ATIKOKAN, Ont. -- Agnico Eagles Mines Limited has struck a deal to acquire full ownership of the Hammond Reef gold project in northwestern Ontario.
The property is currently owned by Canadian Malartic Corporation, a 50/50 partnership between Agnico and Yamana Gold.
Although it is not yet a mine, Atikokan officials hope it will eventually create hundreds of new jobs in the area.
Under the agreement, Agnico will purchase Yamana's interest in Hammond Reef and some other projects in Ontario and Quebec for about $163 million U.S. The transaction is expected to be completed before April of 2018.
Hammond Reef is about 25 kilometres northeast of Atikokan.
According to information supplied by Canadian Malartic, past exploration work on the property led to the development of a small mining operation in the 1890s, and again in the 1930s. Other exploration work by Falconbridge in the 1980s, and by Pentland Firth in the 1990s, paved the way for Brett Resources Inc. to launch a much bigger exploration project in 2008..
In 2010, after acquiring Brett Resources, Osisko Mining carried out an intensive exploration program and updated the earlier definition of the deposit.
Development was advanced further after the Canadian Malartic Partnership was formed in 2014.
In a news release, Agnico describes the current status of Hammond Reef as an advanced stage gold project covering approximately 31,000 hectares and containing well-defined mineral resources.
The gold-mining company operates eight mines in Canada, Mexico and Finland.
Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown told tbnewswatch.com on Wednesday that, based on his knowledge of Agnico and its interest in the project, the announcement that it will take full ownership of Hammond Reef is good news for his community.
"They've identified the deposit. They know it's there. They've just about finished the environmental assessment process. Hopefully it will become a mine some day," Brown said.
The mayor said Atikokan at one time had a population of over 6,000, but the count presently stands at around 2,800.
"We need more people. We still have the same amount of amenities and infrastructure to operate. It would be great if we could get some more people working here."
Brown said he's hoping for encouraging news about Hammond Reef in the New Year.