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Building Strong: AIDEA continues to invest in Alaska Prairie Creek Mine: A profile in determination Looking for Change: The Mary River Project faces challenges Plus Mineral Industry Reports from Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut, and NWT
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table of contents
Mining North of 60
6 Alaska Mineral Industry – Great mineral potential, strategic location, political stability, favourable tax regime
14 Gaining Growth –- Exploration and mining continue in Nunavut 22 A Varied Year – Global and local challenges for the Yukon mineral industry 26 Today and Tomorrow – While on the brink of political and economic transition, the Northwest Territories’ mining sector continues to mature and drive the economy
30 Reinvigorating the NWT minerals industry – making it even better 32 Nunavut – Not as remote as you think 34 Playing By The Rules – International mining inundated by tsunami of rules and regulations
36 PDAC 2014 Report 38 Building Strong – AIDEA continues to invest in Alaska development as infrastructure projects generate revenue and create jobs
42 Bright Futures – Mining Engineering Research Endowment Fund alive and well at University of Alaska Fairbanks
46 Mining Essentials – Creating mutually beneficial training partnerships for the community and mining industry
52 Prairie Creek Mine – A profile of determination 58 Looking for Change – The Mary River Project faces some challenges, but hangs on to the future
60 Yukon’s Biggest Ever Gold Mine? – Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold project begs the
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62 Strong Heritage – Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. – an Italian immigrant, a desire to succeed, and a commitment to the environment
66 Going for Gold – Tyhee Gold Corp.’s vision for the Yellowknife Gold Project 70 Market Breakthrough – Avalon intends to become the leading outside-of-China supplier of heavy rare earths and other rare metal and mineral products
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74 Staying Local – AREVA ’s Kiggavik Project exploration field season relies on local help 78 Changing Business in the North – Det’on Cho has built incredible success by finding
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94 In the Field – Preventing and responding to remote medical emergencies 96 The Wildlife Watcher – You can see all 98 Index to Advertisers 4
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ALASKA MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Alaska Mineral Industry
Great mineral potential Strategic location Political stability FavoUrable tax regime
By Lisa Harbo, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Economic Development ; Jennifer Athey, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys Alaska’s mineral industry’s estimated production value declined slightly in 2012, due mainly to lower production volumes of zinc and lower commodity prices for zinc, lead, and silver. Although production value declined, mining and its support service industries continued to provide many high-paying jobs for Alaskans; generate millions of dollars in state revenue; and produce and export aggregates, base and precious metal ores and concentrates, coal, and semiprecious stones to the world.
2012 Mining Sector by the Numbers The estimated total production value of Alaska’s minerals industry decreased from $3.5 billion in 2011 to $3.4 billion in 2012, a two per cent decrease. Mineral exploration expenditures for Alaska totaled $335 million in 2012, roughly eight per cent less than the $365 million spent for exploration in 2011. Estimated development expenditures in 2012 totalled approximately $342 million – marking the ninth consecutive year development expenditures in Alaska exceeded $200 million. The 2012 value of Alaska’s total mineral ore exports to international markets
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
totalled $1.5 billion. Precious metals exports to international markets, primarily gold, totalled $62.5 million. Alaska’s coal exports to Chile, Korea, and Japan totaled $16 million. During 2012, countries importing more than $200 million of mineral ores included China, Korea, and Canada. Spain, Australia, Germany, Japan, Belgium, and Finland each imported mineral ores in the range of $30 million to $120 million. Alaska’s top precious metals export market was Switzerland. Alaska has several large lode-producing mines, as well as a number of smaller mining operations. Teck Resources Limited, in partnership with NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., operates Red Dog Mine in northwestern Alaska. Red Dog is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc concentrate and accounts for nearly 41 per cent of the value of Alaska’s mineral industry production. In 2012, Red Dog Mine produced 583,232 tons of zinc, 105,160 tons of lead, and an estimated 5.8 million ounces of silver. Hecla Mining’s Greens Creek Mine, near Juneau, is one of the world’s largest primary silver mines. This underground mine produced nearly 6.4 million ounces of silver, 56,496
ounces of gold, 64,259 tons of zinc, and 21,074 tons of lead during 2012. Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox Mine, near Fairbanks, was the largest gold producer in Alaska, with 359,948 ounces of gold in 2012. Sumitomo Metal Mining’s Pogo Mine, near Delta Junction, achieved 315,886 ounces of gold production in 2012. Coeur d’Alene Mines Inc.’s Kensington Mine, near Juneau, began gold production in June 2010. In 2012, this underground mine produced 82,125 ounces of gold. Usibelli Coal Mine, near Healy, produced more than 2,000,000 tons of coal in 2012 for Alaskan and Pacific Rim customers. Placer gold production in 2012, including more than 300 operators, was estimated to be in excess of 100,000 ounces.
Milestones Donlin Gold, LLC commenced permitting of the Donlin Gold Project by submitting their 404 permit to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in August 2012. USACE published the Notice of Intent (NOI) for the proposed Donlin Gold Mine in the Federal Register in November of 2012 and USACE along with a large number of cooperating agencies,
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. Regional corporations own both surface and subsurface or mineral
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including the State of Alaska, began developing an Environmental Impact State (EIS) in December 2012. Additionally, two Alaska Native corporations are involved with this project; Calista owns the mineral (subsurface) rights and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC) owns the surface rights to the proposed mine site. The project is located in western Alaska approximately 145 miles northeast of Bethel and 10 miles north of the village of Crooked Creek. The probable reserves at Donlin are estimated to be 33.8 million ounces of gold. Pogo Mine poured its two-millionth ounce of gold in 2012 and has submitted plan of operation amendments to agencies for underground expansion into the East Deep deposit that will significantly increase mine life. International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. completed a feasibility study on the Livengood Gold Project in July 2013 where a current NI 43-101 mineral resource has converted a portion of these mineral resources into proven and probable reserves of 434 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.69 g/tonne (9.6 million ounces) and probable reserves of 20 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.70 g/tonne (454,000 ounces). The mine plan provides sufficient ore to support an annual production rate of approximately 577,600 ounces over an estimated 14year mine life. However, the project is assessing the current mine plan in light of costs and gold prices before submitting permit applications to the agencies. The United States Forest Service (USFS) released a final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (ROD) for tailings expansion at Greens Creek Mine on September 9, 2013. The ROD gives the mine 10 to 15 years of additional capacity in the existing dry stack tailings disposal site.
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rights to their lands, as well as subsurface rights of the lands conveyed to the village and urban corporations within their region. These lands are held in fee simple title 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 United States and international partnerships.
State of Alaska – At the Table Geologic 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 Geophysical 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 include airborne geophysical surveys, geologic maps, geochemical and geological reports, and other supporting data. DGGS publications are available for free download through the publications search page (http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/pubs/advanced-search), and newly released geophysical publications are available online at (http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/pubs/geophysics). The Alaska Geologic Materials Center (GMC) in Eagle River holds nonproprietary rock core and cuttings that represent
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nearly 13.7 million feet (76,500 linear feet of core) of exploration and production drilling on federal, state, and private lands of Alaska, including the Alaska outer-continental shelf. Additionally, the collection holds more than 260,000 linear feet of diamond-drilled hard-rock mineral core, representing more than 1,800 exploratory boreholes; rock samples from more than 1,700 oil and gas exploratory or production wells; samples for geotechnical test wells; and numerous surface rock samples. The GMC also maintains extensive geochemical data and reports derived from third-party sampling and manages an archive of more than 188,000 processed slides, including petrographic thin sections and paleontological glass slides. The GMC’s searchable inventory contains 85 per cent of the archived samples, including mineral prospect locations, sample types, box-level details, and geologic formation-top picks (http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/ gmc/inventory.php). The State of Alaska has acquired a building to house the new GMC (http://doa.alaska.gov/newsEvents/PR13-07-geologic-materials-center.html) and is preparing to move to the new location in spring 2014 with an opening date slated for summer 2014. Access to the current collection will likely be severely limited during May and June of 2014. The new facility will help safeguard the future accessibility and security of the existing materials and provide room for expansion of the collection.
Strategic and Critical Minerals Comprehensive Strategy The State of Alaska and University of Alaska Fairbanks convened the 2nd Annual Alaska Strategic and Critical Minerals
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Summit on November 30, 2012, to present new information and stimulate discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities facing strategic and critical minerals development in the United States and Alaska, and to promote investment in developing Alaska’s strategic and critical mineral resources. This event included participation from federal, state, and international governments, mining companies, manufacturers, Alaska Native corporations, and potential investors. The 3rd Annual Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit is scheduled for November 22, 2013, in Fairbanks, Alaska. Summer field results for the state’s strategic and critical assessment, updates on permitting, and many other mineral-related topics 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 investment. During the past 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.
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The terminal currently leases 40,000 square feet of concentrate storage capacity to Capstone Mining Corporation with an additional 60,000 square feet of concentrate storage space available for lease. AIDEA recently announced a capital improvements project that is expected to be completed in 2014. The Alaska State 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 Municipality of Skagway and Selwyn Chihong mine. This public/private partnership will serve as a model for the future. AIDEA also owns the DeLong Mountain Transportation System (DMTS), which encompasses a 52-mile road connecting the Red Dog Mine to AIDEA’s trans-shipment facility on the Chukchi Sea. Zazu Metals Corporation intends to develop its nearby Lik deposit and use the AIDEA-owned Lik Deposit Transportation System (LDTS) and DMTS to convey concentrate to 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 additional 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.
Roads to Resources Initiative Governor Sean Parnell has made unlocking the Alaska’s resources for the benefit of all Alaskans a priority of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF). 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: The road to Tanana, 26 miles of new road and upgrade of the Tofty road, is in the permitting process. This road will connect Tanana to the existing highway system with improved access to mineral deposits and remote villages, larger hub communities, and road networks near Fairbanks. The road to the Ambler Mining District will provide all-season access for explora-
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tion and development of natural resources in the Ambler District. The project is now in the hands of the state’s development finance agency, AIDEA, which will soon be initiating permitting and Environmental Impact Statement processes. The longest-running project, still in the planning stage, is a link between the Dalton Highway and the Umiat petroleum prospect. Several routes are under review and the eventual project could involve a 100-mile road to the west. A continuing series of small roadto-timber projects in Southeast Alaska could have mining benefits. The State of Alaska is also exploring some marine ferry solutions that might be useful on Prince of Wales Island. A reconnaissance study is underway to look at the need for, and possible means of, surface access to the area west of the Susitna River.
