* New agreement to stay in force until March 2011
* First gold production expected by end of May
TORONTO, April 13 (Reuters) - Canadian junior Century Mining Corp CMM.V said on Tuesday that unionized hourly employees at its Lamaque gold mine in Val d’Or, Quebec, have ratified renewal of an existing collective agreement.
Century Mining acquired the adjacent Sigma and Lamaque mines at Val d’Or in 2004 after mining at the site was halted in 2003. Mining had first started in 1937.
The company operated the open-pit Sigma mine between 2005 and 2007, while commencing an underground exploration and development program at Lamaque in 2006. The company was forced to put work at Lamaque on hold in 2008 due to a lack of working capital.
However, Century Mining earlier this year closed a C$60.75 million ($60.15 million) financing that will allow it to bring the Lamaque project back into production and also allow the company to increase capacity at its San Juan gold mine in Peru.
Last week, the company said it was on schedule for its first gold pour at Lamaque by the end of May 2010.
The company, which aims to be a mid-sized gold producer, said the new agreement with the union, the Syndicat des Employes de les Mines Sigma (Quebec) Ltee, was ratified by more than 90 percent of voting union members and will remain in force until March 31, 2011.
Since reopening the Lamaque project in early January, the company has brought on a mining team of more than 100 employees and continues to fill vacant positions, the company said in a statement.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway