Hudbay's plan for Lalor will increased the mine's life by one year and double annual production. Courtesy of Hudbay Minerals.

Hudbay Minerals’ operations in Manitoba have received a boost to their reserves and production, according to an update released by the company on Mar. 31.

Hudbay’s operational focus in Canada is in the Snow Lake region of Manitoba, home to the company’s Lalor gold-zinc-copper-silver mine, the New Britannia mill acquired by the company in 2015, as well as several satellite deposits. In February 2019, the company announced the first phase of its strategy to increase production at Lalor following the refurbishing of the New Britannia mill.

For the second phase of the plan, executed over the past 12 months, the company has focused on “extensive infill and exploration drilling at Lalor and advancing engineering studies on the regional deposits in Snow Lake.” According to Hudbay, the total Snow Lake gold reserves have increased 35 per cent to 2.2 million ounces based on 15 million tonnes with a grade of 4.16 grams per tonne.

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This anticipates an increase of Lalor’s life-of-mine gold production by 41 per cent compared to the previous plan, and now stands at 1,501,000 ounces over the next 10 years compared to 1,134,000 from February 2019. Once the New Britannia mill is refurbished in 2022, gold production is expected to average 150,000 ounces per year over the first eight-years, which is more than double the mine’s current annual gold production, according to Hudbay. After the first 10 years, the Lalor feed will be replaced by ore from the WIM and 3 Zone deposits for the remaining eight years.

The company also announced the third phase of its strategy for Snow Lake. This includes using Lalor’s 4.4 million tonnes of inferred mineral resources to potentially extend its life past the next 10 years, as well as additional drilling at the company’s New Britannia, Birch, 1901, Watts and Pen II deposits in the region.

According to Hudbay president and CEO Peter Kukielski, the company is “extremely pleased with our exploration success over the past 12 months in Manitoba where we’ve doubled the mine life in Snow Lake and more than doubled Lalor’s annual gold production from current levels.”