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The Alaska Departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Fish and Game (DFG), and Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently initiated efficiency improvements in their permitting process. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2012, DNR reduced the backlog of land- and wateruse permit applications by 41 per cent. State resource agencies are also collaborating to prepare for new phases of resource development in Alaska – including 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 large-scale projects in Alaska. The use of OPMP’s coordination services is voluntary and at the applicant’s expense. A project coordinator is assigned to each project to facilitate an interagency, interdisciplinary team and coordinate the interaction between the regulatory agencies, the public, and the project proponent. This coordinated permitting process helps to ensure a thorough, efficient, and timely permitting process.
Taxation The State of Alaska has one of the most favourable taxation systems in the world.
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The Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2012/2013 (Fraser Report) was generated from a survey conducted in late 2012/early 2013 of more than 4,000 mining and related companies. According to the report, Alaska ranks seventh out of 96 geopolitical jurisdictions in tax regime and fifth in a composite of policy and mineral potential.
Marketing The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development’s Division of Economic Development (DED) conducts outreach to the minerals industry at state, national, and international venues. DED organizes and hosts multi-agency trade show booths including one at the annual Association for Mineral Exploration – British Columbia (AMEBC) Roundup conference in Vancouver and another at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto. In 2013, DED held a successful, well-attended Opportunity Alaska reception at PDAC which connected investors with project owners and state officials. In addition, DED meets foreign trade delegations in Alaska and produces a comprehensive information tool, the State of Alaska Mining and Minerals Portal. In conjunction with DGGS, DED also produces a comprehensive and interactive online Mineral Resources of Alaska map (http://commerce.alaska.gov/dnn/ded/ DEV/MineralsDevelopment.aspx).
Industry-Based Policy Direction Finally, to better understand the impediments to growth faced by the mining industry, the Alaska State Legislature created the Alaska Minerals Commission, an 11-member mineralindustry-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 to minerals development. Commission reports can be found online (http:// commerce.alaska.gov/dnn/ded/DEV/ MineralsDevelopment/AlaskaMineralsCommission.aspx). n
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nunavut MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Gaining Growth Exploration and mining continue in Nunavut Submitted by Government of Nunavut, Minerals and Petroleum Resources
Nunavut’s exploration and mining opportunities have attracted, and will continue to attract, the attention of major global producers. The territory maintains an attractive investment climate due largely to a settled land claim, and remains a destination of choice for mineral explorers. Actual expenditures in Nunavut’s exploration industry for 2012 were tabulated at $443 million by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and rank Nunavut consistently as fourth in Canada. The majority of the advanced work was performed by senior companies with involvement from the juniors. NRCan forecasts that $313 million will be spent in 2013. Nunavut has one operating mine, with several additional properties as potential mines under consideration, and several advanced projects proceeding with development or feasibility. These advanced properties could be mines within this decade. Five projects in Nunavut are progressing well through the regulatory and environmental assessment processes. These five include: the Mary River high-grade iron ore project of northern Baffin Island, the Kiggavik uranium project in the Thelon Basin near Baker Lake, the Meliadine
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gold project in central Nunavut, the Back River gold project in western Nunavut, and the Hope Bay gold project also in western Nunavut. Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited’s (AEM) Meadowbank Mine is projected to remain in operation through 2018. The Meadowbank mill processed a higher throughput in the second quarter of 2013 with an average of 11,303 tpd comparing with 9,901 tpd in the second quarter of 2012. Overall mine site costs are so far lower in 2013 due to more tonnes of ore processed in 2013 versus 2012, improved productivity, as well as improved production efficiencies. There were changes in, and challenges for, the mining industry in Nunavut during 2013 with much of this owing to fluctuations in gold price. AEM is reviewing all aspects of their business. In Nunavut, this review could affect both the operating Meadowbank Mine and the developing Meliadine gold project. Early in 2012, Newmont Mining Corporation placed their Hope Bay gold project on hold and “care and maintenance.” This project was subsequently acquired by TMAC Resources Inc. Elgin Mining Ltd. holds the past-producing Lupin gold mine and the Ulu gold proper-
ty in western Nunavut, but has now deferred all planned programs at Lupin for 2013 and has placed Lupin on care and maintenance indefinitely. Other companies, particularly the juniors, either had substantially reduced exploration programs in 2013, or did not conduct any programs in 2013 but have maintained their properties and land tenure.
Territory-Wide Exploration Exploration continued 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. Forty-four exploration projects were worked on across the territory in 2013. Some highlights of the work in each region follow. Qikiqtaaluk Region: Exploration in the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) region is focused on diamonds and iron with minor work exploring for gold (+/- coal). The largest project in the region is Baffinland’s
Mary River iron project. This high-grade iron ore project consists of five significant deposits and four additional iron prospects. Deposit No. 1 contains proven reserves of 160 million tonnes at 64.4 per cent Fe, and probable reserves of 205 million tonnes grading 64.9 per cent Fe. In September 2012, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) completed its environmental review of 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. However, BIMC subsequently revised its proposal into two stages: an “Early Revenue Phase,” and the later production stage. Mid-August the NIRB commenced its technical review of this Addendum. The “Early Revenue Phase” proposes shipping 3.5 million tonnes yearly, during open water season, via Milne Inlet. Production could commence as such by 2015-6, leading to ramp-up to full operation within four to five years. The mine is anticipated to be operational by 2018 for at least 21 years (based on current reserves).
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Advanced Explorations Inc. (AEI) recently conducted a study that verified that there is significant potential for developing a Direct Ship Ore-type (DSO-type) iron deposit at the Tuktu iron project area, along with a similar potential at the Roche Bay property based on geological (structural) similarities. Both these projects are located on eastern Melville Peninsula. A NI 43-101 resource for Roche Bay confirmed 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 is partnered with the Chi-
nese XinXing Ductile Iron Pipes Co., Ltd. (XDIP) on these projects. Additional iron ore projects in Nunavut include the Fraser Bay project (West Melville Metals) on the western Melville Peninsula, and the Haig Inlet project (Canadian Orebodies Inc.) in southern Hudson Bay on the Belcher Islands, near the community of Sanikiluaq. On southern Baffin Island at the Chidliak diamond project, Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. completed a bulk sampling program (total of 508 wet tonnes of kimberlite from its CH-6 pipe). The Chidliak project is subject to an option agreement with De Beers Canada Inc. whereby De
Beers has the exclusive right (until December 31, 2013) to enter into an earnin and joint venture agreement (50.1 per cent De Beers/49.9 per cent Peregrine). An eight-week exploration summer program was funded and operated by De Beers. The property now has 61 confirmed kimberlites with at least seven having good economic (tonnage) potential. 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. Meliadine was acquired
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in July 2010, and is one of AEMâ€™s largest gold projects in terms of resources. Recent drilling has returned significant results, suggesting further resource and reserve growth for the deposits. In April 2013, AEM submitted an update of its draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Meliadine. These results will be incorporated into an updated technical study that is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014. The original exploration budget for the Meliadine project in 2013 was expected to be approximately $90 million, but was reduced by approximately $10 million in the early part of 2013. Several junior companies are actively exploring in the southern Kivalliq, although the current volatile gold climate has impacted field programs this year. Prosperity Gold Fields completed a winter drill program on their Kijuk Lake property. Northquest Ltd. is exploring on the Pistol Bay project, in rocks trending parallel to, and 80 kilometres south of, Meliadine. An exploration program of drilling and further exploration in 2013 has returned significant results on this 90-kilometre-long belt. 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. The Kiggavik deposits would be developed as three open-pits mines, and the Sissons deposit southwest of Kiggavik would be developed by a combination of an open-pit and underground operation. Early in 2012, AREVA submitted a revised DEIS to the NIRB and other regulators for review. With the present regulatory timeline, construction could begin at Kiggavik by 2015, and the mine could be operational by 2019. Also in the Thelon Basin, Cameco Corporation is exploring the Aberdeen and Turqavik uranium properties. Drill testing has returned consistently high grades of 12-18 per cent U3O8. These deposits represent the first new significant uranium discoveries in the Thelon Basin in decades, and are now considered to have the potential to be on a scale comparable to Kiggavik. At Angilak with principally the Lac Cinquante deposit, Kivalliq Energy spent $20 million in 2012 and a further $4.8 million in 2013, expanding the existing resource that currently has a strike-length of over 2.3 kilometres. Twelve new discoveries have been made since 2010 and Kivalliq Energy continues work towards a Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Lac 50 Trend. An updated NI 43-101 was filed on this trend in March 2013, adding to the resource now inferred to be 43.3 million pounds at 0.6 per cent U3O8. In addition to submitting its draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Meliadine in 2013, AEM conducted further drilling to infill and expand the reserve and resource base. Encouraging results have been returned from the Tiriganiaq, Wesmeg, Normeg, Pump South, and F zones. These results will be incorporated into an updated technical study that is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014. Kitikmeot Region: The activity in the Kitikmeot region is focused on base metals (zinc-copper) and gold. Gold properties include the Hope Bay project (TMAC Resources Inc.), the Back River project owned by Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. (both in western Kitikmeot), and the Committee Bay project owned by North Country Gold Corp. (in the eastern Kitikmeot). MMG Resources Inc. is advancing its Izok Corridor base metal deposits in western Nunavut.
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TMAC Resources Inc. successfully completed the acquisition of the Hope Bay project from Hope Bay Mining Ltd., a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation in March 2013. TMAC expects to complete a pre-feasibility study mid-2013 and will be working to secure the required permits and equipment to bring the Doris North gold deposit to production. The company anticipates that Doris North could be opened and in production by fall 2015. The Back River gold project (Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.) consists of two main properties, George and Goose, which collectively host up to eight mineral deposits. Sabina submitted a Project Description in June 2012, and received the NIRBâ€™s final scope and draft guidelines for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in March 2013. The company now anticipates having a Draft EIS to regulators by the end of 2013. Operations could begin in 20162017. Exploration work, including drilling, in 2013 was approved for up to $70 million; drilling results to date have provided consistently good grades and widths of mineralization. North Country Gold Corp. has identified five distinct exploration centres along the 300-kilometre Committee Bay greenstone gold belt with advanced exploration focused on the Three Bluffs deposit. Early 2013, North Country Gold updated the Three Bluffs resource along the 4.1 kilometre-long Walker Lake trend. MMG acquired the zinc-rich Izok Lake and High Lake base metal deposits, termed the Izok Corridor project, in 2009. In 2012, MMG submitted the project proposal to the NIRB, following a 2011 pre-feasibility
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study. The feasibility study was initiated in 2012 and is expected to take 18-24 months. Izok Lake is a significant deposit with 14.8 million tonnes at 12.8 per cent zinc and 2.5 per cent copper. The High Lake deposit, located north of Izok, hosts 17.2 million tonnes at 3.4 per cent zinc and 2.3 per cent copper. The preferred option for the project is to establish processing operations at the proposed Izok mine, which would also process the ore from the High Lake mine, then transport the concentrate along a 350-kilometre all-weather road to Greys Bay on Coronation Gulf. Glencore Xstrata Plc has disclosed a new mineral resource estimate for the silverrich Hackett River base metal deposits that represents a 34 per cent increase over the previous estimate. These deposits are typical of volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits and contain four principal sulphide occurrences, the East Cleaver, Boot Lake, Main Zone, and Jo Zone. A prefeasibility study is currently underway and is re-examining both the mining methods and boundaries between open-pit and underground. A preliminary economic assessment was conducted by former-owner Sabina, who in 2011, sold the project to Xstrata Zinc Canada Ltd. (now part of the newly formed Glencore Xstrata Plc). Mineral exploration in Nunavut continued to attract much interest in 2013. 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 diversify and increase substantially in the next decade. n
yukon MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
A Varied Year
Global and local challenges for the Yukon mineral industry
Kaminak Gold Corporation released an inferred resource estimate of 3.2 million ounces at their Coffee Project.
