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Ontario government at forefront of green economy thanks to mining strategy Global society is making a massive shift toward a green economy and the Ontario government of Doug Ford is at the head of the class thanks to an aggressive and compelling mining strategy designed to create jobs in the province’s indigenous communities while boosting the supply of critical minerals needed for battery technology and electric vehicles. Mining Life & Exploration News Contributing Editor Kevin Vincent sat down with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development, Mines and Indigenous Affairs for an exclusive interview.
By Kevin Vincent Doug Ford set the tone right after his election to the highest office in Ontario in June of 2018. Criss-crossing the province during the 2018 election campaign, Ford witnessed first-hand how Ontario’s struggling mining sector had been handcuffed by a decade and a half of Liberal/NDP stewardship. The industry was at a standstill. Deposits with massive potential like the Ring of Fire were either shelved or in a permanent state of limbo. That’s when Ford told Northern Development and Mines Minister Greg Rickford to roll up his sleeves and fix the logjam. “The premier has been such a staunch advocate for what we’re doing in mining,” says Rickford. “He said - Rickford, cut the red tape and get these things moving, and that’s
exactly what we’ve been able to do. His leadership has just been amazing.” The latest example was the 2020 ground-breaking ceremony for IAMGOLD’s Cote Lake project south of Timmins. The project had languished and was, by many accounts, stonewalled by successive Liberal cabinets supported by anti-mining NDP members of parliament. “The truth of the matter,” says Ford, “Is the Minister (Rickford) is being modest. He’s driving it. Over the last 15 years, from the previous Liberal government, they basically ignored our mining sector and made it next to impossible to open any mine. They’re anti-mining, anti-forestry, they’re anti-everything. Now we have fresh blood in there and Greg’s driving it forward and supporting over 75,000 jobs in Ontario.”
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Both Ford and Rickford agree that Ontario’s mining industry is undervalued and underappreciated, especially when it comes to the impact on indigenous communities. Ford says his government needs to get the message out to all Ontarians how important the mining sector is to this province. Ford and Rickford have presided over four gold mine openings. The first was Harte Gold’s Sugar Zone project near White River. “I remember driving up there,” says Ford. “It was incredible. We’re deploying SWAT teams to work with mining projects right across the north to make sure we give them assurance that these projects have the permits they need and to get the operations up and running. And we’ve seen how successful our strategy and Greg’s heading it up has been to date.” While the mutual admiration can be
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Indigenous relationships top of list for both the premier and the minister expected, both Ford and Rickford are quick to point out that supporting Ontario’s mining sector is both pragmatic and essential if the province is going to benefit from the so-called “green economy”, which doesn’t exist without mining. “Ontario’s mining industry is absolutely central to our economic recovery. It’s going to play a massive part and we look forward to the new mines opening and creating prosperity for northern indigenous communities,” Ford said. “With the opening of the multiple mines, including the first one, the Harte Gold Sugar Zone, and the new fully-electric Borden Mine, and then there were IAMGOLD Cote Lake and the Argonaut Gold projects that have also started construction,” said Ford. As a cabinet minister, Rickford says his direction came from the top. “The Premier and I sat down very early on and his sensibilities around economic prosperity, tied in perfectly with where things are going in the mining sector in indigenous communities. We don’t want to be a government like the previous where there was an over-dependency on the government and a lack of connection to some of the activities that were going on right in front of them, or near them.” Rickford says Gogama is the perfect example. “Flying Post First Nation and Matachewan, two great chiefs there stepped in and formed business relationships with IAMGOLD and they’re flourishing. We’ve seen this in the Greenstone Belt. We’re seeing real progress in the Ring of Fire. These are communities that are Page 8
going to build legacy infrastructure, not just in a business role, but there are people working for them. As the Premier says, that’s the kind of economic security, not just prosperity, that comes afterwards, that we want our northern communities to experience. The good news is, it’s working.” “When I visit First Nations communities with Greg, the number one, by far number one issue we hear is we need to get our community working, we need opportunity to be prosperous and just help us along. I know the mining sector is working hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with communities, but it takes a facilitator like Greg to bring both communities together. That’s exactly what he did and we’re going to continue doing it.” Rickford says his approach has altered dramatically since the early phase of his political career, which included time as a federal MP in Ottawa. “I’ve approached this differently in this chapter of my political career and I’ve torn a page out of the Premier’s book. I’ve always been a busy guy, but I’ve watched the Premier on his blackberry calling the people of Ontario. I ML&EN SPRING 2021
tried to pick and choose which constituents he’ll speak to understanding that he’s got a busy schedule. I get goosebumps seeing what this guy actually does in terms of engaging with people.” “Alvin Fiddler (Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief), truth be told, if we’re off the cuff here - we didn’t have a great relationship before. Roseanne Archibald (Ontario Regional Chief), and him and I sat down and said, let’s do this differently. This is a guy that had made a fool of me in front of a community that I’d spent a number of years in, so I had some axes to grind with him. But you know what? I changed my approach - and I started texting back and forth with these guys. I started making more phone calls. Sure, I had great relationships prior, I don’t mean to say that I didn’t. But I changed my approach. I mean, we never stop learning in this business.” Indigenous relationships are top of the list for both the premier and the minister. “I always say I am to the indigenous people of Ontario what the Premier has been to the people of
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Critical Minerals Strategy strengthens Ontario’s position as a leading jurisdiction day passes.” Ontario. And that is - very accessible and available to answer their questions and calls. As a result of that, in mining, we have been able to move more projects across more critical mining milestones than the previous government did as the Premier mentioned in a decade and a half. Those are facts, we’re not trumping that up. That’s not just a function of how hot the commodity market is. That’s a new way of approaching things and it’s the Premier’s leadership that set that off on the right pace.” Indigenous communities are going to play a big role as the province continues to explore ways to provide a regulatory framework for the discovery and production of critical metals and minerals that are essential in the shift to a green economy. “I think it plays a critical role and one goes with the other,” says Ford. “We’re laser-focused on making sure that, first of all, we cut the red tape and in consultation with the stakeholders and indigenous partners, while making sure that we have the highest standards anywhere for environmental protections. I know Minister Rickford’s recent announcement on developing a critical mineral strategy does exactly that.” Rickford will be working closely with all stakeholders and indigenous leaders to develop Ontario’s first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy. “Blazing a new trail. Greg’s doing the strategy which will strengthen Ontario’s position as a leading jurisdiction anywhere in North America for responsible-sourced critical minerals,” said Ford. Our government will continue to support the transition to a low carbon economy by supply-
ing the world with critical minerals sourced right here out of Ontario, which is so important.” One of the key features of the Ford government approach to the environment has been to work with indigenous communities according to Rickford. “You take a look at the corridor to prosperity, the Premier sat down and said, look, I want to enter into an agreement. The Premier is a business guy, he thinks these kinds of (business) relationships are the best way to go and he’s right. Now we have lead proponents led by indigenous communities. We have all the confidence in the world, not just in the framework of our environmental reassessment, but also in the communities that are helping or completely leading it.” On the Ring of Fire region, Ford and Rickford are equally anxious to see benefits begin to flow to the area’s First Nations communities. Ford turned heads during the 2018 election campaign when he famously said he would jump on a bulldozer himself to help get the massive minerals deposits into production. “I can’t wait. And I’m sure as we’re talking, I’m going to get on that darn bulldozer and I’m going up there, because I always like saying - promises made, promises kept. Greg is working with a number of First Nations communities. We have a majority of them onside, and there’s a couple of players that we’re still working with and we’ve got to start off with the infrastructure. We have to make sure that we have the access to get up to the Ring of Fire - that’s critical getting up and bringing product back. I think we’re getting closer as every
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Rickford and Ford are in lockstep on the massive Ring of Fire potential. “The premier was using a metaphor to encourage us all and inspire us all to move forward on this. Nobody can deny that this hasn’t been a long, torturous road where virtually nothing has gotten done, and that’s changing now because of our approach. And so we have hit some critical milestones and there’s a couple more on the horizon.” “Just this past week, we had an opportunity to speak with Hatch, a major infrastructure company, and the two lead proponents, Webequie First Nation and Marten Falls First Nations chiefs around the plans for building the road. If that’s not a milestone, I don’t know what is, frankly, and these will be low touches to the taxpayer. There’ll be an expectation that the federal government finally puts their money where their mouth is.” “And again, decidedly, under the Premier’s leadership, we’ve said, look, mining companies build mines, what we build is relationships to facilitate and move red tape out of the way so that this work can get done. And that’s effectively what is happening. Those things are happening now, the market is responding, and I don’t think we’ve ever been in a better position.” Rickford says the Abitibi-Greenstone belt is alive. We see a new center of gravity in the central part of Northern Ontario evolving that I think is going to not just improve the fortunes for communities in Northern Ontario, but significantly improve the economic fortunes of people who invest in it and the province of Ontario in so doing.”
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Kirkland Lake Gold
By all accounts, there seems to be no limit to Kirkland Lake Gold’s upward trajectory. Led by 35-year mining veteran Tony Makuch, the three-mine operation has weathered the 2020/2021 Covid pandemic better than most and has out-performed most of its rivals in the gold sector.
By Kevin Vincent
Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa and Detour Lake complexes continue to deliver massive value for investors The
mid-tier producer operates the Macassa Mine in Kirkland Lake, the Detour Lake Mine north of Cochrane, and the Fosterville Mine on the other side of the world in Victoria, Australia. The company has delivered significant cash dividends to shareholders, announced the establishment of a Canadian Operations Centre in Timmins, expanded resources at both Macassa and Detour Lake, and strengthened it’s senior management team – all in the past 12 months. Led by Timmins-born Makuch, Kirkland Lake Gold is producing just under 1.4 million ounces of gold a year. “In terms of all in sustaining costs in our peer group, as an entity we’re about the lowest
cost in the industry - about $800 an ounce,” said Makuch at a recent web conference. “In terms of profitability, we have highly profitable mines. In 2019, the 100th anniversary of gold mining in Kirkland Lake, the company started the development of the new Number Four shaft. “We feel pretty strongly that there’s a significant life lesson in the Kirkland Lake camp - and that there’s a lot more production. As a matter of fact, we’re on track to grow historical production. Macassa was about 70,000-90,000 ounces a year if we go back to 2016.
“We’ve had a lot of success at Detour over the last while in terms of what we see as being a large open pit gold mine with significant growth potential and resources.”
We expect to produce over 240,000 ounces this year, and we’re growing that to over 400,000 ounces a year by 2023 with the completion of the new shaft.” The acquisition of the Detour Lake Mine has been a big win for the company, notwithstanding a dip in the company’s share price that triggered a lawsuit by some disgruntled investors. We’re investing a lot of capital and a lot of money in exploration at Detour this year (2021) with a goal to demonstrate a potential doubling of the resource and doubling the reserve at Detour.” The company is delivering massive
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Kirkland Lake Gold
As Detour continues to grow it could end up being North America’s largest gold mine value to northern Ontario and provincial as well as federal coffers. “If you look at what Kirkland Lake Gold brings to Ontario, we directly employ somewhere around 3,400 people. We spend over $320 million, on an annual basis in labour investment in the region, and over $1.1 billion is spent in procurement, etc in Northeastern Ontario, of which 98% stays in Canada, and over 70% of it stays in Northeastern Ontario.” Makuch says Kirkland Lake Gold employees and management have delivered through the global pandemic and he gives credit where credit is due. “Fundamentally its people. Our people work very hard, people accepted and understood what needed to be done including good communication of processes. People jumped in and did what they could in terms of focusing on protocols, really trying to recognize what we wanted to accomplish. Nobody questioned or caused uproar in terms of policies and procedure. Our people actually gave a lot of help and insight in terms of where we needed to go.” In spite of the company’s roaring success, it was forced to reduce operations partway through the year. “We did cuts on non-essential services, like exploration activities, but then we brought it back as we learned processes,
and we learned things. We started rapid testing for Detour back last fall. We’ve been 100% testing people before they go on site to Detour.” In early March the company had a minor outbreak of a few people testing positive at Macassa for COVID-19. “We immediately reacted as a company. We brought in 900 test kits, then tested 900 people over two days at site, got the results right away to give everybody comfort to get back to work and show that we’re really working on things to make sure that we provide a very safe and healthy workplace.” Makuch says the company has learned valuable lessons while navigating the Covid pandemic. “A lot of it is good. When you look at health and safety and attention to detail, a lot of the processes around social distancing in workplace, I think there’s been a lot of gains. Definitely, it helps bring a lot of momentum into digitization, and automation.” “When we talk about providing improved workplaces about support to go to battery electric, in terms of helping improve the underground environment and the workplace environment for the people, I think it’s helped build that momentum.” Makuch says our future has nothing but upside. “You get the
Tony Makuch said “we think that the Porcupine (Timmins) still has lots of exploration up there, there’s still a lot of gold to find.”
sense that if Detour is growing to 680,000-720,000 ounces a year, starting this year, and growing up to 800,000 ounces a year by 2025 which is just a subset before we really can put together a full plan - Detour itself is going to be the biggest gold mine in Canada, probably one of the largest gold mines in North America.” He says Detour will definitely be in the top 5 or 10 gold mines in all the world, based in northeastern Ontario. “As we go to Macassa, by 2023, if you look between Detour and Macassa, we’re going to be producing 400,000 ounces a year at Macassa, that’s a million ounces a year produced right here in northeastern Ontario. We’re going to be working to extend that mine life. And again, Macassa is probably one of the highestgrade, and one of the most profitable gold mines in Canada, let alone North America.” Makuch says these are exciting times for the industry as well as the company. “I think the most important and exciting part of what we’re doing, not only here in northeastern Ontario, but also in Australia, is we’re investing significant money in exploration - over $200 million. We think we have some exceptional and very prospective ground.
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NEWMONT Investors demand it – and communities expect it. One of the world’s top mining companies has
taken a global leadership position on the issue of indigenous relations. Denver-based Newmont, which operates the Musselwhite Mine in northwestern Ontario and the Porcupine Division of mines in Timmins, has launched a Global Centre for Indigenous Community Relations.
NEWMONT TAKES GLOBAL LEAD IN INDIGENOUS RELATIONS Newmont is the largest gold producer in the world. The company produces more than 6 million ounces of gold annually from regions that include Australia, Canada, Latin America, Mexico, and the United States. “Our purpose at Newmont is to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining,” said John Mullally, Country Manager and Senior Director of Sustainability and External Relations at a conference in March. “Recently, we announced the launch of the Global Center for Indigenous Community Relations. As part of our Goldcorp acquisition, we made commitments around following through on First Nations commitments, as well as expanding our understanding and learning from Australia, learning from Ghana and other regions where we operate, to improve our performance around community relations, as well as serving as a platform for external events and profiling subjects like UNDRIP, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” In the latter part of 2020 Newmont made an announcement to take on science-based targets on greenhouse gas emissions for 2030. “It’s aligned with each of the jurisdictions where we operate, as well as to achieve net carbon neu-
tral by 2050, which is a significant commitment. And on top of that, I think the capital side, putting up $500 million towards climate initiatives, as well, to really put some money behind that commitment,” said Mullally. On another topic that resonates in the market, Newmont says it is making strides in workplace gender-diversity. “I think it’s really important that we keep in mind, typically, a mining company has anywhere between 10-20% of the employment base is women. We’re lagging well behind the 50/50 split and I think there’s lots of room to improve there.” Taking on the Goldcorp assets meant Newmont was also the new owner of the Borden Lake operation near Chapleau, Ontario’s all-electric mine. “The approach that we took at the time was one that included local communities and included both the provincial and federal governments in the contemplation of going all electric, it also included the supply and services cluster as well. We found that that openness and transparency actually brought a lot of profile to Ontario as a jurisdiction, a lot of profile to, at the time Goldcorp and then Newmont as we built the mine in terms of the approach to a low carbon transitioning to a low carbon economy.”
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Mullally says openness is essential. “Even from the local communities’ perspective, for example, when it came to scheduling our drill program in the summer times, we were respectful of cottagers for Borden Lake, to understand when they were going to be there, and when they were not. We wanted to make a really small mine site with a very, very small footprint so that the visual impact was limited, because again, the lake is extremely popular for recreation and fishing.” Mullally says when the Ontario government stepped in Newmont believed the important part was that it signaled that the government was supportive of the mining industry. “Sometimes we have trouble in jurisdictions where we don’t know if we’re welcome or not, frankly, so we had Ontario stepping up and saying, hey, we want to be part of this solution, which was really encouraging, for us at the time.” The second benefit, according to Mullally, was for the workforce. “The other part that we forget about with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction, is we forget about when you go electric in an underground environment, you eliminate all the contaminants and the diesel particulate from the working environment. So you make a massive difference to every single person’s Cont’d on pg. 18
Governments and corporations worldwide continue to face increasing pressure from community stakeholders and investors to ensure that boards of directors and high-level cabinet positions achieve gender parity. When it comes to Ontario’s mining and energy sectors, progress has been made but there’s still work to be done.
