Williams is an underground and open-pit mining operation, owned and operated by Barrick Gold Corporation. Williams is located in northwestern Ontario, Canada, approximately 350 kilometers east of the city of Thunder Bay.
Production at Williams began in mid-1985 from the A Zone open-pit located at the east-end of the property. Soon after, ore was mined from the underground in the same area to sustain an initial mining rate of 3,000 tonnes per day. The completion of the main shaft, the B Zone infrastructure, and a mill expansion program in 1988 facilitated an increase to 6,300 tonnes per day. The closing of the David Bell mill in 1999 and increased production from the C Zone pit brought the mill to a throughput of 10,000 tonnes per day by the end of 2006.
Underground mineral reserves at Williams are projected to sustain the underground mine operations until 2021 at an average production rate of approximately 3,600 tonnes per day, while open-pit mineral reserves at Williams have the potential to support operations until 2027 at rates ranging from 5,000 tonnes per day to 6,000 tonnes per day.
The open-pit operation is a typical truck-and-loader/hydraulic shovel operation. Underground stoping comprises two methods, the longhole and Alimak methods.
The processing plant consists of grinding, cyanide leaching, carbon-in-pulp (CIP), carbon stripping and reactivation, electrowinning, and refining. The mill has two parallel grinding circuits each consisting of a 6,000 tonne coarse ore bin, a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill, and a ball mill that is operated in closed circuit with hydrocyclones.
Royal Gold holds a 0.97% net smelter return (NSR) royalty on gold produced from the Williams mine.
Royal Gold acquired its 0.97% NSR royalty interest through two transactions:
- Royal Gold acquired a 0.72% NSR interest at Williams on October 25, 2007 as part of the acquisition of Battle Mountain Gold Exploration Corporation.
- Royal Gold acquired a 0.25% NSR interest at Williams, effective February 22, 2010, with the acquisition of International Royalty Corporation.