By the Yukon Geological Survey, Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Yukon government. In 2013, the mineral industry globally has been buffeted by financial challenges. Development infrastructure has seen major cost increases. Multi-national corporations have had major write downs of assets associated with falling mineral prices. Junior exploration companies have not been able to raise venture capital for funding projects as investors appear to be shying away from what is seen as a risk investment. Yukon was not exempt from these challenges. Most exploration programs were downscaled with emphasis on lower cost prospecting, geological mapping, and soil sampling. Drill programs were limited in scope and designed to increase or upgrade known resources. The number of new hard rock mineral claims staked has dropped dramatically. Peripheral hard rock claims staked during the exploration rush of 2011-2012 are being allowed to lapse. Of the three producing mines in 2013, only Minto continues to operate at full production, Wolverine is only working one shift, and Bellekeno will temporarily stop mining from the fall of 2013 until early 2014.
Exploration Despite the global downturn in the industry, exploration is still occurring in Yukon. Companies are evaluating and
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consolidating their exploration properties that were staked during the most recent exploration boom. As of May 2013 the number of claims in good standing was approximately 10,000 fewer than the high of 2012, a decrease of four per cent. 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. There were several bright spots on Yukon’s exploration landscape. The White Gold area south of Dawson City, the southwest Yukon area, and the Selwyn basin area north of Mayo saw continued fieldwork on expanded exploration holdings. Kaminak Gold Corporation released an inferred resource estimate of 3.2 million ounces of gold in December 2012. In 2013 they conducted an extensive drill program to infill and expand their oxide resource around conceptual open pit margins. Comstock Metals Inc. is evaluating extensions of previously discovered mineralization on their QV property. Klondike Gold Corp is also evaluating previously defined targets on their Lone Star property.
ATAC Resources is extending its exploration success on the Nadaleen gold trend along the northern margin of Selwyn basin. Excellent drill intersections confirm the presence of the Carlin style gold mineralization occurring along the Nadaleen trend. Strategic Metals Ltd, Gold Fields Selwyn Exploration Corporation, and Anthill Resources are also evaluating targets along trend with ATAC’s ground. In eastern Yukon, Northern Tiger Resources completed a bulk sampling program on their 3Ace property. Although gold is in the limelight, 2013 also saw exploration dollars spent for other commodities. Prophecy Platinum is re-logging and sampling 12,000 metres of historic core to upgrade their resource for disseminated mineralization on the Wellgreen property. Silver Range Resources continues prospecting, soil sampling, geology mapping and drilling north of Faro on a series of lead, zinc, and silver occurrences.
Mining and Development Yukon had three operating mines in 2013: Capstone Resources Minto coppergold mine, Alexco Resources’ Bellekeno silver mine, and Yukon Zinc’s polymetallic Wolverine mine. The Minto mine has been in continuous production since 2007.
Capstone Resourcesâ€™ Minto Mine Area 2 open pit.
Capstone Resourcesâ€™ Minto coppergold mine is developing access for underground mining in late 2013 or early 2014.
Minto is mining from the area 2 open pit and developing access for underground mining in late 2013 or early 2014. Exploration drilling is ongoing to replace mined reserves. Alexco Resource Corp. has successfully received permits for production from two additional locations in the Keno District. In response to low silver prices the company announced that production and development in the Keno area will be put on hold temporarily during the winter of 2013/14. Alexco continues to run an exploration program to expand the Flame and Moth property. Yukon Zincâ€™s Wolverine mine has also reduced production in light of current metal prices. Victoria Gold has applied for all necessary permits for mining the Eagle deposit. In light of the present poor equity market conditions, however, they have decided to delay infrastructure development for the future mine. Eagle Industrial Minerals Corp. also received all permits required for mining the Whitehorse Copper tailings for their magnetite content and reclaiming the site. Americas Bullion Royalty Corporation is applying to Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board for mining of the gold mineralization at their Brewery Creek property.
Yukon Government The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an internationally competitive investment climate. To this end, the government strives 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
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Geological Survey has initiated or continued geological studies (such as bedrock mapping) in the Rackla area, southwest Yukon, and central Yukon north of Faro. 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. Recognizing the difficulties in finding capital in today’s global markets, the Government of Yukon has increased their investment funding in the Yukon Mining Investment Program (YMIP) to $1.17 million in 2013 from 2012’s $570,000. YMIP provides a portion of the risk capital required to locate, explore, and develop mineral projects. The program contains three modules: grassroots-prospecting, focused-regional, and target evaluation. This year 56 projects are being partially funded through YMIP.
Geoff Newton of Kaminak Gold Corporation reviews maps with Derek Torgerson and Lara Lewis from the Yukon Geological Survey.
For more information on Yukon’s mineral resources, visit Miningyukon.com n
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Northwest territories MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
Today and Tomorrow
While on the brink of political and economic transition, the Northwest Territories’ mining sector continues to mature and drive the economy Mining and exploration have long been the pillars of the Northwest Territories’ (NWT) economy. Combined, the NWT’s four producing mines, along with other mineral projects at various stages of development, contributed a staggering $770 million in spending last year. Mining has generated billions of dollars in revenues for northern businesses and made significant contributions by supporting community and social projects. It is also the greatest private sector employer, with nearly 3,000 people working in mining. Commitments to local hiring and business opportunities by industry are reflected through socio-economic agreements (SEA) made with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). These SEAs also recognize cultural well-being and traditional economy, and place an emphasis on sustainable resource development. Although current mines are maturing, there are a number of mines on the horizon in varying stages of development – currently seven in total. Exploration results and environmental work has been positive, and progress has been made on several projects. New mines will have a significant effect on the NWT economy and could potentially provide jobs for residents affected by the eventual closure of existing mines. The NWT is on the brink of political and economic transition. As residents
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take stock and consider the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, one of their foremost questions is how and where to grow the NWT economy. With Devolution approaching, control of NWT lands and resources will fall to the GNWT, which provides an opportunity to develop a plan of action to make the most of our resource potential moving forward. The GNWT has responded to the challenge by partnering up with industry and other key stakeholders to create the Mineral Development Strategy (MDS), that will help shape the future of the mineral industry.
Today: A Mining-Driven Economy Currently, the mining industry accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the NWT’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since the NWT’s first diamond mine opened in 1998, diamonds alone have generated over $8.5 billion in northern business contracts. This has also led to the creation of over 17,000 person years of employment. Four mines were operational in 2012, including Diavik, Ekati, and Snap Lake diamond mines, and the Cantung tungsten mine. Diavik completed a transition to an entirely underground mine operation, and recently announced plans to develop a new open pit. Ekati saw a lower production as higher-grade reserves were
exhausted and the mine matured. In November 2012, BHP Billiton announced that it was selling its 80 per cent share in Ekati mine to Dominion Diamond Corporation (formerly known as Harry Winston Diamonds) – a deal that has since been finalized. Snap Lake mine published production figures that show a relatively constant level of diamond production in 2012, in line with a previously announced mine optimization plan that will extend the life of the mine to 20 years. Cantung production was temporarily interrupted by severe weather and road flooding, but overall production levels stayed consistent. Ongoing exploration at Cantung will hopefully extend the current life of the mine, which is currently projected to close in 2014. The NWT was not impervious to the downturn in the global economic climate, as the north experienced a scaling back in its exploration and mining sector. This was most evident in claim-staking statistics, showing only 96 claims staked in the NWT by the end of 2012, as opposed to the 710 claims staked in 2011.
Tomorrow: Moving Forward Work is continuing on several projects, including Avalon Minerals’ Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements, Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek, Fortune Minerals’ NICO, Ta-
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merlane’s Pine Point, Tyhee Gold’s Ormsby/Nicholas Lake, and Seabridge Gold’s Courageous Lake Projects. Avalon recently received a positive Environmental Assessment (EA) report, recommending approval for their Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements Project at Thor Lake. In the meantime, Avalon’s submissions for Land Use Permits and a Water License are under consideration by the federal government. Canadian Zinc Corporation (CZN) completed its regulatory process for the issue
of a Type “A” Water License for their Prairie Creek Mine. Upon ministerial approval, this new license will permit CZN to conduct mining, milling, and processing activities. CZN also received three key Land Use Permits: one to extract ore and waste rock, one to construct and operate a staging area at the south end of the winter access road, and another to permit access to the winter access road connecting Prairie Creek to the highway. Fortune Minerals was the recipient of a Tlicho Land Access Agreement, which
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marked an NWT milestone as it was one of the first permits issued under the Tlicho Government’s new Land Use Plan law. This agreement will allow Fortune Minerals to complete geotechnical and other work needed to build an access road. Tyhee’s Yellowknife Gold Project has completed its Feasibility Study (FS), identifying a total capital cost of $265.2 million and an estimated life of mine of approximately 14 years. Completion of the detailed mine site design is expected by the end of 2013, with construction anticipated to begin in 2014. Seabridge Gold completed a Preliminary FS in July 2012, citing proven and probable gold reserves at an estimated 6.5 million ounces. In March 2013, Seabridge began core drilling at a promising highgrade gold occurrence at Walsh Lake, and is expected to complete 16 holes with the aim of generating an initial resource estimate for this deposit.
