Monarques will suspend production at its Beaufor mine, pictured here, in mid-December. Courtesy of Monarques Gold

Monarques Gold is temporarily suspending production at its Beaufor mine near Val d’Or, Quebec, in mid-December, the company announced last week.

The mine will have its staff reduced to only ten employees who will handle care and maintenance for the mine and its facilities.

Monarques said low-grade ore mined recently, the low price of gold and the company’s inability to recruit qualified personnel had caused the mine to be unprofitable for the last two fiscal quarters.

The company said it is looking into methods to allow it to restart production.

Related: Quebec mining firm Minrail finding its sweet spot extracting shallow angle deposits at Monarques' Beaufor

“Over the coming quarters, we will be looking for ways to improve the mining grade while pursuing our exploration activities, which have generated very promising results,” Monarques Gold president and CEO Jean-Marc Lacoste said in a press release. “Our goal is to restart the Beaufor mine as soon as we are able to ensure that our operations will be profitable.”

While production is stalled, exploration activities will continue at Beaufor. The company is increasing its efforts at Wasamac, Beaufor’s flagship gold deposit, and recently acquired a property next to the project to be the site of its future mining activities. The property spans more than a kilometre of the Trans-Canada Highway and the Northern Ontario Railway.

According to Lacoste, the company will be issuing an update on the feasibility study for the potential mine.

Beaufor has produced more than 1.1 million ounces of gold in its lifetime.