With Canada's largest gold mine slated to begin production in
May, Osisko Mining Corp's CEO assures the company is focused on
"Sustainability is a very easy word to say but a very hard
thing to do," Sean Roosen, president and CEO of Osisko Mining
told Kitco News.
Last week, Osisko poured its first gold bar at its Malartic
project. The project is Canada's largest gold reserve and is
expected to produce 492,000 ounces of gold by the end of 2011,
according to Osisko's 2008 forecasts.
"We've worked on our sustainability budgets, we've put in
place the FEMO (Fonds Essor Malartic Osisko) project here in
Malartic, which is a developmental sustainability fund that we
hope will be perpetual even after the mine is gone," he said.
Among the environmental projects is the Osisko Forest, which
is set in the Vallée-de-l'Or region in Quebec. The project, aimed
to reduce Osisko's carbon footprint, is a municipal reforestation
program which will reforest 100 hectares of land annually over
the next nine years.
"We've always had a very strong interaction with our
communities," Roosen said. "All of our people are pretty
environmentally responsible folk and we want to make sure that we
have a company that's a leader in the space."
Quebec approved the mine in 2009. Except for a few voices
against the development, the gold mine was slowly embraced by
most Malartic residents.
Roosen emphasized the importance of keeping the community
atmosphere together as the mine was being constructed.
During construction, Osisko relocated 205 houses and
reconstructed six institutional buildings. The company spent
about $180 million on infrastructure to support the town in order
for the mine to be built. To date the project has cost over $1
Osisko has been introducing new technology to maintain the
eco-friendly projects initiated by the company.
"We've taken a very new technology in terms of tailings
disposal to reduce our footprint on the site," Roosen said.
In May 2010, Osisko received the Syncrude Award for excellence
in sustainable development, awarded by The Canadian Institute of
Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (
"We're expecting 688,000 ounces of gold in 2012, which
includes the ramp up to 60,000 tons a day, which was a revised
schedule we put out in 2009," Roosen said. "There will be a
revised number coming out next week."
Osisko increased its gold reserve at the Malartic project on
March 31 by 19% to 10.71 million ounces of gold, up from the
initial 8.97 million ounces estimate from February 2010.
"The overall in pit resource reserve is about 10.7 million
ounces with about 85% recovery (is) about 9 million ounces
recovered gold," Roosen said. "Once we have the revised mining
schedule regarding mine life, it should be around 12 and 16
EMERGING MINING REGULATIONS
With Bill-79 still being talked about, Roosen says governments
trying to impose regulations on mining companies is not a new
occurrence and believes it will continue to be a central focus as
long as commodities continue to perform well.
"All the governments in the world are looking at trying to
increase their revenue to cover their deficits, it's an ongoing
issue," Roosen said. "The commodities sector (has) been doing
well in the last two or three years so I think that it's an issue
that's here to stay."
Roosen said the cyclical nature of the commodities market
affects the governments' interest in pursuing any mining
"It usually subsides if there's a pullback in the commodities
cycle," Roosen said. "So, we've dealt with this before, anytime
there's a good commodities cycle, we end up with more pressure
for increased taxations."
When asked about Quebec's fall from top spot in the Fraser
Institute's annual mining survey to third, Roosen was not worried
about the state of mining in Quebec.
"To drop a couple places for Quebec doesn't really change my
view on the province, I think it's still a great place to do
business," Roosen said.
"When we look around the world right now, at geopolitical risk
versus stability, access to infrastructure and government support
… Quebec's still in my mind a top jurisdiction in the world,"
The 2010-2011 Fraser Institute survey had Alberta at top spot,
followed by Finland and then Quebec.
By Alex Létourneau of Kitco News