Looking Ahead: Devolution, Industry, and the Mineral Development Strategy There has never been a more important time to optimize the resource potential of the NWT as right now. Land claim and self-government negotiations, regulatory improvements, and the transfer of authorities over northern lands and waters to the GNWT are all occurring simultaneously. This is not the first time the GNWT has been through Devolution. Between 1987 and 1996, six different agreements transferred authority over hospitals, highways, and forestry to the GNWT, giving the territory increasing levels of self-sufficiency and accountability. However, this latest devolution of power may go down as the
largest yet, as it is the last large jurisdiction of land to be transferred from the federal to the territorial level. In addition to managing our own land, the GNWT will finally receive a share of all resource revenues most notably, royalties. In the short-term, devolution will simplify the regulatory process by giving the GNWT final authority on issuing land and water permits, and approving environmental assessments. The direct financial stake that the GNWT has in development will result in greater responsiveness in enforcing sustainable
resource development and mitigating detrimental effects on the environment. A key element of the renewed efforts to invigorate the mineral industry is the NWT Mineral Development Strategy. The GNWT used a collaborative approach for this process which included an independent panel of experts and industry, local businesses, Aboriginal governments, and stakeholders to establish the best methods to promote mineral development in an environmentally sustainable and beneficial manner. The future of economic growth in the
NWT is closely linked to mineral development, and through the MDS, the GNWT will prepare a clear plan of action to support it in a way that provides the greatest benefit to NWT residents. Ultimately, the mining sector in the NWT has the potential for growth that will bring unprecedented economic prosperity to the region. Government, industry, and residents are well poised to take advantage of the opportunities that mining and mineral development presents, and to turn this potential into reality. n
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NWT & Nunavut chamber of mines report
Reinvigorating the NWT minerals industry – making it even better
By Tom Hoefer, executive director, NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines
Actions are underway to reinvigorate the Northwest Territories (NWT) minerals industry. And with a lull in global mining investment, there couldn’t be a better time. First, the facts: -_ The Northwest Territories (NWT) hosts some of the highest mineral potential in the world, and in our short history has already supported 80 years of mining; -_ Today, mining is the largest private sector contributor to the economy. -_ The NWT is the third largest miner of high quality diamonds by value in the world, and is the western world’s largest producer of tungsten concentrate; -_ Our mines are Canadian leaders in creating Aboriginal benefits through training, jobs, and business, and mining is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal residents; -_ Five new mining proposals are actively advancing through the environmental approval and permitting processes; and -_ A significant process of resource management reinvigoration is underway, with new environmental regulations being drafted, a first ever NWT Mineral Development Strategy being written, and the territorial government promising to be a more focused landlord as it assumes control over non-renewable resource management.
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Mining Latest statistics show mineral production value from the NWT last year exceeded $1.7 billion. The bulk of this was in diamonds with production of 9.67 million carats from our three diamond mines – Ekati, Diavik, and Snap Lake – bringing in over $1.6 billion in total sales. When put into global perspective by the Kimberly Process statisticians, the NWT by itself is rated as third in the world for the value of its diamonds sold in 2012. Also produced in the NWT was 2.5 tonnes of tungsten concentrate, which brought in just over $95 million in sales, keeping the Cantung mine’s reputation as the western world’s largest producer of tungsten concentrate. By mid-year, the NWT’s largest diamond mine, Ekati was sold by BHP-Billiton to Dominion Diamonds, making the mine now 100 per cent Canadian owned. The new owner has signalled their plans to try and increase the mine life another 10-15 years with production from another known deposit on its property. This would be significant sustained benefit to the NWT, since Ekati alone contributes close to 10 per cent of the whole economy.
New Mine Development The project approvals process in the NWT sees mining proposals enter an environmental assessment and review process, and upon receiving approval, advancing to the more detailed permitting phase. Currently in the environmental review phase is the Yellowknife gold project owned by Tyhee Gold Corporation. The Gahcho Kue diamonds project has completed that phase, and along with the Avalon rare metals project is awaiting ministerial approval to advance to the permitting phase. The NICO cobalt-bismuth-gold project has already entered that permitting phase, and the Pine Point lead-zinc project completed all phases several years ago. In the words of the old proverb, “This too shall pass”, we know that the global markets will eventually cycle back up again. Having so many projects in and through the approvals processes bodes well for new mines to be constructed in the Northwest Territories in the next few years.
“Putting on the makeup” … Reinvigorating the investment climate There is certainly no better time than now, when markets are idling, to prepare for the eventual upturn. And while markets may be idling, the “powers that be” are not sitting idle in the NWT. The federal government is modernizing the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the principle environmental legislation used to assess and permit new mines in the NWT. Now 15 years old, the MVRMA is a bit long in the tooth and very much needs reform to make it more efficient and clear. One of the principle requirements is process timelines, and the federal minister responsible is promising changes so that projects can be assessed within two-year timelines. The NWT government too is promising supportive changes to the investment climate. A priority set by cabinet is the completion of the first ever NWT Mineral Development Strategy. An independent panel was struck earlier this year, and delivered its report of recommendations to the government this spring. Industry can expect the release of the new NWT Mineral Development Strategy this fall, with an accompanying action plan to demonstrate the NWT Government’s commitments to improve the investment climate for mining. And the government has strong reasons to do so. It has negotiated with the federal government to finally take on responsibility for non-renewable resources, including mining and oil and gas. Called Devolution, this long awaited take over of mining would see half of the royalties that the federal government currently collects being paid directly to the NWT Government. They in turn, have agreed to share some of these royalties with Aboriginal groups that support the process. Devolution is, in essence, a change in the resource landlord from a distant federal one, to a more local territorial one. Yukon took over responsibility for its minerals industry in 2003, and has grown a mining industry since. Watch for the important devolution completion date of April 1, 2014. Regulatory improvement, a minerals strategy, and Devolution are only three ingredients in a recipe to make the NWT an attractive investment destination. The NWT government is also launching an infrastructure investment strategy, and is expected to release a new energy strategy this fall. Both are expected to support resource development. On top of that, our current Prime Minister of Canada has taken an inordinate interest in Canada’s north. This year marked his eighth Arctic tour, during which he announced new funding for mining training. Our award winning Mine Training Society is already putting that money to good use creating new workers for our northern mines. In addition, the Prime Minister announced $100 million in geoscience investment to ensure that the Geomapping for Energy and Minerals program continue for another seven years, helping fill in blanks on the northern maps. Land access is becoming clearer as two new land use plans were announced: the first for private Aboriginal lands in the Tlicho region, which hosts much of the north’s mineral production. The plan is balanced and recognizes mineral development as an option on much of the private lands. The Sahtu land use plan is the second to receive government approval this year, and brings
certainty of access to the Sahtu region, a significantly large NWT Aboriginal land claim region the size of the Canadian Maritime provinces. In another move to help provide clarity, the Tlicho Government has created the Kwe Beh Working Group, to be the first point of contact for companies interested in working in their Tlicho land claim region. With an office in downtown Yellowknife, it promises easy access and a friendly face to investors. Our Chamber of Mines is working with another Aboriginal land claim group, the Akaitcho, to help cultivate a welcoming environment for those interested in investing on their traditional lands. Aboriginal success is part of the reason that the NWT is poised for growth in its resource industry. Two corporations have become Canadian symbols of mining success. The Tli Cho Investment Corporation, founded in the diamond mines, has added a variety of business expertise including trucking, logistics, aviation, and cement, growing to $180 million in annual revenues and employing over 400 workers. Similarly, the Detoncho Group of Companies owned by the Yellowknives Dene, placed in the top 500 fastest growing companies in Canada this year. Along with government sharing millions of dollars in mining royalties annually with Aboriginal land owners, mining is being recognized as an engine of growth and opportunity throughout the north. As mining grows to become everyone’s business, its opportunities and its benefits will help secure its future throughout the north. n
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
NWT & Nunavut chamber of mines report
Not as Remote as You Think By Elizabeth Kingston, general manager (Nunavut), NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines
Canada’s north is a land of resource opportunity with a rich and diverse geology. At least seven projects are currently advancing closer to becoming mines in Nunavut, representing a variety of products from gold to silver to copper and zinc, to diamonds, iron, and uranium. Work on those projects helped Nunavut set record investment levels this past year. Over the last 80 years, Nunavut and the NWT have produced over $60 billion in a variety of minerals. Significant contributions have come from Nunavut’s past producing mines that include the Lupin gold mine, the Polaris, and Nanisivik zinc-lead mines, the Rankin Nickel mine, and the Jericho diamond mine. In terms of numbers from now until 2030, Nunavut’s potential mines could contribute over $36 billion to Nunavut’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), taxes and royalties of over $10 billion, and nearly 100,000 years of person employment with an overall income of $9 billion. Not only would governments and Nunavut residents benefit, but through the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, the Inuit land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. would also reap a considerable portion for its Inuit beneficiaries. Nunavut’s land claim is now in its 20th year. As with other comprehensive claims in the country, it shares resource management between Inuit land claimants and government. It also requires major projects to sign Inuit Impact Benefit Agree-
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ments. In selecting lands, the Inuit also recognized that their future would rely on non-renewable resources. As a result, they built a very attractive portfolio by selecting subsurface lands very strategically for their potential mineral wealth. Royalty benefits from some of these lands have now begun to flow. Mining holds great promise to help pave the way to Nunavut’s economic self-reliance. Agnico-Eagle opened its Meadowbank Gold Mine in early 2010 as Nunavut’s first new gold mine development since the creation of the Territory in 1999. Production from Meadowbank already accounts for nearly 26 per cent of the GDP, reflecting the importance of mining to economy. Agnico Eagle anticipates a maintenance of 20 per cent production growth over the next two years. Natural Resources Canada statistics indicate that the overall value of mineral production rose last year. The value of gold and silver from Meadowbank increased by $174 million, or 40 per cent due to increases in both production and metal prices. As part of investigations to re-open the Jericho diamond mine, reprocessing of previously produced ore contributed $3.67 million in diamond value. Nunavut offers an attractive and certain regulatory environment. There are number of regulatory improvement initiatives underway in the north. Launched in 2009, the government of Canada’s Northern Regulatory Improvement Initiative is help-
ing to complete land claim obligations and create timely, consistent and certain processes. Federal Bill C-47, the Northern Jobs and Growth Act creates Nunavut’s first ever dedicated environmental legislation, the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act. This establishes a proven, highly-efficient “single-entry” system which promotes the concept of a “oneproject - one-assessment” approach to resource development projects and land use planning approval. Legislated timelines in the act promise to maintain process efficiency. Nunavut’s policy makers have taken a very pragmatic view for a number of years now, and that no doubt has helped it achieve record investment this past year. The Inuit have produced a progressive Mining Policy which helps reinforce that investment certainty. In 2007, the Nunavut government released a positive Mineral Exploration & Mining Strategy. Then, in 2012, through public consultation, the government was able to reinforce a supportive Nunavut Uranium Policy. Also underway, Nunavut’s Planning Commission is completing community consultations to finalize the Nunavut Land Use Plan. All of these developments send the signal that mining is welcome in Nunavut. For more information, contact Elizabeth at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.miningnorth.com n
international mining inundated by rules
Playing By The Rules
International mining inundated by tsunami of rules and regulations By Leonard Melman There is a strange perception which has been accepted by many members of the general public. Just as multitudes blame “de-regulation” for the financial crisis of 2007-2009, many people, but NOT those in the mining industry, also seem to believe that the world of mining is some sort of free-for-all existing under minimal government oversight. In fact, few industries on earth are as hamstrung by excessive regulation as the world of mining exploration, development, and production. It can be truly stated that many of these regulations tend to increase the costs and complexities of the entire process of moving a mineral discovery through to eventual production. As a result, in recent years, fewer metals discoveries are being made, fewer projects are being advanced to actual production, and the danger of a future serious metals supply shortage is steadily increasing. The enormous variety of laws relating to mining is truly mind-boggling, but I would suggest that this trend is indicative of actions within the general societies of Canada, the U.S., and other “advanced” nations. An examination of the number, complexity and intrusiveness of many laws, some containing more than 2,000 pages, could easily lead to the conclusion that most people believe that societal problems can only be solved ei-
ther by new laws and regulations or by adjusting existing ones. The situation has grown so perilous to many that the Wall Street Journal recently carried two articles entitled “Red Tape Record Breakers” and “Government Gone Wild” and noted economist Niall Ferguson recently authored a piece noting that historically, America was truly the land of the free while France was the land of intrusive socialist government. However, after examining recent trends relating to regulation in America, Ferguson concluded, “...at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.” Our main interest, of course, is in relation to metals prospecting, exploration, and development and to say there is no shortage of regulations impeding mining operations would be a substantial under-statement. Because of an abundance of available information on the subject, we focus this article on Canadian mining laws and regulations. A short list of federal agencies involved directly or peripherally in regulating mining would include Environment Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Health Canada.
