In the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec, a brand new Hitachi EX5600-6 is helping one of the largest operating gold mines in Canada achieve its production goals.
The new backhoe, which has been in operation since June 2016, is the mine’s first Hitachi excavator and is proving to be a pivotal asset in its daily operations.
“The open pit is right above underground mines, so there are many cavities we need to work around,” said Éric Lecomte, mine operations director of Canadian Malartic Mine. “As a result, we operate machines remotely in those areas – it’s really a matter of health and safety. We had a smaller, diesel shovel that was operated remotely, but we wanted to improve production, so we decided to add the Hitachi machine to enhance productivity.”
Though the EX5600-6 has only been in production for a short time, Lecomte and his team have been pleased with its performance so far.
“The first time our operators used the machine, they were very impressed with the power of the EX5600, especially compared to the older machine we had been using up until then,” said Lecomte. “We have achieved some good performance and reliability has been great. We are impressed and very satisfied.”
Prior to making the decision to purchase the EX5600-6, Lecomte and his team visited other open pit mines to see the machine in operation.
“We spoke to the maintenance guys and operation guys and heard some good things,” he said. “Overall, we had some good references from our colleagues in the mining industry.”
The Canadian Malartic operation was built by Osisko Mining Corp., which was jointly acquired in June 2014 by Agnico Eagle Mines Limited and Yamana Gold Corporation. The mine poured its two millionth ounce of gold in September 2015 and is developing into one of the largest pure gold producers in Canada.
Canadian Malartic Mine: At a Glance
• 571,618 ounces of gold produced in 2015.
• 55,000 tonnes/day of designed throughput.
• Mine life expected to last through 2022. Canadian Malartic is proposing an extension of the current open pit mine to include the Barnat reserve. Upon government approval, the Canadian Malartic extension project would extend operations to the year 2028.
Canadian Malartic Mine is serviced by Wajax Equipment, Timmins, Ontario.