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Under the guidance of a new executive chairman with extensive mining experience, Tamerlane Ventures is raising the $120 million it will need to return the Pine Point mine to full production. Keith Regan learns how leveraging novel technologies and other operational improvements have altered the economics of the project


or almost a quarter century, Pine Point Mine was the largest and most profitable zinc-lead mine in Canadian history. Between 1964 and 1987, the mine produced more than 64 million tons of ore that yielded 7 percent zinc and 3 percent lead. The mine served as an economic engine that created hundreds of jobs and an entire community in a remote part of the Northwest Territories. By the time metals markets swooned in the mid-1980s, the economics of the project began to change. Mining activity moved further away from the mill site, boosting trucking costs at a time when demand for the metals being produced was waning. The cost of maintaining Pine Point as a viable community was a factor in the project being shut down in 1987 by thenowner TeckCominco. “In the 1960s, when this mine first went into production, they didn’t have the fly-in, fly-out approaches that are used today,” says Margaret “Peggy” Kent, executive chairman of Tamerlane Ventures, which has owned Pine Point and adjacent lands since 2004. “When companies went into the wild west frontier to establish remote mining sites, they basically had to build a town and keep that town going to make it work.”