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After examining reams of printed materials and numerous federal and provincial information sites, it is reasonable to report that the total body of laws, rules, and regulations relating to mining in Canada is almost beyond comprehension. Taking as our pattern the flow of work from original discovery to mine closure, what follows is a partial listing of associated legal intrusions into the mining processes.
Prospecting The act of recording a discovery is called “staking a claim” and involves placing physical “stakes” to mark the area involved, although in recent years several provinces have turned to electronic recording of claims. Once the claim has been recorded, various laws come into play relating to the work which must be done in order to maintain the claim in good standing.
Excluded Areas Numerous laws are in effect which define those areas in which any form of mining cannot take place. These areas include national parks, national park reserves, national wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries, protected watershed areas, and United Nations biosphere reserves.
Indigenous Peoples Consultation If there is one area of mining law that has the capacity to confound industry entrepreneurs, it is Aboriginal law. The Canadian Constitution Act defines Aboriginal and treaty rights. The United Nations Declaration of Rights specifies Free Prior Informed Consent procedures to be followed with First Nations peoples. Numerous land claims agreements specify Aboriginal privileges.
Permit Approval Review Processes Mining permit approval processes involve numerous laws originating with both the federal and provincial govern-
ments. These include the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Mackenzie Valley Review Board, Health, Safety and Reclamation Code, Fisheries Act, Environmental Assessment Act, Metals Mining Effluent Regulations, and the Canadian Environmental Protections Act. Assuming a company eventually enters production and actually makes a profit, there are likewise numerous taxation and income redistribution laws which lie in waiting. These include: Nunavut and NWT sliding-scale royalty laws, Ontario Mining Tax, Manitoba Mining Tax, royalties to indigenous peoples defined by agreements like the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement and the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement. These are all in addition to the “normal” federal and provincial corporate tax laws.
regulations for mining companies operating in foreign lands are in the process of being written, following consultation with the provinces, territories, First Nations groups, Aboriginal groups, the mining industry, and various interested civil groups. And Quebec has just imposed their new, complex Bill 43 which will replace their existing Quebec Mining Act of 1987. Somehow the public must realize that almost every facet of our modern existence is dependent upon a steady and reliable flow of an enormous variety of metals which must be mined to come into
usable existence. Unless the present situation is reversed and new mining ventures are quickly brought to production, it is relatively easy to forecast serious, perhaps crippling future metals shortages as old mines play out. The situation has become so perilous for small miners that a new organization, the Venture Capital Markets Association has been formed with the rallying cry of “Zealous over-regulation by a multitude of governing organizations is rapidly bringing venture funding to a halt.” It is that serious. n
Reclamation Upon Mine Closure Laws These require such measures as the creation of a mine closure plan as specified in the National Orphaned and Abandoned Mining Initiative, posting of guarantees to ensure financial capacity to followthrough with such plans, and an elaborate array of regulations requiring protection of water resource purity following reclamation. Sometimes the specific wording of laws implies a standard which might be impossible to meet, such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans requirement that mining companies which use ponds for tailings storage are required to “recreate the lost habitat” without defining exactly how this is to be accomplished. We have used Canada as our primary example, but rules and laws are similar in both nature and complexity in other important mining nations such as the U.S. and Australia. It is also worth noting that regulations in far-flung nations are having their impact on North American miners, as well. Kinross Gold recently pulled out of a major project in Ecuador because of that country’s tax laws. Barrick Gold recently took a huge write-down on its Chile/Argentina Pascua-Lama project, citing environmental laws and government interference. Going forward, there is little indication that the overall situation is improving. Canada just announced that tougher new Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 35
prospectors & developers Association of Canada
PDAC 2014 Report By Jillian Mitchell The city of Toronto reigns as the financial capital of the global exploration and mining sector. As such, the Queen City renders itself the ideal backdrop for the world’s largest mineral exploration convention, a role it has willfully adopted for over 80 years. In 2013, the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) Convention contributed an estimated $80 million to the local economy and boasted a record 30,000 attendees from 126 countries, including 600 self-identified Aboriginal delegates; 50-plus members of parliament and government; 1,666 student delegates; and over 7,500 international delegates. It’s a most successful feat, declares PDAC executive director Ross Gallinger, especially in the math of the current market downturn. The association holds similar hopes for the 2014 PDAC, which will be held March 2nd through 5th at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre (South Building); subsequently, current registration hints that 2014 is well en route to replay last year’s victory. “In this downturn, we still see very strong signals of great participation—a lot of interest internationally, as well,” Gallinger says. “We see the PDAC Convention as the networking opportunity for the sector from a global perspective. That’s why we see it as very pertinent. And the fact that it’s occurred over 80 years means that it’s predictable, timely, and people know what they’re getting.” “The TSX is the financing market for the resource sector. We have over 800 Canadian companies, which is far greater than any other market out there. This market has understood the business and therefore been very close to the sector as a consequence.” Each year, the four-day, early-March convention proves a wealth of opportunity—with an estimated 500 speakers; 1,000-plus trade show exhibitors; and over 200 educational opportunities; as well as many social and networking opportunities. The association’s official mobile convention guide, Mobi, proves a great complement to the event. “This year, there’ll be a lot of discussion around the current access to capital issues that the junior sector is experiencing. That will be top-of-mind,” says Gallinger, citing the Ring of Fire luncheon and the mineral outlook luncheon as must-see events. “The state of the industry is going to be very much topical, as is where we go from here.” The 2014 event will showcase the PDAC’s “new vision for future,” as outlined in the official strategic plan released in 2012. As Gallinger offers, the vision most appropriately builds upon the successes of the past while looking toward the future and well-complements the association’s rebranding of 2012. “The board approved a new strategy, which basically focuses priority on access to capital, access to land, and Aboriginal affairs. We’ve always been strong in those areas,” says the PDAC executive director. “Especially in the last year, we’ve really stepped up our game on finance taxation and securities. I really appreciate the efforts of the volunteers of PDAC who’ve come in to work together in this area.” For more information, please visit the PDAC’s website: www.pdac.ca. n
36 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
WHERE THE WORLD’S MINERAL INDUSTRY MEETS
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Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada
AIDEA continues to invesT
in Alaska development as infrastructure projects generate revenue and create jobs By Melanie Franner Distinguished by the fact that it is a selfsustaining entity, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) was created as a public corporation of the State of Alaska in 1967. Its mission: to provide various means of financing to promote economic growth and diversity within the state. AIDEA accomplishes this by acting as a funding resource in partnership with other financial institutions, economic development groups, and guarantee agencies. “We’re a $1.2 billion corporation with three different legs,” explains Jim Hemsath, AIDEA deputy director of Project Development and Asset Management. “One third of our investments is used to generate revenue. One third is used as loans through our commercial finance group, which partners with Alaska’s lending community. And one third is comprised of the specific assets that we own.” These specific assets can be large or small, but one thing in common is that they all have meaningful economic de-
38 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
velopment impacts on both the state of Alaska and its people.
New Roads Extend Potential The DeLong Mountain Transportation Systems (DMTS) is one example of an AIDEA asset that has a significant economic development impact. It is the largest, single infrastructure project in the organization’s history. It comprises a 52-mile, 30foot wide, all-weather industrial haul road; a shallow water dock; offshore conveyor loading facility; fuel distribution and storage systems; and other port facilities. The road leads from the Red Dog Mine district to a port site located on the Chukchi Sea. Initial construction was completed in 1990 and a port expansion took place in 2000. The DMTS gave the NANA Regional Corporation (a Regional Alaska Native corporation formed in 1971), the essential road and port access needed to mine their Red Dog Mine ore deposit, which they then contracted to Teck Alaska. Teck Alaska, in turn, has contracted AIDEA for a priority
non-exclusive right to use the DMTS system until 2040. From the mine’s inception, NANA has been paid $466 million in nominal royalty payments while the Northwest Arctic Borough has received approximately $90 million in revenue. “AIDEA can take a very patient position on return of capital, and on this project we have taken a 50-year window of return,” explains Hemsath. “This resulted in lower cash flow requirements for Teck, and through the DMTS, Teck is able to get their product to market at a competitive price. Ultimately this has been good for the local community because the Red Dog project maintains over 500 jobs a year and provides a tax base for the Northwest Arctic Borough.” The opportunity for a sustainable future is present with the adjacent Aqqaluk De-
posit, a rich ore deposit that will produce 20 more years of operating life for the Red Dog Mine and continuing jobs for the region. AIDEA is also working with another company, Zazu Metals Corporation, to assist them with financing a 24-mile road extension (and port expansion) off of the DMTS to provide access to their Lik Deposit of zinc, lead, and silver. Zazu Metals intends to use this 24-mile road, along with 40 miles of the existing DMTS, to convey the concentrate produced from the mine to commodity vessels offshore for export to world markets. If the project does happen, it would mean even more potential jobs – and revenue – for the community. “The DMTS project has been a significant one in terms of promoting major economic development and activity,” explains Karsten Rodvik, Project Manager, External Affairs, AIDEA. “With this key infrastructure in place, stable, high-paying jobs for hundreds of people have been created in a region that wouldn’t otherwise feature this level of employment opportunity. And the majority of the people working on this world-class project are members of NANA,
which means that the jobs are predominantly local.”
