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table of contents
Mining North of 60
6 Alaska Mineral Industry Overview
2 Nunavut Mineral Industry Overview 1 1 6 Yukon Mineral Industry Overview 2 0 Northwest Territories Mineral Industry Overview 2 4 Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Message 2 8 What A Rush The Yukon’s Mining Industry has a Fabulous History and Vibrant Re-Birth
30 The End Of An Era After 12 Years the Colomac Mine Remediation Project has Concluded
Shining Example Diamond Activities Spurring Economic Growth in Canada’s Dynamic North
The Forecast Calls For Collaborative Approach Key to Filling Mining Industry Talent Gap
4 2 Northern Star Capstone’s Minto Mine Impresses
New Gold The Justin Gold Project Increases Yukon’s Reputation as a New Gold Development Region
Good As Gold North Country Gold Corp. Continues to Developing the Three Bluffs Project
Riding The Klondike Highway Northern Freegold Resources Find Potential Gold and Copper in the Yukon
Mounting Optimism Gold World Resources Set for Mount Anderson Gains
Diamonds, The New Gold Stornoway Diamond Corporation Expands to the North
Lab Work Metal Analysis Under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation
Spirit Of Enterprise Groupe Desgagnés Inc. is at the Heart of the Arctic’s Economy and Development
is published by DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com President & CEO David Langstaff Publisher Jason Stefanik Managing Editor Carly Peters firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Manager Dayna Oulion Advertising Account Executives Cheryl Ezinicki Mic Paterson Anthony Romeo Production services provided by: S.G. Bennett Marketing Services www.sgbennett.com Art Director Kathy Cable
Can Our Future Help To Protect Our Past? Using the Knowledge and History of Both Nunavut and Areva to Design the Proposed Kiggavik Project
Layout & Design Dana Jensen
Advertising Art Reanne Dawson Julie Weaver
Been Everywhere The Nuna Group of Companies Plays a Large Role in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Northern Success Mercer Contracting Makes Their Mark on the Mining Industry
Got You Covered Brite Building Solutions by Britespan Building Systems
Joint Rewards Millrock Resources Inc. has Found Success in Alaska through a Project Generator – Joint Venture Business Model
Invention, Innovation, Improvisation Candig Inc. Wins Kudos from Clients and Industry
Serving You K&K Expediting Ltd. and Truck Rentals has Built Their Success on Personalized Client Relationships and Service
0 Site Unseen 8 Fast-Growing Exploration Company Teams with Atlas Copco to Create Stealth-Rig for Sensitive Ecologies
8 2 INDEX TO ADVERTISERS 4
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
© Copyright 2012, DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved.The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisherin no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 Email: email@example.com PRINTED IN CANADA | 11/2012
ALASKA MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Alaska Mineral Industry
Expansive mineral potential, strategic location, political stability, and favourable tax regime – Alaska has it all
By Jennifer N. Adleman and Lisa Harbo, State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Alaska’s mineral industry continues to grow in strength and size based, in part, on the great mineral potential of the state, its strategic location, and strong commodity prices. Mining and its support service industries provide thousands of high-paying jobs for Alaskans, millions of dollars in state revenue, and produce and export aggregates, base and precious metals, coal, and semiprecious stones to the world. 2011 Mining Sector by the Numbers The 2011 value of Alaska’s total mineral ore exports was $1.8 billion, up 37 per cent. Precious metals, primarily gold, were up 24.7 per cent to $266.4 million. In 2011, countries importing more than $200 million included Spain, Japan, Korea, Canada, and China. Alaska’s top precious metals markets were Switzerland and Canada. Data collection of economic indicators for 2011 is ongoing, but at present the preliminary estimated total production value of the minerals industry increased from $3.1 billion in 2010 to $3.5 billion in 2011, over a 12 percent increase. Mineral exploration expenditures are up at least 38 per
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cent from $263.8 million to $365.1 million in 2011, marking the seventh consecutive year exploration expenditures exceeded $100 million, and accounting for approximately one-third of all exploration dollars spent in the U.S. Estimated development expenditures in 2011 were approximately $271.9 million, a seven per cent decrease from the 2010 value of $293.3 million. This was the eighth consecutive year development expenditures in Alaska exceeded $200 million. Alaska has several lode producing mines. Teck Ltd.-NANA’s Red Dog Mine in northwestern Alaska is one of the world’s largest zinc mines, accounting for nearly 47 per cent of Alaska’s mineral industry value. The Red Dog Mine set a new high for throughput in 2011 producing 630,743 tonnes of zinc, 92,594 tonnes of lead, and 5,185,272 ounces of silver. Hecla Mining’s Greens Creek Mine, near Juneau, is among the top 10 largest silver mines in the world. This underground mine produced 6.5 million ounces of silver, 56,818 ounces of gold, 66,050 tonnes of zinc, and 21,055 tonnes of lead in 2011.
Sumitomo Metal Mining’s Pogo Mine, near Delta Junction, is the largest gold producer in Alaska, with 325,708 ounces of gold production in 2011. Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox Mine, near Fairbanks, produced 289,794 ounces of gold in 2011. The 2011 mill throughput was 14,884,158 tonnes, with19.4 million tonnes of ore placed on the heap leach. Coeur d’Alene Mines Inc.’s Kensington Mine, near Juneau, began gold production in June 2010. In 2011 this underground mine produced 88,420 ounces of gold from 415,340 tonnes of ore milled. Usibelli Coal Mine, near Healy, produced a record 2,220,000 tonnes of coal in 2011 for Alaskan and Pacific Rim customers. Placer gold production in 2011 from over 283 operators was more than 73,872 ounces. Fire River Gold Corporation reopened the Nixon Fork Gold Mine in 2011. Milestones Donlin Gold, LLC – commenced permitting of the Donlin Gold Project in August 2012. Alaska Native corporations, Calista and Kuskokwim own the mineral and surface rights to the project area in Western
Kensington dam. Kensington. Alaska and are partners in Donlin. The probable reserves at Donlin are estimated at 33.8 million ounces of gold. Riversdale Alaska, LLC, was the high bidder on a lease sale to the state in January 2012, for almost 10,000 acres of potentially high-quality, low-sulfur bituminous coal-bearing lands in the Matanuska Valley, near Chickaloon, Alaska. Land More than 190 million acres of federal, state, and Native lands are open for mining and mineral-related activities. The
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 allotted 40 million acres of land for division among 12 regional native corporations and 220 village corporations. The regional corporations own both the surface and subsurface or mineral rights to their lands, as well as the subsurface rights of the lands conveyed to the village and urban corporations within their region. These lands are held in fee simple and can be sold, mortgaged, or developed just like any other private land. Alaska Native Corporations are structured as modern business corporations and are unique
business institutions that present an array of opportunities for U.S. and international partnerships. State of Alaska – At the Table Geological Resources State of Alaska and federal government agencies provide access to land records, maps, publications, geologic data, libraries and archives, and payments and compliance information through AK Geology Info (http://AKGeology.info). The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Geological and Geophys-
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ical Surveys (DGGS) Airborne Geophysical/ Geological Mineral Inventory program is a multi-year investment to expand the knowledge base of Alaska’s mineral resources and catalyze private-sector mineral development. Products from surveys include aeromagnetic and airborne electromagnetic maps, geologic maps, and other geological, geochemical, and geophysical data. Free, downloadable data for newly released geophysical publications is available for several regions through a Geophysics Order Form online (http:// www.dggs.alaska.gov/pubs/geophysics). The DGGS Geologic Materials Center (GMC) provides geologic materials and related data to advance exploration and knowledge of Alaska’s natural resources. This vast collection includes 13 million feet of exploration and production drilling on federal, state, and private lands in Alaska, 252,000 linear feet of diamond-drilled hard-rock mineral core, and several other important holdings. GMC’s GoogleEarthbased inventory dataset offers 80 per cent of the archived samples, including mineral prospect locations, sample types, boxlevel details, and geologic formation-top picks (http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/gmc/ inventory.php). Strategic and Critical Minerals Comprehensive Strategy The State of Alaska and University of Alaska Fairbanks convened the Alaska Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit on September 30, 2011, to develop a strategy to unlock strategic mineral potential in Alaska. This event featured a lineup including Alaska U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, world-class geologists, and industry executives. It was touted by some as the largest gathering in the U.S. with a focus on rare earth elements. There is a follow-up summit scheduled for November 30, 2012, in Fairbanks, Alaska. Summer field results, the state’s rare earth assessment, and updates on permitting will be discussed at this venue. Infrastructure Financing The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) promotes, develops, and advances economic growth and diversification in Alaska by providing various means of financing and invest-
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Chickaloon coal outcrop.
ment. Over the last three decades AIDEA supported several Alaska mining industry infrastructure projects. AIDEA purchased the Skagway Ore Terminal in 1990. The terminal receives, stores, and ships mineral concentrates. The terminal currently leases 40,000-squarefeet of concentrate storage capacity to Capstone Mining Corp. with an additional 60,000-square-feet of concentrate storage space available for lease. The Alaska Legislature recently authorized AIDEA to issue $65 million in bonds to finance the expansion, modification, improvement, and upgrading of the terminal in collaboration with the Municipal-
ity of Skagway and Selwyn Chihong mine. This public/private partnership will serve as a model into the future. AIDEA also owns the DeLong Mountain Transportation System (DMTS), which encompasses a 50-mile road connecting the Red Dog Mine to AIDEA’s transshipment facility on the Chukchi Sea. Zazu Metals Corporation intends to develop nearby Lik deposit and use the AIDEA-owned Lik Deposit Transportation System (LDTS) and DMTS to convey concentrate offshore vessels heading to export markets. The LDTS is a 20-mile haul road connecting the Lik Deposit to the DMTS. AIDEA is conducting port site modifications including addition-
al concentrate and fuel storage, a camp extension with generation capacity, and expanded shallow water dock with modifications. In 2012, AIDEA and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ARSC) entered into a prefeasibility study agreement for the construction of an Arctic port facility to meet regional needs. This study will include potential export arrangements for ARSC’s rich coal prospects. AIDEA has an Infrastructure Division with three main components: • Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Development Fund (SETS) for critical energy infrastructure development. • Infrastructure Development for infrastructure for resource development such as industrial roads and ports. • The P3 Office to serve as a single point of contact for public agencies and the private sector, for the development of State infrastructure projects. P3 goal is to leverage public and private investment to finance infrastructure needs. Roads to Resources Initiative Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell has made unlocking the state’s resources for the benefit of all Alaskans a priority of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF). The Roads to Resources Initiative accesses natural resource deposits by providing corridors for moving fuel and supplies to communities at greatly reduced costs. Funded and ongoing mining-related projects include:
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Dome Creek placer.
Dome Creek nuggets.
• The road to Tanana with preliminary routing, permitting, and environmental work on a road to Tanana from the existing highway system with improved access to mineral deposits and remote villages, larger hub communities and road networks near Fairbanks. • The road to Ambler furthers the efforts to provide all-season access for exploration and development of natural resources in the Ambler District. • The Klondike Industrial Use Highway and other resource roads including re furbishing and strengthening the pavement and bridge structures on the Klondike Highway in anticipation of large increases in trucking traffic from Canadian mines to the Port of Skagway. Permitting DNR and the departments of Fish & Game
and Environmental Conservation initiated efficiency improvements in their permitting process. DNR reduced the backlog of land and water-use permit applications by 34 per cent in the last year. State resource agencies are also collaborating to prepare for new phases of resource development in Alaska such as renewable energy, underground coal gasification, and unconventional oil projects. Additional statutory and regulatory changes are planned for the future. The DNR’s Office of Project Management and Permitting (OPMP) coordinates the review of mining and other larger scale projects in the Alaska. A project coordinator is assigned to each project to facilitate an interagency, interdisciplinary team and foster a cooperative working relationship with the project proponent. OPMP ensures that projects are consistent with the public interest.
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Taxation The State of Alaska has one of the most favourable taxation systems in the world. The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2011/2012 (Fraser Report) was generated from a survey of approximately 5,000 mining and related companies conducted in late 2011. According to the report, Alaska ranks eighth out of 93 geopolitical jurisdictions in both tax regime and political stability and fourth in a composite of policy and mineral potential. Marketing The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development’s Division of Economic Development (DED) conducts outreach to the minerals industry at Alaskan, national, and international venues. DED meets foreign trade delegations in Alaska and produces the comprehensive information tool, the State of Alaska Mining and Minerals Portal. In conjunction with DGGS, DED produces the comprehensive and interactive Mineral Resources of Alaska map available online. Finally, in order to better understand the impediments to growth faced by the mining industry, the Alaska Legislature created the Alaska Minerals Commission, an 11 member minerals industry-based body. The commission meets each year and provides advice to the legislative and executive branches on changes in statutory, regulatory, and government practices that would make the business environment more conducive for minerals development. Reports from the commission can be found online (http://commerce.alaska.gov/ded/dev/ minerals/mine4.htm). n
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NUNAVUT Mineral industry overview
Creating a Resourceful Future
Nunavut mining highlights and industry overview Submitted by Government of Nunavut, Economic Development and Transportation, Minerals and Petroleum Resources, Iqaluit, Nunavut Meliadine from the air. Nunavut’s exploration and mining opportunities have attracted, and will continue to attract, the attention of the major global producers. The territory represents an attractive investment climate due largely to a settled land claim, and is considered to be a destination of choice for mineral explorers. Actual expenditures in Nunavut’s exploration industry for 2012 are estimated at $420 million by Natural Resources Canada and rank Nunavut consistently as fourth in Canada. Nunavut has one operating mine, with several additional properties as potential mines under consideration, and several advanced projects proceeding with development or feasibility in each of Nunavut’s three regions. These advanced properties could be mines within this decade. Six projects in Nunavut are progressing well through the regulatory and environmental assessment processes. In September, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB or the Board) completed its environmental review of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s Mary River Project Proposal and submitted its final hearing report, including recommendations, to the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for his review and decision. After a thorough review of the potential ecosystemic and socio-economic impacts of the project proposal, the board concluded that the Mary River Project may proceed. The Mary River Project Proposal involves the development of an open pit iron ore mine on northern Baffin Island, with associated infrastructure to include a tote road between Milne Inlet and a mine site at Mary River, ports at Milne Inlet and Steensby Inlet and a railway connecting the mine to the Steensby port. Iron ore will be transported from the mine site via the railway to the port at Steensby Inlet, with year-round shipping of ore through Foxe Basin
12 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
Meliadine drill core. and Hudson Strait to markets in Europe using custom designed ore carriers. Peregrine Diamonds Ltd.’s Chidliak expansive diamond property continues to discover kimberlite; at least seven of the 61 pipes found to date have economic (tonnage) potential. Cameco Corporation’s Aberdeen and Turqavik uranium deposits are returning high-grade results and this represents the first new significant uranium discovery in the Thelon Basin in decades. MMG Resources Inc. is advancing its Izok Corridor base metal deposits in western Nunavut. Sabina Gold & Silver Corporation’s Back River gold deposit, also in western Nunavut, continues to return encouraging drill results. The Meliadine gold project, Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited’s (AEM) second gold property in central Nunavut, is returning significant gold values. The company is moving forward with plans for development in the next few years. 2012 has also brought some challenges and setbacks in the mining
industry in Nunavut. Newmont, the second largest gold producer in the world, announced early in 2012 that they were placing their Hope Bay gold project (western Nunavut) on hold and “care and maintenance” as the company concentrates on other projects. AEM, the operators of the Meadowbank gold mine, also had to revise its operations plan. In February the company announced a partial write-down on the mine and a shortening of mine-life by three years (although more recent drilling results have been encouraging). Territory-Wide Exploration Exploration is ongoing in Nunavut’s three regions, the western Kitikmeot, the central Kivalliq, and (Baffin) Qikiqtaaluk, for many commodities including base metals, diamonds, gold, iron, uranium, and rare earth elements. Both junior and senior mining companies explored across the territory on approximately 100 properties. Some highlights of the work in each region are noted here. Kitikmeot Region: The activity in the Kitikmeot region is focused on base metals (zinc-copper), diamonds, and gold. Gold activities dominated in this region. Elgin Mining Ltd. explored for more gold zones within the formerly-operating Lupin mine. Elgin additionally explored on the Ulu deposit that the company acquired in 2011 from MMG. Sabina’s Back River gold project, with most activity occurring in the Goose Lake area, has returned good, consistent drilling results from expanded and new zones of mineralization. North Country Gold Corp. continued to delineate its Three Bluffs gold deposit along the 4.1 kilometre-long Walker Lake trend in the Committee Bay gold belt of the eastern Kitikmeot region. In the western Kitikmeot, MMG acquired the zinc-rich Izok Lake and High Lake base metal deposits in 2009. MMG recently submitted the project description to regulators for this Izok Corridor Project . Xstrata Zinc Canada worked its silver-rich copper-zinc project at Hackett River and the surrounding Wishbone claims. The company acquired these properties from Sabina in 2011. Shear Di-
amonds continued its re-processing of the high-grade concentrate stockpiles of the formerly-operating Jericho diamond mine. Kivalliq Region: In the Kivalliq (Hudson Bay) region, gold and uranium are the main exploration commodities. AEM owns the Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake and the Meliadine gold project near Rankin Inlet. Early in 2012, AEM announced a write-down on the mine and shortened the mine-life with the anticipated closure now scheduled for 2017. However, recent processing results have been encouraging with a record quarterly production of 98,403 troy ounces. AEM’s Meliadine advanced exploration gold property is returning significant drilling results from an 115,000-metre, $30 million exploration program this year. These results suggest further resource and reserve growth for the deposits. AEM additionally converted resources to reserves to update Meliadine’s figures to 2.9 million ounces (12.5 million tonnes at 7.2 g/t) of indicated reserves. Indicated and inferred resources add 4.1 million ounces gold (average grade of 5 g/t). Several junior companies are actively exploring in the southern Kivalliq. Prosperity Gold Fields recently completed a $4.7 million encouraging gold program. AREVA Resources Canada Inc. continues work at the Kiggavik uranium project in the Thelon Basin near Baker Lake. Kiggavik is the most advanced uranium project in the territory. Early in 2012, AREVA submitted a revised draft environmental impact statement to the Nunavut Impact Review Board and other regulators for review. With the present regulatory timeline, construction may begin at Kiggavik by 2015 and the mine could be operational by 2019. Nearby also in the Thelon Basin, Cameco is exploring at the Aberdeen and Turqavik properties. Initial drill testing of new zones returned high grades of 12-18 per cent U3O8; Cameco considers these discoveries to be major and the potential to now be on a scale comparable to Kiggavik. At Angilak, Kivalliq Energy spent $20 million in 2012 expanding the existing resource that currently has a strike-length of over 2.3 kilometres, centred on its Lac Cinquante Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 13
Belcher Islands sedimentary rocks close to Haig Inlet iron project.
