The Beaufor gold mine, near Val-d’Or, Quebec, will be temporarily suspended on December 14 and placed on care and maintenance, TSX-V-listed Monarques Gold announced on Thursday, citing persistent weakness in the gold price and lower-than-expected grades.
As a result, the workforce will be cut to about ten people, who will be assigned to maintain the mine and facilities during its shutdown.
"This decision was necessary for the future of the corporation," said Monarques president and CEO Jean-Marc Lacoste.
“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. Our goal is to restart the Beaufor mine as soon as we are able to ensure that our operations will be profitable."
The company believes that the Beaufor mine, which has produced more than 1.1-million ounces over its lifetime, still has excellent exploration potential along strike at depth. Its new exploration strategy at the mine will aim to grow the high-grade gold resource over a longer-term horizon, in order to ensure greater operating profitability.
Recent results have been encouraging, with nine of 14 exploration holes intersecting mineralisation.
In the meantime, Monarques will step up its efforts to develop the Wasamac gold deposit, which, by using the latest technology, has the potential to become a mine.
Last week, Monarques acquired a property next to the Wasamac project to serve as the site of the project's mining facilities. Located further away from the local community, the property has the added strategic advantage of including a stretch of more than 1 km along the Trans-Canada Highway and the Ontario Northland Railway, easing transportation logistics for the mined material.
Meanwhile, the firm said it had sold its 2% net smelter return royalty on the East Amphi property to Canadian Malartic for C$250 000. The royalty was among the assets acquired from Richmont Mines, but did not fit into the corporation's development plans.
Monarques holds a 100% interest in the Beaufor mine, which includes two mining leases, a mining concession and 23 mining claims covering an area of 5.9 km2. The mine is located at about 20 km northeast of the town of Val-d’Or, in the Abitibi-East township, in the Province of Quebec.