning began.

April 2017

Brucejack's conveyor gallery was completed, April 2017.

Brucejack's conveyor gallery was completed, April 2017 — Photo courtesy Pretivm Resources Inc.

Wet commissioning began with the introduction of the first ore.

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