The “Mining Update – Where are we Now” event was held at the Royal Canadian Legion in Geraldton on November 24, 2016. Despite a power outage, more than 85 people attended the event, which included industry, geologists, local municipal officials, community members and first nations. The event was hosted by the GEDC Business Centre in partnership with the Ontario Geological Survey and the Municipality of Greenstone.
The morning agenda included three presentations; Gerry White, Ontario Geological Survey, started the morning with an overview of the current exploration and development activity in the Greenstone to Ring of Fire area. Interestingly in 2015 there were 133 active projects and $256M exploration expenditures in Northwestern Ontario and 32 projects totaling $9M in Thunder Bay North District. Next John Mason, Thunder Bay CEDC, provided an update on gold mines in Northwestern Ontario including Canada’s newest mine. – New Gold, Rainy River Project. His two part presentation first highlighted gold producers such as Goldcorp-Red Lake, Goldcorp-Musselwhite and Barrick-Hemlo as contributors to 873,000 ounces of gold production in 2015; and then significant major explorations projects such as New Gold Inc.-Rainy River project and Goldcorp-Cochenour that will potentially add to gold production in 2017. Secondly, to display images from New Gold, Rainy River Project as a case sample of what a local mine could look like as a guide to business and employment opportunities, in order to assist our region in getting ready for potential development here. Concluding the morning was Ian Horne, Greenstone Gold Mines, who provided excerpts from their recent Feasibility Study results and overview of processes and timelines. Final Environmental Assessment /Environment Impact Statement (EA/EIS) submission planned end of Q1 2017 with an expected approval date of Q1 2018 (12 months) and development and productions permits are expected in 2018. To enhance environment management of the project GGM is establishing an Aboriginal Environment Review Committee to advise on monitoring activities and Independent Tailings Review Board to oversee tailings management facility design, construction, operation and closure.
The afternoon agenda focused on the Ring of Fire with three presentations on exploration for copper-zinc-silver deposits, nickel-copper-platinum deposits, gold deposits and chromite deposits. Richard Sutcliffe, Wabassi Resources, ULC, started the afternoon by talking about their Wabassi project west of Marten Falls, approximately 165 km of Nakina and straddling the proposed north-south rail corridor. They are a private company who completed a 1,699m drilling program in August 2016 yielding two outstanding intersections of Zinc and Gold on virgin ground. They look forward to developing long-term relationships with Marten Falls and Eabametoong First Nations, as they proceed with their exploration program. The location of their property has an access impediment, with logistics being a challenge, they rely on helicopters and geophysics. He stated that the region has an immense endowment of mineral deposits and they welcome the opportunity to work together and develop access. Next was Ryan Weston, Noront Resources Ltd., who talked about consolidation and progress in the Ring of Fire, history and their project pipeline. He stated that there is potential for multiple commodities in the robust area of the Ring of Fire and we’ve only scratched the surface. There is an improved understanding of the geology due to the Ontario Geology Survey efforts. They will start with their Eagles Nest project, followed closely by the Blackbird as there will be some shared costs. They are waiting to hear about the Province of Ontario infrastructure plan geared towards the development of the Ring of Fire which was expected to be in 2016. Their preference for Eagles Nest is an East-West access road near an existing winter road to outlying communities. Concluding the Ring of Fire talks was Moe Lavigne, KWG Resources, which is the only company in the Ring of Fire pursuing the development of chromite deposits. They are positioned to be the world’s lowest cost producer of ferrochrome which is based on three essential components – high grade chromite deposits, low cost bulk transport, and reducing chromite to ferrochrome using natural gas. His presentation concentrated more on what is required to retrieve deposits out of the Ring of Fire, which is currently inaccessible due to lack of infrastructure and logistics. He discussed the importance of having a development and financing partner such as China which is the largest chromite consumer with an extensive railroad engineering background, the importance of structuring ownership with First nations, government participation and the need for partnerships to embrace the opportunity. The three speakers concurred that what has been discovered so far is an indication that many more mineral deposits will be discovered under the muskeg of the James Bay Lowlands, providing that investors that support exploration can be convinced that they will be rewarded when a discovery is made.
The day concluded with a brief presentation from a local entrepreneur Mike Malouf, Hardrock Extension Inc., who brought the attendees in on a “best kept secret in Greenstone” which is a 15 mile stretch of mining claims along strike of the historical 2.1 million ounce Hardrock/Macleod Cockshutt/Mosher mining operation as well as 2.4 miles of claims along strike of the 600, 000 ounce Little Longlac Gold Mine. He provided a handout that provided more detail with maps on the significance of the rich gold deposits on the property plus the underexplored potential.
It proved to be a very informative day of presentations showing the mineral potential and also the challenges being faced by companies in different stages of their projects.
GEDC is your local Business Centre, which also pursues projects and activities based on community needs and priorities. We develop and maintain partnerships to support growth and sustainability of the region. We can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone 807-854-2273, or visit our website at www.gedc.ca.
December 7, 2016