North Rankin mine capped shaft.
14 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
deposit. Four new discoveries were made in 2012 and the company produced a new NI 43-101 Technical Report, adding to the resource now inferred to be 27.13 million pounds at 0.69 per cent U3O8. The Government of Nunavut released its Uranium Policy Statement in June 2012, following consultations and information sessions with citizens. The territorial government supports the exploration and mining of uranium, subject to principles, and conditions. The government recognizes that uranium mining is of concern to some but can be of benefit to the territory. The policy supports the exploration and mining of uranium when it is properly managed and follows national safety and environmental standards. Qikiqtaaluk Region: Exploration in the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) region is focused on diamonds, gold, and iron. The largest project in the region is Baffinlandâ€™s Mary River iron project. Construction could begin in 2013, and the mine is anticipated to be operational by 2018 for at least 21 years. Advanced Explorations Inc. (AEI) conducted exploration on its Roche Bay and Tuktu iron projects located on the Melville Peninsula of mainland Nunavut. AEI recently completed a NI 43-101 resource for Roche Bay. The deposit has an indicated resource of 501 million tonnes averaging 26.35 per cent total iron (at a 20 per cent iron cut-off grade) with a further inferred resource of 66 million tonnes. AEI extended its partnership with the Chinese XinXing Ductile Iron Pipes Co., Ltd. (XDIP) to also include the more recently
discovered Tuktu project. West Melville Metals is commencing exploration on its Fraser Bay iron project on the western Melville Peninsula. Iron exploration is also underway in southern Hudson Bay on the Belcher Islands, near the community of Sanikiluaq, where Canadian Orebodies Inc. is drilling its Haig Inlet iron project. On southern Baffin Island, Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. continues to advance its Chidliak diamond project covering most of southern Hall Peninsula. The property now has 61 confirmed kimberlites with at least seven having good potential. The 2012 program included drill-testing geophysical anomalies and drilling into known kimberlite bodies. Work also advanced a bulksampling program scheduled to commence in the next two years. Peregrine is currently undergoing discussions regarding corporate and financing options. Interest in coal in the High Arctic is being revived with Canadian Sovereign Coal Corporation conducting grass-roots exploration on Ellesmere Island. Mineral exploration in Nunavut continued to attract much interest in 2012. The majority of the advanced work was performed by senior companies with significant involvement from the juniors. Many commodities are being sought throughout the territory. Much of the territory remains largely under-explored. All of these developments suggest that Nunavutâ€™s mineral production will increase substantially in the next decade. n
Hall Peninsula gossans.
Clyde River banded marble site.
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Yukon mineral industry overvieW
2012 the Year of Challenges for Yukonâ€™s Mineral Industry
Ida Oro camp, Ryan Gold, 2012.
Exploration in Yukon during 2011 was an exhilarating year of record-breaking â€“ most claims staked in a single year, most claims in good standing, most exploration dollars spent in a single year. Over 100 companies were on the ground doing exploration, primarily for gold, but also for base metals, silver, and precious metals. Optimism remained high at the start of 2012 with companies looking forward to continued exploration fieldwork in 2012. There was a real buzz of excitement at the AME BC Roundup meeting in January 2012. Several challenges have tempered exploration activity in Yukon during 2012. A late spring meant that snow levels remained high until later in the season, forcing companies to readjust their fieldwork schedules. Then a major storm in June resulted in large washouts on the Alaska Highway and Nahanni Range Road, again delaying activity for one to two weeks. More importantly, global investment markets have soured in 2012, making it difficult for exploration companies to raise money for field activities. The downturn in the markets has been blamed on investor trepidation in light of problems associated with Europe and the Euro. As a result, most companies have been reducing expenditures by shortening their field activities. The current estimate as of August for 2012 exploration expenditures in Yukon is approximately $168 million.
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Exploration Staking of new claims in 2012 has been greatly reduced, with less than 6,000 claims being staked by the end of May. Companies are evaluating and consolidating their exploration properties that were staked in during 2011, and earlier years. The primary commodity of interest for exploration remains gold. Many companies used a combination of diamond drilling and reverse circulation drilling to evaluate advanced targets while continuing with soil sampling, trenching, prospecting, and geologic mapping in less advanced areas of their properties. The White Gold area south of Dawson City, southwest Yukon, and Selwyn basin area north of Mayo saw continued fieldwork on the extensive exploration holdings. Kaminak Gold Resources has an extensive drill program to connect their previously discovered mineralized showings. Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. and Kinross Gold Resources are evaluating extensions of previously discovered mineralization. Ethos Capital Corp. is evaluating soil anomalies in the White Gold area using reverse circulation drilling. Tarsis and Klondike Gold Corp are also evaluating previously defined targets. Ryan Gold is drilling on their Flume and Ida Oro properties while refining drill targets on several other properties in Yukon. Golden Predator continues to upgrade resources at Brewery Creek through a combination of diamond drilling and reverse circulation drilling. Victoria Gold also is upgrading resources on their Eagle Gold property with infill drilling.
ATAC Resources is extending its exploration success on the Nadaleen gold trend along the northern margin of Selwyn basin. Excellent drill intersections support use of the Carlin style gold mineralization occurring along the Nadaleen trend. Strategic Metals, Ryan Gold, Colorado Resources, and Anthill are also evaluating targets along trend with ATACâ€™s ground. In eastern Yukon, Northern Tiger Resources continues exploration drilling on their 3Ace property. Aben Resources continues drilling on the Justin property. Although gold is in the limelight, 2012 also saw exploration dollars for other commodities. Proph-
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ecy Platinum drilled to refine platinum, nickel, copper mineralization on the Wellgreen property. Silver Range Resources continued drilling north of Faro on a series of lead, zinc, silver occurrences. Mining and Development Yukon had three operating mines in 2012: Capstone Resources Minto copper-gold mine, Alexco Resourcesâ€™ Bellekeno silver mine, and Yukon Zincâ€™s polymetallic Wolverine mine. The Minto mine has been in continuous production since 2007. Minto completed pre-stripping of
the area two open pit and commenced production from the new pit in the summer of 2012. Plans are underway for a combination of open pit and underground production in the future. Exploration drilling is ongoing to replace mined reserves. Alexco Resource Corp. has two mines in development to augment production from the Bellekeno mine; production from these other mines is targeted to commence by the end of 2012. Yukon Zincâ€™s Wolverine mine is currently focused on ramping up to sustained full production. Drilling by Victoria Gold on the Eagle deposit and Golden Predator on the Brewery Creek property is providing for increased resource information on previously identified mineralization. Mine permitting is proceeding for both companies. Selwyn Resources completed drilling in early 2012 to prove up increased resources between previously identified mineral deposits. They are currently completing a prefeasibility study using a reduced production rate and different mining parameters.
Yukon Government The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an internationally competitive investment climate. To this end, the Yukon government continues to provide regulatory certainty around environmental assessment, permitting and licensing of projects. Supporting the exploration and mining industry continues to be a priority for the Yukon Geological Survey. This year, the Yukon Geological Survey has initiated or continued geological studies (such as bedrock mapping) in the Rackla area. The Government of Yukon and Government of Canada have signed modern land claim agreements with 11 of the 14 Yukon First Nations. These agreements contribute to clarity for industry in regard to engagement and potential for First Nation partnerships and opportunities. For more information on Yukonâ€™s mineral resources, visit miningyukon.com. n
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Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 19
Northwest territories MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Today And Tomorrow
The NWT focuses on diamonds, the potential of gold and other minerals to keep the mining industry moving forward The Northwest Territories (NWT) has been closely linked with the mining industry ever since B.A. Blakeney, a prospector on his way to the Klondike, staked the first gold mining claim here in 1898. And although the focus has shifted from gold to diamonds, the industry remains at the forefront of any discussion regarding the NWT’s economic well-being. The territory produced over $2 billion in total mineral shipments in 2011, a staggering total for a jurisdiction whose population barely exceeds 40,000 residents. Although diamonds remain the backbone of the NWT’s economy, the life of the territory’s three producing mines, like any non-renewable resource, is finite. However, both government and industry have been proactive on this front, with numerous projects in various stages of exploration and permitting, and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) de-
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veloping a Mineral Development Strategy designed to ensure the NWT’s mining future remains as bright as the diamonds it has become so famous for producing. There is no shortage of mining activity in the NWT and the array of projects on the horizon promises a future as vast and diverse as the northern wilderness. From a return to the territory’s golden roots to operations as groundbreaking as Blakeney’s first discovery over a century ago, there is reason to be excited in the NWT – both with the present, and for the future. Today: A Diamond-Driven Economy Over the past decade, the NWT’s mining industry has come to be defined by diamonds. With three currently operating mines – BHP Billiton’s EKATI Mine, Rio Tinto’s/Harry Winston’s Diavik Mine, and De Beers Canada’s Snap Lake Mine – the NWT is the third largest producer of rough
diamonds by value in the world, with over 10 million carats produced by the three mines combined in 2011. And while these three currently operating mines continue to drive the NWT’s economy, employing thousands of residents, spending billions in local goods and services, and contributing nearly one third of the territory’s total GDP, new diamond projects continue to rise to the fore. A fourth mine, De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds’ Gahcho Kue Project, is currently undergoing environmental impact review and could provide as many as 49 million carats in diamonds over its lifetime. Diamonds, though, are not the only products currently being mined in the NWT. The resilient CanTung Mine, operated by North American Tungsten Corporation (NAT), may have been in production since 1962, longer than the NWT’s three diamond mines com-
bined, but its best days are certainly not in the rearview mirror. After a short shutdown in 2009/2010 due to the global economic recession, NAT announced record net income for its first quarter of 2011, and is continuing exploration activity in order to extend the mine’s life. Tomorrow: A Wealth of Resources Although today’s NWT mining sector is diamond focused, many potential mines – containing many different potential mineral reserves – lie on the horizon. Chief among these is a potential resurgence of the gold mining industry that first established the NWT as a land filled with mining potential. Two different gold mining projects – Tyhee Development Corporation’s Yellowknife Gold Project and Fortune Minerals’ NICO Project, which also contains proven cobalt and bismuth reserves – are currently undergoing environmental assessment, and a third, Seabridge Gold’s Courageous Lake Project, is in the advanced exploration stage. These three projects represent an exciting link to the NWT’s colourful past, filling a hole in the NWT’s
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mining economy that had been opened since the closure of Giant Mine in 2004. A link to the future, though, resides southwest of Yellowknife, at Avalon Rare Metals’ proposed Nehchalcho Project. Nehchalcho is a source of rare earth elements – minerals such as Scandium, Yttrium, and Europium which are vital to the production of “green technologies,” such as rechargeable batteries, fuel efficient cars, and wind turbines. Nehchalcho, is currently undergoing environmental assessment and has both NWT residents and green technicians worldwide excited at the prospect of a world class deposit of what will prove to be a vital resource in years to come. And though rare earth elements do serve to diversify the NWT’s mineral reserves beyond the anchors of diamonds and gold, they are not the only promising mineral project on the horizon. Located 90 kilometres north of Nahanni Butte, within the Nahanni National Park Reserve, Canadian Zinc Corporation’s Prairie Creek Mine is the host to nearly six million tonnes of measured and indicated minerals resources, including zinc, lead, copper, and silver. Prairie Creek has undergone environmental assessment and is currently in the regulatory stages, and, once completed, will serve to bring much needed economic activity to the Dehcho Region of the NWT.
22 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
helping YOU explore!