Building as Asset The Skagway Ore Terminal is another AEDIA infrastructure project. It consists of a 6.7-acre industrial waterfront lot, whose primary features include a 98,000-squarefoot, 16-inch concrete floor (the concentrate storage facility situated on this floor was demolished in 2003) surrounded by concrete containment walls; office; shop; laboratory; electrical and wash buildings; enclosed materials handling loadout conveyors and shiploader; and a .37-acre adjacent lot which contains a fuelling facility (two 10,000 gallon day tanks), and tank farm (four 30,000 gallon storage tanks). AIDEA purchased the Skagway Ore Terminal in 1990 to promote year-round economic activity in Skagway, as well as to fund necessary environmentally efficient renovations to the facility, and to open the door to future economic growth through the marketing of the facility to other potential users. Unfortunately, the shipping of metal con-
centrates did not continue beyond 1998 when soft zinc prices forced the Yukon’s major zinc mines to shut down. AIDEA took the opportunity to proceed with the land remediation and to tear down the storage facility. A modest rebuild took place in 1997. Since then, AIDEA has been working with Minto Explorations Ltd. to use the facility to store and ship ore concentrates. At the behest of Minto Explorations, the Skagway Ore Terminal was expanded by 14,000 square feet in 2008. But that still leaves 60 to 65 per cent of the concrete floor space available for development. “We are in the early stages of discussion with Eagle Whitehorse LLC, which is looking at reclaiming about 350,000 tons of magnetite a year over a five-year period,” explains Hemsath. “We are also working with a number of Yukon and B.C.-based mining companies on other potential opportunities. We anticipate building out the Skagway Ore Terminal to its capacity over the next five years and then to expand that by an additional 25 per cent, as well as to replace the ore handler with an expanded one to better meet the needs of the mining Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 39
companies.” Although the Skagway Ore Terminal is nowhere near the size of the DMTS project, it nevertheless has a positive economic impact on the local community. “The community of Skagway is only about 900 residents,” explains Hemsath. “We’re hoping that our work on the terminal will ultimately create around 30 new jobs. In a community of that size, those 30 jobs can have a tremendous impact.”
Working for a Better Future With as many as 10 new projects being proposed each year, AIDEA is in a pivotal position to help guide the State of Alaska toward additional revenue-generating opportunities and job-creation activities. Unlike many other State-owned economic development agencies, AIDEA remains a self-funded organization. It not only operates independently of State general funds but it pays an annual dividend to the State. Since the inception of the dividend program in 1995, AIDEA has paid the State of Alaska more than $345 million in dividends. “We are governed by our seven-member Board of Directors,” concludes Hemsath, who adds that the board was recalibrated a couple of years back from a board of three commissioners and two private sector members to a board of two commissioners and five private sector members. “We’re all about partnerships, about partnering with private organizations in Alaska’s business and development community to provide access to capital and to generate jobs.” n
40 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
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UAF Mining Engineering
Mining Engineering Research Endowment Fund alive and well at University of Alaska fairbanks as Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation renew three-year, $1 million commitment By Melanie Franner Rajive Ganguli has set out to change the culture surrounding graduate mining engineering and research programs. A product of the University of Kentucky, Ganguli is familiar firsthand with university foundations that are used to support graduate mining students. And he would like to see more of them, specifically at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he is currently the chairman of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering.
42 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
“When it comes to university-level mining programs, it is not that common to have endowment funds,” he explains. “But broadly speaking, it is very common within the United States. Universities are on the receiving end of tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, primarily in private donations. I think it is a culture issue. The idea of donating doesn’t exist much in the American corporate mining industry, unlike say in the petroleum industry, though many of
the same companies invest vast sums in mining programs in Australia, Chile, and Canada.” Regardless of why this has been the practice, Ganguli is determined to make it a practice of the past. “I have been championing the need for endowments for quite a while now,” he explains. “Our idea is to invest the money very conservatively and to spend only the returns so that the principle is protected. This will enable us to sustain a stable foundation in perpetuity. What that means, however, is that I will only get to spend about three to four per cent of the endowment during most years.”
Stepping up to the Plate Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (SMM) and Sumitomo Corporation (SC) were among the first of the mining companies to work with Ganguli. The Japanese-owned companies had made small donations to the University of Alaska in the past. That changed in 2011, when they contributed US$1,059,000 over a three-year period to the Mining Engineering Research Endowment Fund of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The two companies renewed their commitment this year for the same donation that will continue through to 2016. The specific amounts to be donated by the respective companies will correspond to the shares of ownership in the Pogo Gold Mine held by their respective subsidiaries. Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC owns 85 per cent and Pogo LLC 15 per cent. “We purely want to contribute to the local society in terms of corporate social responsibility,” explains Chris Kennedy, general manager of Pogo Gold Mine. “And after working on some big projects, we quickly became aware of the fact that there is a terrible shortage of mining engineers available in Alaska.” The Pogo Mine is Sumitomo Group’s largest gold mine, producing approximately 11 tons of gold annually. The mine rates around the 30th in terms of size globally, but is the largest hard-rock gold mine in Alaska at the moment. It is located approximately 145 kilometres southeast of Fairbanks.
A Call to Industry Ganguli began reaching out to the mining industry about six years ago. His target was to attain a total of $5 million. So far, he has commitments for $3 million. “I certainly expected it to be difficult,” he explains, adding that he initially approached six major mining companies for the funds. To date, only SMM/SC and Kinross Gold Corporation have agreed to
participate. “I expected more companies to come on board, but I now realize that they have made previous commitments that they have to honour. Once they fulfill those commitments, they may agree to work with us. It is something they said they would be interested in revisiting.” According to Ganguli, once the entire amount of endowment money is secured, the University of Alaska Fairbanks will
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 43
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44 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
not only be able to fund about three to four students a year, it will also be able to conduct research into some long-term industry problems that are unique to the area. Additionally, the graduates of the program will have advanced knowledge and skills that will be valuable to the mining industry. Thus, the endowment will be a perpetual source of highly trained mining engineers. “It will be of benefit to the entire industry to have a stable endowment program in place,” says Ganguli. “There are many problems associated solely with cold-climate mining. For example, we know that a surface-mining operation in Alaska has to sometimes stop production in the winter because the air quality is so bad. This is a unique Arctic problem. We have a team consisting of mining engineering faculty, and faculty from atmospheric sciences, who really understand the relationship between sunlight and air quality in the Arctic, who are looking into the problem. And this is but one of many such problems that we can look to address over the long term, once the funds have been secured.” Ganguli points out that 25 per cent of the world’s exploration is currently taking place in the circumpolar north. He believes that the cold north, and all its technical challenges, is the future. Therefore, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with its knowledge of Arctic science and engineering, will be a useful partner in that future.
A Step Forward A strict part of contributing to the endowment fund is trusting the University to use the funds appropriately. The donors have no say in how the money will be spent. And they aren’t expecting it. “We don’t expect anything in return,” emphasizes Kennedy. “We just want to be able to contribute to the local society, and specifically to an area related to the mining industry.” The University of Alaska is the state’s primary university, with a rich history that dates back to the foundation of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1922. The financial donation being made by major companies like SMM and SC will enable the University of Alaska to continue to build on its rich heritage toward the creation of a strong and sus-
tainable future for both its students and industries in which it serves. “We are probably the only University in North America that is involved in cold-climate mining issues,” concludes Ganguli. “This endowment will benefit the students who will be able to participate in the graduate programs because the University will have the money to pay them. But it will also benefit the entire industry up here. Alaska is known for its harsh climate and stringent environmental regulations. It has a rich potential of mineral resources. Our research may be instrumental in helping mining companies reach their potential within this state – and benefit the entire mining industry in the process.” Committed to his cause, Ganguli is the first to extend his appreciation to those mining companies that have risen to the occasion. But he envisions a future where many more companies realize the benefit of a Mining Engineering Endowment Fund. A future that he hopes isn’t too far down the road. n
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Source: Southeast Regional College.
Creating mutually beneficial training partnerships for the community and mining industry Despite the current economic slowdown, Canadian mining companies continue to invest in effective and sustainable training programs to address the skills shortage. Retirement eligibility and the lack of new entrants into the mining sector are just two of the factors contributing to the nearly 150,000 workers across many mining occupations that will be needed by 2023. With over 40 per cent of the workforce being 50 years or older, the industry will need a matrix of training, attraction, retention, and knowledge transfer strategies. To meet the long-term HR needs of the sector, one of the most important strategies will involve the recruitment of a diverse workforce including immigrants, women, and Aboriginal peoples. Recent research indicates that six per cent of the mining workforce self-identify as being Aboriginal. This young and growing population represents a key group for training and employment opportunities in the mining industry, through the creation of community and employer partnerships which are mutually beneficial.
