Northgate Minerals Corporation announced the start of construction of its Young-Davidson mine at a flag-raising ceremony near the Town of Matachewan on March 4. The event was attended by David Ramsay, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Timiskaming-Cochrane, local municipal representatives, government officials and First Nation leaders. The new development will provide jobs for 600 people during the two-year construction period and long-term employment for 275 individuals over the 15-year life of the mine. The company is aiming to commission the Young-Davidson mine and start gold production in 2012.

“I am honoured to be standing on the traditional lands of the Matachewan First Nation today. I want to congratulate Northgate for the great job they have done in working with everyone in the communities and especially our First Nations. In these tough times to have a project like this launched is wonderful. We thank Northgate for investing in us and creating the wealth out of the ground which is what we are about in northern Ontario,” said Ramsay.

Northgate President and CEO Ken Stowe said, “With construction slated to begin later this year, we expect to be producing gold at Young-Davidson in 2012, creating sustainable and long-term value for our shareholders through disciplined growth and operational excellence.”

Elder Laura Flood led the event in an opening prayer and the Matachewan women’s drum group, featuring Elders Marie Boucher, Gertrude Nolan and Vina Hendrix, performed during the flag-raising ceremony.

“Thanks to the hard work of so many dedicated people we are here today to celebrate a better future for all of us. Northgate came to us in good faith even before they acquired the property and we have benefited from a close and open relationship in the spirit of working together,” said Matachewan Chief Richard Wincikaby.

Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren, Town of Matachewan Reeve Beverley Hine, Elk Lake Reeve Terry Fiset, Kirkland Lake Mayor Bill Enouy and Temiskaming Shores Deputy Mayor Mike McArthur, all voiced their support for the new mine and the economic and employment benefits it will provide for the area.

Northgate Chief Operating Officer Peter MacPhail said, “We have done a lot of exploration over the last four years and actually drilled over 116 kilometres of diamond drill core. We still have a lot of hard work in front of us as the Young-Davidson mine becomes a reality.”

The company’s recent feasibility study reported some impressive results. Over $1.5 billion will be invested towards operating and capital costs during the life of the mine. The initial capital cost of the mine is expected to be more than $340 million. The new mine should provide an annual production of 180,000 ounces of gold at a net cost of $350 per ounce over its 15-year mine life. The company estimates proven and probable reserves of 2.8 million ounces of gold.

The new mine is located on the gold-rich Abitibi belt of northern Ontario, on the site of the historic Young-Davidson and Matachewan Consolidated properties dating back to the 1930s. Northgate acquired the property in November 2005. Dewatering of the existing shaft and driving of the existing exploration ramp past 523 metres vertical have recommenced and detailed engineering for the mill facility will begin shortly. Construction of surface and shaft facilities is scheduled to begin this summer once the applicable approvals are received.

During mine development, the company worked closely with the various surrounding communities and in July 2009 signed an Impact and Benefits Agreement (IBA) with Matachewan First Nation, a member community of Wabun Tribal Council. Cooperation and partnership between Northgate, Wabun First Nations, and the federal and provincial governments has also provided a multi-million-dollar training program for Aboriginal people.

Northgate Minerals Corporation is a gold and copper producer with mining operations, development projects and exploration properties in Canada and Australia.