The Detour Lake Mine project north of Cochrane is gearing up for production, company officials say.

After several years of construction, the open pit gold mine is expected to go into production in January 2013.

The project is on the site of an old underground gold mine, one that closed more than a decade ago after the price of gold was too low to run the operation.

According to Detour Gold CEO Gerald Panneton, the company expects to hire 200 more people when production begins, adding to its current workforce of about 360 people.

Those jobs will likely come locally, Panneton predicted.

"Half of our workforce comes from the area immediately to Cochrane," he said. "The remaining 40 per cent comes from north of Sudbury and North Bay."

Cochrane's mayor said he welcomes the creation of new jobs, particularly after years of struggling with mill shutdowns and closures in the forestry industry.

"You know our welfare rates here in Cochrane, which were significantly high ... due to the recession and so on, are half of what they were before Detour Gold came on board here," said Peter Politis.

As well as recruiting local workers, Panneton said the jobs will likely appeal to people who formerly lived in the area.

"We get people who are tired of working outside of the province coming back home," he said.

Confident of long-range outlook

The life expectancy of the mine has been set at 21 years.

That's a number Panneton said likely won't waver, unless the price of gold drops significantly.

"I think our stress test would be in the area of about $900 an ounce," he said.

As of Oct. 26, gold prices sit at almost double that price at $1,700 dollars an ounce.