Parc à résidus principal – Digue 1 – Complexe minier LaRonde


Description: The LaRonde (LaRonde) mining complex is located in the Abitibi region of northwestern Quebec. The site is located halfway between Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d'Or about 4.5 km northwest of the Cadillac district of the city of Rouyn-Noranda. LaRonde has been operating a polymetallic deposit of gold, silver, zinc and copper since 1988, making it the oldest operating mine of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. In addition to exploiting the LZ5 and Penna deposits, LaRonde processes the concentrate from the Goldex mine. The ore from the Lapa mine was also processed at LaRonde until the closure of the mine in 2019.

Description: Le complexe minier LaRonde (LaRonde) est situé dans la région de l’Abitibi dans le nord-ouest du Québec. Le site se retrouve à mi-chemin entre Rouyn-Noranda et Val-d’Or à environ 4,5 km au nord-ouest du quartier Cadillac de la ville de Rouyn-Noranda. LaRonde exploite un gisement polymétallique d’or, d’argent, de zinc et de cuivre depuis 1988, ce qui en fait la plus ancienne mine en exploitation de Mines Agnico Eagle Ltée. En plus d’exploiter les gisements LZ5 et Penna, LaRonde traite le concentré de la mine Goldex. Le minerai de la mine Lapa a également été traité à LaRonde jusqu’à la fermeture de la mine en 2019.

Submitted By: Edouardine-Pascale Ingabire

City: Rouyn-Noranda

Region: Mining

Benefits to society [Translate]

Mining is at the heart of the energy transition to make a shift towards energy sources with low greenhouse gas emissions in order to fight climate change. The manufacture of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles is one of the technologies that are being adopted as part of this energy transition. These technologies require critical minerals such as zinc and copper that are produced in LaRonde. Mining is carried out with respect for occupational health and safety, the environment and communities according to the established regulatory framework.

Economic benefits [Translate]

The mining sector is a pillar of the Canadian economy. In numbers, in Quebec, Agnico Eagle Mines is:
• Approximately 4000 employees, including more than 900 in LaRonde;
• More than $500M paid in taxes over the past decade;
• Approximately $1M in donations and sponsorships in 2021 alone.

Technical merits [Translate]

Since 1988, tailings management standards and practices have evolved. For Dike 1, several documents have mandated changes in design, construction, operation and monitoring. These documents include:
• Three versions of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Directive 019 (1989, 2005, 2012);
• Two versions of the Canadian Dam Association's Technical Bulletin: Application of Dam Safety Recommendations to Mining Dams (2014, 2019);
• Five versions of the Tailings Management Protocol (2004, 2011, 2017, 2019, 2021) of the Canada Mining Association's Towards Sustainable Mining initiative. Among the efforts put in place in LaRonde to meet or exceed regulatory requirements and the highest industry standards include:
• The hiring of a designated engineer in 2018,
• The establishment of a committee of independent auditors composed of three experts in 2019,
• An annual risk review, • The completion of mitigation measures such as the construction of stability berms,
• An exhaustive investigation campaign including drilling, piezoconus tests and advanced laboratory tests for the characterization of coherent materials and mine tailings,
• The implementation of a robust instrumentation system including 53 vibrating rope piezometers and 9 inclinometers using the latest technologies for the automatic acquisition and real-time data tracking.

Historical background [Translate]

Pulp tailings and process water from ore processing are partially managed at the main tailings facility. The main tailings pond is currently surrounded by dikes 1 to the west and 7 to the east. The starting dam 1 was built in 1988 with a core of low permeability inclined upstream. Between the years 2000 and 2002, dam 1 was raised by the central method. Starting in 2004, Dike 1 was raised by the upstream construction method at an average rate of approximately 1 m per year. The last enhancement was built in 2019. The full capacity of the main tailings facility will be reached at the end of 2022, the year that marks the transition to a filtered tailings management mode in LaRonde. Planning for the remediation of the main tailings facility is underway.

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