Gender diversity a top priority in Ontario By Kevin Vincent
“When I became the minister, I made some commitments,” said Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford. “Methodically, surgically even, I set out to make sure that women were populated, not just on any Boards that were a crown corporation that is owned by the government. That’s why there’s women leaders, experts in their field sitting and two of them, by the way, indigenous on Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation. In fact, one is the chair.” Hydro One’s board is 50% men and 50% women under the Ford government. The women who serve on the board include: Cherie Brant - Member of Audit Committee, Member of Indigenous Peoples, Safety & Operations Committee; Jessica McDonald - Member of Human Resources Committee, Member of Indigenous Peoples, Safety & Operations Committee; Stacey Mowbray - Member of Governance & Regulatory Committee, Member of Indigenous Peoples, Safety & Cont’d from pg. 16
work every single day, and we understood just how much of an impact that made.” Lastly, Newmont says there has been a noticeable upward tick in the supply and service sector since Borden has gone live. “We
Operations Committee; Melissa Sonberg - Chair of Human Resources Committee, Member of Audit Committee; and Susan Wolburgh Jenah - Member of Governance & Regulatory Committee, Member of Indigenous Peoples, Safety & Operations Committee. “Further to that, at the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), we’re pleased to say now is being led by a very, very talented woman, who we chose based on merit and frankly she was a distant first. Similarly, the Independent Electricity System Operators (IESO) is now headed up by a very, talented woman. These are things that a Minister can do to change the dynamic.” Diversity is not isolated to governments. Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer, has made it a priority as well. “The thing that I’ve seen at Newmont is the actions of the Board are critical,” said Newmont’s John Mullally. “We’re at 50% board representation from women. It’s 50/50 with gender parity. And really the tone from the top and the focus on inclusion and
saw that that leadership started to basically spur a cluster of development. We had MacLean Engineering based in Collingwood, we had supplies and services that were setting up shop in Sudbury, and companies that were already serving the mine in Kirkland Lake
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that had already gone electric.” Mullally says there has been a spike in subject matter expertise. “I think that that sets the supply of services in Ontario ahead. That was like a very interesting impact that we’ve been able to see over the past three or four years.”
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Not just professionals, but demographics are shifting diversity is really emanating from the board and coming down from our leadership. I think that is extremely critical.” That translates down to the grassroots level as well. At Newmont’s Porcupine division for example, more and more young women are joining the workforce and at the management levels. Newmont Porcupine staff spend considerable time in school career fairs. Members of the HR department and Sustainability & External Relations department will go out to the various schools and participate and talk about mining. According to longtime HR Manager Domenic Rizzuto, it’s not just the professionals, but the demographics, that are really shifting. “Mining was seen as a predominantly male-dominated industry, which in some aspect it still is. But we are starting to see a shifting tide. We get a lot more females coming into the mining fold to where 15% of our workforce is now female.” “It’s doubled over the last 10 years. Today, 40% of our
senior roles are held by females. Those are professional people in managerial and supervisory positions. And we’re starting to see the fruits of our labour from a couple of years back with regards to encouraging women to get into mining, professional positions, and our production areas as well.” Rizzuto says there are really good careers in mining. “A lot of people don’t realize that the vast variety of careers aren’t the old pick-and-shovel or drilling miner. There are so many different careers nowadays. It’s really about educating young people in that regard.” “Take our summer student program. Years ago, it was always our sons working at the mine for the summer. Now, it’s no longer our sons, but our daughters. And in fact, last year and the year before, 60% of our students were female.” Mines Minister Rickford sees the education system as a critical piece of the gender parity puzzle. “I think we have to remain committed to a STEM paradigm or reorientation to that, if you will in our schools and create opportunities for young girls, two of them being my daughters who are interested in this space, for example, to ask questions about it and understand what the opportunity is. Especially since they live out here in beautiful Northwestern Ontario, it’s all around them.” “Our Human Resource Development, quite frankly, in Northern Ontario is being focused on the places that it should be. And that is one of the most exciting dynamic opportunities with Indigenous peoples. And that’s why I’ve created an Indigenous Internship Program in the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund focused squarely on, I like to call them opportunities, but obviously, structural challenges that Indigenous young people face getting into the workforce.” “I think we all challenge ourselves to make sometimes subtle and other times bold commitments that are not just symbolic but are substantive in our industries. That opportunity, I think can never go fast enough, but it’s going very well.”
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By Kevin Vincent
Mining industry needs to do better job selling itself
The minister and industry leaders exchanged high level thoughts about the current state of mining in Ontario, and it’s clear that there’s a long way to go for mining to dispel some of the myths of the industry’s role in today’s society and economy.
If you invite senior mining executives into a room (virtual or otherwise) for a casual, organic conversation, you get a lot of frank dialogue. That’s what happened a short time ago when Kirkland Lake Gold President and CEO Tony Makuch, Evolution Mining President Jake Klein, and Newmont’s John Mullally, Country Manager and Senior Director of Sustainability and External Relations sat down with Ontario Mines Minister Greg Rickford. “When we talk about sustainability and sustainable gold mining, we see that we’re at the point where we’ve got to move to new ways to do our business,” said Makuch. “We have been leading over the last few years. In 2016-17, we made a commitment at Macassa, and we’re the lowest greenhouse gas producer in the world. 90% of our production fleet is electric battery powered.” Kirkland Lake Gold purchased its first round of 40-tonne underground electric trucks a few years ago. “We’ve now purchased a number of 50-tonne battery electric trucks. All of our loading is done with battery electric equipment, and we’re going to continue to move forward there. But we’ve also started an initiative where we’re going to invest $75 million a year over the next five years, focusing on a number of key areas on ESG. And one is community support, focusing on areas of mental health addiction and really supporting our communities to be better and better support for our employees and their families.”
Ontario Mines Minister Greg Rickford
Kirkland Lake Gold’s Tony Makuch
Newmont’s John Mullally
Evolution Mining’s Jake Klein agrees. “I have to say that in the last three to four years, the ESG issue is kind of going exponential and its momentum. It’s something that we are going to have to deal with as a sector. I think shareholders are demanding it, and I think correctly so. I’ve got young adult kids, 25 and 22-year-olds, they are demanding it. There is a momentum and gaining, and I think it’s good for us, it’s good for companies, it’s good for societies, and it’s good for the planet.” Ontario’s Northern Development, Mines and Energy Minister Greg Rickford says mining is a global leader when it comes to its commitments to diversity, environmental protection, and sustainability. “There’s a discussion around the use of renewables and frankly, Ontario now has taken the lead, you’ve heard that again now, with small modular reactors. The federal government has come around lately to understand it. But Ontario believes we have one of the best integrated supply chains and expertise the world over. We are the gold standard for safety.”
Evolution Mining’s Jake Klein
Makuch says they are investing and helping communities be stronger. “And senior citizen care, things like youth employment and training, we think that’s very important in terms of retaining and attracting people to want to stay in Northeastern Ontario and come work for us because we see a 30 to 40 year mine life in terms of what we’re trying to do.”
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Cont’d on pg. 24
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Mining industry you will have access to: ✓ a virtual booth to: • post current job positions in a 2D display • display videos, pre-recorded presentations, pdf files, promo banners, a back drop banner • showcase the benefits of working for your company. ✓ profiles potential job seekers interested in a career in mining ✓ sponsored breakout rooms to conduct meetings or interviews with job seekers who meet your requirements
The virtual job fair will connect employers with potential employees
Job seeker interested in a career in mining you will be able to: ✓ view job postings for reference to job descriptions and qualification requirements ✓ upload your profiles to job seekers at a glance, and list your set of skills and experience or education ✓ upload your resume for any job that you wish to apply for and submit it ✓ request to connect in a one-on-one text / audio / video meeting with the HR staff Sponsored by
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Mining, an attractive and exciting industry for all
Photos taken during the Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins from past years. The event promotes the industry and what it has to offer and is well supported by the mining operations in Central Canada. Cont’d from pg. 22
“In the nuclear space, our strategic business units in the nuclear aren’t just electricity generation, they also include decommissioning, refurbishment, and now SMRs and we have site locations confirmed and three companies making plans for “Made in Ontario SMR” to lead the world.” Rickford says SMRs have potential applications in the mining sector. “We have to do this well, and we’ve got to get to it. Because some of our mining operations, are still thinking about the ones that are currently passing milestones to go live.” Notwithstanding the incredibly under-reported, and under-valued impact that mining has in today’s society, there are stark reminders that there’s a gap between reality and how our school system, for example, treats mining. “You do have a problem where, as we branch out into other countries, and it’s probably not as bad a problem in Australia, but it is in Canada, where there’s a negative connotation towards the mining industry,” said Tony Makuch, who shared a powerful anecdote involving his family. “When I first moved down to Richmond Hill (part of Toronto) where my daughters started going to grade school. They came home one day, they were upset. They had a course on mining and what the teacher did was give them each a chocolate chip cookie and a spoon, and they had to cut the chocolate chips out
with the spoon.” Makuch says the cookies broke apart and the teacher said, “That’s what mining does to the earth, it breaks the earth, it’s bad. My daughters were crying and mad at me.” “Part of it is, we have to demonstrate that this is a really attractive industry. It’s just a great industry where people get to do a lot of exciting things. You can be a biologist. You can be a physicist in this industry. We do a lot of interesting stuff. We’re down in the Macassa mine 2,000 meters below surface, you have mines that are 3,000, 4,000 meters below surface. You look at the things we do in the industry, it’s a lot of exciting stuff.” Makuch continued, “and we have lawyers, and we have accountants, and then they say we have environmentalist. We have to sell ourselves more.” The Kirkland Lake Gold President doesn’t mince words when it comes to hiring women. “First off, if we didn’t embrace inclusion and diversity, when you’re working in these remote areas, how are you going to attract people? Those are the people you want to come and work. It’s only good business. Chances are, if you’re hiring from the local indigenous community, or if you can have more females working for you in these communities, odds are they’re going to stay here and they’re going to work there for 30-40 years, it’s better for us, better for the industry, and better for building these communities over time.”
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Moneta Porcupine Mines Moneta Porcupine Mines Inc. [ME-TSX; MPUCF-OTC; MOP-XETRA] is a company that aims to uncover the exploration potential of the Timmins, Ontario gold mining camp, an area that has produced well over 85 million ounces of gold to date.
Creating one of North America’s largest undeveloped gold projects The company added substantial value to shareholders by pursuing the acquisition of the O3 Mining Garrison Project which occurs adjacent to Moneta’s Golden Highway Project located 100 km east of Timmins. The 200 km2 Tower Gold Project, a combination of the Golden Highway and Garrison Projects, hosts a NI 43-101-compliant indicated resource of 4.0 million ounces (122 million tonnes at 1.01 g/t gold) as well as an inferred resource of 4.4 million ounces (95 million tonnes at 1.44 g/t gold in both bulk tonnage underground and open pit deposits. The Company’s Golden Highway Project now becomes the Tower Gold Project and gives Moneta one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in North America. The Company’s inventory expansion opportunities on the combined landholdings is one of the largest in the area. The project is within trucking distance of six existing mills each of which could potentially offer toll milling services to a future mining operation. Plans call for the rapid expansion of resources. The current drill program is for 70,000 metres to focus on the successful program from 2020 and drill new targets and expand current resources.
The drilling will lead to updated resource estimates planned for 2021 and an updated PEA on the larger combined project which is expected to show significant growth in scope, production profile, valuation and cost savings through development synergies on the combined Golden Highway and Garrison projects. Other plans call for metallurgical test work, optimization of the flow sheet and commencement of pre-feasibility studies on the combined project in 2022. Robust PEA’s were completed on an underground project on just the South West deposit at Golden Highway and an open pit PEA on the Garrison Gold project in 2020 with combined production scenario’s of 200,000 ounces of gold
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per year or more at cash costs of less than US$700/ounce. Of course, that production level is expected to increase substantially as it did not include the large open pit operation and multiple underground operations that the company now visualizes. Moneta is led by CEO Gary O’Connor. A former District Manager (1990-2000) with FreeportMcMoran Inc. [FCX-NYSE] in Indonesia, he distinguished himself by helping to uncover the major fraud committed by Bre-X Minerals with its alleged Busang “gold deposit” in Indonesia. The company is supported by various institutional shareholders, including K2, Scotia (1832), Dundee-Goodman, Eric Sprott, RBC, Mackenzie, Zechner and US
Mineral exploration becomes one of TEDC’s primary areas of focus The Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) is the economic development team for the City of Timmins. The role of the team is to facilitate economic and social activity that supports job creation, diversifies the economy and improves quality of life. The TEDC focuses on projects and activities related to Business Development and Retention, and Community Economic Development. Activities include: creating, attracting, and retaining business and investment opportunities; in addition to community building and helping non-profits, social enterprises, and other organizations build capacity and achieve their mission. Timmins has been historically known as one of the most prolific and top tier locations for exploration and mining activ-
ity. Because of this, the mineral exploration industry has become one of the TEDC’s primary areas of focus. Our staff work to generate awareness pertaining to the numerous exploration opportunities in Timmins and the surrounding area. Additionally, our staff provide direct support to exploration companies interested in, or currently operating in Timmins. The TEDC acts as a concierge service when working with these companies. Whether it be funders, municipal departments, provincial or federal ministries, our team will bring all parties to the table to address current and future business development needs to find the best solutions for the company. For more information, or if your company requires any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeremy Elomaa, Business Development Specialist with the TEDC.
Introducing Jeremy Elomaa Jeremy helps entrepreneurs and businesses start, scale and grow their operations. He is a part of the Business Development and Retention Division and is responsible for managing the TEDC’s mineral exploration activities. Jeremy is well-connected with the business community in Timmins and has proven experience in helping businesses with: market and industry research, grant application writing, business planning and financial projection development. Jeremy holds a Bachelors of Business Administration – Economics Stream from Nipissing University and is currently working on his certification as an Economic Development Professional (EcD) through the Economic Developers Association of Canada.
Timmins Mayor says Northeastern Ontario needs an energy revolution George Pirie doesn’t mince words when it comes to the future of northeastern Ontario’s premiere mining city – a huge attitude shift would lead to enormous benefits. By Kevin Vincent
In an exclusive interview with Mining Life, the Timmins mayor outlines an aggressive and comprehensive vision of how the city and region could benefit with government and private sector investments in transportation and energy. “The area where there’s huge potential is rare earth elements,” says Pirie. He points to the Kapuskasing structure as an example. “You’ve got this package of rocks between two Archaean zones. It’s a structure that’s just been boiled and chewed and it’s virtually unexplored.” Pirie points out that there have been a number of relatively new discoveries that prove the city has massive unexplored upside. “The Borden gold mine by Chapleau, and then we had the phosphate operation near Kapuskasing, and now we’ve got REEs everywhere, we’ve got niobium, that’s a plethora of minerals which is exactly what you’d expect in a situation where the earth has been re-mobilized and boiled over at high temperature. You don’t know what you’re going to find. And there’s only one thing you can do - and that’s drill.”
Pirie says Ontario is moving closer to Quebec-style economic incentives. “The Ontario government
gets it now – they’ve announced a critical minerals initiative. But it’s one thing to announce the initiative, the follow up is we have to provide the incentives to drill because this is huge and Timmins sits directly in the middle of it all. It’s the largest center in the north and all of those activities can be centered from here.” Pirie points out that regional geologists say Timmins has everything in its backyard “Meaning a regional perspective we can take advantage of finding those metals here. You put that in combination with a circular economy, where do you want manufacturing? They should be here in Timmins. The potential for economic cooperation from Northwestern Quebec in northeastern Ontario is right there.” It’s a theory that has been talked about for years. Pirie’s predecessors and successive city councils defaulted to the suggestion that Timmins was geographically isolated to consider manufacturing as a potential industry. “If we’re going to maximize the potential of the area, then the manufacturing should be centered here,” said Pirie. “Why should it be here? Number one, we’ve got the room. We’ve got what the world needs. And a big part of what they need is space. We do it without congestion, and we can do it prop-
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erly here. Number two. We have the elements that go to the rest of the world, they will drive the rest of the world’s economy on the back of these minerals.” “I’ve said over and over and over again, the tough part is the railroads. We’ve got the shortest trade routes to the rest of the world. Battery technology, green technology, it has to be mined. And this is where these minerals will be sourced. So why would we ship container loads of raw metals? Well, we wouldn’t. We could ship the finished product, as it should be, to maximize, not just the development of Timmins, but number to minimize the carbon footprint, export the finished product, not the raw product.” Mining Life asked Pirie point blank, what has held the city back from becoming a major manufacturing centre? “Ultimately I think the reason why it hasn’t been done is more about attitude and vision than anything else. The transportation corridors should be connected from Timmins right back through to Sault Ste. Marie. That connects the rail lines right through the middle of the continent and in combination with James Bay, so that in fact you can say we’re in a world trade route. That’s the first
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Timmins has what it takes and is open to mega projects thing.” “First and foremost, we’ve mentally surrendered to this idea that this is what Timmins is, or Northern Ontario is. We’ve mentally cashed up our chips. If you take a look at what’s going on in northern Quebec, they’ve announced a new rail line. Take a look at the Quebec
side of the Great Northern clay belt, that’s fully developed. It’s a challenge of attitude.” When it comes to the critical resource of human capital, Pirie is again, an outlier. “I’m one of the few individuals that stands up and says this region will grow. We will not suffer from a declining population,
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because we’ve got everything the world needs and it’s up to us to make it happen. We’re an incredibly rich region, agriculturally and minerally, and untapped energy.” Pirie says the key is energy. “For all of this to happen, we have to have an energy revolution. If we’re all going to be using batteries instead of fossil fuels, then the equivalent in kilowatt hours has to be converted to electricity someplace. And we’ve got unlimited potential here, both geothermal, hydro electrical, as well as high temperature incineration.” Pirie says if he could affect one change immediately, it’s transportation. “We should be a transportation hub here in the North and we should be able to go around the world on the back of that transportation infrastructure - on the back of rail and the manufacturing facilities that we could put in place here. That would be the number one priority.” The global pandemic set Pirie’s plans back a year. Shortly after being elected, Pirie began a series of talks with major capital investors who were considering massive investments in the region. “When we talk to those people, they’re all listening, and they can see the vision, they can understand the vision. We’ve got to mobilize. That’s one of the things we’ve got to do here is mobilize capital. And that’s a tactic. That’s talking to people from all over the world. These are mega projects, and the world is looking for mega projects. This is a great place to have them because again, we’ve got everything that the world needs.
