Until recently, most of Saskatchewan's gold has been produced as a byproduct of copper-zinc mining in Flin Flon.
The Seabee Mine, owned by Claude Resources, completed its 12th year of continuous operation in 2003. It has surpassed the 600,000-oz mark and is Saskatchewan's largest ever primary gold producer. A number of other sites are being explored and pre-development activities are underway. Much of the gold mining in the province is in the La Ronge Gold Belt north of the town of La Ronge.
Gold in quartz or sulphide minerals is extracted by mining the ore, crushing it to a size fine enough to release gold particles and separating them using one or a combination of these processes:
Gold production requires large amounts of materials to produce a small amount of gold: for example, making a single gold ring can produce 20 tons of mine waste. Typically, it also involves the use of toxic chemicals in processing. For an environmental analysis of issues around gold mining, see the following sites and articles:
Saskatchewan mining company Cameco is also involved in a controversial gold mine abroad. For more information see this article: Kyrgyz and International NGOs Renew Call for Independent Environmental/Safety Audit
A coalition of environmental organizations and civic leaders in Kyrgyzstan, Canada, Hungary and the United States is calling for an independent, third party environmental and safety audit of the Kumtor Gold Mine in Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia). The coalition also announced that they would assemble a team to perform the audit.