Looking Ahead: the Mineral Development Strategy But while the mining industry has been the driving force behind the NWTâ€™s economy, including nation-leading GDP figures, employment, procurement, and value-added industries such as manufacturing, mineral exploration has, of late, been decreasing in the NWT. The global recession was part of it but industry representatives also cite a complex regulatory system, unresolved land claims and the lack of infrastructure as hindrances to investment. Led by a renewed political focus, (the NWTâ€™s 17th Legislative Assembly took office in October 2011), the Government of the Northwest Territories has responded by partnering with the mining industry and other key stakeholders to advance and develop a Mineral Development Strategy for the future. A necessary and key step, it is felt, in increasing expenditures in the mineral exploration and deposit appraisals with a view to positively impacting the quality of life for NWT residents, government revenues, business retention, and expansion and the productive use of resources. n
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Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 23
yellowknife chamber of commerce
Partnering for the Future
The chamber, government, and local mining companies rally to ensure Yellowknife returns to its prosperous roots By Tim Doyle, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce This time last year many businesses and mining firms wondered if the NWT was out of the mining business for the foreseeable future. Exploration was at an all-time low and new projects were few and far between as companies took their investment dollars to the Yukon, Nunavut, and basically everywhere but the NWT. As a place to invest mining dollars we were ranked lower than many hostile dictatorships scattered around the world, not a flattering perception when all factors are considered. Various groups such as the Chamber of Mines, Yellowknife and NWT Chambers of Commerce, and other interested parties took this trend to heart and immediately began the hard process of changing attitudes and realities of what business looks like in the NWT. We live on the great Canadian Shield and have to accept that our main industry is mining because of geography. We do not have a large popula-
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24 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
tion, nor a deep sea ice free port to make our living from transportation like Halifax or Vancouver; we are far removed from the large population bases down south and will not see large scale manufacturing plants in the automotive and manufacturing industry choose to make their products here, it is simply too cost prohibitive. Tourism, while eco-friendly does not provide sustainable living here for the masses. Add in rising energy costs, transportation and logistics, cost of living for residents, and swarms of government red tape, and it can be challenging to say the least to convince businesses or residents to set up shop here. Yellowknife does have something that is special though, the people. The people who come here from away come for a variety of reasons whether its job seeking, sense of adventure, or simply to live off the grid away from mainstream society. The environment can be harsh here so these people are a bit tougher than most. These folks know quite quickly whether this is the place for them or not, and as many folks who moved here for a two-year term job 20 years ago will tell you, Yellowknife and the north can hook you and reel you in as fast as one of the large fish on the Great Slave Lake. People who stay here give the place its culture and despite the size of Yellowknife you’re still probably going to run into someone you know from “back home.” Even many of the folks who leave to go elsewhere come back. I know, I’m one of them. As Yellowknife and the NWT saw the mining potential dry up in the past few years, mostly due to government regulatory hurdles and complicated approval processes, questions were raised. Why were our neighbours booming and we clearly were not? People who have been here long enough to remember Giant and Con mines and the fact Yellowknife was built as a mining city started to get a bit more vocal, and organized against the new trends that were against mineral development. Websites sprang up complaining about the high cost of living in Yellowknife, and groups began analyzing where we went wrong. The system had lost its balance. During the last year, many groups such as the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce worked around the clock meeting with government cabinet ministers, focus groups, round tables, special forums, and committees of the federal, territorial, and municipal levels to highlight what issues needed to be addressed and what options we could use to create a smoother regulatory regime and grow our economy once again. To that end, our federal counterparts have been very receptive to eliminating red tape and redundant regulations so we can get projects moving forward. For example, instead of requiring separate
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territorial and federal environmental assessment reports for the same project, requiring the same information and often completed by the same consulting firm over two different periods of time, the federal government has now mandated usage of the more in depth assessment report eliminating time delays and duplication of data, as well as reducing costs to get a project moving forward. This is a win-win for industry, taxpayers, and local economies. This reduction of red tape proved that progress could be made. Next, we are seeing record numbers of mining firms recognize the importance of Aboriginal partnerships and an availability of a youthful potential workforce, one that wants to participate in building a better future for their communities. Through joint ventures and other agreements we are seeing investment in apprenticeships, partnerships, and wealth creation for the region. It gets better with each project and all parties benefit. Lately, it has been the mining firms and associated organizations that have been most vocal nationally about the need to include Aboriginals in the planning, implementation, and production processes of mining as a partner. If we stop to take a moment and analyze where we stand today, we are seeing some positive movement in several projects with various companies such as the Avalon Rare Metals Inc. project, the Prairie Creek Mine Development, the Fortune Minerals Nico Project and several others that are spread throughout the NWT. The next year will likely bring a round of consolidation in the diamond industry as both Rio Tinto and BHP have expressed interest in selling off their assets in the NWT, there will be more news on that topic in the near future and will probably see a merger of sorts with the various operations to reduce costs and Yellowknife will probably lose some administration
positions when the dust settles. An unfortunate reality of doing business in the north is our high costs and this will hopefully be short term as more mining projects open their doors to production. The big news over the next couple of years may be in the oil and gas development arena with the rush of activity being reported in the Norman Wells area, something that will benefit many communities of the NWT in addition to the local Norman Wells area. As long as there is strong demand for base metals and prices remain high worldwide, the NWT has a chance to capture some of that positive momentum and benefit from the surge in GDP, despite joining the party at the late stages. However, we simply cannot afford to let pure politics or one sided anti-development groups continue to wreak havoc on the economic future of the NWT. As we explore devolution and taking a more direct control of our resources and social programs moving forward, we have to be responsible and accept that balance is the best tool when it comes to development. Balance will be best served by continuing to leave the partnership doors open to aboriginal groups, local businesses and residents, and any groups that are most interested in seeing progress in the NWT. Just as the local residents do not wish to live and raise families in a contaminated environment, they do not wish to raise families in an area where there are few jobs and obstacles to opportunity for residents. Outside special interest groups would do better to focus on issues in their own backyards as residents of the NWT are looking forward to a brighter economic future with mining and resource development at the forefront once again. n
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yukon mine tour
What a Rush
The Yukon’s mining industry has a fabulous history and vibrant re-birth By Leonard Melman Few areas of the world have a mining history comparable to Canada’s Yukon Territory thanks to the fabled Klondike Gold Rush which took place from the late 1890s into the early years of the 20th century. Tens of thousands of prospectors and treasurehunters poured into the territory thanks to the discovery of placer gold along a tributary of the Klondike River, itself a tributary of the mighty Yukon River. During late July, in association with the Yukon Gold Mining Alliance, a touring group of journalists, industry analysts, and geologists visited four different mining company locations and your correspondent was fortunate to be a part of that tour. Several factors have combined to raise the importance of mining to the general economy of the Yukon, thereby motivating both the Canadian federal government in Ottawa and Yukon’s territorial government in Whitehorse to favour the mining industry. As a result, the Yukon consistently ranks in the top 10 in the well-known Fraser Institute mining-related ratings of government jurisdictions around the world. One specific reason for enhanced government assistance to the industry is that there are few economic alternatives within the Yukon. The bitterly cold and lengthy winters preclude almost all commercial agriculture; the short growing season combined with rugged terrain sharply limits any potential for forestry and the distance of most of the Yukon from ocean waters virtually eliminates the potential for large-scale commercial fisheries. As a result, both levels of government recognize the reality that mining offers one of the only opportunities to advance the Yukon economy – and it doesn’t hurt that support for mining enterprises is an integral part of the culture of the Yukon. For those who are history buffs, the world-famous Klondike Gold Rush which transformed the Yukon began in August, 1896 with the discovery of visible placer gold on Rabbit Creek, later re-named “Bonanza Creek.” As word of the gold find spread, an enormous, legendary rush into the Yukon took place with most “immigrants” gathering in Seattle, sailing to Skagway, Alaska and then climbing the difficult, sometimes terrifying, White Pass, leading to the waters of the Yukon River and the interior of the Yukon. As the Yukon’s population and fame grew, the federal government granted the area separate Territorial status in 1898. Within a short time, more than 100,000 prospectors and wannabe merchants and entrepreneurs had poured into the Yukon and the population of Dawson City – the central community of the Klondike Gold Rush – had swelled from a scattered few to almost 30,000 people.
28 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
Placer mining exploration and operations soon spread into many areas of the Yukon, leaving behind a body of knowledge which has proven invaluable to this era’s mining explorers and developers, based on the concept that if gold – one of nature’s heaviest elements – had found its way down to the bottom of river valleys, it most likely had originated somewhere in the heights above. Several of the companies we visited were working diligently to take advantage of that knowledge. Northern Freegold Resources Ltd. One company active in seeking new mineral wealth in this fascinating and beautiful region is Vancouver-based Northern Freegold Resources Ltd. The company’s Freegold Mountain Project is located within an active exploration area in the Tintina Gold Belt which stretches across parts of Yukon and the State of Alaska. Freegold Mountain has a lengthy exploration history dating back to the initial discovery of lode gold in 1930 by prospector P. F. Guder. As word of Guder’s discovery spread, a mini gold rush developed with prospectors eventually staking over 100 claims. Following this initial burst of activity, only sporadic exploration work took place until the 1950s when the area was caught up in a new search for porphyry deposits. Since the 1960s the Freegold Mountain Property had been owned and explored by a patchwork of individuals and companies and finally, in 2006, all the various claims were consolidated by Northern Freegold Resources into one cohesive Project area covering about 200 square kilometres within the Whitehorse Mining District. The company has conducted extensive exploration work programs since 2006 and was able to publish two recent Resource Estimates for each of the project’s primary areas, the Nucleus Deposit and the Revenue Deposit. The company has recently completed metallurgical studies for both deposits and plans to have an updated Resource Estimate prepared by the end of fall 2012, and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) by early 2013. Eventual plans call for production from an open pit mine with concentrate shipments by river or road to deep water facilities located at Skagway. Northern Freegold’s management team is led by President and CEO John Burges. Golden Predator Corp. Vancouver-based Golden Predator Corp. is another Canadian mining company working diligently to develop their immense
Yukon Territory exploration holdings which span over 1,000,000 acres. While they have several different project areas, their attention is currently focused on building resources and advancing their flagship Brewery Creek Project toward a production decision. Brewery Creek is a past producing heap leach mine located in the northwestern region of the Yukon, 55 kilometres due east of Dawson City and can be accessed by paved and gravel roads. A total of over 278,000 ounces of gold was produced by Viceroy Resource Corp. between 1996 and 2002 when the mine was shut down due to low prevailing prices. Production ore came from seven deposits located along the property’s Reserve Trend. The company recently published an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate based on exploration work conducted at six zones including Big Rock, Fosters-Canadian, Bohemian-Schooner, North Slope, Sleeman, and Classic. The resource calculation showed a total of 20.4 million tonnes grading 0.89 grams per tonne gold (gpt Au) containing 581,000 ounces in the Indicated category and 13.0 million tonnes grading 0.83 gpt Au and containing 346,000 ounces in the Inferred category. Current plans call for a pre-feasibility study to be completed by year-end 2012, construction of infrastructure and support facilities in 2013, and an initial gold pour late in 2014. Golden Predator is also working to develop their Grew Creek project located midway between Ross River and Faro less than one kilometre off the Robert Campbell Highway. They have obtained a Class 3 Mining Land Use Permit and expanded exploration at Grew Creek is planned for 2013. The management team is led by Chairman and CEO William M. Sheriff. Victoria Gold Corp. Victoria Gold Corp. is another Vancouver-based mining junior working aggressively to advance their Yukon territory Dublin Gulch Property with particular emphasis on bringing the Eagle Gold Deposit into production as quickly as possible. The Dublin Gulch property is located approximately 85 kilometres by road from the community of Mayo. Since acquiring the property in June 2009, the company has brought the Eagle Gold Project forward to a point where they are now the most advanced gold project in their region. An NI 43-101 Resource Estimate shows resources of 222 million tonnes grading 0.68 gpt Au and containing 4.8 million ounces of gold in the Indicated category including 2.3 million ounces of Probable reserves grading 0.78 gpt Au and another 78 million tonnes grading 0.60 gpt Au containing 1.5 million ounces of Inferred resources. A feasibility study was completed in early 2012, which called for an open-pit mining operation designed to enter production in late 2014, or early 2015 and produce an average of 212,000 ounces of gold at an operating cost of $542 per ounce during the first five years of active production and 192,000 ounces of gold per year at an operating cost of $615 per ounce over the life of the mine. Total capital costs for production construction, pre-stripping and working capital are estimated at about $430 million.
The company recently achieved two pre-production milestones by signing an Access and Exploration Agreement with the Fist nations of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (NND) and by announcing the completion of a Draft Screening Report by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board which recommended that the Eagle Gold Project be allowed to proceed. The company’s management team is led by John McConnell, President and CEO. Alexco Resource Corp. Our tour concluded with a visit to Canada’s only primary silver producing mine, Alexco’s Bellekeno Mine located in the historic Keno Hill Silver District where silver grades from previous historic production of over 10 million ounces averaged in the area of 40 ounces per tonne. Alexco’s silver production in 2011 amounted to two million ounces with an average cash cost reported at $10.17 per ounce. The district itself is located some 330 kilometres north of Whitehorse with the closest active community being the town of Mayo. It is located within the traditional territory of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (NND), comprises some 233.5 square kilometres and is characterized by numerous mineral occurrences and more than 35 mine sites with a history of production. As of early October 2012, the company estimated the mine life of the Bellekeno Mine using a production rate of 250 tonnes per day at four years, but the company is in the process of exploring and developing additional resources at four different locations. These include the Bellekeno Mine area itself where the company is in the process of recalculating their resources; the Lucky Queen Development Project; the Onek Development Project and the Historical Elsa Tailings area. Current historical, indicated and inferred resource estimates show 57 million ounces and Indicated resources have increased 52 per cent from 2011. The company’s total exploration and development programs for 2012 are budgeted at $12 million and include 29,000 meters of surface and underground drilling. Alexco’s goals include developing resources of 100,000 ounces of silver within the Keno Hills District and raising the annual rate of silver production to 7,000,000 ounces within the next decade. Alexco has made a point of contributing to the community by instituting agreements with NND, providing 200+ direct jobs with a total payroll over $22 million per year and contributing $22 million to date to remediate historic environmental liabilities. Their management team is led by President and CEO Clynton R. Nauman. After the tour was completed and we returned to Dawson City, I had the pleasure of looking out at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers and it was easy to imagine stepping back in time to the Klondike Gold Rush Era and to understand the Yukon’s special lure. Mining in the Yukon is once again alive and looking toward a future filled with promise. n Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 29
Colomac mine remediation
The End of an Era
After 12 years the Colomac Mine Remediation project has concluded Submitted by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
After 12-years of hard work, the Colomac Mine Remediation Project concluded in the fall of 2011. Located in the Northwest Territories, Colomac was one of the first major contaminated mine sites in the north to be remediated, and was a challenging project on many levels. The successful remediation of the Colomac site is largely due to the strong partnership between the Aboriginal people who hold a land claim in the area, called the Tlicho, and the federal government, as well as the application of traditional knowledge, good science and sound engineering throughout all phases of the project. History The Colomac Mine is a former gold mine located approximately 220 kilometres north of Yellowknife, NWT. The mine was commissioned in 1990 with sporadic production until late 1997, when the mineâ€™s last owner, Royal Oak Mines Inc., placed the mine into care and maintenance. In April 1999, Royal Oak went into receivership and the
30 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
site reverted to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Colomacâ€™s relatively short mine life left a significant scar on the local landscape. Remediation At abandonment, the site presented significant legacy issues including cyanide contaminated tailings water and solids, hydrocarbon impacted soil, bedrock and lake sediments, extensive inventories of waste petroleums, oils and lubes and hazardous chemicals, abandoned mine infrastructure, open pits, waste rock dumps, and quarries. The most pressing issue was the management of contaminated tailings water which, by the end of 1998, was threatening to overtop the main water retention structure, Dam 1. Due to poor construction and absence of as-built drawings, the effective elevation of the dam was confirmed at mine closure to be one metre less than the
freeboard limit specified in the Water Licence. This, coupled with the rapid rise in Tailings Lake water levels in 1998, made water management critical and emergency measures were invoked under the NWT Waters Act. The measures allowed for the transfer of millions of cubic metres of contaminated tailings from Tailings Lake to the Zone 2.0 Pit for storage and treatment. Added to this was the fact that Dam 1 had been constructed on a major fault and seepage rates began to increase dramatically towards mine closure, to approximately 250 U.S. GPM. The seepage contained elevated concentrations of cyanide and ammonia which required continuous pump back to Tailings Lake to prevent adverse impacts to downstream environments. Following the successful water management effort, remedial efforts shifted to the treatment of the highly toxic tailings water in Tailings Lake and the Zone 2.0 Pit. Through the Enhanced Natural Removal process (simple addition of phosphorus via fertilizer), water treatment in Tailings Lake and Zone 2.0 Pit was completed by 2007. With water management and treatment under control, the remedial focus shifted to other areas. Hydrocarbon remediation included demolition of the bulk tank farm, excavation and treatment of contaminated soils, construction of a bio-remediation facility and recovery of free product from bedrock. Other work included construction of a new dam, capping of exposed tailings and construction of an outlet channel for the treated water from Tailings Lake. Taking the advice of Tlicho Elders, a fence was constructed around the tailings to protect migrating caribou from the
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
Colomac Site Description COLOMAC SITE DESCRIPTION South mine area Mine complex & camp Steeves Lake
North waste dump South waste dump Zone 2.0 Pit
The Colomac mine footprint is quite large, running approximately 12 kilometres from north to south and three to four kilometres wide at its widest point. Here we have the south mine area, with the mine and camp complex, three open pits, waste rock dumps and airstrip. As you can see the mine is bordered by some large lakes – Baton on the east and Steeves to the west. The proximity of the mine site to these lakes is not unusual but has been a key driver for some of our remedial approaches.
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32 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
contaminants. The area was deemed safe for caribou in 2008, and the majority of the fence was dismantled later that year. Final remediation of the site commenced in 2010, and included a major demolition and decontamination program for mine infrastructure and major civil works for the remediation of Steeves Lake shoreline and restoration of original drainage and fish passage. The monitoring phase of the project began in 2012, and includes: an adaptive hydrocarbon management program, which will address residual hydrocarbons in the fractured bedrock; water quality, water levels in lakes, streams and pits; geotechnical stability of engineered structures (Dam 1B, tailings cap, spillway and discharge channel, and non-hazardous landfill); erosion and site drainage; re-vegetation success; and aquatic/terrestrial wildlife health. Monitoring will continue at the site until it can be determined that remediation has been effective and that site conditions have reached a steady state. The airstrip will remain in place as an emergency airstrip and the large steel warehouse, known as “Big Blue,” will remain onsite and is being transferred to the Tlicho Government. Celebrations To celebrate the completion of the final remediation contract and to acknowledge the efforts of many people over the years, AANDC held an event in Behchoko, NWT in December 2011. Elders from the surrounding three Tlicho communities were flown into Behchoko to join in the festivities. The Tlicho Grand Chief and Community Chiefs were also in attendance as well as representatives from the Tlicho Government, Tlicho Investment Corporation, and Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board. The evening included a feast and the presentation of recognition plaques to over 60 individuals, companies and organizations, all of whom made significant contributions to the project. In June 2012, a smaller event was held at the former mine site. This included a site blessing ceremony by Tlicho Elders and the unveiling of a commemorative monument that will tell visitors about the three phases of the site: traditional use of the area by the Tlicho people in the past, mine production, and socio-economic benefits and the reme-
COLOMAC SITE DESCRIPTION Colomac Site Description Tailings Containment Area Dam 2 and spillway
Tailings Lake Fuscum Lake
Dam 1 Valley
About five kilometres to the north of the mine complex is the Tailings Containment Area (TCA). The TCA consists of three lakes – Tailings, Spruce and Fuscum. Original tailings deposition occurred in Tailings Lake until Dyke seven was constructed and used to stack tailings in Spruce Lake while tailings water ex-filtrated through to Tailings Lake (approximately 35 per cent of the 11 M T of tailings stacked in Spruce). Main tailings deposits are at Dams 1 and 2 where tailings were spigoted for beach construction, but there are also significant deposits below Dyke 7 and at mid lake. Fuscum Lake never received tailings and was only impacted slightly in 1998-1999 as water levels in Tailings Lake rose.
diation of the site. The monument is written in English, French, and Tlicho. Regulatory and operational approaches to mining have changed since Colomac was in production. Legislation has been introduced to ensure that new mining operations do not leave a legacy of environmental and human health hazards, and to ensure that these operations are responsible for the costs of returning the environment to an acceptable state. The standard in the north today is for mining operations to plan for reclamation at the feasibility stage and then to clean up as they go. The remediation of Colomac has set the standard for remediation projects in the north. A success on many levels, the conclusion of the remediation of the site marks the mitigation of ecological risks that had long been a concern of those who use the area for traditional and recreational activities. By building strong relationships with those users of the land, the project team was able to address concerns head on. The remediation of the Colomac Mine site is an excellent example of what can be achieved when many minds meet to solve a problem – scientific minds combined with traditional knowledge to develop well-rounded solutions that work. n *Editor’s note: In December 2011, Nighthawk Gold Corp. announced an interest in exploring mineral claims around the Colomac Mine property. AANDC and Nighthawk, with support from the Tlicho Executive, have agreed that in return for the mineral claims and leases at the Colomac site, Nighthawk will remediate three smaller sites in the area: Diversified/ Indigo Mine, Spider Lake Exploration Site and Chalco Lake Exploration Site.