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West Cache Gold Project with a huge Blue Sky
By Kevin Vincent
He’s been around the block. This isn’t his first rodeo. You can conjure a number of clichés in that realm to try to describe the president of junior miner Galleon Gold, David Russell – and all of them fit. He’s old school, he’s smart as a whip and he’s 100% certain that Galleon’s West Cache property in Timmins is going to be the city’s next gold producer – and he’s planning, for now, to do it alone. “Years ago when I was up in northeastern Ontario, I picked up the Glimmer property that later became Black Fox, which was an exciting project for me at the time,” said Russell in an exclusive interview with Mining Life. “It was 90 kilometres southeast from the city of Timmins staged in Matheson. I watched Tony Makuch at that time CEO of Lake Shore Gold build the Timmins West Mine. We met from time to time back then. I built the Glimmer property back then and often wondered why I didn’t hold on to it. Fast forward to today. I got
an opportunity to come back.” Russell says the biggest key to West Cache is the drilling. “The drilling defines the resource base. The West pit, the Gap area, the East pit, and then there’s Vein 9. Each one’s a different area but modeled separately within the (upcoming) PEA study. We started out just in-fill drilling two areas, we ended up with two more areas, the Gap Zone and then the Number 9 Vein.” Russell says the exploration team has already identified what they believe they will call the number 10 or 11 veins, but Galleon is holding that for the next exploration program. With the discovery of the Number 9 Vein, the team is excited. “We continued drilling some holes through the Number 9 Vein and said - well, gee whiz, there should be something out there. Well, there is, but it’s going to be a bit to define that. We’ve got a property that’s huge blue sky (tremendous upside potential). And we can’t drill it all at once. If we were a Barrick or Newmont we’d have 8-10 rigs on this property in-
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stead of the 2 currently drilling.” Russell says we need to take it one step at a time. “If we compare the West Cache to Black Fox down the road or the original Glimmer property, I’m much more excited about this one. Mainly because it’s in the right horizon. It’s only 13 kilometers outside of Timmins, and it’s next to Pan American Silver’s Timmins West mine.” He also points out that the geology is different as are the gold showings. “The structures there (at Glimmer and Black Fox) were a little bit wobbly and contained a lot more free gold. And by free gold, I mean you had a big nugget effect where here, we don’t have a big nugget effect. We’ve got like 30% free gold where the other property, GlimmerBlack Fox was probably more like 50 or 70%. There you could drill three holes in an area, only one would hit gold. But when you got underground, it was all gold. The same applies here, you’re going to get ups and downs, but it’s going to be more uniform.
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Drilling continues to return excellent results That’s what we’re saying.” Drilling is now up to 38,000 meters and continues to return excellent results from across the whole property. We’ve got 177 core holes now within our database to add on to the other 325 core holes that were drilled prior to 2013. It’s not a property that wasn’t known, but it wasn’t a property that was understood. And now we’re putting some understanding into it.” When Galleon first picked the property up, there were 1,079,000 ounces in the global resource, which is a good number. “Then I sat down with P&E and I said - Okay, that number needs to be refined, because
what you’ve done is you’ve searched between holes that may be 150 meters apart, and you’ve downgraded the holes which means the grade’s lower. I said let’s edit the noise out and then tell me what that number is. And they said - Well, it’s about 750,000 ounces and they put some economics to it. That’s the back of the envelope. That’s a great start.” Russell says he was starting with a base of maybe 500,000 ounces of gold that needed to be inferred and then add to that. “What I’m looking for in a project is somewhere between the 500,000-800,000 ounce range, half a million ounces are cut off to say -
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Okay, would you build a mill? Would you have a real going concern? Once you’re heading to three quarters of a million, 800,000 or a million ounces, you’ve definitely got a big-time project. Once you hit a million ounces, you are now a world class gold deposit. And that’s what we’re striving for is to get that millionounce mark.” Will Galleon get it in this imminent PEA? Russell hopes so. “We’re really refining the infill drilling to the different categories, the drill-indicated and the inferred categories. Now, the proven will come later when we do the ramp system and start through what I call feasibility work. Once you start doing that, then
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West Cache Gold Project
Striving for 5-7g/t feed you’re going to take anything from indicated or inferred-indicated into the proven category. That means you’ve opened stopes up, and you put your hands on it, you said yes, it’s there.” Russell says In his mind, the minimum cutoff is a half a million ounces. “You have to have open pit grades, let’s say 1.5-3.5 g/t usually does the trick. If you’re 3.5 g/t you’re pretty high grade. On the underground end of it, I’d like to see a minimum of 3.5 g/t up to maybe the 7 gram mark. And in the old underground that they modeled, it was about 2.5-3.5 g/t and then when they edited down, it went to 4.0. But in Vein 9, what we’re seeing is anywhere from 5 g/t to 15 g/t material. I’d be happy if we’re sitting at 6 or 7 g/t in those areas.” Russell says it’s not only the number of ounces, it’s a range of the grade and the quality of those ounces. “Once you’re hitting in a pit, 3.03.5 gram material, you’ve got a pretty low cash cost-per-ounce there, and the driver is the grade and the same with the underground. Let’s say if you’re like Lake Shore, they’re not high grade, they’re to 2.7-3.0 gram. You look at their cash cost per ounce, it’s not bad, it’s sitting in the $900 per ounce range. That’s pretty darn good.
Now, if you’re running, let’s say 5, 6, or 7 gram, I’m sure they would like to have that. If that’s your group feed grade, you’re probably going to be in the $700-$800 range. So it’s a different world on economics. That’s what we’re striving for.” The Galleon CEO has been asked repeatedly about possible joint ventures. With core investors like billionaire Eric Sprott on side, Russell prefers to go it alone. “I always take that approach. They use the term, “you build it, they will come”. I never say I’m going to go entertain somebody. But if somebody comes and I get a call from Lake Shore or from Newmont, or the Barrick guys or something, I’m going to take the phone call. I’m going to have the discussion.” As of right now Galleon Gold is going to handle the project. And Russell states, “if you want to come in, maybe it’s a smaller portion, we will dictate exactly what we’re going to do with the project, and my timeline says by the end of this year we’ll have filed for permits, we’ll have done the surveying with the ministry, and we’ve gone to lease on the property. We’re getting all geared up to go underground to do a bulk sample.” “First, you go the PEA route,
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then we go to the bulk sample route, and then at that time, we’re actually doing feasibility work. And if you’re doing feasibility work, they can have a pre-feasibility or go to final feasibility. The final feasibility would only be there when we have all the drawings on a mill design and we’re going to have an internal mill project. You can go to feasibility or pre-feasibility and say, okay, we’re just going to mine and process the ore offsite at a friendly mill in the area close by. You’ve now sidestepped the final piece of a feasibility that says we’re not going to have a mill on the property.” Russell isn’t afraid to think big. “In my mind, the size of this project, because of the property package and the strike and the depth of the structures is, if you look at it and you say, what is the number of ounces you could put within a template area? Now this gets pretty wild, where you have arm-waving and analysts that go - Oh my God, you got 5 million or you got 10 million ounces, you know, once we get to the 800,000 or million ounces - okay, well, I’m happy. That’s the point in time you drive the project forward, then you start adding the ounces on the books.”
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Building a Second Century of Mining Excellence in Northern Ontario N O R T H E R N
The Haileybury School of Mines at Northern College is developing new practices and partnerships to continue to build on our long history of mining excellence as we enter our second century of operations.
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Northern has been offering innovative Proud toeducabe North. tion and well-regarded training for workers in Proud the mining sector since 1912 with And the world-renown Haileybury School of Mines to –begraduates Northern. of whom are often called upon to lead mining operations around the globe. The College also offers Research and Development opportunities through the Northern College Innovation Hub, a state-of-the art facility harnessing the talent of students coupled with the needs of a fast-paced and ever-changing industry on state-of-the-art equipment.
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After completing any of Northern’s mining programs, graduates can easily integrate into the mining and extractive sector. To support the need for ready-access to top-notch education, programming is delivered through a combination of instructor-led virtual classroom delivery, leading-edge e-learning experiences, face-toface labs, and when needed, on-site training at locations across Ontario.
Northern College delivers two main types of mining education programming. The first is a wide range of responsive industry-based training with over 15 different types of programming including Mining Essentials, Underground Hard Rock Miner, Surface Diamond Driller, Battery Electric Vehicle training, Mill Process Operator, and a variety of trades apprenticeships. Each program is meant to upskill a workforce or develop needed skills in the community. The second type of programming is post-secondary education offered through the Hailey-
bury School of Mines at Northern College. One of the current full-time post-secondary programs offered include the Mineral Exploration Techniques Certificate (1-year), designed for those interested in gaining entrance to and/or a competitive advantage in the mineral exploration job market. This program provides learners with the entry-level knowledge and skills needed to function as a valuable member of a mineral team on grassroots projects involving mine-site exploration. The Mining Engineering Technician Diploma (2 year) has intakes in both January and September of each year, and teaches students to become technicians as part of engineering teams involved in exploration, planning, development and operation, as well as mineral extraction and environmental control. Recently added courses in Mining Econom-
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ics, Project Management, and Ground Control and Ventilation bring an even greater number of modern mining issues into the classroom. The Innovation Hub, a newly-built mining-centric 23,000 square foot wing of the College is an integral part of Northern’s advanced learning experience, delivering opportunities for learners to work alongside industry professionals using College’s facilities, equipment and faculty to increase productivity, solve a workflow issue, or create a new product or piece of equipment. Coupled with government funding, the College supports industry’s initiatives to respond to this fast-paced sector and integrate new technologies for maximum potential. The Hub includes manufacturing and prototyping labs, a post-printing space, mining exploration lab, machine shop, alternative energy lab, and a simulated reality lab. With new experiential learning prospects happening in all technology and trades programs, new capacity for research opportunities at Northern is truly limitless. Page 39
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SUDBURY MINING REPORT 2015
Service Is Our Business
Local Tire Experts are a Gold Mine of Knowledge For nearly half a century, Murray OK Tire has been in the tire business in Northern Ontario providing top quality products and services. Every aspect of OK Tire’s operations is founded and inspired by their mission statement: “Service Is Our Business!” Partners in the group bring their expertise to the team to tailor services for client needs. OK Tire is well established in Northern Ontario with locations in Timmins, Sudbury, Kirkland Lake, Kapuskasing, Longlac, and Val Rita, servicing surface and underground mines in the region. OK Tire’s retread and repair facility in Val Rita, near Timmins, Ontario has the ability to repair all sized tires. The tire vulcanizing facility provides services to Ontario and Quebec mines. The repair shop specializes in Giant Tire vulcanizing and section repairs. Trained personnel are qualified to safely repair major tire assets. The OK Tire Giant Tire repair program in Northern Ontario is beneficial to mining operations because of the proximity to the mines and local knowledge. Co-owner of OK Tire, Martin Murray, states that, “Mining operations depend on their equipment to haul uninterrupted. A proper tire management program can ensure the long-term durability of the tires. We bring added value to the purchase of tires by tracking, managing, and repairing these procurements to help the client get the most out of their money.” On top of providing sound advice and tire management services, OK Tire is always expanding service to new areas. Currently the mining industry is booming with new projects and OK Tire is on the forefront of these new expansions by opening a store location last month to service the growing mining sector in and around Gogama. Timmins co-owner and partner Chris Belanger states that, “We are opening a Page 40
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spot there to help everyone.” A major priority will be servicing nearby mines with, “A qualified OTR technician, inventory, and equipment such as a tire machine, and a tire manipulator” said Belanger, which are already on site. “We expect to provide the same reliable services that we would offer anywhere else,” adds Belanger. The same approach towards service is shared by the OK Tire team based in Longlac. Four years ago, co-owner and partner Rick Lafontaine turned the former Ranger Tire Sales into a fully equipped OK Tire Commercial center, proudly saying, “There’s not much we can’t do here”. He hopes to service new partners in the flourishing Geraldton mining industry. OK Tire is proud to employ and contribute to many communities in Northern Ontario. The team at OK Tire has an extensive background in tire management and repairs with a cumulative experience of over 350 years in the tire industry. OK Tire is confident that their knowledge and skills are unparalleled and can provide support from management to field work. They stand by their moto: “Service Is Our Business!”
ANSWERING MINING’S TOUGHEST QUESTIONS
Fletcher values what their customers say. Since 1937, Fletcher has been answering some of underground mining’s toughest questions. At Fletcher we provide an atmosphere for an open dialogue with customers to ensure their operations are reaching maximum ® efficiency. Is your operation facing obstacles that mass produced equipment isn’t addressing?
Contact Fletcher. Ask Questions. We’ll have Answers. 800.543.5431
402 HIGH STREET HUNTINGTON, WV
J.H. Fletcher & Co. cannot anticipate every mine hazard that may develop during use of these products. Follow your mine plan and/or roof control plan prior to use of the product. Proper use, maintenance and continued use of (OEM) original equipment parts will be essential for maximum operating results. 2020 J.H. Fletcher & Co. All Rights reserved.
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Ten years after acquisition, IAMGOLD has moved ahead on the Côté Gold Project with construction in full swing in the Gogama region south of Timmins.
Scope of Resources at IAMGOLD’s Côté Gold Project Continues to Expand By Kevin Vincent
President and CEO, Gord Stothart and his development team are prepping the property for a major influx of employees in Q4 of this year. In fact, the pre-production is ahead of schedule. Companies such as Northec, Fournier & Fils, NAC, and Nuna Logistics have been in place for several months now. “Earthworks began in January,” says Stothart. “We started ahead of schedule on the earthworks as a result of pro-active planning and ex-
ecuting critical path items well.” The company is facing very few challenges in the development stage. “We were fortunate to have done significant de-risking and advanced engineering prior to the construction decision, so most challenges have been mitigated. We also had a relatively mild winter and low snow cover.” The company says camp capacity has been challenging, given that they were ahead of schedule in other areas, but camp capacity should catch up to the advanced schedule in the second quarter.
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IAMGOLD says as expected, COVID-19 has presented challenges, but they have made adjustments and have robust protocols in place. “At Côté, we have taken what we’ve learned from our operating sites and also incorporated ideas from our partner Sumitomo, our main engineering and construction firm, Wood, as well as ideas from some of the contractors who have been navigating this for a while,” said Stothart. “We’ve established robust testing and operating protocols to protect both
Our program we are proposing is not a shortterm solution. It is a long-term investment into our clients’ operations. Experience and knowledge have given Fountain Tire the expertise to manage your site; our associates will be focused on reducing operational cost, increasing equipment availability, and minimizing unforeseen events. Being proactive with a tire management program helps to eliminate those reactive moments that become a tremendous burden with down time, and increased cost of operating.
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Processing Plant, site picture January 2021 the local communities and the workforce.” PCR tests are mandatory for all workers entering site with followup testing throughout rotations. Recently, they have also added antigen (rapid) testing to the mix. “Development at the Côté Gold Project is progressing well,” Stothart adds. “We have had to make adjustments like everyone else, but earthworks started ahead of schedule and things are still moving at a good pace. We have a very strong team and, like many others around the world, they are getting on with the job, working from home if required and adjusting to the changes as a result of the pandemic.” Wood, a global engineering and consulting company, is managing procurement and construction on the Côté Gold Project, and will manage open-pit mining until the handover to IAMGOLD. “Wood has been a great partner and are working in an integrated team with IAMGOLD. We have done great work to optimise our planning and refine our execution as we progress and are continuously seeking out opportunities to improve on cost and time as well as Health and Safety.
