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Published on: October 17, 2018

Hecla Mining’s optimization and automation efforts are paying off at its high-grade Casa Berardi mine in Quebec

When Hecla Mining made its bid for Casa Berardi in 2013, part of its pitch to Aurizon’s shareholders was the expertise that the then-120-year-old company had in underground hard rock mining at its operations in Idaho and Alaska. At that time, the average mill throughput at Casa Berardi was 1,600 tonnes per day. By the end of 2017, that number had nearly doubled to 3,551.

Casa Berardi first went into production in 1989 and operated until 1997, when it was put on care and maintenance. It resumed commercial production in 2007. Today the processing plant receives ore from two mining zones underground as well as a shallow open pit, which began producing in 2016. The underground mining method consists of longhole transversal stoping for wider mineralized zones and longitudinal retreat stoping for narrower ore bodies. Currently, the mine life is estimated to be nine years.

Read the full story in the Operations section of CIM Magazine.