- Geology and Mineralization
- Mining and Processing
In December 2003, Western Quebec Mines Inc. purchased the Kiena Complex and subsequently put the property into Wesdome Gold Mines Inc., completing and consolidating the Wesdome land package around Lac De Montigny. The Kiena Mine Complex Project (the “Project”) is a gold property located in the Province of Québec, in the Abitibi region within the limits of the town of Val-d’Or.. As of October 29, 2019, the Kiena Mine Complex property consists of a contiguous group of 183 contiguous electronic map designated mining claims and one mining concession. From the 183 mining claims, Wesdome has 169 claims registered in their name at 100%. Six claims are held be Mines Dynacor (50%) and Wesdome (50%), which represents the Maufort property. Eight claims are held by Wesdome (75%) and 9264-7890 Québec inc. (25%), which represents the Siscoe Extension property. It covers an aggregate area of 7,047 ha.
The Kiena Complex is a fully permitted, integrated mining and milling infrastructure, which includes a 930 m production shaft and a 2,000 tpd mill. From 1981 to 2013, the mine produced 1.75 million ozs of gold from 12.5 million t at a head grade of 4.5 g/t Au. The bulk of this production came from the S-50 Zone between depths of 100 m and 1,000 m. Historic mining was characterized by a series of quartz, carbonate, albite and pyrite veins, and stockworks or breccia lenses hosted within altered tholeiitic basalt, komatiite or talc-chlorite schist. Gold mineralization is typically concentrated where there is a marked competency contrast between more competent mafic rocks and the adjacent deformed komatiite or chlorite-talc schists. In 2013, operations were suspended due to a combination of the declining gold price and lack of developed reserves. The infrastructure has been preserved on care and maintenance status and the underground workings have never been flooded. Since 2015, Wesdome has been continuously exploring the Kiena deposit and in 2016 discovered the Kiena Deep A Zone, which remains a focus of underground exploration.
All infrastructure components have the necessary permits and authorizations. The Kiena environmental department is aware of the main legal requirements and continue to perform all required monitoring studies.
The recently discovered Kiena Deep A Zone is characterized by very high grade, visible gold within quartz veins having very little associated sulfide mineralization, and may represent a new style of gold mineralization in this area. The Kiena Deep A Zone is divided into three main lenses that occur along an isoclinal fold associated with a contact between mafic volcanics and komatiite that are variably altered to chlorite, carbonate and amphibole. The zone is comprised of laminated quartz veins interpreted to be associated with second or third order connecting structures. This high grade zone may represent a transition from the previously mined, more brecciated and sulfide rich deposit near surface, to a more discreet structure with visible gold and less sulfide at depth. The gold mineralization plunges approximately 45 degrees to the southeast and now extends over 830 m and remains open up and down plunge.
Unless stated otherwise, the information in this section is based upon the NI 43-101 technical report (the “Kiena Complex Technical Report’’) entitled “Mineral Resource Estimate for the Kiena Mine Complex Project, Val-d’Or, Québec, Canada”, dated November 7, 2019. The updated block model mineral resource estimate, proximal to Kiena Mine Development, was prepared by Karine Brousseau P.Eng (OIQ #121871), Senior Engineer – Mineral Resources of the Company and a "Qualified Person" as defined in NI-43-101.The mineral resource estimate has been reviewed and audited by BBA Consulting, Toronto, Ontario. Pierre-Luc Richard P.Geo (OGQ #1119) of BBA Consulting, is a "Qualified Persons" for the resource estimate as defined in NI-43-101 and is considered to be “independent” of Wesdome for purposes of NI-43-101.
Update on Activities
Since the September 2019 mineral resource update, infill and exploration drilling has continued from the 105 level to test the up and down plunge extension of the Kiena Deep A Zone. Additionally, a 79 Level drift has been completed in early 2020 to provide an optimal platform to test the up plunge extension of the A Zone and ultimately will be used for production at a later date as it connects the Upper A Zone and Lower VC Zones to the main shaft.