Côté Gold, Plant Project Model (state of the art processing facility)
During the development, the company is also busy exploration-testing the Gosselin Zone of the project and the numbers look encouraging. “We are very pleased with Gosselin’s success and this will get integrated into our planning process once the resource work firms up. We are hoping to prove that up over the next little while and are targeting a potential increase by 20% to 35% above the current resources we have already declared. We hope to have more detail on that later this year. There is obviously a lot of work beyond that to bring that potential ore into the mine plan, but I would hope that it provides a good opportunity to eventually extend the life well beyond the current projected 18 years.” The next steps include plant construction as well as tailings pond construction. “A major effort will be made this summer and fall on the fish relocation program and watercourse realignment which will allow us to accelerate the pre-stripping, or initial mining in the pit. “Fish relocation is important because to build the mine we will need to remove or alter lakes, rivers and other smaller waterbodies. This results in a loss of fish habitat and potential harm to fish within these ar-
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eas. The avoidance and mitigation of loss of fish habitat and potential harm to the fishery is an important part of the design and engineering of the Project. At IAMGOLD we are aware that, as a mining company, our activities have an environmental impact. We have an organisational commitment to sustainability and
The fish relocation program was a key part of the environmental permitting and approvals process for Côté Gold.
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IAMGOLD UPDATE Pictured: IAMGOLD President & CEO Gord Stothart and Mattagami First Nation Chief Chad Boissoneau
Photos: Adam Scotti
Zero Harm®. We pursue our Zero Harm® vision throughout our operations and we have a long history of sustainability-oriented operations. We are continuing to work on
Pictured: Flying Post First Nation Chief Murray Ray and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Ground Breaking)
procurement for the major operations equipment.” The entire project has been a huge boost to the two local First Nations groups, Flying Post and Mattagami. “We have a robust and honest rela-
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tionship with First Nation partners Mattagami First Nation and Flying Post First Nation. From day one, back in 2012, we have strived to develop a close relationship with our host communities in a respectful and transparent manner; and we have been privileged to work with communities that engaged with us in the same spirit. “Our First Nation partners have played a major role in development of the Project through their participation in, and support of, our permitting process and working with us to optimise our land use and environmental impacts. They have also provided guidance on how we can develop processes so they can enhance opportunities the mine brings.” Stothart says IAMGOLD is also meeting regularly with First Nation partners through an established Environmental Management Committee and have established a Socio-economic Management and Monitoring Plan (SEMMP). The plan provides a structure to monitor and influence the social and economic impacts of the mine on its neighbouring communities. “As with any relationships there are learnings and improvements, but we are walking this road to-
IAMGOLD UPDATE gether. I believe we are enjoying very good success in developing business relationships that will stand the test of time.” The cities of Sudbury and Timmins have also been benefactors of the project. Stothart says the company has been welcomed by the Sudbury and Timmins communities and their ongoing support for the project is important. “We have bus terminals in Timmins and Sudbury. Once we ramp-up operations recruitment we are hoping to source most, if not all, of our workforce from northern Ontario. As a well-established mining region, we know there are skilled and experienced people in the area. We are using some advanced technology at Côté so it is our hope that those who are curious about mining technology and open to different and new ways of doing things will apply for those jobs when we post them.” The company is on schedule to start the first wave of recruitment for operations later this year, then gradually ramp-up recruitment through 2022 and 2023. Wood and other contractors have been managing their recruitment needs for the construction phase of the Project. Timmins is also a source of supply for good and services. The company isn’t doing a lot of operations procurement yet, but when they start they are hoping to receive competitive bids from local companies. The company expects to have an operations supply chain manager in place later this year with a view to rampingup operations procurement early 2022. IAMGOLD is a mid-tier mining company with three gold mines on three continents, including the Essakane mine in Burkina Faso, the Rosebel mine in Suriname, and the Westwood mine in Canada. A solid base of strategic assets is complemented by the Côté Gold construction project in Canada, the Boto Gold development project in
Senegal, as well as greenfield and brownfield exploration projects in various countries located in West Africa and the Americas. IAMGOLD aims to become a million-ounce gold producer as it executes on its growth strategy, including bringing Côté Gold, its fourth mine, online.
IAMGOLD is committed to maintaining its culture of accountable mining through high standards of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) practices and employs approximately 5,000 people.
Nuna Group of Companies
• All-Weather Roads & Runways • Contract Mining • Dams & Frozen Core Dams • Dikes • Earthworks & Site Development • Exploration Support
• Ice Roads & Runways • Mine Reclamation – Care & Maintenance • Remote Infrastructure Planning • Site Services & Crushing • Vertical Cutter Mining
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• Meet potential job seekers spea new state-of-the-art digital tradeshow platform built by cific to the mining industry.
• Offering a focused approach to match skilled job seekers with employment opportunities. • Access employment agency representatives and information available on hiring and training assistance and incentives.
PARTNERING WITH PROCUREMENT Virtual displays will allow Human
There’s gold - there’s copper there’s silver - and now there is plenty of evidence that the Abitibi-Greenstone Belt (AGB) is on the verge of becoming a treasure chest for electric vehicle minerals.
Virtex – a division of Canadian Trade-Ex, eastern Canada’s most prolific trade show producer, is hosting a major, oneof-a-kind, two-day virtual conference that will connect the AGB mining industry’s biggest players under one virtual roof. PARTNERING WITH
Resource (HR) the opportunity to meet, review and discuss career opportunities available with a group of potential job seekers. At the Mining the Abitibi Greenstone Belt Conference and Expo, With Procurement event, as well as the exhibition floor provides attenda Career-Education-Training Fair ees the perfect opportunity to expethat coincides with Ontario Mining rience the new mining operations Week. concepts and designs. Speak to a Virtex President Glenn Dredhart group of Procurement Staff and witsays participants have the opportu- ness how these operations require nity to extract significant value from innovations that can be applied to their participation. “We are offering enhance their operations various participants a unique opportunity to processes. engage in face-to face networking Partnering with Procurement offers time with senior mine buyers from participants (companies) a unique For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org call 705-2 throughout the Abitibi Greenstone opportunity to set up their ownor2D Belt. Mines and large-scale capital display and share it with the parmine projects can set up a virtual ticipating procurement staff as well display and reach a group of indus- as engage in face-to-face virtual try stakeholders and harness the introduction time with senior mine The virtual job fair will connect employers with potential employees supply chain.” buyers from throughout the Abitibi The industry Virtex you platform trade Greenstone Belt. Mining will haveallows access to: participants setcurrent up one-one “It in is a expected invideos, excess of ✓show a virtual booth to: • to post job positions 2D display • that display pre-recorded meetings, group meetings and the 25 buyers, and 200 supplier compresentations, pdf files, promo banners, a back drop banner • showcase the benefits of workin ability to pre-select appointments panies, will attend the event, and your company. from a list seekers of supply com- in we would be delighted if you could ✓ profilesqualified potential job interested a career in mining panies. join us for what promises to bewho an meet you ✓ sponsored breakout rooms to conduct meetings or interviews with job seekers The Career, Education and Train- unrivaled opportunity to grow your requirements ing Fair is co-hosted by the Far business,” said Dredhart. Job seeker interested in aBoard. career inThe mining be able to: is limited. Northeast Training fairyou will Registration ✓will view job postings for reference job descriptions and qualification connect employers with to potenCall 705-264-2251 to requirements reserve ✓tial upload your profiles to job seekers at a glance, and list your set of employees virtually. your space today. skills and experience or edu ✓ upload your resume for any job that you wish to apply for and submit it ✓ request to connect in a one-on-one text / audio / video meeting with the HR staff
A MINING WEEK CELEBRATION
June 2-3, 2021
“Mining The Abitibi Greenstone Belt – Meeting thea unique Needs of ToOffering participants day’s Mining Industry” has been opportunity to engage in face-to more than a year in the making face networking time with senior and be from delivered on a propriminewill buyers throughout etary, state-of-the-art digital tradethe Abitibi Greenstone Belt. show platform built by Canadian Mines and large-scale capital Trade-Ex, the leader in trade show mine projects can set up a production for more than three devirtual display and reach a group cades. of industry stakeholders and The event will be held June 2nd harness the supply chain. and 3rd and booth registration is limited. It includes a Partnering Sponsored by
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Local Impact | Global Presence
A Story of Evolution, Transformation, and People The year of Covid has come and gone and as the world continues to vaccinate, companies like Timmins-based The Bucket Shop are charting their own course through these challenging times. “Many companies experienced a negative impact such as reduced revenue, increased layoffs, or perhaps even permanent closure,” said Vice-President Paul Woodward. “The Bucket Shop (TBS) created its own pathway: one that was centred on evolution, transformation, and people.” Fewer companies chose to invest during the height of the pandemic. TBS embraced the Keynesian economic theory and the Paradox of Thrift, that says endorse the act of increased investment in an economic downturn. While the decision by the Woodward family matches that economic theory, it was driven by their own mandate to shift to a community-driven organization.
“TBS fulfilled its commitment to the City of Timmins, Provincial and Federal agencies, with the completion of a state-of-the-art 10,000 square foot facility, housing 3 booths dedicated to abrasive blasting and painting,” said Woodward. The multi-million-dollar investment anchored the company’s position as the welding and fabrication company of choice to the mining sector in northern Ontario. Expanding the Training Innitiative The TBS-designed Welding Training Program for Aboriginal Women celebrated its first anniversary in July of 2020. The second year of the program saw an enhanced curriculum that increased the level of welding competency and certification, in addition to creating more career opportunities for the graduates within TBS and the mining sector at large.
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“The success of the program has surpassed expectations with 100% of the participants receiving at least one welding ticket (demonstrating welding competency). By the end of year 2, TBS will have trained 40 women in a new skilled trade and contributed positively to the critical labour shortage throughout the region and beyond.” The program has garnered the attention of mining companies, education partners, and all levels of government. TBS is reviewing the potential to lead the development of a dedicated and standalone training facility focused on skilled trades. Embracing new Employees from Outside Canada The additional workload required the hiring of 15 new people. With the challenge to find skilled labour locally, they looked outside the CaCont’d on pg. 52
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Pan American’s Timmins operations continues to provide value By Kevin Vincent
Timmins West mine
Pan American Silver Corp. finished 2020 in a strong position and the company’s Timminsbased operations was a solid gold contributor. “Pan American delivered strong financial performance in 2020, generating a record $462.3 million in operating cash flow, which enabled us to fully repay all bank debt, double our quarterly dividend to shareholders, and grow our cash balCont’d from pg. 50
nadian borders for help. To complement the current workforce, they committed to adding four new certified welders with the longterm goal of becoming permanent citizens. Developing a New Product Line: Rhinowear To top things off, TBS continued to create solutions that help the earth moving sector with two major benefits: increase productivity and lower costs. The company challenged themselves to develop wear products that can contribute both benefits. In 2020, their efforts resulted in the formal launch of a new, exclusive line of wear products to service the mining sector locally and globally, Rhinowear. The Rhinowear portfolio is the evolution of their initial line of TBS branded cast products introduced
ance at year end,” said Michael Steinmann, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our operating teams helped deliver these strong results despite the exceptional challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to support our workforce and communities during this difficult time, and look forward to the deployment of vaccination programs during 2021.” Pan American expects to produce between 148,000 and
in 2015. The suite has expanded to include four wear product lines and unique engineering products. TBS assisted with the engineering of the design and metallurgy directly with their foundry and are proud to bring the products to market with a commitment to high performance standards and a low total cost of ownership. 1. Chrome White Iron: This consumable category is focused on the most longevity at the best price. The metallurgical blend ensures excellent lifecycles for the traditional products such as chocky bars, wear buttons, or custom sized liner plates. 2. Chromium Carbide Overlay Plates: Rhinowear CCO plates are manufactured for severe abrasion and moderate impact environments. TBS has three performance levels available in thicknesses that range from ¾” to 2”. 3. Wear Compounds/Surfacing Polymers: These trowel-applied
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compounds are excellent for repairs of environments experiencing high wear from abrasion. They have alternatives for general applications, fast cure options, and even a replacement for ceramic tile. 4. Cast Solutions (Heel Shrouds, Lip Systems): Born out of the original TBS HiPER brand of heel shrouds and cast lip systems, the Rhinowear name has been applied to all their cast solutions. They developed heel shrouds, corner protectors, and protective lip systems for any make or size of bucket. 5. Engineered Lifting Devices: What started as internal use, quickly expanded to an offering that can be produced in mass quantities with the TBS CNC plasma cutting table. The lifting devices are Engineer stamped and come with welding instructions. They are available in D style or A style with lifting capacity ranging from 1,000 to 30,000 pounds.
Pan American to spend $40-$43 million this year in capital costs on Timmins operations
Bell Creek mine & mill
158,000 ounces of gold from Lake Shore in 2021. The company’s overall gold production in 2021 is expected to be between 605,000 and 655,000 ounces, which is an increase of between 16% and 25% from 2020 production levels. The company says the 2021 forecast assumes operations will continue to be impacted by comprehensive COVID-19 protocols, which increase costs and
restrict throughput levels, especially at underground mines. Pan American expects to spend between $40 and $43 million in capital costs this year at Lake Shore and its Bell Creek Mines on tailings storage facility expansions, mine equipment replacements and refurbishments, mill upgrades, and near-mine exploration. Pan American owns and operates silver and gold mines in Mexico, Peru, Canada, Argentina and Bolivia. they also own the Escobal mine in Guatemala that is currently not operating. As the world’s second largest primary silver producer with the largest silver reserve base globally, Pan American says it provides enhanced exposure to silver in addition to a diversified portfolio of gold producing assets.
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Optimize Your Belt-Conveyor Systems
Belt-conveyor systems are the workhorses of a mining operation. Regardless of the application, minimizing the cost per ton to move material without compromising safety, product integrity, and efficiency is accomplished by ensuring that your conveyor configuration is perfectly adapted and adjusted to its actual operational parameters. Even if your conveyor system was perfectly designed and tuned at the moment of its installation, with changes in mine ownership, operating philosophies and maintenance practices, it is likely that many parameters are no longer the same as they were at the outset. The tonnage or physical properties of the material transported may have changed over the years. Various equipment and accessories may have been added
or modified by several different engineering firms and suppliers. As a result, your conveyor may operate at a non-optimal condition. Developing a conveyor audit program is key to implement a configuration reset program aimed at reducing the operating costs and maximizing the overall mine productivity. Trinum S.A. is a leader in belt conveyor engineering that offers such an auditing service to the mines of Quebec and Ontario. To begin, their experts visit the site and thoroughly inspect all aspects of the conveyors. If necessary, they use the best available technologies such as thermal imaging, alignment lasers or 3-D lasers. Observing both the loaded and unloaded operation allows them to identify problems that, if not addressed and corrected,
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can lead to breakdowns, high maintenance costs or potential safety hazards. Following the inspection, Trinum engineers will analyse the conveyors using the best numerical tools available and determine what the optimal conveyor configuration should be. These analyses can include 3D- bulk flow simulation by DEM, structural validation by FEM and validation of the robustness and fitness for duty of the components: Belt, pulleys, shafts, idler, bearing, etc. Typically, the audit program will generate a series of recommendations on how to optimize the conveyors to ensure maximum productivity and reliability. Following the acquisition of the Detour Gold mine by Kirkland Lake Gold, Trinum was mandated to audit and optimize several of their conveyors. Among the improvements implemented in 2020, we count: several chute redesign; addition of magnet, scale and sampler; correction of belt tracking issues, optimization of the ball mills and sag mills outflow; replacement of gravity take-up by hydraulic take-up. If you believe that the reliability and performance of your conveyors can be improved, don’t hesitate to hire the experts who can guide you. Website: www.trinumexperts.com Email: Info@trinumexperts.com Telephone: 418-956-6093
TROJAN TIRE INC.
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ALAMOS GOLD Investors and company management at Alamos Gold couldn’t be happier with results at Island Gold – Alamos’ mine just east of Dubreuilville and north of Wawa.