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NORTHWEST TERRITORIES Diamonds
Shining Example Diamond activities spurring economic growth in Canada’s dynamic north By Leonard Melman
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Many people are aware of historic diamond activity in Africa, and the world-famous gems which have been discovered on the “Dark Continent,” such as the “Hope Diamond,” and the “Star of India.” Few however are aware that another hot-bed of diamond activity is right here in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) where three mines are in active production and further exploration and discovery work continues at a high level. Actually, diamonds were first discovered in Canada on an accidental basis such as the discovery of a diamond in glacial debris in Ontario in 1863, and a 33-carat diamond being found during railroad construction near Peterborough, Ontario in 1920. Later, in the 1960s, a discovery of small diamonds was reported near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. It was the discovery of diamond indicator minerals along the NWT/Yukon border in 1981 that finally informed the mining community that diamond exploration in Canada’s Arctic regions
could generate significant discoveries. By 1989, exploration efforts had significantly intensified, resulting in the discovery of a major area showing a high concentration of indicator minerals in the Lac de Gras area northeast of the NWT capital city of Yellowknife, suggesting the presence of diamondiferous kimberlite pipes which could possibly result in economically viable diamond production. A major landmark event in NWT diamond mining history took place in October 1998, when BHP Diamonds Inc/Dia Met Minerals announced the official opening of Canada’s first diamond mine, the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Lac de Gras area. The other two productive mines are the Diavik and Snap Lake. Diavik Mine The Diavik Mine is located some 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, and has evolved into a joint partnership between Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. and Aber Diamond Mines Ltd. Both companies are headquartered in Yellowknife with Diavik holding a 60 per cent interest in the mine and Aber 40 per cent. Diavik itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto PLC of London, England, while Aber is a wholly-owned subsidiary of their parent company, Aber Diamond Corporation of Toronto. Aber eventually changed their name to Harry Winston Diamond Mines Ltd. Claim staking by Aber began near Lac de Gras in 1991, and the four mineral claims covering the Diavik project kimberlites were staked in late 1991. A joint venture agreement was formed in early 1992 between Aber and Kennecott Canada and development work began in earnest. In the spring of 1992 a property-wide helicopter-borne magnetic and electro-magnetic survey was completed; by mid-1992 glacial till sampling was conducted; and by 1993 an initial drill program took place.
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Eventually, four kimberlite bodies were determined to have genuine possibilities, including A21, A154 North, A154 South, and A418. Specific kimberlite delineation and grade evaluation drilling took place in 1995, and this was followed by a bulk sampling program at A154 South in 1996. By 2000, sufficient data had been collected for the partnership to report resources at Diavik of 27.1 million tonnes grading 3.9 carats per tonne, containing 106.7 million carats of diamonds. Construction of production facilities began and the mine opened in 2003 as a near-surface open pit operation, eventually transitioning over to underground operations by 2012. Aside from other production advantages, underground mining also allows operations to continue without concern for the bitterly cold midwinter surface temperatures. The estimated future mine life is approximately 10 years. The Diavik Mine has had a considerable economic impact in this remote area just south of the Arctic Ocean where the only roads are mid-winter ice roads for transporting heavy equipment and, other than runways associated with particular projects; airplane travel is limited to helicopters and float planes. Diavik is provid-
ing significant training, employment, and business opportunities to the NWT. The partnership has committed itself to hiring 64 per cent of its staff from the NWT, and 40 per cent of their staff is designated to come from Aboriginal communities. Ekati Mine The Ekati Mine is also located in the Lac de Gras region northeast of Yellowknife and faces many of the same problems as described for Diavik, including remote location, short time frame for mid-winter ice roads and heavy reliance on air transportation. Ekati was the first new Canadian diamond mine to enter active production which began in 1998. The initial discovery of indicator minerals for diamonds was made in 1991 by two geologists, Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson and exploration, development, and subsequent production construction led to the initiation of mining in 1998. At that time, Dia Met Minerals was a driving force in advancing the Ekati Mine, but they sold their interests to mining giant BHP Billiton and that company ultimately formed a joint interest with
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the discovery geologists with BHP having 80 per cent interest and Fipke and Blusson controlling 20 per cent. Production at Ekati remained at high levels and from 1998-2009, and a total of 45,000,000 carats of diamonds were recovered during those years and by 2011 that total had exceeded 50,000,000 carats. Production from Ekati represents three per cent of rough diamonds entering world markets by volume and 11 per cent by value. These recoveries have taken place at six open pits, but recoveries began to subside in recent years and the joint venture is now working toward increasing recoveries from underground mining, particularly beneath the Koala Pit. Present indications point to an active mine life through 2018 based on contributions from two particular projects. In the first case, a new expansion of the Misery open-pit began in 2011, and is expected to enter production lasting for two years in 2015. In addition, Koala underground production, which began in 2007, is expected to last for 11 years. The Lac de Gras kimberlites are quite unique in their similarities to kimberlite pipes in South Africa and Russia in the fact that they are overlain by small lakes. The Ekati Mine has been a major contributor to the NWT economy since initial development began. A total of approximately $5 billion has been expended for equipment, transportation, salaries, and other services over the past 20-years, and about 4$ of that amount has gone directly to northern and Aboriginal businesses. Snap Lake Mine The Snap Lake Mine, NWT’s newest such venture, is unusual for several reasons. It is diamond giant DeBeers’ first producing mine outside of Africa, it is in an area outside of other NWT diamond mines, being located only 220 kilometres from Yellowknife, and it is Canada’s first entirely underground diamond mine. The Snap Lake diamond-bearing ore body is also somewhat unique. Where most other diamond mines are located within kimberlite pipes, the Snap Lake ore body is in the form of a 2.5 metre thick ‘dyke’ that dips an average of 12 to 15 degrees from the northwest shore down under the lake. Snap Lake was originally discovered in
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Other Sparkling Prospects Diamond mining activity in the Canadian north has not been confined only to the NWT, but has also spilled over into neighboring Nunavut with the development of Shear Diamond Ltd.’s Jericho Diamond Mine. Mining history at Jericho began with the original staking in 1993 when developments near Ekati and Diavik led to a general northern diamond staking frenzy. By 1995, the existence of kimberlite had been discovered, and the period from 1998 to 2004 was devoted to general exploration and development. Construction began at the Jericho Mine in 2005, and operations started in 2006 under Tahera Diamond Corporation’s leadership. Unfortunately, Tahera filed for bankruptcy in 2008, and the mine operations were suspended until Shear Minerals formally acquired the Jericho Diamond Mine in August 2010. The mine is located in western Nunavut along the northern shores of Contwoyto Lake, 430 kilometres north of Yellowknife. and 350 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Like most northern territorial locations, the mine is accessible year round by air, but ice roads are only available for a few weeks during the heart of winter. Mineral rights at Jericho consist of 20,990 acres spread
1997, and DeBeers Canada bought the project in 2000. Exploration and development followed and the company was able to obtain permits to build and operate the mine in May 2004. A period of engineering and pre-development design then took place, followed by the initiation of production construction in 2005. De Beers found, as have other mining companies, that shipment of the heaviest equipment and supplies could only be performed on an economic basis via trucks utilizing an ice road from Yellowknife for six to eight weeks per year. All other access to the project has been via air. Construction and operation of the Snap Lake Mine through 2011 has resulted in total expenditures of just under $2 billion. Of that amount, $1.29 billion has been spent with northern business, including over $750 million with Aboriginal enterprises. The mine’s official opening took place on July 25, 2008,
across eight mining leases. Infrastructure improvements at the mining camp include a cafeteria/kitchen; recreation wing; office areas; 100 rooms to accommodate staff of 200; a sewage plant and a modular diesel power generating station. In order to facilitate air travel, a 1,067 meter airstrip has also been built. Improvements at the mine itself include the open pit; waste dumps; a till dump; explosives storage, and a 2,000 tonne per day diamond recovery plant. Unfortunately, just after Shear had re-established full production at Jericho, the international economic slowdown began to have a negative effect on diamond prices, and this resulted in the September 2012 announced temporary suspension as Shear declared that it would continue exploration activities until improving diamond prices justify a resumption of production activities.
and the estimated mine life is on the order of 20 years. Total employment at Snap Lake is about 600 with 250 involved in actual mining operations. DeBeers Canada has made a particular effort to communicate with the local native populations and has signed four separate Impact Benefit Agreements with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation; Ticho Government; North Slave Metis Alliance and Lutsel K’e and Kache Dene First Nations. Diamond mining has made an important contribution to the NWT, both economically and socially, and as long as diamonds are an intensely desirable commodity, activity is likely to continue to provide strong support to this fascinating and remote region of the Dominion of Canada. Many experts believe in the future of “the true north strong and free,” and diamond mining is likely to play an important role in that future. n
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The Forecast Calls For
Collaborative approach key to filling mining industry talent gap By Martha Roberts, director of Research, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR)
Human resources challenges pose one of the greatest risks to the long term competitiveness of the Canadian mining industry. The latest annual Canadian Mining Industry Hiring Requirements and Available Talent Forecasts report released by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) in fall 2012, paints a familiar picture – an ageing workforce and looming retirement of the baby boom generation, challenges in attracting and engaging youth, and underrepresentation and under-utilization of key diverse talent groups. While the industry has taken significant strides in addressing these issues, finding experienced and skilled workers is becoming more difficult, and competition for talent across all sectors of the economy is set to heat up as the labour market tightens. MiHR’s latest report shows that employment in the Canadian mining industry is
38 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
expected to rise slightly over the 10-year forecast period, which is an improved outlook from previous years’ reports. The shift in the employment outlook is fuelled by changing operating environments and the prospect of new mining activity over the forecast horizon, continuous gains in labour productivity, and new capabilities at MiHR for forecasting mineral exploration and oil sands mining employment. Even with continued global economic uncertainty and a mood of caution blanketing the sector this past summer, MiHR’s analyses show that across Canada, employers’ hiring requirements over the long-term will continue to be considerable. Overall hiring requirements also include replacement requirements due to retirement and other separations. When replacement requirements are coupled with employment gains, the outlook for exploration and min-
ing recruiters is sobering. People, already challenging to find in many situations, will become a precious commodity. But, the projected needs only tell part of the story. It’s important to also ask, “where are all these workers going to come from?” MiHR’s 2012 outlook report addresses this question head-on by providing a new feature – forecasts of available talent. Gaps are then identified and analyzed by comparing the industry’s projected hiring requirements to available talent for each occupation, revealing some interesting patterns. A Closer Look at the Talent Gap The nature of the gaps and the approach to filling them differs among occupations. For example, production roles may have a large group of potential workers available, but many of these workers have skills that apply to work in other industries, so min-
ing faces competition from other sectors in attracting a greater proportion of these workers. For some niche occupations, there simply may not be enough workers, period. In these cases, the industry must work with education and training providers, and/or immigration, to ensure that enough people choose careers in mining and are trained and ready to enter the workforce. Given the long planning horizon of these solutions, it is important to start laying the groundwork to fill these gaps in the short term. Our quest for new talent must also consider a host of other factors, including skills requirements, education and training, credentials, mobility, work experience, and safety awareness. New entrants to the labour market come from a variety of places, equipped with a variety of skills, competencies and experiences. Many new labour market participants leave schools or graduate and start looking for work; others immigrate; some relocate or travel from province to province, and still others re-enter the labour force after a temporary leave. Thus, the sources of new talent can differ for each occupation. Custom Research: A Look at Regional Projections In light of the labour challenge, demand for customized regional labour-market research has increased. Labour-market research projects have already been conducted in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and British Columbia and in fall 2012, MiHR will also be releasing an updated labourmarket report for British Columbia, in partnership with the BC Mining HR Task Force (Mining, Exploration, Sand & Gravel). The council has also begun work on new forecasts for the Yukon, and five new districts in northern Ontario. This latest report for British Columbia includes hiring requirements over a 10-year horizon and includes additional feature(s), such as a regional breakdown of forecasts and an industry specific analysis (separate forecasts for mining, exploration, and sand and gravel). It also includes a forecast of available talent in B.C. and a gap analysis of hiring requirements versus available talMining North of 60 | 2012-2013 39
ent. MiHR forecasts a need to hire between 13,000 and 20,000 workers in B.C. by 2022 – and gaps in available talent in key geosciences and labour roles. The new research MiHR is currently conducting for the Yukon features updated forecasts and a detailed look at mineral exploration in the territory. This report, which is being developed in partnership with the Yukon Government and the Yukon Chamber of Mines, will include available talent forecasts and a gap analysis and is expected to be available in winter 2013. Finally, MiHR is also working on forecasts for five new districts in northern Ontario, which will complement the council’s recent forecast conducted in the Thunder Bay district. Results from each project are expected in winter 2013. Each report will feature detailed analysis of the district, based on research conducted with district employers. Reports will include detailed hiring requirements forecasts and high level gap analysis of available talent in Ontario.