The first gold discoveries were made on Parker Island (site of the present Kiena Mine surface infrastructure) during the period 1911 to 1914. Kiena Gold Mines Ltd. was established in 1936. A shaft with four levels was developed. Drilling in 1961 based on this work discovered the S-50 Zone. By 1963 exploration work had outlined a resource of 4.5 million tonnes averaging 6.3 g/t Au for the S-50 Zone. Shaft No.1 (the current shaft) was sunk to a depth of 400 m and extensive underground exploration and development was completed. In 1979, with soaring gold prices, the project was successfully developed with commercial production commencing in October, 1981. In 1986 Kiena Mines was sold to Campbell Red Lake Mines, which subsequently merged with Dome Mines Ltd. and Placer Development Ltd. to form Placer Dome Canada Ltd. In 1997 Placer Dome sold Kiena to McWatters Mines Inc. and subsequently acquired by Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd.
The Kiena Complex lies within the Abitibi Subprovince of the Archean Superior craton, eastern Canada. More precisely, it is located in the Val-d'Or mining district, northwestern Quebec. The Quebec Wesdome Project are located in the southern part of the Abitibi Subprovince and the northern part of the Pontiac Subprovince.
The region has several large-scale strike faults and/or shear zones, trending W to WNW and dipping steeply to the north. They are, from south to north: the Cadillac Tectonic Zone (CTZ), the Parfouru Fault (PF), the Marbenite Fault (MF), the Norbenite Fault (NF), the Callahan Fault (CF), the K Shear Zone (KSZ), and the Rivière Héva Fault (RHF). The Quebec Wesdome Project is cut by all of them. These major structures contain dykes or stocks of monzonitic or tonalitic composition with highly variable ages (pre, syn- or post-tectonic) that are spatially associated with several gold mines (Norlartic, Marban, Kiena, Sullivan, Goldex, Siscoe, Joubi, Sigma and Lamaque). The observed diversity in the styles and ages of gold mineralization related to these large-scale strike faults and/or shear zones demonstrates that several distinct episodes of mineralization occur.
The most important feature of the deformation from the perspective of gold mineralization was the development of shear zones. The timing of the shear zones is controversial, but there is general consensus that a significant component of the vertical elongation and thrusting along these fault zones occurred during the Kenoran orogeny. Gold deposits in the Val-d’Or district are hosted or spatially associated with shear zones. The deposits occur in all rock types present in the district, except for the late-tectonic Archean granitic batholiths and the Proterozoic diabase dikes.
At least two major auriferous mineralizing events have been recognized in the Val- d’Or district on the basis of morphological and structural features, ore and alteration mineral assemblages, and crosscutting relationships with intrusive. The older mineralizing event is manifested by veins and breccias (e.g., Norlartic, Marban, Kiena mines, and Main ore zone at Siscoe mine) that are mainly associated with second- order shear zones and commonly folded or boudinaged by D1 deformation. These veins and breccias are cut by diorite and tonalite dikes. The younger auriferous event, which produced the Sigma, Lamaque, Perron-Beaufor, Shawkey, Wesdome and Camflo deposits, as well as the C quartz-tourmaline vein at the Siscoe mine, is represented by veins commonly associated with third-order shear zones. These veins clearly crosscut plutonic rocks and may have formed during the latest stages of D1 deformation.
Gold mineralization in the property occurs in all rock types except Proterozoic dykes but is more common in intrusive bodies and basalt as these acted as competent rock units that promoted fracturing during deformation. Gold mineralization concentrated where there is a marked competency contrast between these competent units and the adjacent deformed komatiite and/or chlorite-talc schists.
Kiena Deep A Zone
In the summer of 2016, Wesdome launched an underground drilling program based on a new interpretation of the depth potential and to test for a repetition of the previously mined S-50 Zone at 200 m – 300 m below existing mine infrastructure at a depth of approximately 1,200 m. On August 24 and September 15, 2016, the Company announced encouraging early underground drill results from this exploration program and the discovery of the Kiena Deep A Zone consisting of high grade gold in quartz veining thus being significantly different than the historical lower grade stockwork style of mineralization in the previously mined areas.