Alamos Gold’s Island Gold mine continues to climb list of Ontario’s best producers By Kevin Vincent
Island Gold was once again the largest driver of global mineral reserves and resource growth for the company in 2020. “We had an excellent 2020 on the exploration front despite a smaller than planned program due to COVID-19. We more than replaced Global Mineral Reserves and added another million ounces of high-grade Mineral Reserves and Resources at Island Gold,” said John A. McCluskey, President and Chief Executive Officer. The company says despite a smaller than planned drill program due to COVID-19, Island Gold more than replaced Mineral Reserves and delivered its largest annual increase in Inferred Mineral Resources to date and at
significantly higher grades. In fact, company data suggests that Island Gold is Canada’s third-best average grade, just behind Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa Mine in Kirkland Lake, and Wesdome’s Eagle River Mine near Wawa. “Island Gold is now approaching five million ounces of combined Mineral Reserves and Resources with excellent potential for this growth to continue with the deposit open laterally and at depth. This growth further increases the value of the operation beyond what was outlined in the Phase III Expansion Study this past year and reaffirms the decision to put in a shaft,” McCluskey added. Mineral Reserves increased 8% in 2020 to 1.3 million ounces, despite the primary focus in
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2020 being on Mineral Resource growth. The increase in Mineral Reserves included the addition of 239,000 ounces which more than offset mining depletion of 144,000 ounces. Mineral Reserve grades decreased slightly to 9.71g/t Au due to higher grades mined in 2020 (11.18 g/t Au) as well as a reduction in the cut-off grade reflecting lower expected costs following the completion of the Phase III Expansion in 2025. Since the acquisition of Island Gold in November 2017, mineral reserves have increased 74%, net of depletion, with mineral reserve grades increasing 6%. The increased grades are combined with lower costs, making Alamos an attractive proposition for investors. Since 2014 the company has seen average costs drop
E N G I N E E R I N G
I N C
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24/7 Local Technical Support www.hepeng.com from $1452/ounce to $656 in 2019. The company added to the good news from Island Gold earlier this year when they released their latest exploration numbers. The results from each section of the mine were more than encouraging. Island East: High-grade gold mineralization extended 110 metres down-plunge from the nearest Inferred Mineral Resource block, and up to 70 m below, and west of previously reported drillhole. New drill highlights include: • 54.18 g/t Au (31.94 g/t cut) over 6.54 m (MH25-05); • 123.74 g/t Au (15.75 g/t cut) over 5.06 m (MH25-06); and • 21.88 g/t Au (21.88 g/t cut) over 2.52 m (620-623-07). In the Island Main area: Highgrade gold mineralization intersected up to 200m east of existing Mineral Reserves in Island Main and between Mineral Reserve and
Resource blocks in middle to upper areas of Island East (between depth of 850 and 1,100 m). New highlights include: • 18.64 g/t Au (18.64 g/t cut) over 5.89 m (840-578-11); and • 97.76 g/t Au (36.40 g/t cut) over 2.00 m (840-578-13). At Island West: Underground directional drilling extended high-grade mineralization up to 45 m beyond the nearest Inferred Mineral Resources. New highlights include: • 72.45 g/t Au (72.45 g/t cut) over 2.04 m (740-471-36). “These latest results conclude another successful drilling campaign in 2020. We expect these results to drive further growth in high-grade Mineral Resources at Island Gold with our 2020 year-end update, improving already attractive economics with the Phase III shaft expansion, while also clearly demonstrating the significant ongoing growth potential of the deposit,”
firstname.lastname@example.org said McCluskey, President and Chief Executive Officer. $25 million is budgeted in 2021 for surface and underground exploration at Island Gold, up from the initial 2020 budget of $21 million. The company says the focus remains on continuing to define new near mine Mineral Resources across the two-kilometre-long Island Gold Main Zone, as well as advancing and evaluating several regional targets. The 2021 exploration budget includes 27,500 m of surface directional drilling, 24,000 m of underground directional drilling, 28,000 m of underground exploration drilling, and 900 m of underground exploration development to extend drill platforms on the 620, 790, and 840-levels. A significantly larger regional exploration program is also planned in 2021. Page 57
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Canada Nickel Company The belle of the ball for the Abitibi Greenstone Belt has always been precious metals such as gold and silver. Now there’s a new girl on the dance floor and her name is nickel – Canada Nickel to be exact.
Canada Nickel & Noble Minerals combine efforts to steal Timmins spotlight – PEA expected in April By Kevin Vincent
For the past year, Canada Nickel Company (CNC) has shone a big spotlight on north Timmins as the startup junior, led by veteran nickel executive Mark Selby. CNC rolls out news release after news release suggesting each step of the way that Timmins is home to one of the world’s biggest nickel-cobalt deposits. While there is a long way to go to production approvals – the company’s stock has risen from below 50 cents a share to between $3 and $4 a share in just 12 months. The reason? Drill results and the fact that the Crawford Township property is in the shadow of Glencore’s world-famous Kidd Creek copper-zinc mine, the deepest base metals mine in the world. In February, CNC announced they entered into a binding letter of intent to consolidate ownership of a recently identified high priority nickel target in MacDiarmid township with Noble Minerals. The LOI options additional claims adjacent to the original MacDiarmid property option. Canada Nickel has identified prospective targets on the properties it obtained from Noble: Kingsmill, Mahaffy-Aubin, Nesbitt North, and Crawford NesbittAubin. “With MacDiarmid’s location just west of the Kidd Creek Mine, we are thrilled by the district-scale potential of this rapidly emerging nickel sulphide corridor along Highway 655 and we look forward to unlocking the potential of MacDiarmid in addition to the other properties optioned from Noble.” said Selby, Chair and CEO of Canada Nickel. Airborne geophysics and a compilation of historical exploration activities led to the identification of the MacDiarmid target, 1.8 km long and an average 400-metre-wide geophysical footprint, 15% larger than Canada Nickel’s original Crawford Main Zone discovery. The geophysics results were further confirmed by a review of historical drill logs (no assays were
completed) for all seven holes drilled entirely within the target coincident anomaly which all intersected dunite or peridotite (the mineralized host rock at Crawford) across the bulk of the core length. All seven of the holes also indicated presence of magnetite and sulphides in abundances consistent with that seen in Crawford core logs. “The results support our belief that the nickel exploration potential on the set of properties that were optioned to Canada Nickel has the potential to generate as much or more return for our shareholders as the original Crawford transaction,” said Vance White, President & CEO of Noble. “Noble has always been very confident that the Project 81 land package has the potential to generate multiple large tonnage nickel sulphide deposits and with the expertise of CNC, we think we are well on our way to realize this potential.” The Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project is located in the heart of the prolific Timmins mining camp and is adjacent to well-established, major infrastructure associated with over 100 years of regional mining activity. The key for CNC is recovery. In early March, the company announced encouraging positive metallurgical results. “These latest results demonstrated that a 20% increase in grind size resulted in no material change in recovery. For large scale, lower grade projects such as Crawford, this significant improvement in primary grind requirements reduces the amount of energy needed to grind each tonne of material by 15%, which would allow for both higher throughput and lower costs per tonne,” said Selby. “While the company is eager to publish our PEA as soon as possible, it is important we include these significant improvements as they contribute to the overall project economics. Therefore, we now intend to release the PEA by the end of April 2021. In addition, work on the Kidd Creek smaller start-up option for Crawford is progressing well – our review of related capital and operating costs were in line with our expectations.” The company says subsequent testing during 2021 will continue to optimize various flowsheet parameters towards a final flowsheet for the feasibility study expected by year-end 2021.
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FIRST COBALT Site Rendering of the expanded First Cobalt Refinery
Thanks to the global growth of the electric vehicle market, there’s mining life in Cobalt yet, and both the federal and provincial governments have put their money where their mouths are.
First Cobalt in line to become North American leader in EV supply chain By Kevin Vincent
Ottawa and Queens Park announced in late 2020 that they will kick in $5 million each to support First Cobalt Corporation’s $77 million recommissioning of the local cobalt refinery. A year ago, First Cobalt announced positive results from an engineering study conducted on its permitted refinery. The study contemplated expanding the existing facility and adapting it to be North America’s first producer of cobalt sulfate, an essential component in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles. That plan came together in the ensuring months and the huge recommissioning project got underway. First Cobalt signed contribution agreements and became the recipient of $10 million in public funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. The funding allowed the company to accelerate the commissioning and expansion of its refinery, attract new investment, and execute its strategic business plan. The terms under the agreements with both governments included: • Government of Canada: $5 million interest-free loan, through the
Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario • Government of Ontario: $5 million non-repayable grant, through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation • This combined strategic investment, totaling $10 million, will enable First Cobalt to recommission and expand its cobalt refinery north of Toronto • Once complete, the facility will be the first of its kind in North America, capable of producing 25,000 tonnes of battery-grade cobalt sulfate annually, which could represent five percent of the global market for refined cobalt “This is a transformational investment from the Federal and Provincial governments and is further validation of the strategic plan that our management team has been executing for many months,” said John Pollesel, Chairman of the First Cobalt Board of Directors. “This funding sends a strong signal to investors that our plan is credible, achievable, and realistic. Looking ahead, the enhanced credibility this funding brings will help attract investment partners to this critical project.” “The electric vehicle revolution
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is powered by cobalt and we are thrilled to partner with the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to expand and recommission our Northern Ontario Refinery, bringing long-term employment to the community,” said Trent Mell, President & Chief Executive Officer. Global demand for cobalt is increasing as electric vehicles become more widely adopted. First Cobalt’s refinery will be the only source of domestic cobalt for the North American electric vehicle industry and it will also be well positioned to support the European market. The cobalt feed material that the company will process will be certified as ethically-sourced and conflict-free. The company’s goal is to build the greenest cobalt refinery in the world. Initial indications are that the refinery will have CO2 emissions that are 50% lower than any benchmark peer – and the company says it won’t stop there. The refinery adds another significant piece to the automotive supply chain in Canada, following recent announcements by both levels of government in support of battery electric vehicle production.
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First Cobalt in preconstruction of refinery expansion project As global EV sales continue to set new records, First Cobalt plans to play a critical role in the growing North American supply chain. The company says the investment reinforces Canada’s position as an automotive powerhouse as the auto industry positions itself for an electric future. The First Cobalt Refinery is a hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery located in the community of Temiskaming Shores. The facility was permitted in 1996 with a nominal throughput of 12 tonnes per day and operated intermittently until 2015, producing cobalt, nickel and silver products. In May 2020, the company completed an engineering study that confirmed the refinery’s suitability to treat cobalt hydroxide at an expanded throughput of 55 tonnes per day to produce a high purity, battery grade cobalt sulfate. Today, approximately 80% of global supply comes from China and there is no production in North America. In conjunction with the feasibility study, discussions have been ongoing with potential automotive offtake partners as well as several lenders interested in providing the balance of the capital required to complete the project. First Cobalt announced that it has also begun a study of black mass material from recycled batteries as a supplemental source of feed for its hydrometallurgical refinery. The company believes the refinery could recover cobalt, nickel, copper and potentially lithium and manganese, in addition to planned cobalt production from primary feed. Discussions are underway with several producers of black mass.
“This initiative advances our vision of producing the world’s most sustainable cobalt while broadening the potential revenue streams to include other battery materials. Automakers are looking for a closed loop supply chain for their batteries and the proposed recycling process at the First Cobalt Refinery presents a compelling solution to move to a circular model for recycling end-of-life batteries and battery manufacturing scrap,” said Mell. “Pursuing this project in tandem with the current cobalt sulfate production circuit would yield much lower capital and operating costs than a standalone greenfield recycling plant. Our hydrometallurgical process is expected to be more efficient and better for the environment than many of the established recycling processes.” First Cobalt is currently in preconstruction of the refinery expansion project that will result in annual production of 5,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in a battery-grade cobalt sulfate starting in Q4 2022. The refinery previously recovered nickel, copper and cobalt and this study will leverage these processes and existing infrastructure. Incremental capital costs to modify the flow sheet to treat black mass and recover other battery raw materials are expected to be substantially lower than a greenfield project.
Highlights • First Cobalt’s battery recycling circuit would be integrated into the Company’s primary cobalt sulfate refinery and operated by the same team. Additional capital expendi-
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ture is expected to be modest under a base case scenario. • The Company’s hydrometallurgical refinery is expected to provide higher yields at a lower cost and at significantly lower energy intensity, compared to traditional pyrometallurgical facilities. • First Cobalt’s refinery is 100% powered by clean, hydroelectric power from Ontario Power Generation, resulting in nearly zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. • Closed loop recycling of lithiumion batteries will serve the electric vehicle market in North America and Europe and in the short term will benefit from higher availability of cobalt-rich consumer electronics.
Lithium-ion Battery Recycling End-of-life lithium-ion batteries are initially discharged before being disassembled. Battery cells are then typically subject to a mechanical process involving crushing, sorting and sieving to produce a powder substance referred to as “black mass”. Black mass contains a variety of valuable metals including cobalt, nickel, copper, lithium, manganese, aluminum and graphite. Outside China, the predominant means of recovering metal from black mass is through an energyintensive pyrometallurgical process that involves calcining, roasting and smelting. Metal recovery from black mass through a hydrometallurgical process such as that owned by First Cobalt, whereby metals are dissolved and separated, is more efficient and environmentally friendlier than a pyrometallurgical process. The hydrometallurgical process is expected to become the preferred approach to recycling as electric vehicle penetration rates continue to climb.
Dedicated to Saving Lives
by Preventing Rollovers By Frank Giorno
In the mining and construction industries where roads are often very uneven with awkward slopes, sinkholes and twists. A sudden rock fall or building matter collapse can cause roll overs and fall-ons. In 2014 a truck driver at a mine in Canada hauling waste rock slid off the narrow road and rolled over unto its roof fatally injuring the driver. The worker reversed the truck too close to the edge and the road gave way beneath it. The truck flipped onto its roof, slid down the embankment and critically injured the worker. As a result of the incident, the company was found to have violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act. TopROPS, a company based in Val Caron, Ontario near Sudbury, is a multi-disciplined manufacturing and design firm that specializes in Roll-Over Protection Structures (ROPS) and Fall-On Protection Structures (FOPS). They service all industries, including the mining industry. “We at TopRops, have made it our mission to help mining companies and other users of heavy trucks and machinery save lives by preventing injuries due to rollovers and by reinforcing cabs to withstand fall-ons,” said Savy Bhardwaj, the general manager of Top Steel/TopRops.
“We are committed to safety and we pride ourselves on supplying our customers with the highest quality ROPS and FOPS,” Bhardwaj added. “TopRops provides service from the heaviest equipment to personnel carriers to ATVs.” TopRops provides a series of Rollover Protection Services to ensure trucks and heavy equipment comply with ISO 3449, ISSO 3471 and CSA and SAE standards. TopRops provides the following services: • ROPS/FOPS Engineering DESIGN INNOVATION • ROPS/FOPS Repairs • ROPS/FOP Physical Testing The design, engineering, testing and metal fabrication are all done under one roof for any make or model of trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment. Recently TopROPS has launched our Transport Truck ROPS series internationally, supplying certified sectors. Savy explains that TopRops analyzes, and tests heavy trucks, vehicles and heavy equipment tier one tier two mining construction vehicle manufacturers. By undertaking a series of computer driven evaluations TopRops determines the capacity to withstand work environment stressors.
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Based on the results of computer simulated tests TopRops determines what the best solutions are for ensuring the vehicles and equipment are rollover-proof and protected from fall-ons. “We draw, design, and fabricate special fortified cabins for human operated trucks and equipment,” explained Savy. Should the vehicle and machinery require additional roller over protection it is developed and installed as required. TopRops also provides reinforcement of trucks and heavy equipment to protect against rock fall ons like the one that occurred at the Musselwhite Gold Mine in November 2015 where A scoop operator died after the machine was covered by falling rock. “Although preventing injuries and fatalities is the number one concern that motivates mining companies to invest in ROPS and FOPS, today with the expanding use of rechargeable battery electric vehicles and equipment protecting the expensive battery packs has become an additional consideration,” Savy pointed out. For more information, please visit TopRops website at: https://www.toprops.com/ and watch TopRops video on rollovers at: https://youtu.be/08tmeJ1j9VA
“kicking it up a notch” for Wesdome By Kevin Vincent
2021 is going to be a watershed year for Wesdome. Kiena is expected to add dramatically to the company’s annual production from its Wawa-area Eagle River Complex. The “NI 43-101” supports a mineral resource estimate for the Kiena Mine Complex reported in by the company in late 2020. “We are pleased with the many activities on-going at the Kiena Complex,” said Duncan Middlemiss, President and CEO. “The aggressive underground drilling program has transitioned from definition to exploration drilling and we are already seeing positive results. The A Zones remain open at depth and laterally as well, as shown from the recent drilling with significant intersections on the fringe of the current resource limits.” Middlemiss says Wesdome has several exploration targets to test this year, and have in place an aggressive program (in excess of 40,000 metres) to test those targets. “Exploration will initially focus on adjacent zones, including the VC and B Zones at depth as these would be accessible from the main ramp and would enhance the current ounces per vertical metre already defined in the A Zone. The most recent drilling shows the potential of extending the high grade VC1 zone to depth.” “Additionally, there are a number of excellent exploration targets east of the mine area that are accessible from 33 level, and will be part of the 2021 exploration program, of which some targets contain quartz veins with visible gold. We are also currently ramping up a large surface exploration program, with the aim of unlocking additional value on the Kiena property further to the west and east of the Kiena mine initially, and later, over the entire prop-
erty.” “Finally, we are very satisfied about the successful re-start of the mill to process the A zone
bulk sample in December of last year, of which a total of 2,252 ounces of gold have already
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Abitibi Institute New organization to focus on opportunities in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec By Kevin Vincent
Two of northern Ontario’s top mining executives, one of whom has since become a prominent politician, are stepping up to bolster the economy and heighten the profile of Timmins and the surrounding area. On March 25, Kirkland Lake Gold President Tony Makuch, and Timmins Mayor George Pirie an-
Pictured Left to Right: Robert Manseau-President, George Pirie-Honorary Chair, Tony Makuch-Chair and Gaetan Malette-Vice-Chair
nounced the formation of the Abitibi Institute, a Timmins-based think-tank that will conduct deep, nonpartisan research into the region’s economic potential. Timmins-born Makuch is the chairman of the newly formed group, while Pirie, as mayor of Timmins, is the honourary chairman. Without pointing fingers, it’s clear from the outset that both men feel the region has long been overlooked by senior levels of government. “We have all watched industry pack up and leave our region, or refuse to expand, or relocate here; citing reasons that just don’t make sense to us,” said vice-chair Gaetan Malette, a member of the pioneering Malette lumber family. “Timmins and the Cochrane district form the economic heart of Northern Ontario - we know that with thoughtful and unbiased research, it can be easily demonstrated,” Malette added. “For almost as long, the forest sector was carved from our abundant wilderness - built by entrepreneurs from nothing to world class enterprises, only to see that industry reduced to a footnote of what it once was.” Makuch, for his part, was equally blunt. “My career in mining has taken me around the world, so believe me
Cont’d from pg. 65
been poured. More gold from the mill circuit clean-up has been recovered and will be refined later in Q1, followed by the final reconciliation of the bulk sample, once all the information is available.” Wesdome says the Kiena infrastructure has been well-maintained and enables a quick restart once a production decision is made. The PFS is progressing well, and they expect to have it completed in Q2, with a possible re-start decision shortly thereafter. The pre-production timeframe is forecast to be less than six months, potentially driving the Kiena Mine into commercial production in Q4 of this year. Wesdome announced additional results from underground definition
and exploration drilling at the Kiena Complex. The results below are part of the 28,300 m drilled since the close-out date of the last mineral resource estimate update (September 18, 2020) and were therefore not included in that resource estimate.