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Solutions: A Collaborative Approach Mining is not the only sector aware of pending labour shortages, nor is it the only sector that is striving to increase its share of a diminishing labour pool. While more partnerships and strategies are emerging on local or provincial levels with partners using this research to inform government lobbying, or to align education and training needs, for example, a shortage of this magnitude can only be addressed through an industry-wide collaborative strategy and cooperative efforts to ensure that the exploration and mining industry stays ahead of the competition and MiHR continues to be a catalyst in this regard. For instance, a new project is underway on counter-cyclical workforce planning – an approach that is meant to transform long-term people planning and reduce reactionary workforce adjustments based on economic conditions. Our main activities under this initiative include surveying industry to better understand patterns of employer behaviour in downturn, recovery, and boom phases of the economic cycle. In-depth analysis of mining’s work-
force adjustments and workforce planning strategies will form the foundation of an industry strategy to reduce employment volatility and proactively manage employment during cyclical economic trends. Other possibilities to address talent gaps centre around mobility and skills recognition – key factors that spurred the development of MiHR’s Canadian Mining Certification Program which certifies mining workers in previously unrecognized occupations such as underground miner, minerals processing operator, surface miner and diamond driller, against a national standard – recognizing skills and competencies across provincial borders. Continued strategic efforts to strengthen workforce diversity are also key to filling the gaps. MiHR recommends coordinated initiatives and provides resources to increase representation of women and new Canadians, to improve opportunities for Aboriginal workers and to attract young people to the sector. MiHR has developed several programs and resources to bolster industry’s efforts in this area. Explore for More, MiHR’s brand for career outreach initiatives, is now being adapted across Nunavut, where materials will be translated into both Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. These career resources will be distributed across schools in the region to get students informed about career opportunities in the mining industry. The program has already been successfully adapted in British Columbia. In addition, MiHR has developed and launched Mining Essentials, a pre-employment training program for Aboriginal peoples.. The program teaches both the essential and work readiness skills that the mining industry requires to be considered for an entry-level position, helping mining companies and communities meet joint hiring and employment targets. Success will require a coordinated, cooperative, industry-wide approach. We’ll find ways to fill the gaps, so long as we continue to explore our options together. Access the 2012 version of Canadian Mining Industry Employment and Hiring Forecasts at www.mihr.ca. n Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
Capstone’s minto mine
Capstone’s Minto mine impresses By Colleen Biondi Although new to the position of general manager at Capstone Mining Corporation’s Minto Mine, 240 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse, Ron Light is a seasoned mining professional. With 40-years in the business, 20 of those in Arctic regions, he is well equipped to take Minto to the next level. Day-to-day, he oversees production, safety, administration, human resources and associated costs at the site. “I am accountable for everything that happens here at Minto,” he explains. When Capstone acquired the then-dormant, open-pit mine in 2005 and started it up in 2007, it began producing 1,600 tonnes of copper product each day. At that time it was estimated the mine had an eight-year life. Today, the production is 3,600 tonnes daily, and the mine life has stretched to 2022. “Minto has been very successful for us drill season after drill season,” says Cindy
42 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
Burnett, vice president of investor relations and communications for Capstone. This success was recently heralded by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a visit to the facility. There have been nine discoveries over the last six-years at the mine; further exploration is anticipated to reap benefits and extend the mine life even longer. Advances in technology help explore multiple holes in tandem and deeper holes at higher resolution; high-tech scanners take 3-dimensional shapes of the pit each day, cutting back on detailed surveying time. Product is retrieved from the ground in the form of ore which is then concentrated – it is 40 per cent copper at this point; the rest is gold, silver and waste – and trucked from the site across the Yukon River (in the summer, on a barge; in the winter over an ice bridge) to Skagway, Alaska. There it is shipped to Asia, where it is turned into finished copper and used for electronics and
in the construction industry. The gold and silver byproducts are then extracted and credited back. Minto is a small to medium-sized mine relative to world standards (Chile produces 30 per cent of the world’s copper, for example). Its remote location is on First Nations’ land with the closest town being the Selkirk Settlement community of Pelly Crossing. “The relationship with the community is paramount,” adds Burnett. Capstone leases the land from the community and pays royalties to the both the local nation and territory. The mine’s 300 staff consist of truck drivers and engineers, mill personnel and safety experts, geologists, mine planners, and support staff. They live at the mine in a self-contained camp and are primarily on a two-week in, two-week out rotation; 26 per cent are First Nations’ personnel and 100 per cent are Canadian. Light
enjoys the diversity of the team at Minto; there are workers (20 per cent of which are women) with oil sands and diamond mining backgrounds, with maintenance experience, and who are fresh out of university. But they have a common goal. “It is a team that wants to see success,” he says. “Everyone is pitching in.” Next up for the Minto location includes the development of an underground component to its mining operations. A contractor has been hired to begin the process. Capstone will take over operations, likely in a year’s time. Ultimately, it will be a split between open-pit and underground mining, says Light. “My job in the next year is to bring underground production in sync with openpit in a safe and cost-effective manner.” Also the camp itself will be converted into a modern, three-story modular structure with more spacious and efficient room for staff. The kitchen has a current capacity of 80 people; it will be renovated to accommodate the ever-growing staff component. Cost for both upgrades will be upwards of $7 million. Along with those priority plans will be the hiring of 50 additional staff, an increase in workers with First Nations’ backgrounds and training for the unique dynamics and procedures associated with underground work, some of which will be provided by nearby Yukon College. A recruitment strategy will also encourage people to relocate to the north. Light
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has been working in far-away areas for most of his career. He has a home in Ottawa; his wife and grandchildren visit him and he visits back. “It takes a while to get used to working away from home. You do develop a ‘mining family.’ But some people find it a real struggle.” Living and working in the north, with your family, can make the adjustment a bit easier. Whitehorse, for example, is a good community for a growing family. There are
superior educational facilities for children as well as a decent transportation infrastructure, a bevy of outdoor activities to choose from and a variety of shopping venues. There is also a sizeable French Canadian community there. Capstone is working with government agencies and other area mining companies to attract employees to the Yukon. As opposed to a “fly in/fly out” environment, having staff live in their own homes
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with their loved ones will improve workers’ life balance, allow for more scheduling flexibility and provide a more streamlined operational process overall. Despite sometimes frigid temperatures, the mine operates 12 months of the year. “We don’t shut down for the cold,” notes Light. Cabs are enclosed and heated; the underground will contain propane heaters to keep the environment at a comfortable temperature. All personnel are outfitted with weather-appropriate equipment and gear, from winterized coveralls to warm hoodies, and fleece vests. If the temperatures drop below – 40 degrees C or if snow squalls mean visibility is low and safety is compromised, the mine temporarily halts production. Light budgets for a few “blizzard” days per year. “Mining has become a much safer practice,” he says. Survey scans can tell where there is rock movement before the human eye or ear can detect anything. There are better dust control, collection, and wet mining procedures so workers are not exposed to the accumulated risks of yesteryear. Mining has its up-and-down cycles, like any commodity-related industry. And working up north is not for the faint of heart. But Capstone’s assets are in secure and politically-stable environments, the company is investing in both their sites and personnel and new hires to the Minto location can consider other company venues down the road. “Capstone is a growing company with financial resources and opportunities,” states Burnett. “It is an exciting place to be.” n
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JUSTIN GOLD PROJECT
The Justin Gold Project increases Yukonâ€™s reputation as a new gold development region Aben Resources has a 100 per cent interest in its flagship 18,314 acre Justin Gold Project. The property is located in the southeast Yukon on the Tintina Gold Belt and has an all season road running through its claims. The Justin Project has been generating interest since 1964 when it was first explored for copper and tungsten as a follow-up to the establishment of the Cantung Mine, situated approximately 30 kilometres away in the Northwest Territoriesâ€™ Nahanni region. The first few exploration programs yielded interesting results but little follow-up work was conducted until the mid-1990s when Viceroy Exploration Ltd, under the leadership of Ron Netolitzky, began evaluating the Justin property for gold potential. In 2000, prospect generator Eagle Plains Resources acquired the project and continued to assess the mineral potential with various systematic exploration programs over the years that included prospecting, geological mapping, geophysical and geochemical surveys. The efforts paid off in 2010 when grab samples returned anomalous gold values in an area of the property now called the POW Zone. Aben Resources had been working closely with Eagle Plains in 2010 to secure a portfolio of precious metal properties in the Yukon and in early 2011 Eagle Plains sold the property to Aben for share consideration and retained royalties. Aben then raised capital through an equity financing to fund an initial diamond drill program testing various areas of the property. The final two holes of that program were designed to test the POW Zone and both of them intersected robust gold mineralization constituting a significant new greenfield gold discovery. Notably, hole JN11009 intercepted 60 metres of 1.19 g/t
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gold including 21.0 metres of 2.47 g/t gold at a vertical depth of 113 metres. Aben also made a silver-copper discovery at the Kangas Zone located 1.4 kilometres south of the POW Zone. Despite being abandoned due to difficult ground conditions, hole JN11003 intersected a one metre interval of 7320 g/t silver and 3.52 per cent copper at a down-hole depth of 42 metres. After Abenâ€™s first season of drilling at the Justin property in 2011, the mineral potential found at the POW and Kangas Zones made the property even more prospective and established it as the companyâ€™s flagship project. Aben proceeded to acquire 14,274 additional acres of mineral tenure in the immediate vicinity of the project to facilitate the aggressive work program in the 2012 field season. Nearby projects such as Northern Tigerâ€™s 3Ace property had encouraging results as well that have helped to spotlight this emerging gold region in the Yukon. A seasonal, 20-man exploration camp was constructed adjacent to the Nahanni Range Road on the Justin property which serviced all exploration activities in 2012. An aggressive diamond drill program carried out in 2012 focused on follow-up and expansion work to the 2011 drilling and geophysical/geochemical surveys at the POW Zone. Two phases of drilling were completed and results from the five-hole, first phase were highly encouraging with assays pending from the second phase of drilling. Drill core from the first hole in the program, JN12011, returned significant results including 46 metres of 1.49 g/t gold including 9.2 metres of 3.88 g/t gold. This hole successfully extended the massive sulphide skarn gold mineralization discovered during the 2011 program 85 metres laterally to the southeast. It was also successful in confirming the presence of a shallowly buried granitoid intrusion immediately underlying the POW Zone. Detailed mapping to the south of the POW Zone has since confirmed the presence of the intrusive body at surface. The contact zone of the intrusion with the surrounding carbonate country rocks is now a primary drill target as it is an important control
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on the skarn-replacement mineralization observed in the initial holes drilled at the POW Zone. This contact zone remains open along strike, down dip and to surface. The notable consistency of the skarnhosted gold mineralization seen amongst the initial drill holes at the POW Zone suggests strong continuity of the mineralized zone. These drill core intervals which are dominated by massive skarn-style replacement mineralization have been overprinted by quartz-calcite stock work veining.
Both the skarn-style and vein-style mineralization carry gold. The geochemical signature of the mineralized zone is characterized by elevated Au, Bi, Cu, Mo and W supporting an Intrusion Related Gold System (IRGS). Geophysical surveys and mapping outline a multi-kilometre buried intrusive stock in which there are large untested geophysical anomalies proximal to the POW Zone and to the intrusion which are high-priority drill targets. Besides skarn-hosted gold mineralization, other characteristics of IRGS deposits such as
sheeted veining have been observed at the Justin Project in drilling and on surface, both within the intrusion and the surrounding country rock. These structural zones present prospective targets for IRGS mineralization. Geologist Craig Hart, PhD, from the Mineral Deposit Research Unit at UBC visited the property during the 2012 field season and stated: “The Justin property, and the POW zone specifically, represents a new discovery of an auriferous sheeted vein array and related styles of mineralization that directly comprise a reduced intrusion-related gold system. This gold system developed in a region of Yukon previously better known for tungsten, and contributes to further increasing the region’s development as a new gold district.” Producing IRGS deposits within the Tintina Gold Belt include Kinross’ Fort Knox operation in Alaska, with reported proven and probable reserves of 314Mt grading 0.43 g/t Au, representing 4.3 million ounces of contained gold (Kinross Mineral Reserve and Resource Statement, December, 2011). Advanced IRGS projects in the Yukon include Victoria Golds’ Eagle Gold Deposit, with reported reserves of 2.3 million ounces of gold, indicated resources of 4.8 million ounces of gold and inferred resources of 1.5 million ounces of gold (Victoria Gold website, August, 2012). Readers are cautioned that past results or discoveries on proximate land are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved on the Justin property. Aben’s management and geological team are confident that they have made a significant new gold discovery with immense blue sky potential in an underexplored area of the Yukon. The company will remain focused on advancing the project in the years to come with more drilling planned as Aben works towards delineating a maiden NI 43-101 compliant resource on the property. n
48 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
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north country GOLD corp.
Good As Gold
North Country Gold Corp. continues to developing the Three Bluffs Project
North Country Gold Corp. (NCG: TSX-V;
hosts a NI 43-101 compliant resource esti-
NCGDF: OTCQX) controls one of the larg-
mate with over 1.5 million ounces of gold
est under-explored greenstone belts in
at an average grade of 5.31 g/t, with the
Nunavut, Canada with numerous drill-
deposit continuing to be open along strike
ready, high-grade gold targets. Their flag-
and to depth.
ship project, the Three Bluffs Gold Deposit,
North Country Gold has a highly expe-
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50 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
rienced technical and management team with over 100 years of involvement in Nunavut collectively. This experience has enabled the company to identify five distinct mineral development centres, one of which being the Three Bluffs deposit. These five centres cover high-grade gold occurrences throughout the 300-kilometre Committee Bay Greenstone Belt, each with the potential for several million high-grade ounces. The company holds 100 per cent interest in 530,630 acres along the 300-kilometre belt located on Federal land. The Committee Bay Greenstone Belt continues to be the only greenstone belt that is not owned by a major mining company to date. North Country Gold continues to aggressively advance the Three Bluffs gold deposit with the goal of building a three to five million-ounce deposit.
North Country Gold discovered the Three Bluffs development centre in 2003, and quickly developed the property into a high-grade deposit with a compliant resource estimate by 2004. Then, in 2009, the Company released a subsequent estimate revealing 750,000 ounces of gold with an average grade of 6g/t Au. Finally, in 2012, a new resource estimate confirmed 1,507,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 5.31 g/t, doubling the previous resource estimate and maintaining the high grade. To date, the Company has drilled 349 holes equating to 58,222 metres at the Three Bluffs deposit. Drilling at Three Bluffs has defined a gold rich corridor with multiple high grade structures extending at least four kilometers along strike. The richest and best drilled section of the corridor occurs along 1.3 kilometres at the eastern end of the structure. Mineralization occurs from surface and approximately 50 percent of the resource is currently classified as open-pittable with the highest grade, widest portion of the resource lying within the pit shell which enhances the development opportunities for the company. The project is ideally situated being entirely on dry land with flat topography and minimal overburden. During 2011, North Country Gold invested significantly in upgrading the infrastructure at the Three Bluffs project to facilitate cost effective exploration and resource development. The Hayes camp was upgraded to a modern 100 person all-weather camp, complete with a 3,000 foot land airstrip, 8,000 square feet of indoor shop space and bulk fuel capability of 70,000 litres. The company also developed and installed a state-of-the-art, automated water supply system over the Three Bluffs deposit allowing year round drilling capability on the project. During 2012, North Country conducted wide-spaced deep drilling below the current resource area along the eastern 1.3 kilometres of the mineralized trend. Results of this drilling, including 6.74 g/t Au over 17.40 metres and 11.95 g/t Au over 9.00 metres, indicate that the high grade mineralization remains strong and persistent to depth and that the potential to increase the resource on the project is excellent.
Moving forward, North Country Gold plans to continue developing the Three Bluffs Project with a focus on exploratory and resource delineation drilling along with engineering and environmental studies to help the company advance the Three Bluffs project towards the mine development stage. The potential for new discoveries elsewhere on North Country Goldâ€™s land package is also considered by the company to be excellent. Currently, the company has
12 to 15 drill ready exploration targets across the 300 kilometres belt, which will be systematically evaluated. North Country Goldâ€™s exploration adÂ vantage and potential multi-million ounce high grade gold deposit continues to be the strength that they possess with their technical and managerial team, allowing them to unlock the potential of the Three Bluffs gold deposit and build the resource. n
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
northern freegold resources
Riding the Klondike Highway
Northern Freegold Resources find potential gold and copper in the Yukon Northern Freegold Resources, a TSX-Venture listed (symbol: NFR) exploration and development company, owns 100 per cent of the Freegold Mountain property, which contains adjacent multi-million ounce gold-copper deposits. Over the past three years the company has been successful in growing its resources by over 600 per cent1, which has mainly been the result of the delineation of the second resource for the property, in 2012, located at the Revenue zone. The property is situated only 70 kilometres west of Carmacks on the Klondike Highway with access to excellent infrastructure and logistical links to the property. In September, the company completed a program of preliminary metallurgical testing for both the Nucleus and Revenue deposits with extremely encouraging results. The company expects to update its resource estimate at Nucleus by the end of 2012, and will then complete its first Preliminary Economic Assessment for the property, set to be released in 2013. Both the Nucleus and Revenue deposits are located within a 10 kilometre geophysical anomaly with coincidental gold and copper geochemical anomalies, running east-west across the 200-square-kilometer property. The Nucleus deposit contains 1.1
52 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
million Indicated ounces of gold at 0.7 g/t and 0.6 million Inferred ounces of gold at 0.47 g/t. The Revenue deposit contains 1.1 million Inferred ounces of gold at 0.34 g/t along with 286 million pounds of copper at 0.13 per cent and 90 million pounds of molybdenum at 0.04 per cent. This puts Northern Freegold in the top three gold/ copper/molybdenum resources in the Yukon. Assessments on the property are in good standing until 2019. The adjacent Nucleus and Revenue deposits have been the main focus of exploration on the property due to their close proximity to each other, on the western end of the district scale anomaly. Both deposits are currently open in all directions and at depth. Gold represents about 65 per cent of the contained metal value at prevailing prices, with significant amounts of copper, molybdenum, and silver making up the balance. Recent metallurgical results indicating gold recoveries of up to 97 per cent for the Nucleus deposit, and recoveries of up to 92 per cent for copper, 74 per cent for gold and 81 per cent for molybdenum at the Revenue deposit compare very favorably to other similar gold/copper porphyry deposits in North America.
One of the key factors influencing the future economic feasibility of mining projects in the Yukon is the propertiesâ€™ proximity to key elements of transportation and infrastructure. Only a fraction of Yukon resource companies have road access. Northern Freegold has the advantage of being one of these. It has a government maintained road connecting its property to the Klondike Highway near Carmacks. This greatly diminishes the drilling and exploration costs as rigs and equipment can be trucked to site rather than being more expensively flown in by helicopter. Secondly, access to electricity is critical for a mining project and grid power is usually much cheaper than off-grid diesel sub stations. Fortunately, Northern Freegoldâ€™s properties are close to the Klondike Highway where the high voltage transmission grid is located. Nearby mines such as Capstoneâ€™s Minto mine are connected to the grid. The Yukon Electrical Company has indicated that it plans to extend the electricity spur line from Carmacks, which is located roughly 70 kilometers west of the Freegold Mountain property. This could potentially bring grid power to the property.
