Red Lake is one of Goldcorp’s (GG) mines. It has the highest production. It’s located in Ontario—one of the world’s most prolific gold districts. It covers ~2,335 hectares. It’s among the world’s richest gold mines. The high-grade zone is the backbone of Red Lake’s operation. The average grade of gold that’s recovered is more than two ounces of gold per ton.
The mine produced 493,000 ounces of gold in 2013. Its remaining mine life is estimated to be 12 years. Red Lake’s proven and probable reserves were 2.55 million ounces as of December 2013.
Red Lake is mainly an underground mine. All of Red Lake’s underground mining is done by using three mining methods. The methods maximize ore extraction.
- Overhand cut and fill – mining starts at the lower level and works upward
- Underhand cut and fill – work starts at the top level and works downward
- Long hole – holes are drilled between the two excavations. The holes are loaded with explosives. The holes are blasted. The ore is removed from the bottom excavation.
As economical deposits above ground are exhausted, companies—including Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM), and Kinross (KGC)—prospect for gold underground. This trend adds to their costs. These companies, including Goldcorp, are part of the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners Index (GDX).
The Bruce Channel discovery—at the nearby Cochenour project—secured the control of eight kilometers of strike length in the heart of Red Lake. The Cochenour or Bruce Channel deposit is key to Red Lake’s plans for future consolidation. The work on enlarging and upgrading the existing Cochenour shaft is nearly complete. The development of an approximately six kilometer haulage drift is ~90% complete. It will connect the existing Red Lake underground infrastructure with Cochenour.
Goldcorp made additional investments in infrastructure and development. The investments positioned Red Lake for many more years of long-term sustainable production.
Its high-grade zone extends at depth. Its drilling continues to test and extend the adjacent NXT zone.
Investors can also consider the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) to get exposure to spot gold.