- 94.35 g/t Au over 17.40 m uncut (18.03 g/t cut) in hole U-6124
- 192.95 g/t Au over 14.25 m uncut (18.80 g/t cut) in hole U-6125
- 238.81 g/t Au over 5.00 m uncut (15.71 g/t cut) in hole U-6125
- 8.43 g/t Au over 8.2 m uncut (3.82 g/t cut) in hole U-6130
As a result of the favourable drilling, the Company decided to drive an exploration ramp to provide more optimal drilling platforms for exploration. Previously, drill access was limited by existing mine infrastructure making conditions very difficult to reach the intended targets. Completion of the exploration ramp provided the ability to drill shorter holes at better angles, and accelerate access to the Upper Quartz Zone and A Zone. With the development of the exploration ramp, drilling resumed on the Kiena Deep A Zone returning some spectacular results, including:
Hole 6338: 163.8 g/t Au over 3.0 m core length (13.1 g/t Au over 2.6 m true width)
- Hole 6339: 53.6 g/t Au over 6.2 m core length (18.38 g/t Au cut, 5.3 m true width)
- Hole 6321: 177.3 g/t Au over 5.1 m core length (6.5 g/t Au cut, 5.1 m true width)
- Hole 6336: 18.7 g/t Au over 12.9 m core length (7.0 g/t Au cut, 6.8 m true width)
- Hole 6333: 37.3 g/t Au over 8.4 m core length (6.8 g/t Au cut, 5.8 m true width)
- Hole 6338: 14.1 g/t Au over 12.1 m core length (10.3 g/t Au over 11.9 m true width)
All assays cut to 34.28 g.t Au. True widths are estimated.
Drilling has since extended the gold mineralization of the A Zone and prompted Wesdome to further extend the current exploration platforms by a total of 1,200 metres to continue to define the possible extension of the Kiena Deep A Zone to the northwest, southeast and down dip.
Recent drilling has identified a well-defined, moderate plunge of approximately 45 degrees to the SE to the gold mineralization that occurs predominantly along the basalt – chlorite-carbonate schist boundary. The definition drilling has continued to confirm the overall continuity of the Kiena Deep A Zone.
Recent drilling has extended the gold mineralization of the A Zone an additional 100 m down plunge and now extends a total in excess of 830 m. Additionally, the down plunge and portions of the down dip extension of the A zone remains open and will also be a focus of the continued drilling.
Additionally, the up plunge extension of the A Zone that would have the potential to significantly add to the resource base, and could be a vital enhancement in any restart scenario. The 79 Level Ramp has been completed in early 2020. It provides optimal drill platforms for testing the up plunge extension of the Kiena Deep A Zone between the 670 m-level and the 1050 m-level, and will serve as a haulage drift for any future production from this area as it accesses the main shaft level dump pocket.
The past producing Kiena Mine is a fully permitted, integrated mining and milling infrastructure, which includes a 930 m production shaft and a 2,000 tpd mill. From 1981 to 2013, the mine produced 1.75 million ounces of gold from 12.5 million tonnes at a head grade of 4.5 g/t Au. The bulk of this production came from the S-50 Zone between depths of 100 m and 1,000 m. In 2013, operations were suspended due to a combination of the declining gold price and lack of developed reserves.
Access to underground work is through the No.1 shaft to a depth of 930 m. It provides access from level 12 (120 m below surface) to level 93 (930 m below surface). Levels 17 to 105 are accessible by a ramp that extends from 170 m to 1,050 m below surface. A total of 49 levels was excavated. A northwest exploration drift of 947 m is present on level 12. A second exploration drift of about 3,500 m extends to the east on level 33.
The Kiena Mine processing plant became operational in September 1984. A conventional gold recovery process involving cyanidation and conventional CIP was used. The principal process steps included crushing, grinding, leaching by cyanidation, gold adsorption and desorption, electrolysis, melting and casting of doré bars.
In 2018, Wesdome mandated CTRI to conduct fifteen 48-hour cyanidation tests in 4 L bottles on gold mineralized material. Three cyanidation tests were performed on the mineralized material from the Kiena Deep A Zone (four composites) and the S50 Zone. Wesdome selected and prepared the samples used for this testwork campaign.
The 48-hour recoveries for the Kiena Deep A Zone cyanidation tests ranged from 98.4% to 99.7%. The 48-hour recoveries for the S50 Zone gave a value of 95.7%, which is in the range of the historical data from the Kiena Mill.
Lime consumption for all cyanide tests ranged from 1.1 kg/t to 1.6 kg/t. The consumption of NaCN varied between 0.11 kg/t and 0.21 kg/t. Even though the head grades were higher than the S50 Zone, reagent consumption was higher for the S50 Zone compared to the Kiena Deep A Zone for both cyanide and lime. This was probably due to the presence of sulphur (pyrite) in the S50 Zone.