A Zone Drilling Highlights of the recent A Zone drilling are listed below * Hole 6740W4: 325.9 g/t Au over 8.0 m core length (46.8 g/t Au cut, 5.0 m true width) A2 Zone * Hole 6740W4: 22.8 g/t Au over 32.8 m core length (14.6 g/t Au cut, 15.0 m true width) A1 Zone * Hole 6704W3: 24.1 g/t Au over
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36.5 m core length (8.4 g/t Au cut, 6.0 m true width) A2 Zone
All assays cut to 90.0 g/t Au. True widths are estimated.
VC1 Zone Drilling Drilling of the VC1 zone has continued to return a number of high grade intersections and has now confirmed the previous interpretation that the VC1 zone is a separate structure having a different orientation than the A Zone. The mineralization of the VC1 zone has transitioned from a more sulphide-rich variety found in the upper extents of the mine, to a quartz-rich environment with visible gold present at depth. The VC1 zone remains open at depth and will be a focus for ongoing drilling.
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when I tell you that our region, Ontario’s north, holds its own against any international jurisdiction and I’m prepared to do anything I can to promote and help us achieve our unlimited potential.” “But if I’m being honest with you, and you’re all my friends, so of course I’m being honest with you - I’m worried that we won’t have the human capital to grow the region’s untapped potential. We need strong communities, and that means a diverse economy. We can’t continue to be a one-trick-pony that relies solely on mining. I want our workers to live in the community, not just at the camps we build. I want their kids to go to local schools, their spouses to have meaningful work in the towns we support, and their families to grow generation after generation.” Timmins Mayor George Pirie, the honorary chair of the organization, says it is long overdue that Timmins and the surrounding region become important on the provincial and national stage. “As mayor, I’ve had a front row seat to the challenges we’re facing. Declining populations, businesses shuttering their doors and moving out. Aging populations. Pirie says the the challenges aren’t unique to Timmins. “Across our region we’re seeing the same thing. And that’s why I’m so pleased the Abitibi Institute, to start, will focus on the region, exploring the issues that are unique to us.” The founders say the Institute is not designed to solve problems. What it will do, they say, is provide the facts to important questions like: Why can’t we use crown land for development? And why are our energy costs so high? “I appreciate that the Institute isn’t looking for government funding,” said Pirie. “No grants, contribution or other funding applications will ever be made to any government. We can’t be afraid to speak the truth. We can’t commission research to fit a pre-existing assumption or narrative. But what we can do, is take up the future in our own hands and build for ourselves.” Pirie says the institute will receive no tax dollars from Timmins, nor will it solicit funds from any town in the region. “Tony said it clearly: we want this organization to survive our tenure. Our success will be measured by the economic activity it stimulates here in Timmins and the entire economic region.” Pirie told the 40 people who socially-distance-gathered for the event at Cedar Meadows that they would be called upon to volunteer, or provide input to help tackle the hard questions and research needed to stake the region’s claim on the global stage. “I urge you, when called upon, to take the time to consider being part of this important journey. This will only work if we all work together,” he said.
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Learning Hydraulics On a Tablet Carl Dyke, info@LunchBoxSessions.com LunchBox Sessions is a completely new e-Learning platform that works equally well for self-directed learning, or supporting a dynamic, instructor-led classroom session. With deep roots in hands-on, on-site technician training, CD Industrial has challenged the very notion of what computer-based training can accomplish. LunchBox Sessions has created training that looks like nothing else in the industrial world. Rather than sitting back and struggling to stay awake, users control the pace of their learning. Hydraulic systems come alive, with the learner at the machinery controls. Valves shift, flow paths light up, cylinders move and motors spin. Learners practice real-world skills such as valve adjustment in the safety of a virtual environment, and gain confidence through safe and correct repetition. LunchBox Sessions allows students to move at their own pace, and encourages them to explore freely and even experiment wildly. The rich library of lessons, simulations, videos, puzzles, quizzes, and their signature Live Schematics lends itself equally well to self-taught progression or instructor-led classroom use. Most lessons are short enough to be completed in one sitting, so they are easily incorporated into a daily or weekly training program. Quizzes with randomized question selection and answer ordering can be taken as many times as desired. This reflects a far more realistic attitude towards training; students learn continuously, in digestible chunks, according to their need. Learning institutions are moving away from training that follows the rigid lecture models in traditional schooling and education. Instead, flexible, mastery-based learning helps students make real progress in knowledge and skill.
No special hardware or software is needed. Lunchbox Sessions runs on standard browsers and loads quickly on mobile devices including tablets. For corporate clients that need LMS integration, custom data transfer solutions are offered. LunchBoxSessions.com is also a design and hosting service for companies that wish to have technical learning content and Live Schematics built for their specific machines, systems and objectives. These materials are accessed in a private space together with all of the standard content. Online learning has additional features that the classroom alone can’t match. Since LunchBox Sessions is always available, it lends itself extremely well to “justin-time” training. For the solo night shift technician with complex diagnostic work to be done at 3:00 am, or for the team member in a different time zone who needs to work and train independently, this library of powerful animations and learning tools is ready to train whenever and wherever you are. Check it out for yourself, and try out the free content. www.lunchboxsessions.com
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HARTE GOLD Harte Gold gets a sweet $24.8 million injection at Sugar Zone from New Gold By Kevin Vincent
New Gold Inc. agrees to make a strategic investment in Harte Gold. The private placement subscription of 154,940,153 common shares of the company was at a price of $0.16 per share. The news meant Harte Gold was raising approximately $24.8 million and provides New Gold with a 14.9% interest in Harte. It’s great news for Harte – they plan to use the funds to accelerate mine development and a portion of the money will be used to pay part of a $50 million loan instrument with BNP Paribas. The company is also pleased to announce that it has received a non-binding indicative proposal from BNP Paribas (“BNP”) to re-schedule approximately $50 million of the scheduled amortization payments under the Company’s senior debt facility with BNP (the “Debt Refinancing Proposal”), which would provide Harte Gold with significantly more financial flexibility over the next two years. The Company anticipates the closing of the Strategic Investment to occur on or about March 24, 2021 and to negotiate documentation with BNP in early Q2 2021. “We are pleased to welcome New Gold as a strategic investor,” said Frazer Bourchier, President and CEO of Harte Gold. “New Gold’s investment represents more than just a significant financing, it is an endorsement of the potential of the Sugar Zone mine and property, and a vote of confidence that Harte Gold’s operational team will continue to deliver on our impending growth strategy.” Bourchier adds that New Gold’s management
has a strong track record of growing long-term value for shareholders across other deposits analogous to the Sugar Zone mine. “We believe all Harte Gold shareholders will benefit from this mutualism and the de-risking of our growth strategy.” Highlights of the Strategic Investment include: •Validation of the Sugar Zone investment thesis by a credible strategic party. •Strengthens the shareholder registry with the introduction of New Gold. •Investment price of $0.16 per Common Share represents a premium of approximately 15% over the 20-day volume weighted average price of the common shares of the Company. •Net proceeds will be used primarily toward accelerated mine development, planned expansion and a scheduled March 31, 2021 US$3.3 million debt payment to BNP. Highlights of Debt Refinancing Proposal: •No further debt payments would be required to be made in 2021 after the scheduled March 31, 2021 payment. •A total of approximately $50 million in debt payments would be deferred in 2021 and 2022. •Strengthens Harte Gold’s liquidity and significantly reduces associated refinancing risk, allowing the Company to focus on continued growth of the operations. •The maturity of the BNP term loan would be extended from June 2024 to June 2025 and the maturity of the revolving loan would be extended from June 2022 to June 2023. Bourchier says New Gold’s investment is a catalyst to accelerating development and the future expansion of the Sugar Zone mine targeting 100,000 ounces per year by 2023. “We are excited to embark on this relationship.”
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Your online presence with
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Engage - Connect - Communicate
Virtex & MiningLifeOnline - Connections made easy Staying engaged is more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel and gatherings. We are developing a comprehensive virtual tradeshow platform for the mining industry that will give our clients the look and feel of the in-person events we produce and have been producing for the past three decades. Until then, you still need to connect, communicate, and engage with potential customers, so we have created a hybrid event platform. The hybrid event will allow exhibitors to have their own virtual booth that remains live for a whole year. But the best part is that unlike other events you will be able to update and change the content on your booth during the year. The covid pandemic has made it impossible to host our usual in person trade shows for now, however by utilizing the new hybrid platform we can make sure you are seen by a worldwide audience 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.
1. YOUR MICROSITE
2. YOUR VIRTUAL BOOTH
Think of this as your own online catalog. Every company gets a listing page on the Mining Life Online portal. This gives basic contact info for your company. The listing page can be upgraded into a full microsite which has several pages, videos, press releases, articles, photos and a photo gallery. Most important, it can provide product pages for services or products that you want to promote. These products are searchable on Google and we get several questions emailed every week from users who have found a product that they need and request more information or a price quote. It is important to provide a list of product codes or numbers that will be searchable. We recently put together a question asker and the supplier company, which resulted in a $500,000 sale. One of the ways we are steadily improving the portal’s Google ranking is by publishing daily mining news and job postings that are valuable to the community. Remember to send us any press releases or updates you want to share. Keeping your clients in tune with what your business has to offer is more important than ever in today’s constant changing climate.
Engagement starts with your Virtual Booth, an extension of your microsite. Site visitors to the CΜΕ and Cen-Can Expo can visit your virtual booth from where your connection and communication begins. Choose between two main templates with pre-built flexible options that allow you to customize the look & feel of your digital presence.
Highlighted features: Job opportunities. Companies can post & upload job opportunities, attendees can upload their resume for specific jobs or for future reference. Book an Appointment. Attendees can request an appointment prior to the event, or book a scheduled appointment during the event. Stay Connected. This feature notifies attendees when a change to the event (f.ex. jobs, promos, demos, virtual sessions, specific activities, new product launches) takes place. Swag Bag. Exhibitors can upload & share brochures, pdf’s, images and video content. Launch Pad. Showcase your new services/products and the latest news of your company, use flip book brochures, share your content to social networks. Virtual Sessions. Connect & engage with attendees over a live broadcast. The platform can host several events at the same time. Networking & Chat. Connect with company representatives, share content, connect with peers.
We offer you 3 innovative ways to reach your audience 1 Your microsite > be part of the community of 11,000 mining related businesses. 2 Your Virtual Booth > the booth presence at one of our physical events and an ongoing Virtual platform to keep you engaged with your audience. 3 Exhibit > at the Live, Virtual CME tradeshow - powered by Virtex
The new Virtex Virtual Expo platform is NOT just a “Zoom” meeting! It is not just a bunch of lectures. We created Virtex so you experience a real trade show setting virtually. Delegates can visit your booth and chat live with your representative(s) or each other. Your company can do live (or pre-recorded) lecture-style presentations at scheduled times. Users can take notes and ask questions, view your demos. Once registered, the attendee can walk the trade show floor. You can nudge them and carry a conversation with them as if you were there with them. The attendee will be able to view displays or visit the many conferences and even take in an evening social. The experience is paramount and engaging. This online tradeshow reduces the visitor’s travel costs which has been a barrier to participation for distant companies. The Virtex trade show will take place during regular business hours, making it easier for your staff to interact with visitors one-on-one. This platform will only be live around the show dates, but users will be able to see your Virtual booth mentioned above and contact you all year round.
Page 71 Visit www.mininglifeonline.net for more information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MINING READINESS STRATEGY
NWO POSITIONED TO CAPITALIZE Thunder Bay
Opportunities Partnerships Prosperity By Kevin Vincent
The best athletes in the world hone their skills almost every day. The best mining jurisdictions in the world need to stay on top of their game as well. That’s why Thunder Bay, as the largest city in northwestern Ontario has developed a Mining Readiness Strategy (MRS) that gives the region a blueprint on how to enhance existing industry readiness and attract new opportunities. The strategy is a template that other jurisdictions can use as well, according to John Mason, the Thunder Bay Economic Development Corporation’s Project Manager of Mining Services. “That’s one of things we want to do is share that this can be done anywhere in any jurisdiction. They can roll this up and do a terms-
of-reference. Mine presidents, procurement managers, and HR managers can be connected to the key questions to dive deep and pull out information that’s going to give us a great product going forward.” “I just talked to Manitoba about this, their committee on mineral exploration and development. There were thoughts of Northern Manitoba doing a similar thing. I said go for it. If you need any advice, let me know, I think anybody can do this. And I think it’s a great opportunity to be strategic and capitalize on the opportunity.” In the last edition of Mining Life, there were a couple of references to Robert Friedland from Ivanhoe Mines, and a remarkable
Mason says both the northwest and the northeastern regions in Ontario face significant challenges, but even greater opportunities.
insight into the world of electric vehicles. Going forward, as the world continues to electrify, the demand for rare earth and critical elements is expanding. “And some of the language he used were the comments by geologists having the pulse on a lot of these areas, because the critical metals industry and profession is going to often provide the solutions to global needs,” said Mason. “It’s for all the public. It’s not for this small group that are consumers of mining products, the entire globe is a consumer of mining products at this point, and it’s only going to grow. That dial has been totally reset.”
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MINING READINESS STRATEGY
One of the goals of the MRS is to provide senior mine management the tools and ammunition they need at their fingertips. “We want to make sure we connect with procurement managers, for example. On advanced exploration projects, we talked to the mine presidents or VP’s and boil that down because we want to handle supply and services on the exploration side and on the mining side. Thunder Bay’s got about 400 service and supply companies now. That’s one of my action items is redoing our mining directory.” Mason says he has come to appreciate that the gold standard for mining directories is Mining Life Online’s website www.mininglifeonline.net. “We’re not as deep as what you guys put out, but this is going to be a much lighter footprint on that. We want to grow those 400 companies.” As more and more companies move into Ontario mining regions like Thunder Bay and Red Lake, they are discovering that they can source supplies and services locally – the expertise is there – it’s homegrown.
“One of the refreshing surprises was one of the local mines told us in a nutshell, about 70% of their buying is local - meaning in Thunder Bay and/or Northwestern Ontario. It kind of surprised me because they do have a blend of global buying, not a surprise. Barrick and Newmont have had it in place for probably 10 years plus. But I think we’ve learned lessons from that in terms of the response and quickness of service companies being able to engage and have the logistics happen almost at the snap of a finger and get the service and supply they need.” The MRS study also identified some of the gaps on the supply chain of the northwest. “A good example would be mine contractors. We have Manroc, and we now have Barminco at Barrick. But we don’t have a Thunder Bay-based mine developer who do great engineering. Things like logistics or transportation and the movement of goods, we can still
The Mining Readiness Strategy delves into hot-button topics as well, including energy. For decades, Ontario’s mining sector has struggled with both the availability and pricing of hydro-electricity.
improve that, it’s very good now, but it could be a lot better. That was identified.” Mason says there are multiple areas that present incredible opportunities. “Ground support materials, reinforcing steel for underground wiring bolts, etc. That’s one of the pieces. We do pretty well on the catering, mine support, and health and safety procurement under COVID, food provision and all that. But in that area of catering accommodation, that can also be beefed up.” Another area of opportunity identified in the MRS is equipment parts. “It’s a tough world where people don’t have warehousing support, it’s a global thing. Time of delivery these days is often what people look at. It’s important and imperative that critical parts, whether it be pumps, generators, or other things that are required, that could fail immediately. And many times the mines would have one or two on hand, but they may need something driven up overnight.”
