The Seabee gold operation in Northern Saskatchewan continues to produce a record amount of gold.

Gold production for the mine located about 125 kilometers northeast of La Ronge was just over 112,000 ounces in 2019 up 17 percent from 2018.

Yet SSR Mining which owns the mine is forecasting between 112,000 and 120,000 ounces for this year.

The increased production comes through more efficiency at the plant and processing higher quality grade ore.

“The more ore we put in the front end, in terms of what’s in the rock and how much we recover. It already had a fairly good recovery when we bought the mine at around 96 percent, which is a good number by industry standards. But we’ve got it up over 98 percent,” said CEO Paul Benson. “We’re getting more material through the processing plant and that’s because we’re running the plant more efficiently. We haven’t had to change the plant, we’re just running it better.”

Benson said running the plant higher towards 99 percent could diminish the return.

The mine is processing approximately 1200 tonnes of ore per day.

SSR Mining is undertaking increased exploration around the mine, seeking out additional resources.

Benson predicts that the exploration for new ore could see the mine in operation through this decade.

A 2017 technical report stated the mine life was close to 2024, yet the exploration could keep the mine open longer.

The price of gold has rebounded sharply by close to $300 an ounce since last May to sit at over $1570 and ounce.

“The Seabee gold operation continues to be a tremendous success thanks to our employees, supportive communities and the provincial government,” Paul Benson explained.

The mine employs 375 full time workers, with approximately 30 percent identifying as Indigenous.

As well local businesses are supported through contract services with millions being spent annually.

Community benefits from SSR Mining include sponsoring a school breakfast program and partnering to provide post-secondary school scholarships to citizens of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.