The company is fortunate to work in a jurisdiction that recognizes the necessity of supporting and working with responsible mineral exploration and mining ventures. The current Yukon government was responsible for setting up a streamlined process for permitting, through the creation of the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board. Permitting can be a major hurdle to overcome in any region, but the continuous open dialogue between government, first nations, explorers, and producers in the Yukon has created an environment that is more favourable than those found in other jurisdictions. The coming year should be an exciting year for Northern Freegold as it delivers on its key milestones. The property is over three times the size of Manhattan. Only a small portion of it has been explored. The company has made additional discoveries on the east side of the property at the Tinta Zone, and has areas with encouraging trenching results such as at Ridge. With further drilling there is the prospect of additional growth in the resource. Northern Freegoldâ€™s near term objective is to further explore and drill the known porphyry system with the goal of doubling the size of the existing resource. Footnote CuEq calculated based on prices of US$1016/oz Au, US$2.95/lb Cu, US$15.82/oz Ag and US$15.82 Mo (3 yr Average; no discount for metallurgical recovery in contained metal figures). Per share Cu price of $2.95/lb n
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 53
gold world resources
Mounting Optimism Gold World Resources set for Mount Anderson gains
Yukon has long been an epicentre of mining, featuring the Tintina Gold Belt, the largest geological structure of its kind in the world. Within this framework lie the 171 claims of the Mount Anderson Project. In 2011, Gold World Resources (TSX-V; GDW) signed an option agreement to own 100 per cent of the Mount Anderson Project. It is a Canadian junior exploration and development resource company with mining capability founded in 1981. Hermann Derbuch, chairman and CEO of Gold World Resources shares the optimism of those active in the Yukon, as five previous adits on the project testify to the abundance of minerals as does the record of the adjacent Tagish Lake Gold Project operated by New Pacific Metals. The decision by Gold World Resources to switch to a Canadian project came as the result of developments affecting the company’s previous investments in China – shareholders had become concerned about political risk and taxation on foreign companies in China. Mount Anderson’s Mineral Wealth Extensive due diligence has encouraged the company. By taking 4,625 soil samples across the +32 km² property, it is clear that there is a 6,000 metres zoned area of mineralization extending from the Rob Skarn (E) to Fleming Skarn (W) with a gold-enriched core approximately 1,750 metres by 400 metres wide (there is no record or evidence of any past exploration at three of the six strong anomalies detected within the zoned area). The company describes the mineral wealth of Mount Anderson as gold/silver–
54 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
poly-metallic, having identified the presence of more than 36 different minerals analyzed. Three types of “intrusion-related” mineralization have been recognized, namely orogenic veins, epithermal gold associated with felsic volcanism and “fault-controlled.” The 2009 and 2010, exploration programs executed by the property vendors comprised the prospecting, mapping and location of adits and several areas of high prospectivity; key were the results from a 110-metre-long surface ore shoot designated the “47-zone.” This zone contains the highest grades within the Whirlwind vein system, a mesothermal-style precious metal system that has been traced for +1,200 metres. Findings included an exceptional 1.2-metre belt containing 3.223 oz/t of gold, 64.16 oz/t of silver, 49 per cent lead and 6.47 per cent zinc; the weighted average for all samples from the vein were 1.2 oz/t gold, 37.6 oz/t silver, 24 per cent lead and 4.8 per cent zinc. After refurbishment of an adit, which will lead to an earlier cashflow than would brand-new drivage, Gold World Resources will have access to gold/silver deposits.
Recent Encouragement In recent weeks, Gold World Resources has reported on the arithmetical average for gold within 59 rock samples taken from “47-zone” weighing around 2.2 tonnes and assessed by AcmeLabs™ in Whitehorse, Yukon; the average for gold is 18.18 g/t. For silver the average over the 59 samples is 825 g/t by fire assay. Specific to the gold samples, 54 out of the 59 revealed results higher than 5 g/t, 22 showed greater than 15 g/t and there were two showing more than 100 g/t. To confirm the results, ten of the highest gold samples will be analyzed by fire assay with gravimetric finish. A Mining-Friendly Regime Gold World Resources sets as its aims the exploration and development of commercially viable gold and silver resources within stable mining-friendly jurisdictions. Yukon has no territorial sales tax and a highly competitive taxation regime. Operations are also supported by the Yukon Mining Incentives Program (a fuel tax exemption for off-road vehicles) and a strategic industries development fund, which applies to mining. Careful selection of recognized contractors is another factor over which the company has total control. On the physical side, operations at Mount Anderson take place a mere 55 kilometres from the Yukon capital, Whitehorse. There is also year-round access to the shipping facilities (distance of 180 kilometres) at Skagway, B.C. On the legal side,
while there are 171 claims with which Gold World Resources is involved, the often complex aspect of native land claims is absent. Further advantages come from the property’s location on the east flank of the coastal mountains; summers are hot, annual rainfall is 160 centimetres and snowfall is moderate. Topography is moderate to rugged at 915 metres – 1,720 metres, and while lower-level vegetation comprises Alpine valley stunted trees, the upper reaches are barren. The Future While placer mining has in the past yielded 20 million oz of gold from the Yukon, increased activity centers on finding bedrock gold. Besides upgrading of existing adits, which will facilitate extraction to 1,250 metres, the company wants to undertake an extensive drilling program to establish an NI 43-101 compliant resource. Of crucial importance is the interest expressed by Chinese companies in the extracted minerals. Gold World Resources contemplates that this financial interest, when linked to the physical and geological aspects of the Yukon mining developments, could influence companies towards co-operating on constructing a local smelter, and processing the ore on site rather than shipping it back to markets such as China. One further effect will be that regular mining will encourage employees to stay in the area, gaining expertise and training as each development picks up speed. n
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 55
stornoway diamond corporation
Diamonds, the New Gold
Stornoway Diamond Corporation expands to the north By Jillian Mitchell Diamonds have long embraced the twin notions of eternal devotion and eternal value. In an era where diamonds are becoming increasingly rare, Stornoway Diamond Corporation holds strong to their vision â€“ building a world class company based on quality products, and mutual respect and trust between community and environment, while simultaneously satisfying the worldâ€™s adoration for these brilliant gemstones. Approaching their 10th anniversary, the Canadian diamond exploration and development company recently became Quebec-based with the relocation of their head office from north Vancouver to Montreal. The motivation, the 100 per cent Stornoway-owned flagship asset, the Re-
56 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
The Renard Project
Building Québec`s First Diamond Mine
Corporate Headquarters in Montreal 1111, rue St-Charles Ouest | Bureau 400, Tour Ouest Longueuil, Québec J4K 5G4 | Tel: (450) 616-5555 HéInvestor Relations in Vancouver Unit 116-980 West 1st Street | North Vancouver, BC V7P 3N4 | Tel: (604) 983-7754 email@example.com Manager, Human Resources
nard Diamond Project, slated to become Quebec’s first diamond mine by mid-2015. Though the Renard Diamond Project is a large development within the company, Stornoway pride themselves on being a multi-asset company in an industry where having one good asset is a rarity. Succinctly, the company maintains a pipeline of projects ready to advance after the Renard Project is financed and moving forward to production, such as the Qilalugaq, Aviat, and Timiskaming projects. Home to the Q 1-4 pipe, currently the largest known diamondiferous kimberlite in the eastern Arctic, the 7,143 hectare (17,650 acre) Qilalugaq Project is situated approximately 10 kilometres north of Repulse Bay in Nunavut. As Stornoway Diamond Corp. President and CEO Matt Manson shares, the pipe consists of approximately 48.8 million tonnes of kimberlite at a diamond content of 53.6 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) for a 26.1 million carat mineral resource extending from surface to a depth of 205 metres. “Qilalugaq is a big kimberlite with a modest grade, and is probably the one most interesting to us because it is eas-
ily accessible from the hamlet of Repulse Bay, a benefit in terms of logistics and infrastructure,” explains Manson, “That’s why we’re most interested of all of our advanced projects; it’s big with big potential, relatively easy to mine, and is a low-cost type of operation.” The word Qilalugaq (pronounced “killa-loo-gack”) is a nod to the surrounding Inuit community, its translation meaning “beluga and narwhal,” animals that have historically been staples of the hamlet’s survival. As with any Stornoway project, community is at the forefront and the team was encouraged by the local response to the Qilalugaq project. “I think the north is perceived to be a very friendly jurisdiction for mining, and I think the Nunavut government has gone a long way to attract mining investment. And certainly the geological potential is there,” says Manson, adding that social acceptability is key to a successful project. Recently, the company applied for the appropriate permitting and conducted a community consultation with Repulse Bay in preparation for a mini-bulk sample in the next few years. And after that, Storno-
way’s long-term plan involves conducting a full bulk sample on Qilalugaq. “As we focus on the financing and development of the Renard Diamond Project in Québec, we continue to nurture our pipeline projects that represent the company’s future growth potential,” says Manson. “The Qilalugaq Project, along with the Aviat Project on the Melville Peninsula of Nunavut, is one of our advanced exploration projects where previous work has delineated a large potential inventory of diamonds, but where we have only limited diamond valuation data. We are very pleased to have reported such a large maiden mineral resource estimate at Qilalugaq that, with the long term positive outlook on diamond prices, is becoming increasing compelling.” For Stornoway, the future is as brilliant as the products they hope to soon export. “The country is the third biggest producer,” adds the Stornoway president and CEO. “The two big mines in the Northwest Territories are in the final half of their life, and new projects, like Renard, are the ones that are going to take over the production profile. Renard will be a big deal in the Canadian diamond business and the world.” n
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Testmark laboratories ltd.
Metal analysis under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation By Sylvia Rennie, Testmark Laboratories Ltd. The mining industry in Canada is no stranger to compliance with environmental legislation. There are regulations pertaining to every aspect of the process from extraction to production and refinement. The mining industry is also no stranger to water, and I’m sure most mine operators and engineers would agree with the words of the actor W.C. Fields who pointed out that, “you can’t trust water: even a stick turns crooked in it.” Water is a force to be reckoned with in the world of mining. From the minute the ground is broken, water becomes the new headache. Issues of containment, usage, storing, pumping, diverting, treating, and disposing take front row centre.
Metals and the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation Now, take the fickle nature of water and throw in elevated metal concentrations, of the sort that can be found in many metal mining operations, as well as some basic principles of chemistry and the plot thickens. In fact, it thickens to the point that in 2002, with the statistics in on the huge volume of water being moved by metal mining operations, the Canadian government understood the need to establish some ground rules on the disposal of effluent from any mine that exceeds an effluent flow rate of 50m3 per day (from all final discharge points) and deposits a “deleterious substance” in a water body. In 2002, the Fisheries Act, Canada’s oldest piece of legislation, was amended by the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation, a regulation aimed at regulating the disposal of mine tailings and other waste matter produced during mining operations into natural fish-bearing waters. True, the regulation does not focus solely on metals and their discharge limits, but metals weigh in heavily in both the prescribed list of defined deleterious substances (Schedule 4 of the regulation), as well as in Environment Canada’s guidance document for the sampling and analysis of metal mine effluent under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation (MMER), which adds 12 more metals to the list as elements with target analytical data quality objectives for metal mining effluents. Metals and Water: Chemistry 101 At this point, enter a good analytical testing lab. To get the data you require for compliance with MMER, it is necessary to engage the services of an accredited analytical lab. Typically it is enough to contact the lab, order the necessary bottle supplies (customer service will walk you through this), take the sample, and submit. But, as mentioned earlier, metals in water can be-
60 Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
have rather recklessly. So, it is beneficial if you understand some of the basic chemistry that is happening in your water sample before you get back your data and stare at a list of concentration results. First, it is important to understand that the metal in your water sample can exist in a variety of forms – colloidal, particulate, or dissolved phases. Colloidal chemistry is a science onto itself, and colloidal and particulate metal may be found in a number of complexes including hydroxides, oxides, silicates, and sulfides. Furthermore, metals in water are continually adsorbing and desorbing to and from sediment; they are in a constant state of flux dependent largely in part on the water chemistry. Adsorption removes the metal from the water column and stores it in the substrate. Desorption returns the metal to the water column. Metals may be desorbed from the sediment from such things as increases in salinity, decreases in redox potential or decreases in pH. Dissolved metals are generally in low concentrations in natural water bodies. For this reason, a good lab will ask you to clarify which type of metals analysis you require – straight-run metal analysis, dissolved analysis, or digested (total) analysis. The question is key to getting the type of analysis you require to compare your data to the regulation. The wrong type of laboratory analysis for metals means that, despite all your good intentions and efforts, your data is virtually meaningless when scrutinized by a regulatory body. There are three basic ways a water sample can be analyzed – total metals, straight run metals, and dissolved metals. To assist with this, your lab should ask you what Regulation you are testing under. Regulations have specific analytical requirements associated with them and your lab should be very aware of this. MMER requires total (digested) metals analysis, as does MISA and the Provincial Water Quality Objectives. In total metals analysis, excluding mercury, your water sample is preserved at the lab or in the field with nitric acid. The effect of this is to lower the pH enough to begin breaking the chemical bonds that may exist between metals and other compounds or elements. Once in the laboratory, more acid is added and the sample is heated and reconstituted. In theory, this procedure yields the highest concentra-
tion of metals in a given water sample. Drinking water regulations often require straight-run (regular) metals analysis, whereby the sample is preserved, allowed to stand for a period of time then introduced to the analytical instrument. Drinking water samples normally do not contain much particulate matter and it is thought that acidification combined with a waiting time is sufficient to solubilize enough metals from particulate matter to determine the suitability of the water for consumption. This means that, if metals are bound up strongly, they remain undetected by the testing equipment (likely an ICP/MS), which in turn yields a lower concentration than if the sample had been digested. Finally, in dissolved metals analysis, the lab is asked to filter the sample prior to analyzing. This is typically requested in ground-water or surface-water investigations where there is visible particulate, and it means that the lab will filter the sample through a 0.45 micron filter before testing it. In general, dissolved metal con-
centrations for any given sample will be the lowest as the act of filtering eliminates any metals that are bound to particulate. For highly soluble metals, there are little differences when the sample is analyzed regardless of preparation scheme. The challenges associated with running a successful mining operation are plentiful, and indeed may appear overly daunting at times. Your environmental compliance program is a very important part of the mix and assuring you understand what monitoring programs you must undertake and what the data means is critical. Don’t go it alone – there is help out there and a well-chosen analytical lab is a key ally in ensuring your data stands the test. Testmark Laboratories is a full-service environmental testing laboratory based out of Garson, Kirkland Lake (under the name Accuracy Environmental Labs), Timmins and Mississauga. Visit us at www.testmark.ca or call 1-888-282-0422. n
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
groupe desgagnÉs inc.
Spirit of Enterprise
Groupe Desgagnés Inc. is at the heart of the Arctic’s economy and development Desgagnés as a company dates back to the 19th century, and until the acquisition by Louis-Marie Beaulieu in 1987, was owned and developed through generations of Desgagnés family ownership. For the most part they were mariners and reputed to be outstanding men and women who were both dependable and responsible people. Respect for these values and the history of the family name is a motivating factor to uphold the Desgagnés reputation. Desgagnés’ presence in the Arctic is not a recent development. The first voyage was undertaken in 1960 by the Aigle d’Océan, a small cargo vessel barely 50 metres long. Goods were transported for the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec, which is the co-op movement in Nunavik, northern Québec, in order to reach various Nunavik ports between Kuujjuaq and Kuujjuarapik. This humble beginning triggered maritime development of this area for Desgagnés. Today, the Desgagnés fleet is made up of 18 vessels of different types, namely one passenger/cargo vessel, seven oil tankers, three bulk carriers, six cargo vessels (general cargo and heavy loads), and
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an additional passenger/cargo vessel currently under construction. The vessels collectively transport on a yearly basis more than five million metric tonnes of goods, equating to over 5,500 days/vessels and close to 14,000 passengers. Desgagnés supplies replenishment services to more than 38 communities in Nunavik and Nunavut, including goods such as food, clothing, vehicles, prefab homes, heavy machinery, and equipment for exploration and mining development. Desgagnés also provides re-fuelling services through its subsidiary Petro-Nav Inc. and owns Tessier Ltée, a sizeable subsidiary company that operates heavy machinery and cranes, based on the North Shore of Quebec. In 2008, Desgagnés was the first shipping company to service western Arctic from the east (Montreal) through the Northwest Passage, a feat that was broadcast on the Thalassa show on channel TV5 in France. In addition to technical knowledge, good business strategies are essential to development. In this manner, Desgagnés,
who provides sealift services to communities in the five regions of Nunavut, works in partnership with Arctic Co-operatives Limited (ACL), an organisation comprising 19,000 members, with co-op stores situated in the majority of Nunavut communities. Likewise, Desgagnés, through its services in Nunavik, is also in partnership with the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ), which owns co-op stores in all 14 Nunavik communities and boasts more than 7,500 Inuit members, thus representing the near totality of Inuit adults in Nunavik. All of these aspects can be summed up by two factors, namely “human capital,” and “a spirit of enterprise,” on the part of the Groupe Desgagnés team. With the goal of improving work in conjunction with the various regions and residents of Nunavik and Nunavut, they continue to develop a company team with a high level of expertise and wherein responsibilities are defined and clearly distributed, that will allow the company to continue the process of contributing to sustainable economic development in these areas. n
Can Our Future Help to Protect Our Past?