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MINING READINESS STRATEGY
POWER ESSENTIAL TO ECONOMIC UPSWING
Mason says it could be a quarter million to half a million-dollar part. “It’s got to go. And that has to be improved slightly, I would suggest, going forward.” “The current load, not a surprise, like Northeastern Ontario and many spots, Timmins, Sudbury included, the largest industrial user is the mining industry. 190 megawatts would be the load on the six mines in the Northwest, and that’s not even counting PureGold until as they get into commercial production.” The demand for power in the northwest is expected to grow by 180%. “It’s a huge concern in places like Red Lake and the Greenstone-Marathon planning area, just to get those electrons in.” Mason says he has been asked by the mayor whether the new Wataynikaneyap Power project and the East-West Tie is going to solve all the problems. “I said no, it’s not approved yet, even though they have to go through a bunch of rules.” “That’s going to be great at the end of the day to create the spine
or backbone for moving electrons in the northwest, but it doesn’t get the electrons into the mining districts like Red Lake. So you need a brand new 230 kV line, I’ve told Minister (Greg) Rickford that and Hydro One repeatedly. The numbers speak, and they’re only becoming more astronomical.” Mason points out that there’s only a few megawatts of surplus power now in Red Lake. With the region’s economy on a huge upswing, power is essential. With the Minister of Energy Greg Rickford, Mason has a direct pipeline because the minister is from the region and understands the challenges. “It’s almost embarrassing from the standpoint you can have projects fail by not having enough electricity. And every time I saw Greg Rickford, when I worked for the province, I’d have to write six briefing notes just to get to the Assistant Deputy Minister, and it would never get to the minister’s doorstep necessarily, but now I can talk directly to Greg.” In the end, the MRS has a handful of high-level messages. “Transportation, infrastructure and
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enough supply of electrical transmission, that’s all that has to be done. Industry will spend the rest of the money on development, exploration development, construction, operation and closure. They’ll spend every other red cent.” Mason says he’s told the Minister that the concerns in the study reflect up. “It’s not just the direct needs in those areas that I mentioned, some areas, even into say, Treasury Metals into Dryden or some of these other areas are going to be not quite as hamstrung, but it’s still a bit of a concern, but certainly Red Lake, Greenstone Marathon are a concern. We’re never going to know the opportunities that we missed in Ontario, because these become investment attraction tools, having basic infrastructure.” “You’re never going to know that other companies from Australia or Nevada, or the EU withdrew their interest to invest or buy a project, merge, or acquire because they found out there wasn’t basic infrastructure, including electricity, for example.” “Never mind the projects now where there’s hundreds of millions of dollars going into PEAs (Preliminary Economic Assessments) Prefeasibility Studies or final bankable feasibility studies done and there’s a concern. It is very, very concerning.” Mason says he’s aware of two projects that are stalled at the moment due to transportation access. “Transportation infrastructures are being considered for the Ring of Fire, of course. That’s the third one. But that’s coming. There’s some good news there with Martin Falls and Webequie in that northern link road.”
BRINGING MORE ELECTRICITY TO NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO Hydro One wants to support northwestern Ontario’s economic growth by building Waasigan, a new transmission line from Thunder Bay to Dryden via Atikokan. Once built, Waasigan will bring an additional 350 megawatts of electricity to the region, which will support future mining developments. We’re currently completing an environmental assessment, which includes evaluating possible routes for the new line.
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Northwestern Ontario’s Mining Guy
By Kevin Vincent
A Conversation with John Mason In March, Mining Life & Exploration News Contributing Editor Kevin Vincent sat down with John Mason, Project Manager of Mining Services at the City of Thunder Bay for an in-depth conversation about the significant jump in mining activity in the northwest. The chat included several references to the role that Mining Life is playing in keeping industry stakeholders and the public informed about an industry and a region that is largely ignored by other sectors. Kevin:
Exploration is red hot! John: It’s been quite a turnabout in less than a year. When you look at it, things were flat since mid-2011, and things like real estate, cannabis, tech and other areas where the money was going, and certainly not into the mining exploration side. But it’s another world now, you’re quite right, just remarkable what’s going on. But you guys at Mining Life are doing a great job, I follow it all the time, and keeps me educated on what’s going on outside of Northwestern Ontario as well as within the Northwest. I appreciate that, appreciate all the work you’re doing. Kevin: One of the wakeup calls, if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, is that the environmentalist and anti-mining world has suddenly come to the realization that, boy, the green economy doesn’t exist without mining and minerals. It just doesn’t. They’re realizing that as long as companies are ethical – mining is essential. That was a great conversation that happened the other day with minister Rickford and Tony Makuch from Kirkland Lake Gold where they talked about the
investor appetite in the marketplace being such that they, investors, expect these companies to have their environmental ducks in a row, they expect the bigger companies to have their diversity plans in place, and so on and so forth. You add to that, the green economy, and all of a sudden, mining and mining companies and minerals, and whether it’s critical minerals or rare earths, or precious metals, suddenly everybody’s starting to realize that we need these things. John: I did catch that conversation with Kirkland Lake Gold’s Tony Makuch, Newmont and Evolution. I thought it was very powerful. I like Tony. Some of the lessons learned on the diversity side and the aspect of ESG. I was in a session maybe two weeks ago, where the discussion was what Apple’s doing and Dell and some of these firms, where they source all of their materials where they’re from, the plastic in their phones, whatever, not just the metals, everything, because the consumer is demanding traceability of product. Consumers’ ages 15 to 30 are probably demanding, certainly, all shareholders are, so it falls right into our wheel-house. The fact of the matter is, we have electric vehicles that are working underground. We’re leading the way
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Cont’d from pg. 80
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Northwestern Ontario’s Mining Guy Battery powered mining equipment is the future
Pic.: Epiroc Scooptram EST1030
A safer and healthier underground working environment. It is a power change that changes everything.
in many parts of the world on accelerating that growth and developing the battery industry for heavy equipment in Ontario. MacLean Engineering is a good example. I caught one of their presentations yesterday. Ironically, you can have this equipment mining critical elements, mining battery elements - with batteryequipped machinery, so it’s going full circle already. And it’s not just what’s going on our highways, but we’re in aerospace and telecommunication - but let’s start with the battery world. I think the public is realizing that and you still have naive people thinking they could recycle everything and all of a sudden, magically, you have a solution. Well, the growth that’s been forecast with moratoriums on internal combustion engines, vehicle assembly by 2030, 2035, 2040, depending on what jurisdiction you’re in, if you’re in Quebec, or California or wherever, or certain parts of the EU, well, guess what, this growth is monumental at this point. Minerals have to be mined, and rightly so. I think people are understanding that now. This isn’t a dirty 150-year old industry where it’s dirt under the fingernails, and it’s the coal mines of London, or England. This is really bringing the modern economy right to your doorstep. Kevin: We do a really bad job of finding ways to really articulate the impact of mining and the value of mining and the jobs and the incredible pay, the salaries that people make, and so on and so forth. I don’t think
that’s the fault of any government that is resistant to putting it into their education curriculum. I think that’s the fault of the industry and not pointing fingers at the Mining Association of Canada, because they did that really cool series of graphics about a year ago. A cell phone, how many mineral elements are in a cellphone? And how many are in a car? How many things that had to be mined are in Parliament Hill, the actual building. Where is that in the school system to prevent teachers from doing the chocolate chip cookie thing with a spoon? It’s not there. Somebody has to grab someone by the ears and go, you got to fix this. You have to. John: Now’s the time because not only, as we talked about, the demand for metals and the quality-of-life piece of just dealing with a modern society what’s required around the globe, but also from the standpoint of recovery out of COVID. The fact is, this is one of the few industries that is doing well. Recession is good for precious metals. Okay, that’s fine, safe harbor. But for a variety of other reasons, including rebuilt infrastructure, I mean, steel prices, base metals, copper over $4, like things that are before us now, because of a variety of needs. We should showcase that and illustrate we’re going to be contributing to this recovery. We’re going to be one of the stronger contributors to GDP taxation. You name it going forward. That’s the other part of this story.
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Australia-based Evolution acquired their first asset in Canada on April first of last year, the Red Lake Mine. Jake Klein was appointed as Executive Chairman in 2011, following the merger of Conquest Mining Limited and Catalpa Resources Limited. Previously, he served as the Executive Chairman of Conquest Mining.
Excited about future of Red Lake By Kevin Vincent
“Our experience to date has been great. Evolution is a small company formed about 10 years ago. We want to be the premier mid-tier gold company in the world. We have no aspirations to become a major.” Klein says the best shareholder returns are earned in the mid-tier space. “We have assets in Australia and Canada. We are very focused on trying to be exclusive to tier one jurisdictions. And we certainly picked Canada as a tier one jurisdiction where the rule of law can be relied on, transparency, skills, and workforce.” Klein says Evolution’s strategy is largely predicated on three cornerstones. “The one is that the mid-tier space, 6-8 assets, largely driven around the fact that it gives, in our view, the best opportunity for shareholder returns, dividends and capital growth. It also gives us an opportunity to have a culture, which we really treasure at Evolution around inclusiveness, one free of prejudice and a family type culture, one where people really know each other.” The feedback from employees around staying small is favourable. “We heard that it’s a highlight of their career working at Evolution. Then the community is such an important aspect. “We see indigenous relations as an absolute priority from Evolution’s perspective as well.” Klein says Canada and Ontario have attributes that mining companies should be looking for. “It has a great rule of law, transparency of that law, it has great skills in the mining sector, and it has great geology. If you combine all of those things, it became clear to us in 2017 as we were looking for an expansion out of Australia, Canada should be an area that we started to focus on.” Evolution started to look at a number of properties in Canada. “In 2019, Newmont acquired Goldcorp, and Red Lake was a mine that they decided didn’t fit their
strategic objectives. It was the right decision by Newmont. It was a mine they knew would be better in the hands of a smaller company. It was undercapitalized, under-invested in, and needed a lot of reform.” Evolution did their due diligence. The results proved encouraging. “Our geologists came back from the site visit and I have to say, they don’t smile a lot, but they were grinning from ear to ear. They were beyond excited about the geological prospectivity and that’s what really got us excited about the Red Lake opportunity.” “Red Lake has got all the hardware – it’s the culture and software that we believe needs to change. We made a number of changes on the hardware front, decommissioning 56 of the 140 pieces of equipment that were underground; decommissioning two of the five shafts that were operating, and automating two shafts.” Red Lake was discovered in the early 1900s and has had continuous mining from the 1940s and is one of the great gold districts of the world. “To be able to secure a piece of Red Lake has been a phenomenal outcome for Evolution.” Klein says the Red Lake property has exceeded the company’s expectations in every respect. “It’s a mine that we believe could be restored to one of Canada’s premier gold mines again. We have a long-term ambition of 300,000-500,000 ounces of low-cost production. We’re on our way in the stage one transformation, which we think will take up to 3 years to get to 200,000 ounces of production at less than 1,000 USD all in sustaining costs.” Klein adds that the most standout aspect for Evolution beyond the geology and the opportunity has been the way the company has been embraced by the people on site, the town of Red Lake and Balmertown. “it’s just been phenomenal being welcomed into a new country. It’s a new area, it’s a new province, the way we have been accepted. That’s what’s got us really excited.”
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Battle North Gold a new Evolution
One of northwestern Ontario’s most storied gold mines, Red Lake’s Battle North Gold property (pictured here), is now part of Australia’s Evolution Mining Limited suite of properties.
Battle North and Evolution transaction reduces development and execution risk By Kevin Vincent
The two companies announced the takeover in mid-March and the deal is expected to close in mid-May when Battle North’s board is expected to approve the $343 million (CDN) transaction. “The all-cash offer is at a significant premium to market and reflects the extraordinary efforts of the Battle North team to create value at the Bateman Gold Project and ultimately deliver an outstanding outcome for Battle North’s shareholders,” said George Ogilvie, Battle North’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director. “We believe that there are unique and undeniable merits to combining the Red Lake assets of Battle North and Evolution and this transaction reduces development and execution risk. Evolution is a highly regarded mining company with a demonstrated ability to successfully operate internationally. The Battle North team looks forward to
working with Evolution to close the transaction and smoothly transition operations to the new team.” The deal marks another chapter for the Red Lake operation. In 2020, the company changed its name from Rubicon Minerals to Battle North Gold. They also changed the name of the gold property from Phoenix to Bateman following a disappointing halt to production back in 2015. In the summer of 2015, the Phoenix mine project was rushed into production without fully executed engineering work to what was clearly a ‘geologically challenging’ environment. Shareholders of Rubicon at the time were stunned when the company revealed in January of 2016 that gold estimates had dropped from 3.3 million ounces to an estimated 413,000 ounces. The company had already constructed a headframe and hoist along with on-site administration
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buildings when they were forced to halt underground development work and more than 300 miners and contractors were laid off. The management team was removed and former Kirkland Lake Gold CEO, George Ogilvie was brought in to restore investor confidence and right the ship. Less than one year later, enter Evolution Mining. The two companies announced March 14, 2021 that they have entered into a definitive arrangement agreement in which Evolution has agreed to acquire, for cash, all of the issued and outstanding shares of Battle North at a price of C$2.65 per common share. The takeover offer represents a 46% premium over the closing price of the Battle North common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange on March 12, 2021 and a 54% premium based on the volume-weighted average price of the Battle North common shares over the previous
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Battle North Gold a new Evolution
Evolution expands footprint in the region with the consolidation of the well progressed Bateman Gold Project
20 trading days. “Both Evolution and Battle North started the negotiation with a clear alignment that a consolidation of the properties would create value that would not be available if they were developed and operated separately,” Jake Klein, Evolution’s Executive Chairman said. “George and his team have done a very good job at progressing the Bateman Gold Project to this point and recognise that this is an ideal window to consolidate the properties ahead of the construction of the Bateman Mine which is now in its early stages.” The acquisition provides Evolution with an opportunity to expand their footprint in the region and create value by leveraging the infrastructure of the two operations. “The additional processing capacity from the new Bateman mill will also accelerate our ability to achieve our objective of producing in excess of
300,000 ounces of gold per annum from Red Lake,” added Klein. “In the 12 months that we have been operating at Red Lake we have demonstrated that we are a committed steward of the region. This expansion of our footprint will provide us with an opportunity to build on our track record as a safe and sustainable operator for the long-term benefit of a broad range of stakeholders including the local workforce, regional communities and our Wabauskang and Lac Seul First Nation Partners.” All directors and officers of Battle North (representing approximately 0.60% of the currently outstanding Battle North common shares) have entered into voting support agreements with Evolution to vote their shares in favour of the transaction. The transaction has the full endorsement of Evolution’s Board of Directors and will be funded from Evolution’s current cash balance
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and available credit facilities. No vote will be required by Evolution shareholders. Subject to statutory conditions being met, the transaction is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2021. The Bateman Gold project includes a 28,000 hectare land package, an 1800 ton per day mill, a feasibility study, and a mine life of approximately 8 years with annual production of 74,000 ounces and all-in sustaining costs of US$865/oz. Evolution Mining is a leading, growth-focused Australian gold miner. Evolution operates five wholly-owned mines – Cowal in New South Wales, Mt Carlton and Mt Rawdon in Queensland, Mungari in Western Australia, and Red Lake in Ontario. In addition, Evolution holds an economic interest in the Ernest Henry copper gold mine in Queensland.
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Greenstone Gold Mines
Greenstone Gold nears construction announcement Northwestern Ontario’s next big gold mine is inching closer to critical milestones. The Hardrock Project in the Beardmore-Geraldton area is considered to be both a self-contained operation and in the eyes of Ontario Energy and Mines Minister Greg Rickford, the gateway to the Ring of Fire. Greenstone Gold Mines (GGM) is continuing the process of developing and de-risking Hardrock to move the project toward a construction decision. Once a decision is made, the Hardrock Project will be constructed over a 2-3 year period and will include a 27,000 tonnes per day processing plant, a 65MW Power Plant, tailings management facilities and supporting infrastructure. The mine is expected to produce 4.2 million ounces of gold over a 15-year life of mine. In preparation for the planned construction phase, GGM is inviting supplier and contractors who are interested in being considered to provide goods and services to complete an “Expression of Interest (EOI)” questionnaire on their website. Greenstone Gold Mines is a 50/50 partnership between Orion Mine Finance and Premier Gold Mines Limited. The joint ownership includes the Kenogamisis, Brookbank and Viper Properties. Located in the Geraldton-Beardmore Greenstone Belt, the properties are made up of several claim groups having a cumulative strike length of more than 105 kilometres along the district’s most prospective geological structures. The properties have excellent access to infrastructure, including the Trans-Canada Highway (Can-
ada’s national highway) and TC Energy’s natural gas pipeline, which extends along its length. Greenstone Gold Mines’ objective is to become a gold producer, focused on the environment and social responsibility. In mid-December, Premier Gold and Equinox Gold jointly made an announcement regarding the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Premier. On December 15, 2020 Premier Gold Ltd. and Centerra Gold Inc. announced that an affiliate of the Orion Mine Finance Group entered into an agreement with Centerra and Premier for Orion to acquire Centerra’s 50% interest in the GGM Ownership Partnership. The acquisition was completed on January 19, 2021 and at the same time the claim related to the Partners dispute was dismissed. GGM’s exploration team was actively drilling in the Geraldton area through most of the fourth quarter. Moving into 2021, GGM is busy with early work activities such as tree clearing.
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One of Northern Ontario’s most long-standing industrial manufacturers has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to innovate and bring new solutions to Canadian industry.
New Innovations in RFID Tracking for Mining Equipment Hit the Market At a time when diverse industries are experiencing an accelerated pace of digital adoption, Thunder Bay Hydraulics is pursuing new digital innovations for the industrial manufacturing world.