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Collaboration from Education to Employment According to a recent report from the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) entitled “Lessons Learned: A Report on HR Components of Aboriginal Community and Mining Company Partnership Agreements,” one of the most important aspects of any agreement between industry and community is for both parties to set concrete and realistic goals pertaining to the hiring of local talent. Despite recent improvements, communities and companies often have trouble meeting hiring requirements that are outlined in impact and benefit or partnership agreements. This can occur due to a lack of communication or unrealistic expectations on the part of either group involved. In fall 2012, MiHR held the Aboriginal Mining Education Forum in order to improve the understanding of issues related to Aboriginal education, as they apply to HR management in mining and mineral exploration, and to the economic development of Aboriginal communities. Delegates from government, education, in-
dustry, and Aboriginal communities had the opportunity to network and share their viewpoints in facilitated roundtables. A number of recommendations were created as a result of these discussions, including, but not limited to: the building of trust through cross-cultural understanding, examining and improving basic needs for education and building customized solutions based on each community’s needs. When focusing on training, forum delegates highlighted the need for community based solutions and reinforced the value of “Mining Essentials: A Work Readiness Training Program for Aboriginal Peoples.” The program was created with the input of companies and Aboriginal communities to help them meet their joint hiring and employment targets through the delivery of training in the community. It provides opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to develop the non-technical skills and the confidence needed to achieve rewarding careers and enables companies to benefit from a local, skilled and empowered workforce whilst also fostering economic
Source: Southeast Regional College.
development. Mining Essentials is unique in that skills are taught using workplace examples (workplace documents, scenarios, etc...) through traditional and cultural teaching methods (sharing circles, involvement of Elders, etc...). The program is divided between classroom curriculum training and enrichment opportunities (on-site industry visit/work experiences, safety certificate training), to deliver a well-rounded approach to learning. Employers recognize that Mining Essentials prepares graduates for immediate entry into the mining workforce for certain positions, and instills a drive for a long-term career in the mining industry. Todd Standing, manager of Aboriginal Engagement with Mosaic, has spoken to the effectiveness of Mining Essentials, in light of the recent delivery in Whitewood, Saskatchewan. He explains that, â€œGraduates finishing the program begin to consider the diverse career opportunities mining has to offer them, as opposed to simply getting them a job. They are able to see the possibilities they just didnâ€™t know of before and it is great to see their confidence grow as they learn.â€? In the case of this delivery, learners were able to visit a Potash mine in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, thanks to the partnership
with Mosaic. Mine site enrichment activities enabled the learners to not only grasp the importance of safety and diligence, but to really understand what it is like to work on-site. Participants in this particular delivery were able to discover how potash is mined and processed, as well as the various ways in which Canadians use it in everyday products. More importantly, they
discovered the potential role they could play within the mining industry.
Implemented across Canada Entering its third year of delivery, Mining Essentials has been implemented across Canada in British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan. Through support from Employment and Social Development Canada, the program
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Source: Southeast Regional College.
has also been customized for Métis and Inuit communities, in partnership with the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. E-Learning components are also currently under development to offer a blended learning approach to delivery. Since program inception, approximately 70 per cent of Mining Essentials graduates have secured employment or
furthered their mining education within the first six months of graduation. While getting employed is one ideal scenario for Mining Essentials learners, many of them also choose to continue their education or training after they complete the program. MiHR will continue to expand Mining Essentials across Canada, with future program deliveries under development
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PKS MOBILE COLUMNS
If versatility AND portability is what you need, then PKS Mobile columns lifts are the answer.
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Versatile lifting for the entire fleet with unique mounting options.
• With smooth, powerful hydraulic lifting, PKS mobile columns are available in per column lifting capacities of 12,000 to 40,000lbs., and tire diameters up to 72 inches.
• The PKS Scissor platform lifts straight up, with no horizontal movement like other hinged lifts. Compact and no wider that the vehicle being lifted, the PKS Scissor Lift maximizes bay space.
• High capacities are possible through use of high strength 7/8” fork lift mast main lifting columns and steel roller bearing on the carriage.
• Access to the vehicle’s underbody is greatly enhanced with no cross beams or torsion bars connecting the platforms.
• PLC controlled carriage location on each column ensures synchronized lifting and dual valve leveling ensures smooth operation.
• With a tall 78” rise, the PKS Scissor Platform lift can be mounted in any one of three configurations:
• Unique to the PKS mobile column is the ability rest the load on the mechanical locks while not in use. The load is supported mechanically and not exclusively on the hydraulic system. Locks increments are every 3 inches. Additionally, each hydraulic cylinder incorporates a hydraulic velocity fuse. • All columns for mining are galvanized and 24V controls are standard. Explosion proof controls are optional.
• No installation, just plug-in and start working.
• directly bolted to the floor in a “surface” configuration with ramps to access the lift • installed in a “recessed” pocket with the center between the platforms open to maximize working height • “flush” to the floor with the center solid. • The lift platforms are electronically equalized side-to-side for even amd smooth lifting. As with all PKS products, each scissor mechanism incorporates independent mechanical locks and hydraulic velocity fuses on the cylinders. • Custom platform lengths are available, with capacities to 160,000 lbs.
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When the shop floor must be free and clear of obstruction, there is no better choice than a PKS In-Ground Piston Lift. • With no obstructions around the vehicle and the tires or tracks free for removal as soon as the vehicle raises off the floor, the PKS In-Ground is the choice for brake and tire work or track removal. When the lift is not in use, the lift stows below the work shopfloor. • Available with multiple configurations of movable or fixed pistons with capacities to 75,000 lbs per piston. • Every PKS piston has standard chrome plated pistons and fiberglass coated cylinder casings for maximum life. • Example of use in mining: lifting bulldozers for servicing tracks, track frames, idlers, and welding of ice lugs. • PKS is the only company that can offer both traditional low pressure pistons, as well as high pressure, low volume pistons.
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• With minimal set-up time, the PKS 4-post can lift up to 160,000 lbs in a multiple column configuration, handling the heaviest vehicles with ease. • Each column features integrated locking latch with a lock position every 3 inches. Additionally, each vertically lifting hydraulic cylinder has an integrated velocity fuse. • Another advantage of the PKS 4-Post is custom platform lengths, allowing you to get exactly the lift to fit your shop. • Every 4-post lift built for mining is galvanized for years of durable use. • As an option, the lift can be built with an open front that eliminates the cross beam and facilitates personnel ingress and egress.
Canadian Zinc Corporation
Prairie Creek Mine
A profile of determination By Colleen Biondi Canadian Zinc Corporation, a Vancouverbased junior resource company, has a one-track mind these days. Its primary focus is getting the Prairie Creek Mine, located 500 kilometres west of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories’ (NWT) Mackenzie Mountains, up and running. If the stars align perfectly, this underground mine, which contains significant lodes of lead, high-grade silver, and zinc, will begin mining in 2015, explains Alan Taylor, chief operating officer and the company’s vice president of exploration. When that happens it will be cause for celebration – and it will be long overdue. Base metals were actually discovered on the creek side back in 1928. Exploration took off in the 50s and 60s. A flyin camp was set up in the 70s. In 1979, the Hunt brothers, a trio from Texas, invested $65 million to build a major mine infrastructure on the site. The mine was fully permitted and three months from production when their company, Cadillac Mines, went into receivership. Canadian Zinc came onboard in the 90s and
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continued to investigate the potency of resource at the location. When they had defined “a significant threshold of base metal reserves that would support a mining operations for over ten years” in 2008, they applied to re-open the mine. The water licence, which is the final required permit, has now gone to Ot-
tawa for approval. That permit will allow Canadian Zinc to use local waters for milling and mining and will approve its plan to treat and to release, post-production, without any deleterious effects to the environment. “We are going to refurbish an existing pond facility into a water holding pond,”
says Taylor. “We will control the release of our treated effluent to the creek when it doesn’t have much flow, so we don’t alter its ecosystem.” Under normal circumstances, “permitting takes a long time,” explains Taylor. With Prairie Creek, it is taking even longer due to the remoteness of the location and the fact that it is surrounded by the ecologically-sensitive and recently-expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve. Further, the mine is in the vicinity of communities such as Nahanni Butte and Fort Simpson, both of which are hotbeds of the Dehcho First Nation, so Canadian Zinc has made it a priority to dialogue with Aboriginal populations at every stage. “We are in their backyard and they are concerned with the environment. It is easy for rumour and hearsay to spread, especially in the north.” There is much work to be done once permitting is achieved. The site infrastructure, which includes the mill, trailers, and bunkhouses, main-
tenance shops for vehicles, fuel storage facilities, and workhouses, is over 30 years old and will need a major upgrade
to fix leaky roofs, upgrade electrical frameworks, and replace the mill’s diesel generators - essentially to bring the
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54 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
entire site up to today’s rigorous safety codes and compliances. Modules will be added to the mill building to house equipment intended to more efficiently extract the ore and thus reduce costs. There are three levels of underground workings and tunnels right now; this needs to be expanded in order to meet the ultimate goal of mining 1,300 tonnes of resource per day. A pre-feasibility study conducted by SNC-Lavalin Group reports it will take $160 million to get the infrastructure viable for mining operations. “At the back end of the mining process, Cadillac had originally planned to put the mill tailings into a tailings pond facility,” says Taylor. But long-term integrity becomes an issue; tailings ponds can have structural failure and can leak metals into the water system. Instead, waste product from the mill will be put back into the voids from which they were mined. “When the mine closes there won’t be any surface tailings pond legacy issues.” The mine is smaller than many at only 25,000 square metres, but production is
expected to be robust. Canadian Zinc is basing the minimum economics on processing in excess of 5.5 million tonnes of product over 10 to 12 years. As ongoing exploration finds more ore, that mine life prediction could double. The site will be a â€œfly in/fly outâ€? facility for nine months of the year. Employ-
ees will work 12-hour shifts for three weeks then will have three weeks off. The company will provide comfortable accommodations, transport into and out of community centres, ensure lines of communications are open regarding available jobs and provide a solid employee assistance program (EAP) offer-
ing counselling, and support services. One of the keys to mining successfully in the north is to engage key stakeholders. Canadian Zinc is offering training programs to residents to meet employment qualification standards (it is anticipated there will be 220 employee positions
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needed to handle mine operations) and are offering tours of the facility and information about the mine and its impact on the local area. They have signed a socioeconomic agreement with the Government of the NWT, which outlines a framework for how the company will maximize northern employment and how the government will garner political support for mining operations at Prairie Creek. They have created a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Parks
Canada to ensure the company’s rights of development and access to the mine are protected while simultaneously recognizing and committing to a light developmental footprint on the land. “Working close to a national park reserve puts you under a magnifying glass. You are under close scrutiny,” says Taylor. There are other challenging issues impacting mining development in the 21st century. “You are dealing with the cyclicity of
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Baffinland Iron Ore Mines Corp.