Using the knowledge and history of both Nunavut and AREVA to design the proposed Kiggavik Project Discussions about northern development of any type, including mining, have often been a question of “either-or.” Do you want a traditional lifestyle, or do you want jobs? Do you want to protect the environment, or do you want major investment and economic spinoffs? The list goes on. AREVA has been working hard in Nunavut for the past five years to come up with answers that are not “either-or,” but in fact both. For example, the hiring policy for the Kiggavik Project will strongly favour Nunavut residents, but they will continue to be based with their families in their home communities. It is a model that has worked well in northern Saskatchewan, and has avoided the creation of “mining towns.” In this way, a young person can get a well-paying, full-time job without having to move away. The benefits of that work schedule will enable workers and their families to preserve their traditional community values, while at the same time bringing new skills and benefits back to their home. A person who becomes trained as a mechanic, for example, not only has a very good-paying job with health and training benefits, he or she can also use their new skills to help their neighbours. Protecting the caribou, which is certainly a priority, doesn’t depend just on scientific studies and surveys to come up with the answers. Knowledge from hunters, trappers, and elders who know caribou and the
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land in ways the scientists can’t has been and will continue to be considered and influence the project. Even though people can have very different interests and motives, they can share the same vision. AREVA’s vision, and commitment, is that 25 years from now Kiggavik’s mining days may be over, but the project will have been positive and the environment protected and available for traditional uses. In the past seven-years, AREVA has held or attended more than 300 events in communities throughout the region to let Nunavummuit know what the plans are, how things are progressing, and to learn from the traditional knowledge and local advice to make sure the planning for Kiggavik is done right. AREVA is thankful for the sharing of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) and plan to continue integrating this knowledge into the way business is done and the design and potentially the implementation of the Kiggavik Project. On top of that, AREVA is complying with very strict regulatory procedures and guidelines governed by independent bodies such as the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the organization leading the environmental assessment for the Kiggavik Project. Currently, the focus is on AREVA’s environmental impact statement, a series of documents that addresses some very tough questions affecting the people of
the region, the wildlife, and the environment. It covers projections for the threeyear construction of the mine, 14-years of operation, and five-years of decommissioning (i.e. shutdown and restoration). The plan also calls for an estimated additional 10-years of monitoring, to ensure that the remediation has been successful. To its credit, AREVA has a strong track record to the south, in what is called the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan. It would be wrong to think that northern Saskatchewan is the same as Nunavut – there are some very significant differences. But at least four of AREVA’s accomplishments over the past 40 years in the Athabasca region are relevant to the Kiggavik discussion. Firstly, the policy of hiring and training northern peoples, and giving preference to local businesses, has been widely recognized for its success. AREVA and the Saskatchewan uranium mining industry are among Canada’s top employers of Aboriginal people. What’s more, the jobs offer above-average pay and benefits, they are full-time jobs (not seasonal), and there are exceptional opportunities for training and advancement, including over $100,000 in 2011 for scholarships for students. A number of northerners who are now university graduates with engineering and other degrees will tell you it never would have happened without the mining industry. Northern preferences also come into play
for donations to non-profit community initiatives (including those in Nunavut). The overall charitable donations and sponsorships amounts are significant: in 2011, they amounted to an average of $2,500 per employee. Along with jobs is the top priority at any of AREVA’s sites – safety. Employees at AREVA’s McClean Lake site had zero losttime accidents in 2011. Safety policies are continually updated, and safety training is ongoing. Also of importance is protecting workers from radiation. Today’s uranium mineworker receives on average only about five per cent of the federal government’s regulated dose limit; that’s about one thousand times less than workers 60-years ago. Local northerner concerns about protecting the wildlife and the environment in Saskatchewan led to some of the world’s toughest mining regulations. Here again AREVA has performed very well. In 30-years of trucking products from the uranium sites in Saskatchewan, not a single ounce of uranium concentrate has been spilled. A fourth example is AREVA’s mine and mill at Cluff Lake that operated for 22 years. Following Cluff’s closure in 2002, AREVA has demolished the buildings, covered the tailings area, filled the pits and reclaimed the waste rock piles. The “before and after” photos of the site tell the story of AREVA’s success. With more monitoring underway, AREVA is first mining company to fulfill its commitment in mine decommissioning under the province of Saskatchewan’s modern-day regulations. In short, detailed studies show that, especially compared to international standards, modern uranium development by AREVA has proven to be safe for workers and the public. But, what does this all mean for the Kiggavik Project? It means there is every reason to believe that AREVA will live up to its shared commitment to maintaining the natural habitat, traditional hunting, and wildlife migration patterns, and desired lifestyles of Nunavummiut. It also means a projected capital investment of $2.1 billion at the site, along with operating costs of $240 million a year. With preferences given to Nunavut residents, AREVA will create an estimated 750 full-time jobs during construction, along with 600 jobs
when the mine and mill are operating. Another estimated 1,300 jobs will be created through contractors and sub-contractors – again, with preference given to Nunavut-based businesses. On top of that will be an estimated $1 billion paid out in taxes and royalties. The company will also continue to be a strong supporter of charitable donations to non-profit organizations in the communities near which it operates. There is one other “win-win” scenario, this time involving Nunavut and the world. AREVA internationally is a leader in providing sustainable alternatives to energies
that produce CO2 . The Kiggavik mine, if it were operating today, would supply roughly nine per cent of the resources needed for the world’s nuclear-generated electricity, which is a key component in the fight against global warming. By helping an energy-hungry world, the mine at Kiggavik may, over the long term, help to reduce the growing climate change threat to the Arctic. In the 21st century, there are no simple answers or promises. One thing we do know, however, is that if we work together, we can get it right. n
WORKING IN HARMONY FOR A STRONGER COMMUNITY ᐱᓪᓕᕆᖃᑎᒡᒋᓯᐊᕐᓂᖅ ᐃᓐᓄᖃᑎ˙ᒡᒌᓯᖢᓐᓃ ᓴᖏᔪᑎᑦᓯᕗᖅ ᓄᓐᓇᓕᐅᖃᑎᒡᒋᓐᓄᑦ
Respect for the land and its people is at the core of everything we do at AREVA. That means listening more than speaking, treading softly and lending a helping hand wherever we can. A new mining operation would create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for Nunavummiut. The North isn’t just where we work; it’s part of who we are. ᐅᑉᐱᒡᒍᓱᑦᓯᐊᖅᓂᖅ ᓄᓐᓇᒻᒥᒃ ᐊᒪᓗ ᐃᓐᓄᖏᓂᒃ ᐅᔭᕋᒃᑕᖅᕕᖕᒥ ᑕᒻᒪᐃᑎᒡᒍᑦ ᐊᕇᕝᕙᒻᒥᑕᐅᔪᒡᒍᑦ ᑐᑭᖃᖅᑐᖅᓈᓪᓛᓯᐊᔪᔪᑦ ᑭᐅᒻᖓᖏᖢᑎᒃ, ᐱᑦᓯᐊᔪᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᒪᓪᓗ ᐃᑲᔪᕈᓐᓇᑦᓯᐊᓗᑎᒃ ᖃᖓᒻᒥᐊᑯᑦ ᐃᓐᓅᖃᑎᒻᒥᓐᓂᒃ. ᓅᑦᑕᖑᔪᖅ ᐅᔭᕋᒃᑕᖅᕕᒃ ᐱᕈᖅᑎᑦᓯᓂᐊᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᒪᓘᓪ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᕙᕕᓕᓐᓄᑦ ᓄᓐᓇᕘᒻᒥᐅᓐᓂᒃ. ᐅᒃᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᕙᕕᑐᐃᖕᓇᐅᖏᑐᖅ; ᐃᓪᓚᐅᖃᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅᐳᒡᒍᑦ ᑭᑦᑐᖕᒪᖓᑉ`ᑕ.
Baker Lake Office ᖃᒻᒪᓂ’ᑐᐊᖅᒥ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᕝᕕᒃ
1-867-793-2000 arevaresources.ca • kiggavik.ca Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 65
Through joint ventures and parnterships the NUNA Group of Companies plays a large role in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut NUNA is a majority Inuit owned company servicing the Canadian mining industry by providing contract mining, training, and site infrastructure development. NUNA has been involved on virtually every mining project in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Nuna has a multi-million dollar equipment base, which is constantly growing due to its expansion in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and most recently, Mongolia. Training and Staff The hiring and training of Inuit, Aboriginal, and local staff has been a focus of Nuna’s, resulting in the company having, among owners and contractors, the highest percentage of local residents working on projects in which Nuna is involved. Their ongoing education programs and training opportunities allow
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the labour source not only to grow, but to advance and provide proficient leaders in the future. Safety Nuna takes a proactive approach to work site safety. Nuna utilizes the expertise of on-site safety professionals to support Nuna’s Project Managers and supervision teams in their pursuit of a “no incident” worksite. Clients have confidence that the work program will be completed in the manner and time-frame discussed with them and have immediate and direct access to all members of the management team and site supervisors. NUNA joint ventures and partnerships include: • Bathurst Inlet Port and Road Joint Venture Ltd. • Det’on Cho / Nuna Joint Venture • Denesoline / Nuna Joint Venture
• Kanu LLC, working together in Mongolia • Kivalliq Services Ltd. • Lac de Gras Constructors, (LDGC) a partnership between Nuna Logistics Limited and Peter Keiwit Sons Co. Ltd. • Mahiihkanuk / Nuna Joint Venture — working together in the Ontario area • NAAG / Nuna Joint Venture – North American Aboriginal Group Projects Inc. • NuBa Equipment Ltd.
• Nuna Okanagan Indian Band Joint Venture • Pinehouse / Nuna Joint Venture – working together in Saskatchewan • Westarc Drilling and Blasting Services Ltd. The NUNA Group of Companies features Nuna Logistics Limited; Nuna Contracting Ltd.; Nuna Drilling (FALC) Ltd.; Nuna Innovations Inc.; Nuna M&T Services Ltd.; Nuna Site Services Ltd.; Nuna Training Technologies Ltd.; and Nuna Winter Road Services Ltd. n
How Remote is your site?
Flying is our passion, Safety is our mission 907 550 8600 • erahelicopters.com
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 67
Mercer Contracting makes their mark on the mining industry By Peter Jickling
The Yukon saw a banner year for the mineral exploration industry in 2011. With $307-million of total expenditures, the Yukon nearly doubled its previous record. Exploration companies arrived by the boatload, looking to set up work camps and move infrastructure to far flung locations throughout the Canadian north. The immense needs of the industry created perfect conditions for dynamic
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young entrepreneurs to make their mark on the Yukon business community. No one has done this more effectively than Ross Mercer and Lisa Marino, owners of Mercer Contracting. “When the exploration boom came, we were ready for it,” says Mercer, whose company currently leases property in the Porter Creek industrial area and has an expanding fleet of semi and one-ton trucks.
“We had a very good year.” So what services does Mercer Contracting offer? In a word—everything. “Our strength is our versatility,” says Marino. “We offer clients the ability to get everything they want from one place.” As the 2011 season began, Mercer Contracting focused primarily on transportation and expediting services, but as exploration continued to ramp up, Marino and Mercer saw that the needs of their clientele continued to expand. Now they are offering a full range of trucking services, including pilot cars, and a number of options for camp installations. Mercer Contracting can sell and install exploration-camp infrastructure customized to cleint’s exact needs. They will also provide full staffing services upon request. It’s this commitment to hassle-free, single-source service that has earned Mercer Contracting a stellar reputation throughout the territory. Richard Elkington, logistics and operations manager for Revelation Geoscience, heard about this reputation before he had even been to the Yukon. He has used Mercer Contracting at every stage of the cycle of an exploration project – from conception to deployment.
“I first met Ross when I did a project up here three years ago,” says Elkington. “Ross came recommended by other geologists.” The decision to hire Mercer Contracting is one that he has never regretted. “It’s been a fantastic experience. The whole crew is a pleasure to be around.” Among the things that Elkington appreciates the most is the honest and straightforward way they dealt with him. “I’ve worked with them a handful of times and they always deliver on-time with the price we agreed on.” In an industry sustained by strong working relationships, Elkington plans to use Mercer Contracting well into the future. “I look forward to working with them as they continue to grow,” he says. Among the things that Marino and Mercer are most known for is their ability to adapt to unpredictable situations. “We’ve done some very last-minute camp installs in challenging conditions,” says Mercer. “But we’ve finished them on time and on budget.” Perhaps the most challenging camp they ever had to set up was in northern Manitoba in the winter of 2011. “Things were winding down and then we got this call to install a 25-man camp,” says Mercer. They jumped at the opportunity and soon found themselves trucking their way to Manitoba on the Trans Canada Highway. When they arrived, the mercury had dipped to -45 degrees Celsius. “We did what we needed to do,” he says. Marino’s most vivid memory from that experience came when she was helping install the camp’s electrical system with only two eye slits exposed to the cold. “We can look back on it now and laugh,” she says. As Mercer Contracting heads towards 2013, Marino and Mercer are looking to build on their past successes and welldeserved reputation. They are moving their operations to a bigger yard to keep pace with the growth of their company, and are also diversifying their business to ensure it remains financially viable in all seasons and all economic climates. Mercer Contracting is a true Yukon success story – forged by the can-do attitude that made our territory great in the first place. n Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013 69
BRITESPAN BUILDING SYSTEMS
Got You Covered BRITE Building Solutions by BRITESPAN Building Systems
Based in Ontario, BRITESPAN Building Systems is a premier Canadian manufacturer and distributor of fabric covered buildings with an extensive dealer network across Canada and the U.S. With over 17 years experience in the fabric building industry, they have supplied and constructed over 5,000 fabric covered structures for several different applications including mining, municipal, aggregate, warehousing, and agricultural. Sized have ranged as well having constructed buildings as small as
19 feet wide by 30 feet long to and as large as 160 feet wide by 937 feet long. From big to small they can cover it all. Custom widths and designs are available for special applications. BRITESPAN Building Systemsâ€™ free span design allows for optimal storage space. Some of their building models can achieve an interior 50 foot height in the centre of the building. This allows for trucks to enter the building and dump directly inside, eliminating time and labour moving materials in and
out of the building. Also, the fabric cover provides great lighting and eliminates the need for costly electrical installations and operation. This creates a safe working environment for your employees. The building seems bright even on the cloudiest of days. BRITESPAN has three different building models to choose from. The Atlas Series is an arch building available in widths from 19 to 82 feet wide. The Genesis Series is a rounded peak building that is available in
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widths from 60 feet wide to 160 feet wide, and then the Epic Building which has an A-line pitch roof and is available in widths from 60 feet to 160 feet as well. Clients can check out the seriesâ€™ profiles online to see what building model best suits their building needs The buildings can be customized to meet specific requirements including special door requirements, conveyor systems, internal liners, insulating heating and more. The unique design of BRITESPAN Building Systemsâ€™ structures allows for cost effective and reduced installation times. Many different foundations can be used including poured walls, sea containers, cement blocks, floating slabs, and grade beams. Most buildings can also be easily relocated or the company can extend the building if required. CSA/A660 certified, BRITESPAN Buildings are engineered to meet and exceed the site specific wind, snow, and rain loads. BRITESPAN Building Systems can help you with your fabric covered building project from start to finish. Their qualified dealers and building consultants have years of
experience and can recommend the right building solution for your building needs. BRITESPAN can also consult with clients regarding foundations; cover replacements for any type of fabric building; capacity calculations; bid specifications; dismantling buildings; service or repairs; and early maintenance inspections. BRITESPAN Building Systems recently opened their new 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The new plant is a fabric covered, steel framed building, just as BRITESPAN sells to its own customers. The facility includes a combination of new
equipment and existing equipment and new special proprietary equipment. The most important aspect is to double our manufacturing space and make BRITESPAN more efficient in all aspects of manufacturing. To get started on your next building project contact BRITESPAN Building Systems today. They are not here to sell you a building, they are here to help you build one. For more information, visit us online at www.britespanbuildings.com n
Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
millrock resources inc.