Thunder Bay Hydraulics in partnership with Titan Worldwide, has developed the RFID Tracking System at its operations in Thunder Bay with plans to expand the program at various mining operations across Canada in 2021. An industry disruptor that imbeds UHF chips into both manufactured and repaired products for digital part identification, history analysis and replacement orders. The mining industry has witnessed significant developments in RFID tracking over the past decade but the majority of systems have been limited to personnel and large asset tracking. For example, many international mining companies have implemented RFID tracking systems as a safety application to help monitor the whereabouts of underground miners at work. The 2006 MINER Act called for electronic tracking specifically for coal mines but the technology has been adopted across many other mining environments. The application at the Stobie Mine was a notable case which saw RFID used for tracking ore samples as they travelled underground through the crusher and into processing. Newmont Mining uses a custom RFID system to track specific mining vehicles as well as miners working onsite. This is a world-class example of technology supporting improved operations and safety practices. New technology has made RFID chips increasingly smaller, more robust and cheaper, creating expan-
sion and growth across healthcare, automated manufacturing facilities, warehousing and retail sectors. RFID tracking systems are a widely used in larger commercial and retail operations for theft prevention and automated checkout systems. When we look around the world at diverse industries and sectors, it’s easy to see the valuable contributions of RFID tracking systems. One of the more exciting trends has been the use of RFID chips in tracking components on mining equipment. Often times, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of individual components on any piece of mobile mining equipment. From a small CME exploration drill rig, or a Komatsu Jumbo Drill, to a Dyna Bolter - the list of individual and unique components never seems to end. This is where RFID can be a real game changer. In the age of digital data tracking and management, a piece of mobile equipment can be difficult to track within a mine’s asset list but even more tough to track in terms of the equipment’s extensive list of parts, sub-components and serial numbers. The question then becomes how can a mine and its partners in equipment repair effectively track a piece of equipment and its subcomponents? What’s the most efficient way to track repairs on pumps and cylinders? Is there a simpler way to track wear parts to ensure accountability to the mine, reduce downtime and ensure maintenance schedules are met?
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The RFID Tracking System has been designed with the answers to these questions in mind. This state-of-theart system works for both equipment or part identification, and for a mine’s vendors to improve transparency and accountability when conducting equipment repairs. The software side of the system produces trackable repair and inspection reports for each sub-component, which can be exported for maintenance records and ongoing monitoring. The RFID Tracking System can be implemented on a wide variety of equipment, parts and components including hydraulic cylinders, pneumatic cylinders, actuators, hydraulic pumps, grease pumps, air motors, and many other pieces of mining equipment. The small RFID chip is permanently imbedded into the piece of equipment for easy scanning using a UHF reader or a smartphone with a free downloadable RFID scanner. The component with an RFID chip can be scanned and identified much easier than any manual or scanning through an online forum. This unique RFID code not only identifies the part but also identifies that particular component, its repair history and a list of easily purchasable wear parts. It also identifies vendors where the component was purchased as well as options for replacement and repairs. For any questions about the RFID Tracking System, please contact Jamie Crozier at: email@example.com www.thunderbayhydraulics.com
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Unmanned Aerial Services
Northern Ontario’s industry leader in cost-effective, highquality drone services with limitless possibilities. For nearly a decade they have been one of the most popular items in the tech-toy landscape. Kids get them for Christmas, while the older amateur filmmaker generation buy them to shoot unique and potentially compelling aerial video with a Go-Pro camer abilities. But now the industrial evolution enters the picture and at the forefront is the mining industry specifically that are using high-end models as serious workplace equipment. Complementing current standard operating procedures, creating new ways to effectively operate while introducing a new level of safety removing the person from the process. By Kevin Vincent
The growing popularity of drone technology is understandably spawning a number of start-up companies that are trying to carve out a niche in the market. However, after 4 years of successful operation underground any newcomers will have a long road ahead if they want to catch up to Unmanned Aerial Services Inc. (UAS) of Sudbury; Northern Ontario’s industry leader in cost-effective, high-quality drone services with limitless possibilities. Sudbury born and raised, UAS President Matt Mackinnon says he is proud to lead a homegrown company that has expanded internationally and provides drone-technology services around the world. “Truth is, if I weren’t born and raised here in Sudbury, I probably would never have thought of getting drones underground. The majority of our work is based within Canada at the moment in providing drone based CMS scans within stopes, ore passes, vent raises, etc.. But before the global pandemic, there was a big chunk of work executed internationally as well. We’ve been out to Africa, Greenland, New Caledonia, all over the United States, and Europe.” UAS Inc specializes in Remote Visual Inspections and GPS Denied Laser Scanning for a variety of heavy industries but focuses primarily on the mining sector and plans on continuing to expand with other offices being opened in other mining centers. In the United States the UAS LLP office (located in Butte Montana) has been busy applying the Hovermap and Elios technologies primarily to access old underground mine working that investors are exploring to reopen. “Our techs down in Montana have been mapping entire mines lately. There’s a lot of old workings down in the US there that they’re trying to get back into and there’s a big push down there because of the National Security side of things in the States and investing into securing their own resources.” ”We’re seeing a lot of new smaller junior mining companies trying to get into these old opPage 92
erations, but because of the age of a lot of these old workings the new owners typically don’t have any prints or drawings and there is a lot of unanswered questions,” says Mackinnon. “We come in, and we essentially map every square inch of the working that are accessible, and then reference the captured scans into their new mine grid and tie everything back to their new survey control helping them to plan future drilling programs, etc.” Mackinnon says he has a staff of 9 in Sudbury and 3 at their Butte, Montana office. The company has several impressive videos on their website and LinkedIn page that illustrate the safety and unbelievable detail (detail of incredible value to the mines) that is captured by the team from Unmanned Aerial Services Inc. when they are in the field. “Deploying our drones is significantly safer, cost effective, and easier of a process to get into these areas, especially when you’re talking about vertical asset inspections by removing the need to shut down an area to set up scaffolding or bring in a manlift to access something that a drone can access in mere seconds without shutting down the area surrounding the inspection site. What would normally take anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 worth of scaffolding and potentially weeks of planning to access, we can do in one fiveminute flight. The cost savings are massive.” Mackinnon says his crews are on site because they’re able to get through tasks quickly and efficiently. Typically they get asked to inspect multiple other locations because the clients are that impressed with just how simple the process can be compared to traditional methodology. The UAS business model is threefold. “It can be as simple as a client purchasing or leasing the system
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through UAS Inc and doing everything internally where the client has their own pilot(s). The mines can free themselves of any liability in the sense of maintenance and training with the advantage to keeping the system up-to-date” UAS also provides all of the post-sale or in-leasing support, as well as the additional supplemental training for all of its clients that goes far and beyond what even the manufacturer can provide. Another service offered is to provide trained pilots. “A client can purchase a Hovermap or Elios system and we then provide them with a trained and experienced pilot from any of our locations to simply execute their missions. “The last offering is a service-based model that we have been performing for the past 4 years. When a client has a specific problem, they reach out and we go to the site to meet with all involved, develope a mission plan and customize a solution with our equipment and technicians. UAS also has the ability to customize and modify equipment for specific tasks. “There are a lot of different-sized grizzly openings out there that all pose their own challenges. We offer custom solutions for different sites and operations, depending on the client’s specific needs and request for an end product.” Mackinnon says the timing for UAS to be
born was perfect as mining initiatives strive to embrace, challenge and accept digital technology solutions. “There’s was an acknowledgement that mining needed to introduce new technology. Oil & gas and most other resource sectors are so much further ahead of mining at integrating new technology of drone and robotics. Mining historically has been very risk adverse in the sense of adoption of technology. A colleague that I know framed it best when he said mining are the fastest followers and they’re the slowest to adopt, but when everybody else is proven out - they will throw the farm at it to integrate.” Mackinnon says he sees, that the digital transformation movement has been transformative because barriers have been knocked down and the apprehension and tentativeness of introducing new technology, is starting to become a mandate from the corporate level. “We have been extremely fortunate to have been able to have a front row seat in riding this new tech wave and being able to help further the adoption of drones underground. When first incorporated in 2017 the technology just wasn’t quite developed yet but the idea of what it needed to do was on the right path. UAS happened to start at the right time… I guess it was meant to be.” Page 93
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By Frank Giorno
A region steeped in natural resources including active gold mines contributes greatly to Ontario’s ranking as the largest Canadian producer of gold, platinum group metals, nickel and second largest producer of copper. Although gold and palladium have ranked as one and two in mining production in Northwestern Ontario, great strides are being made by exploration projects for green minerals.
Gold Exploration First Mining GoldSpringpole Lake Deposit
First Mining is a Canadian gold developer focused on the development and permitting of the Springpole Gold Project in northwestern Ontario. Springpole is one of the largest undeveloped gold projects in Canada. The results of a positive Pre-Feasibility Study for the Springpole Gold Project were announced by First Mining in January 2021, and permitting activities are on-going with submission of an Environmental Impact Statement for the project targeted for 2021.
Great Bear ResourcesDixie Lake Prospects
Great Bear Resources Ltd. is a wellfinanced gold exploration company focused on the prolific Red Lake gold district. The company controls over 330 km2 across 5 projects with Dixie Project,100% owned) the company flagship. In late March, Great Bear reported the latest results from its fully funded $45 million 2021 exploration program the Dixie Project. The company completed seven new drill holes, four of which are located within a 200 metre long previously undrilled segment of the zone. New high-grade gold mineralization was encountered in addition to the expected bulk tonnage intervals and they will undertake additional drilling in this area over the coming months.
New Gold Inc.-Intrepid Deposit
Production from the Intrepid Zone is expected to begin in late 2022. Late in the quarter, a drilling program was launched on the North East Trend, located approximately 18 kilometres northeast of the Rainy River Mine. A total of 1,298 metres of the 8,000 metres were completed by the end of the year. The drilling program continues to test the previously identified high priority targets.
At the end of the fourth quarter, development of the decline towards the Intrepid underground ore zone had advanced 590 metres, exceeding the planned 550 metres for the year. The operation has accessed the first ore level by the middle of the first quarter. The focus in 2021 will be on the refinement of the long-hole mining methodology and block model.
Economic Assessment that have potential to add further resources for future studies and potential reserves. The results from the preliminary economic assessment demonstrates the potential to develop a low-cost 5,000 tonnes per day (“tpd”) combined open pit and underground mining operation.
Pure Gold- Madsen Deposit
AvalonSeparation Rapids Deposit
Pure Gold, Madsen Deposit, in the Red Lake Gold Mining District achieved its first gold pour in December 2020 and moving towards full commissioning and ramp-up activities. Since Pure Gold’s first pour, the company now employs approximately 260 persons at the mine site. Performance to date has met or exceeded expectations with respect to underground development and ore production rates, milling performance and gold recovery. Gold pours and shipments have continued regularly throughout the ramp-up period. The Pure Gold Mine has a 2.1-millionounce Indicated Resource (7.2Mt at 8.9 g/t gold) and a 0.5-million-ounce Inferred Resource (1.9Mt at 7.7g/t gold). Mineral resources are inclusive of Probable Mineral Reserves of 1 million ounces of gold grading 9g/t (in 3.5 million tonnes.
Treasury MetalsGoliath and Goldlund Deposits
Treasury Metals recently announced completion of the first phase of drilling at the Goldlund Project within the greater Goliath Gold Complex. The drilling consisted of approximately 6,000 m. The GGC is located in Northwestern Ontario near Dryden. The drilling is the first part of an overall exploration campaign that aims to target specific areas identified within its recently released Preliminary
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Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development company specializing in sustainably-produced materials for clean technology. Avalon is currently focusing on developing its Separation Rapids Lithium Project near Kenora, Ontario. Avalon also signed an agreement with Rock Tech another lithium exploration company in the Thunder Bay area to jointly build a lithium battery materials process facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The facility would be designed to accept lithium mineral concentrates from Avalon’s Separation Rapids lithium project and Rock Tech’s Georgia Lake lithium project, as well as potentially other emerging new lithium mining operations in northern Ontario. The plan is to produce lithium sulphate, a precursor chemical for lithium-ion batteries.
Rock Tech- Ardiden JV Georgia Lake and Seymour Lake Deposits
Rock Teck brands itself as building the bridge from resource-rich Canada to process-focused Europe. The company is building its own chemical plant in Germany, becoming a fully-integrated producer of battery-grade Lithium Hydroxide, the only one outside of China. Rock Teck is positioning itself to be a strategic partner for the electric vehicle and battery storage industries in Europe.
NWO Rock Tech Lithium owns spodumenebearing pegmatites in the Georgia Lake area, located less than 200 kilometers northeast of the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The lithium bearing deposits form an integral part of the integrated converter strategy planned by the company. The company plans to be operational by 2023.
Frontier LithiumPAK and Spark Deposit
Frontier Lithium announce a Phase IX diamond drill program on the PAK Lithium Project, located in the Red Lake area of northwestern Ontario. The 3,000-metre diamond drill program is based on recommendations from the company’s Pre-Economic Assessment (PEA) report that is being completed currently. The 15-hole drill program will upgrade the 12.2 MT of Inferred Resource on the Spark Deposit to Indicated and Measured categories and to investigate potential expansion. The PAK Lithium Project contains Ontario’s highest grade and largest lithium resource which is located in an emerging worldleading lithium mineral district referred to as the “Electric Avenue”. The drilling started in early February 2021 and will run until spring break up recommencing in May 2021.
Palladium Clean Air MetalsThunder Bay North Deposit
Clean Air Metals’ flagship asset is the Thunder Bay North Project, a platinum, palladium, copper, nickel project located near the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario and the Lac des Iles Mine owned by Impala Platinum Holdings. The company plans to complete its Preliminary Economic Assessment by June 2021 (“PEA”) on the Current Lake Deposit. The PEA will be based on the recent mineral resource numbers and on bench-test scale metallurgical test work. The company also announced a 40,000m diamond drill program at the Thunder Bay North Project and has recommenced drilling at its Escape Lake Deposit. The drilling program is focused
on systematic step-outs to add to the Indicated mineral resource of 4,286,220 tonnes grading 3.67 g/t PdEq (6.16 g/t PtEq).
Generation MiningMarathon PGM Deposit It has been an active 2021 so far for
Generation Mining as it ushers its Marathon Palladium deposit. First, Generation Mining announced the filing of the National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report for the Feasibility Study on the Marathon Palladium-Copper Project. The feasibility study found the climate is outstanding for developing the Marathon Palladium-Copper project. The Robust economics mean: Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) (after-tax) of 29.7% and a Net Present Value (“NPV”) (6%) of $1.07 billion based on a long-term price of US$1,725/oz for palladium and US$3.20/lb for copper. The study using spot metal prices indicated an investment rate of return of 47%, NPV 6% of $2.02 billion and payback of 1.5 years based on spot prices of US$2,395/oz for palladium and US$3.99/lb for copper. In February, Generation Mining announced it was beginning an 8,000 Metre Drill Program at Marathon.
The Ring of Fire: Nickel-Copper-Chromite Noront ResourcesEagles Nest/Blackbird depositsnickel-copper-chromite
The first projects to come to fruition in Northwestern Ontario’s vast mining area dubbed the Ring of Fire will be the Eagles Nest nickel deposit followed shortly after by the Black Bird Chromite Deposit. Environmental assessments begun in 2020 on a proposed two-lane gravel road that begins by upgrading a forestry road near Nakina, Ontario and travels north for hundreds of kilometres reaching a supply route into the exploration camps. The planning and construction are being managed by Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations, and the Ontario government. Noront Resources anticipates the EAs being completed by 2023, followed by
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permitting and two years of road construction leading toward a 2025 completion, the year Noront has scheduled for its Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper and platinum group site to come into commercial production.
Zinc Superior Lake ResourcesWinston Lake Deposit
The Superior Lake Zinc Project is located approximately 200km’s east of Thunder Bay. The Project covers 175km2 and consists of two deposits – Winston Lake and Pick Lake. The Project is a high-grade zinc deposit. Superior Lake Resources is the Australian-based mining company that owns the project. It has recently completed a bankable feasibility study. The project consists of two deposits – the large Pick Lake and smaller Winston Lake. Both locations are brownfield sites. The Winston Lake mine and 1,000-t/d mill was operated from the late 1980s to the late 1990s by Inmet Mining. The mill as processed ore from Pick Lake beginning in 1995. Historical zinc concentrate graded 52% to 53.5% zinc, and copper concentrate contained 22% to 25% copper.
Graphite Zen Graphene- Albany Deposit
Graphene is produced from graphite. The graphite from the Albany Deposit near Kapuskasing, Ontario results in a very fine-grained graphite crystallites, that yields an ideal graphite precursor material for conversion to high-value graphene, graphene oxide and graphene quantum dots. ZEN Graphene is a next-generation nanomaterials technology company that develops graphene-based technologies that help protect people and the environment. ZEN is currently focused on commercializing a patent pending graphenebased coating with 99% biocidal activity, including against COVID-19, and the potential to use similar graphene compounds as pharmaceutical products against infectious diseases.