Pat Bell – MLA Prince George North
I realized it’s been some time since I have talked about mining and the prospects in our region so I asked for a summary from the Ministry of Energy and Mines. While I did know about some of the projects there are some new ones in the mix as well so this week’s Top 10 will be the “Mining Edition”.
1. At the Trend mine, operated by Peace River Coal (PRC), 2008 production was 772 000 tonnes of coal, comprised of 632 000 tonnes of metallurgical coal and 140 000 tonnes of thermal coal. Also in 2008, PRC initiated a $104 million program to acquire and operate its own mining equipment. As a result, PRC expects to increase annual production to 1.2 million tonnes and significantly reduce its operating costs per tonne. PRC also developed an automatic loader at the rail load-out near Tumbler Ridge to handle the planned increase in production. On the adjacent Roman Mountain property, PRC continues development activity following on a pre-feasibility study that was completed in 2008. Current plans suggest that development of a mine on the Roman Mountain property will increase overall production from the two properties to approximately 4 million tonnes per year. The company plans to submit Environmental Assessment process documents in late 2009.
2. Western Canadian Coal (WCC)has completed mining the phase 1 and 2 areas at the Wolverine Mine and is currently mining the phase 3 area. It is examining options for going underground north of the Wolvervine open pit to access additional resources in the Perry Creek area. WCC plans to drill this area in late 2009. The Brule Mine is direct shipping most of its coal, but some was being processed in the Wolverine wash plant. The Willow creek project remains on care and maintenance as WCC considers options for restarting the operations. Estimates suggest 10 years of remaining reserves in the main pit and additional resources in the north area of the property. WCC anticipate coal shipments of coal from all of its operations to be in the range of 2.4 to 2.6 million tonnes for 2009.
3. In September, First Coal Corporation’s application to amend its exploration permit and extract a bulk sample of up to 50,000 tonnes of coal from its Central South property near Chetwynd, British Columbia was approved. The company plans to use the Addcar remote-controlled underground mining method to start collecting the bulk sample in late 2009. First Coal plans to commence production late in 2010. Environmental and planning work has been underway for the last four years to provide the required information for proposed mine with annual production of 245,000 tonnes of clean coal.
4. Exploration at the Spanish Mountain property near Likely, a joint venture between Skygold Ventures Ltd and Wildrose Resources Ltd, released a new estimate of measured and indicated resources in the Main Zone of 102 Mt grading 0.785 g/t gold at a 0.5 g/t cut off. The company has also discovered that gold mineralization appears to be localized in a structural corridor that runs north-south and is currently traced for over 2 kilometres. They continued drilling to the north and south of the Main Zone and to a lesser extent at depth. Gold mineralization is found as a “sediment-hosted vein” deposit in graphitic argillite-mudstone which has undergone complex deformation locally. The company is investigating conceptual pit designs for a bulk-tonnage open pit operation.
5. In the Wells-Barkerville area, International Wayside Gold Mines Ltd has reported a positive pre-feasibility study for a conceptual open pit gold mine at the Bonanza Ledge project. Additional resources are currently being delineated by drilling at both the Bonanza Ledge and nearby Cow Mountain mesothermal vein gold deposits. In June the company announced a Letter of Intent had been signed to purchase the assets of Cross Lake Minerals which includes the QR Mine and mill. The QR mine has been on care and maintenance since February. If the acquisition and permitting completes as proposed, ore from the Bonanza Ledge operation would be trucked 110 km to be processed at the QR site. At the Cariboo Gold Quartz project drilling is expected to take place to expand known resources below the 1200’ level.
6.. The Woodjam Joint Venture, consisting of companies Fjordland Exploration Inc and Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd, has been advancing the Woodjam project for the past several years. This year saw a new joint venture partner, Gold Fields Horsefly Exploration Corp sign an agreement to explore the Woodjam North property. In September, 2009, Gold Fields announced a $3 million exploration program. To date, Gold Fields has completed regional mapping, rock, silt and soil geochemical sampling over selected areas, geological mapping and prospecting, and a review of previous drill core from the Megabuck, Takom and Deerhorn zones. A 5,000-line kilometre low-level airborne magnetic and radiometric survey, covering both the Woodjam North property and the adjoining Woodjam Joint Venture’s Woodjam South property, was scheduled to commence in 2009. The Gold Fields Option does not include the Southeast Zone where hole WJ-08-84 was extended late in 2008 to reveal a longer intersection of 359.1 meters of 0.69% copper and 0.27 g/t gold.
7.. Terrane Metals Corp. has received a provincial Environmental Assessment Office Certificate in 2009 and a provincial Mines Act Permit for the Mount Milligan project. The project is obtaining EA approval from the federal government. Terrane plans to complete an update of its feasibility study by the end of the year, commence open pit mine construction by the middle of next year and begin production in 2012. The Mt. Milligan deposits contains proven and probable reserves of 334 Mt averaging at 0.217% Cu and 0.428 grams per tonne (g/t) Au containing 1.6 billion lb of copper and 4.6 million oz gold.
8. After an intensive exploration program last year, Canada Zinc Metals Corp spent this season conducting grassroots-style exploration at its Akie SEDEX lead-zinc-silver project, located about 250 km northeast of MacKenzie and 50 km north of the north end of Williston Lake. The property is underlain by folded shales and siltstones of the Upper Devonian Gunsteel Formation and currently hosts an inferred resource of 23.6 Mt grading 7.6% zinc, 1.5% lead, and 13.0 g/t silver at a 5% zinc cutoff.
9. Hawthorne Gold Corp continued work on its FraserGold property east of Likely where last year 10 405 metres were drilled in search of orogenic gold hosted in highly deformed phyllite. This year saw ongoing environmental and metallurgical studies and work towards a new mineral resource estimate.
10. Richfield Ventures Corp focussed its attention this year to the Blackwater-Davidson project located southwest of Vanderhoof, where it drilled silicified and altered felsic volcanic rocks of the Hazelton Group that are host to epithermal gold and silver mineralization.