Joint Rewards Millrock Resources Inc. has found success in Alaska through a Project Generator – Joint Venture business model
Millrock Resources Inc. is an Alaska-based TSX Venture Exchange listed company focused on generating gold and copper projects for joint venture exploration and development in Alaska and Arizona. By rigorously following the Project Generator – Joint Venture business model, Millrock Resources has remained very active throughout 2012, despite prolonged market uncertainty. With
the addition of new projects, including the un-partnered AUDN copper-gold project in southwest Alaska and the un-partnered Stellar copper-gold project in central Alaska, as well as the announcement of a new project partnership with Inmet on the company’s Monsoon Project located in the Safford Copper District of Arizona, Millrock has continued to showcase its ability to execute and its dedication to the Project Generator model. As
• Commercial and Industrial electrical supply and install • Fire alarm supply and install • Electrical material supply • High voltage installations • Diesel generation supply and install • Generator synchronization • Design/build installations • Automated control installation • Underground mining installations • Surface mining installations • Dewatering installations • Sewage and water treatment plant installations • Power distribution Darren Fraser, GM Industrial Division Spruce Grove, AB 780-960-3601 Ric Bolivar Commercial Division Head Office, Yellowknife, NT 867-765-6121
• Industrial Mechanical Installations • Pressure pipe fitting, registered in NWT, Alberta and BC • Pressure pipe fitting welding, registered in NWT, Alberta, BC • Structural welding, CWB registered • Millwright services • Heat recovery installations • Mine site yard piping • Fuel tank farm piping and dispensing systems • Process piping • Dewatering installations • Sewage and water treatment plant installations • Design/Build installations
Dave Tucker Head Office Yellowknife, NT 867-765-6109 Darren Fraser, GM Spruce Grove, AB 780-960-1850
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• Industrial mechanical installations • Industrial electrical installations • Telecommunications • Electronic survelliance • All services provided by the other companies in this listing Ric Bolivar Head office Rankin Inlet, NU 867-765-6121
• Industrial mechanical installations • Industrial electrical installations • Telecommunications • Electronic survelliance • All services provided by the other companies in this listing Ric Bolivar Head office Kugluktuk, NU 867-765-6121
• Wind generation prefeasiblity studies • Wind monitoring and meteorological tower supply, install and monitor • Data collection and analyzing for Wind generation feasiblity • Design/tender wind turbine generation • Wind farm installation
Ric Bolivar 867-765-6121
• Commercial and Industrial installations • Supply and installation of Structured Wiring Systems (Belden certified) • Supply and installation of CCTV • Intrusion alarm, supply and install • Card access systems • Telecommunications systems • Fibre optic supply, install and termination • Design/build installations
Rob Johnson 867-669-9191
9 Nahanni Drive, Box 1835 Yellowknife, NT T: 867-765-6100 F: 867-765-6122
the exploration operator for the projects generated, Millrock receives management fees, as well as option agreement payments during the earn-in phase; these funds offset a major portion of overhead expenses. By partnering with some of the leading names in the mining industry such as Kinross, Teck, Vale, Inmet, and Altius, as well as junior explorer Crescent Resources, Millrock’s 2012 exploration expenditures are on track to exceed U.S. $11 million; 90 per cent of which will be funded by partner companies through earnin option agreements. This funding has been and is currently being used for drill campaigns on six of Millrock’s 15 projects; three in Alaska and three in Arizona. Early stage exploration work has also been completed on five other projects, laying the groundwork for an extensive 2013 exploration campaign. Thus far, Millrock’s 2012 exploration campaign has, most notably, led to the discovery of a new gold zone at the Teck-partnered Estelle project, located in central Alaska, and the recent acquisition of Stellar, which hosts a non-43-101 compliant historical resource of 219,000 ounces of gold and 66.9 million pounds of copper. Despite the challenging economic conditions Millrock will remain a very active explorer over the coming months. With drilling season coming to an end in Alaska, Millrock has shifted its focus to Arizona, where it is currently drilling on the company’s Inmet-partnered San Jose copper project in the Safford Copper District. Drilling on the company’s recently partnered Monsoon project is anticipated to begin in early 2013, providing sustained news flow over the coming winter months. n
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Invention, Innovation, Improvisation CanDig Inc. wins kudos from clients and industry What separates a good invention from a great one is often the product’s versatility. Whether it’s a video game, a skateboard, or a mini-excavator designed and built in Kamloops, the more things the user can do with it, the greater the appreciation. But improvisation is the key to business success and is at the heart of the innovative and adaptable CanDig excavator. Case in point: a Dawson City Mining Exploration company asked if it was possible to bring one of these small, new-fangled award-winning CanDig excavators down a mountain slope, then do some trench exploration. The customer thought it unlikely because the terrain was steep and “difficult to get into,” he said. That proved to be an understatement. The CanDig “Mining CD21” was air lifted by helicopter into the alpine, then began inching its descent down the hill, but recalls that he was ready to jump off and let it tumble down the slope, over the cliff and into the river far below. “If that would have happened, I’d have climbed back to the top of the mountain, got in the helicopter, return to town and bought another CanDig!” Well-known Yukon prospector of the year, Shawn Ryan, is a fan of the CanDig Mini Excavators. “We needed a small excavator that could be used for mineral exploration that was helicopter portable. The CanDig excavator appeared to be the best one as it was the lightest and had already proven its worth as a trenching machine. It was instrumental in the White Gold discovery of Underworld Resources in the Yukon. Now we are using nine of them on other Yukon projects with great success. The CanDig Mini Excavator follows up soil anomalies and can dig down to nine feet in depth. A Bell Long Ranger helicopter can easily carry the excavator to the exploration site or we break it down into two pieces when using the smaller Bell JetRanger 206 helicopter.”
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Stability on uneven ground, being helicopter transportable, and coming fully equipped with more spare parts than will ever be needed have made the “Mining CD21” the new exploration method of choice. It now has an auger feature that adds to its versatility, and allows prospectors to probe nine feet deeper into the ground. Such utilitarian features won CanDig Inc. a Canadian Trade Commission nomination as best exporting company for 2005, and Technology Innovator award in 2007. Indeed, CanDig Inc. had already won many awards, according to company founder and president Gordon Leschyson, who started the company 11 years ago in his Kamloops carport. Since then, CanDig Inc. has grown from a one-man/one mini-excavator operation to an international manufacturer of several models, plus accessories. To date, CanDig has built more than 250 excavators, many of which are far from home, including Jamaica, U.S., Algeria, South Africa, Spain, France,
England, Ireland, Czeck Republic, Romania, Iceland, Buhtan, and Colombia. The company now consists of five fulltime employees and several international dealers working exclusively for CanDig. All this has been done without hiring a single salesperson nor extensive advertising. In fact, once the word was out about the new product, “customers simply call up to place orders,” says Leschyson. “Word-of-mouth advertising means happy owners are saying good things about CanDig products to their friends. It would be tempting to think that CanDig’s success is due to product development. That’s part of it, since the federal government has provided us with seven grants, as well as academic support. But, the real reason for its growth is more basic. People don’t go out and buy mini-excavators. What customers are looking for is an affordable tool that will do what they need. Digging needs vary greatly from one person to another so we tailor our manufacturing to come up with unique solutions for their unique needs. With prospectors, they need a digger that is portable and reliable to use in remote areas. I understand that because I grew up on
a trapline in the Yukon, and had to rely on my skidoo in extremely remote conditions.” You can see CanDig doing what it does so well at www.candig.com, or check the “demonstration” page to see if it’s convenient to arrange for your own personal live demonstration at various locations. n
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k&k expediting ltd. and truck rentals
Serving You K&K Expediting Ltd. and Truck Rentals has built their success on personalized client relationships and service For the last 15 years, K&K Expediting Ltd. and Truck Rentals have been providing vehicle rentals, expediting and logistical support services in the Dehcho region of the Mackenzie Valley at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. Even though the Dehcho region has experienced little growth since owner Tim McClelland started, K&K Expediting Ltd. and Truck Rentals has grown into a business that plays a major part in supporting the region everyday. McClelland believed that in order to support any future projects that he had to grow K&K and build some capacity. As opportunity often does, some doors
opened, and in 2010 he opened another shop in Whitehorse, Yukon. “We had the support of existing clients who gladly spread the word on the quality of our vehicles and the service we provided them,” he says, adding since that date he and his crew have been operating in the back court of a gas station in down town Whitehorse. “We have a five bay garage and a high traffic location on Fourth Avenue so we get a lot of visibility and the downtown traffic seems endless, which is great because we are still kind of new to town and want people to see us and our trucks again and again.”
Since 2010, K&K Truck Rentals has been greeting clients at the airport, morning, noon, and night. And, the service doesn’t stop there. If you want your rental vehicle delivered to your site, just say the word. McClelland says his clients are happy to be met and escorted to their vehicle while being told the directions to their hotel or work site. “People like the personal contact, and the opportunity to ask questions and we like to be good ambassadors and to provide exceptional service. You get to build rapport and to share some laughs perhaps.” When asked to give a reason for K&K’s success McClelland answers, “Family
“AcmeLabs’ innovative Dust Control Unit (DCU) enhances worker performance and safety, and minimizes cross contamination. That’s important to all of us.” –Angelo Karitsiotis, Global Prep Manager, 14 years industry experience
care commitment Performance visit acmelab.com or call + 1 604 253 3158
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What does K&K stand for? The Ks are for Kailah and Kristen, McClelland’s daughter and niece, who were both born the year K&K was created. support and my Team, if it weren’t for them K&K would only have been a one horse show. It’s because of people like Marion, Kele, Matthew, Roxy, Stella, Darrin, Carl, Kenny , Wesley, Lawrence, Beatrice, Gerry, Action Al, and last but not least, Amber, that it all gets taken care of. I have been blessed to be surrounded by such quality people who put huge efforts into K&K.” n
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HDR Alaska, Inc.
HDR Alaskaâ€™s innovative use of GIS technology improves services provided to the mining industry HDR Alaska, Inc. is pushing the boundaries of traditional field data collection for the services they provide to mining clients. HDRâ€™s field staff use innovative technology solutions such as geo-referenced video and database driven field devices to increase field work accuracy and productivity. By developing these solutions to meet project needs, HDR achieves an expedited schedule, increases cost savings to clients, and delivers accurate, standardized data that can be integrated into all project delivery requirements. HDRâ€™s GIS team works closely with their engineering and environmental science staff to develop tools that streamline all aspects of work, from data collection to analysis, and reporting. Their mobile wetland application allows the user to collect all wetland related data and then seamlessly integrate with desktop tools for quality control (QC), analysis, and reporting. Eliminating paper forms improves field efficiency and data quality and results in a high quality, standardized product. Digital data collection and QC tools means HDR can rapidly deliver data and maps for clients. HDR is also advancing the state-of-the-art traditional field observation by creating and using geo-referenced videos. Georeferenced, or geolocated videos combine moving video captured via helicopter and GPS track lines into a video product viewable on any computer or media device. HDR has developed a cost effective process for producing these videos that provide a visual, spatial, and time referenced record by showing location along tracklines and time stamps embedded in the final video product. When videos are integrated with other data
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for remote projects, field data can be verified, design decisions vetted, site conditions confirmed, and many other cost saving decisions can be made without return trips to the project site. HDR produces geolocated videos using commercial-off-theshelf tools and a custom designed video processing procedure. Because videos are processed using industry standard cameras and file formats, geolocated video products are ready for use on all major software platforms without additional software purchase, and can be easily adapted for web distribution. Engineers, scientists, and project managers find value in the geolocated video’s ability to provide greater access to field observation and survey information. At HDR, geolocated video products are used for: • Aerial Monitoring • Wildlife Surveys • Route Analysis Studies • Wetland Mapping • Ice and Flooding Tracking HDR provides clients with innovative technology solutions for their projects. They strive to apply the best practical and sustainable solution for each client and their project. HDR’s approach is to do great work that results in life-long relationships with all of their mining clients in Alaska. To learn more about HDR Alaska’s GIS program, contact local GIS Manager, Bridget Brown at Bridget.Brown@hdrinc.com. n
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Fast-growing exploration company teams with Atlas Copco to create stealth-rig for sensitive ecologies
The CS1000 P4 is shown at work for Energold in Guinea, West Africa. Energold Drilling Corp. is a leading specialty drilling company servicing the mineral and energy sectors in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Energold specializes in mineral exploration in remote locations with limited infrastructure. Such locations require the smallest footprint possible going in, leaving as little or no evidence on their way out. Energold’s rigs can be transported by helicopter or manually on footpaths as narrow as one meter. They set up quickly and then are struck and packed out, with any sign of their presence quickly disappearing behind them. Energold has teamed up with Atlas Copco and its team of engineers in North Bay, Ontario to design small rigs capable of drilling to a variety of depths, as required for each project. Robert Neil is the product manager for Atlas Copco Canada’s exploration drilling lines. When he learned of Energold’s requirements, the Atlas Copco CS1000 P4 came to mind right away. At only 7,000 pounds wet fly-in weight, the CS1000 P4 was already one of the most portable of all commercially manufactured exploration rigs. In the PQ and HQ sizes that Energold will typically drill with the rig, it can go to 305 and 460 meters, respectively. However, in BQ, it will go as deep as 1,070 meters. Its 3.9-liter, four-cylinder Cummins diesel engine provides 86.5 kW (116 hp) of power for 6,030 kg of thrust and 9,070 kg of pull. It is geared to pull cores at 45 meters per minute. Neil knew right away that the P4, an industry-proven design, could achieve the depths Energold was intending to reach. “Our thoughts were to provide a custom trailer, based on the stock item, which could be divided into four modules that met the weight and size requirements,” says Neil.
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Exploring the globe Based in Vancouver, Energold is an explosively fast-growing company, earning recognition as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Profit Magazine and placed in Business in Vancouver’s Top 100 Fastest Growing companies four times. Just six years after its incorporation, Energold expanded from six rigs to 230 rigs, operating in 22 countries. The company has also recently diversified through several corporate acquisitions to provide customers with mineral drilling, oil sands drilling; water well drilling and drill rig-manufacturing services. The company’s reputation has not been built solely upon its award-winning environmentally sensitive operations. It has gained attention for its dedication to social responsibility. The company has donated water wells and has helped build roads and bridges. Energold is socially responsible, with a corporate policy to hire local laborers as drillers’ helpers, with the opportunity to advance their skills to become helpers and eventually experienced drillers and drill supervisors. Ryan Davidson, Energold Operations, says one of the greatest decision factors in working with Atlas Copco was timely response. When Energold solicited bids from manufacturers for a research and design project, Atlas Copco responded within the hour and continued the dialog periodically throughout the day with calls and emails. Davidson said other companies took two or more days to respond. Ken Breen, Atlas Copco sales representative to British Columbia, invited Energold executives to meet the engineers at North Bay and to see the facilities firsthand. That kind of attention sold Energold on Atlas Copco’s commitment to work with them.
Customer-led design Neil says, “Using the stock CS1000 P4 rig as a base, a number of personnel from Ener8 Mining & Construction Canada 2 / 2012 the rig right away with the promise of many more orders in the future. The four-part modular version of the CS1000 P4 that Energold helped design is already proving to be a hit in Guinea. With the ever increasing demand for Energold’s services, this new rig should prove to be a grand slam for Atlas Copco’s exploration offerings in this burgeoning specialty market. The CS1000 P4 is shown at work for Energold in Guinea, West Africa. Now a wholly-owned division of the Energold Drilling Group, Bertram is headquartered in Carbon, Alberta, and is a leading oil and gas drilling services company providing oil sands coring, shot hole seismic and geothermal drilling services. Bertram also provides diamond and pipeline drilling services. gold and Atlas Copco consulted on a regular basis over a six-month period to define the exact weights and dimensions that could be economically achieved.” Once they agreed upon its design parameters, the concept was sent for engineering approvals. Neil explains that Energold personnel and a client’s safety consultant visited the North Bay factory to view the stock rig and share ideas on technical issues that may arise in the application of the finished product. Design changes emerging from those visits were incorporated into the working drawings. Once satisfied with the proposal, a prototype was built. The result was a new fourpart modular CS1000 P4 design. A custom modular trailer was fabricated and all major components were transferred from a stock rig with some modifications made to assist with the disassembly, transport and reassembly of the rig in the field. Neil says the project did present some challenges for Atlas Copco. “Numerous safety features were added to the rig due to
site safety requirements. These upgrades had to be reviewed at the North Bay factory by representatives of Atlas Copco, Energold and the consultant for the client, at whose site the rig would be operating. Some of the required safety items were not common to the drilling industry and had to be designed and implemented as the project progressed.” These included such items as a hydraulic valve interlock system to prevent chuck rotation whenever the feed guard is open, as well as extra guarding around the hoists, engine, hydraulic tank, mud mixer and rod holder to conform to Energold’s and its client’s specifications. The first four of these rigs, which went to West Africa on a mineral exploration contract, have been drilling typically with PQ and HQ sized bits of various manufacturers to a depth of between 300 and 350 metres. Davidson said ground conditions have been “very tough,” so the Guinea contract “has had above average drill bit usage and slow drilling with a lot of downtime due to client regulations.” In consideration of these things, he believed the Guinea project was unlike their typical contracts to be a fair example of what the drilling rigs can do in penetration rate and drill-meters. Energold has seen more than 2500 meters a month from one of its CS1000 rigs. They have not needed to break the rig into its components on this contract. However, Energold had several clients interested in the rig right away with the promise of many more orders in the future. The four-part modular version of the CS1000 P4 that Energold helped design is already proving to be a hit in Guinea. With the ever increasing demand for Energold’s services, this new rig should prove to be a grand slam for Atlas Copco’s exploration offerings in this burgeoning specialty market. n
NORTH OF 60 IS OUR BACKYARD
SNC-Lavalin is the right choice for your northern Canadian project development needs. SNC-Lavalin Mining & Metallurgy was created over 50 years ago to meet the needs of Canada’s mining industry. Today, we offer half a century of experience in northern Canada, including the Arctic, and around the world. www.snclavalin.com
SNC-Lavalin is continuing to meet its commitment to providing new project development and sustaining capital services to the Diavik diamond mine, the Prairie Creek zinc mine, the Thor Lake rare earths mine in the Northwest Territories, and the Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut. Mining North of 60 | 2012-2013
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North of 60 Mining & Exploration Review covers mining news north of the 60th parallel. The 2012-13 issue covers new mine and exploration de...