Looking for Change
The Mary River Project faces some challenges, but hangs on to the future By Leonard Melman Every so often, an ore body is discovered with the potential for substantial profitability despite some otherwise limiting condition such as a very remote location. One such project is the Baffinland Iron Ore Mines Corp (“Baffinland”) Mary River Project, located farther north than any other active Canadian mining endeavour. The Mary River Project is an iron ore body located in the northern portion of remote Baffin Island in Canada`s Nunavut Territory. As such, the project must contend with bitterly cold temperatures for much of the year; long periods of total absence of sunlight; vast distances from personnel, supplies, and ultimate market sources all while being hampered by a transportation infrastructure that is minimal in nature and limited to either yearround air or shipping during a relatively short ice-free season. Baffin Island itself is the largest single island in the Canadian Arctic and is the fifth largest one in the world, stretching
from below the Arctic Circle to well above the 70th parallel north latitude. It is separated from the northern tip of Quebec by the Davis Strait, from the rest of the Canadian Arctic mainland by waters adjacent to Hudson’s Bay and from Greenland to the east by the Baffin Sea. Some specific difficulties which exist and must be resolved include high costs associated with building and operating a mining operation in a remote location; logistical challenges associated with construction due to the limited seasonal access to the site; long winters and very cold temperatures which present technical problems relating to equipment and supplies; permafrost and ice lenses mandating specialized designs for equipment and construction facilities and problems regarding the adaptability of non-natives to hostile Arctic weather conditions. Despite these handicaps, the project has received substantial support from owner “Baffinland” which itself is owned
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by two entities; steel industry giant “ArcelorMittal” and a private investment firm, “Iron Ore Holdings LOP” with each entity owning 50 per cent of Baffinland. Iron ore at the Mary River is contained in nine plus high-grade lump and fine iron ore deposits that can be mined, crushed, and screened into saleable products. High grade ore in the region was first discovered in 1962 during air reconnaissance and prospecting operations across central and northern Baffin Island. These efforts led to the identification of Deposit #1 and subsequent exploration efforts included more than 30,000 metres of drilling across over 200 holes. In addition, advanced-grassroots exploration programs including property scale mapping, structural mapping studies, sampling programs, and efforts leading to master’s and doctorate geologists’ theses have also been conducted through the years. Geologically at Mary River, outcrops of high grade iron ore consisting of hematite and magnetite in various proportions, and of specularite, are exposed along the margin and crest of Nuluujak Mountain at elevations ranging from 250 to over 690 metres. ArcelorMittal geologists estimated that there are 373,000,000 tonnes of reserves already identified and they also noted the ore was of unusually high quality which does not require processing or pelletizing and will only need crushing and screening before shipment to customers. One important benefit of this high ore quality is that because no refining is required, there will be no tailings holdings areas required, thereby eliminating what is normally one of the most difficult environmental approval hurdles. As originally conceived, Mary River was to be an open-pit operation whereby ore
would be crushed and then stock-piled awaiting shipment by rail along a newlyconstructed line from the mine to the port of Steensby on the west coast of the island. This would also require the construction of an entirely new port facility, capable of year-round shipments, at the Steensby location. Plans were for three trains per day to be operating from the mine site to Steensby, each train pulling between 110 and 180 wagons, and then be unloaded onto vessels for shipment to European ports for final processing. Construction for this massive project was to be accomplished by a work force of approximately 1,700 to 2,500 and final staffing during the mineâ€™s operation was to have been about 950 persons. Original plans called for ore production at the rate of 18 million tonnes per year and an estimated mine life of 20 years, subject to future extension as new ore reserves were identified. The capital investment was to be about $4 billion and it was on these bases that the original environment permit application was submitted in 2011 to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). Intensive investigation then took place including contributions from area Aboriginal peopleâ€™s organizations such as the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) which represents Inuit interests across the Baffin Region, High Arctic, and Belcher Islands. Contributions were also received from area towns including Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach, and Igloolik. The only other community of note on Baffin Island is the Nunavut Territorial capital city of Iqaluit near the island`s south end. Following a protracted environmental hearing process a project certification permit was issued for the Mary River Mine by the NIRB late in 2012. At this point world economic conditions, particularly including an anticipated slowdown in steel usage by China, forced a dramatic scale-back in plans for Mary River. Instead of a new rail line to a new port at Steensby, Baffinland opted to ship ore by truck to existing port facilities at the eastern Baffin Island port of Milne Inlet. Because Milne is ice-free for only three or four months and transport by truck over road is less efficient than rail, the new estimate of annual production has been reduced to 3.5 million tonnes.
However, constructing these reduced facilities could allow for an earlier initiation of production than the previous plans. Baffinland now anticipates initiating construction as soon as possible and a ship bearing some supplies arrived at Milne Inlet in late July with seven more shipments expected before the marine season ends in early October with shipment. Shipment of supplies from Milne to Mary River will be by truck via the existing 100 kilometre road.
Present plans call for production to be achieved during 2014 with initial shipments to follow during the ice-free season in 2015. Despite all the problems encountered to date, determined miners remain convinced they will ultimately develop the Mary River Mine into an economically productive asset which contributes to the economic well-being of the entire region. n
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 59
victoria gold corporation
Yukon’s Biggest Ever Gold Mine? Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold project begs the question
By Michael Schwartz Some 375 kilometres north of Whitehorse, capital of Yukon, lies the Dublin Gulch property which hosts the Eagle Gold deposit. Dublin Gulch’s sole owner, Victoria Gold Corporation, is confident that Eagle Gold will become Yukon’s largest-ever gold mine, involving an open pit, three stage crush, in-valley heap leach, and gold recovery plant operation to produce gold doré bars. Victoria Gold is basing its forecast on several factors. Eagle Gold includes Probable Reserves of 2.3 M oz of gold within 92 Mt of ore @ 0.78 g/t Au; this is outlined in an NI 43-101 Feasibility Study. The resource overall is estimated to host 222 Mt averaging 0.68 g/t Au, with 4.9 M oz of Indicated gold inclusive of Probable Reserves, and a further 78 Mt averaging 0.60 g/t containing 1.5 M oz of Inferred gold. The previous largest Yukon gold mine was Brewery Creek, which produced 280,000 oz between 1997 and 2001. Tucson-based M3 Engineering has been selected and retained to complete the detailed design work for Eagle Gold. M3 has relevant experience in the Yukon, having recently completed a feasibility study for the Casino copper and gold project. De-
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tailed engineering started early in 2013 and remains underway with a current focus on heap leach design, site earthworks, and procurement of crushers and other site infrastructure. Dublin Gulch has year-round road access and is planned to be served by Yukon Energy Corporation’s electrical grid.
Financing Eagle Gold Then there is finance. For John McConnell, Victoria Gold’s president and CEO, non-equity project financing “has progressed well in that the project has the capacity for non-equity financing to make up a majority of the funding requirements to build Eagle.” Debt discussions are well advanced and potential funding partners have started term sheet negotiations. And yet, one challenge remains. Equity markets remain seriously depressed so that the share price relative to project value is severely undervalued. Victoria Gold points out that Eagle Gold is technically sound, has an approved Environmental Assessment (EA), enjoys a mining-friendly jurisdiction, and will produce 200,000 oz of Au/y with attractive margins. In light of existing market conditions, Victoria’s directors have decided that this
year it has not been in the best interests of its share-holders to raise equity to fund major on-site construction. Victoria’s valuation relative to the project (share price/ net asset value) is incredibly low given the current market conditions. The company believes that proceeding with an equity financing on the basis of current share price would actually be value-destructive to its shareholders so it makes the best sense to defer major on-site construction until market conditions improve to more normal levels. In the meantime Victoria is confident it has a healthy balance sheet relative to most junior mining companies and is using this to its advantage to continue de-risking the project through permitting and engineering. Victoria has been actively pursuing several forms of project financing and making great headway on the non-equity front. It works with Rothschild as debt advisor and is well advanced with a syndicate of top-tier lenders. In fact, traditional debt financing may be available for approximately $210-240 million or 60 per cent of capital requirement. There has also been strong interest regarding royalty and gold streaming financing options. In more nor-
mal markets equity would typically make up the balance, but with valuations being so low relative to the project value, equity is again not an attractive option for existing shareholders. “We are disappointed equity markets are unsupportive to begin construction this season. However, Eagle is a rare shovel-ready project and the ore body does not go away. We will continue to de-risk and enhance the overall project to facilitate a quick and efficient site mobilization in 2014,” states McConnell. Where Victoria Gold has been successful in building its balance sheet is in selling its Nevada properties. As a result, Victoria now has a total of approximately $30 million in cash, accounts receivable, and marketable securities. Recognizing the need to conserve its money, Victoria Gold has reduced its staff-count, office space and administrative expenses, and stopped or postponed certain consultant and site activities. Despite this, work to support site construction in 2014 has continued.
The Next Steps So where does this leave Victoria? In engineering terms, Victoria continues further detail design to support permitting and the start of construction in 2014. Environmentally, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board has concluded its EA and has issued a Final Screening Report recommending authorization for Eagle Gold by the Governments of Canada and Yukon. Filing of these decision documents in April 2013 allows Victoria to apply for the necessary licences, namely a water licence from the Yukon Water Board and a quartz mining licence from the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Last - and very confident - words are John McConnell’s. “The Eagle Gold Project is a shovelready project capable of significant production at a reasonable cash cost and relatively modest capital requirements to build. Eagle is located in a favourable jurisdiction, has a bankable feasibility study, has successfully completed the environmental assessment process, has a modern First Nations benefits agreement and is supported by good infrastructure…the significant milestones to start construction are in hand.” n
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Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
Usibelli Coal Mine Inc.
Strong Heritage Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. – an Italian immigrant, a desire to succeed, and a commitment to the environment By Melanie Franner
The company named in 1943 after its founder, Emil Usibelli, has come a long way from producing the annual 10,000 tons of coal requested by the U.S. military during the Second World War. Today, Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. produces approximately two million tons of coal per year and its client list extends beyond the U.S. military to include energy companies, the University of Alaska, and strong export markets. The Italian immigrant who came to Alaska in 1935 has done both the State of Alaska and his family proud. He left behind an environmentally conscious company that is currently in its fourth generation. And with a lease on some 35,000 acres of land within the original Healy geographical area, Usibelli Coal Mine is well positioned to carry on this strong family tradition well into the fifth generation and beyond.
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Operational Insight Mining began in the area of Healy, Alaska, in the early 1900s. Usibelli, who began his company with a small dozer and a converted logging truck, focused on this area during his initial operations. In fact, this area remains the mainstay of Usibelli Coal Mine production. Today, the company’s has four permitted reserves. The Poker Flats Mine, which had a lifespan of approximately 25 years, began in 1973 and most of the coal was recovered by 2003. During this time, it produced about 27 million tons of coal. Mining began at the Gold Run Pass Mine in the late 1960s and the mine is expected to continue to produce in small amounts for several years still to come. Operations began at Two Bull Ridge in 2002. The mine is anticipated to be capable of producing 15 million tons of coal during the next 10 to 15 years. The Jumbo Dome Mine was permit-
ted only last year and is expected to be in production some time in 2014. There is an anticipated 100 million tons of coal in the Jumbo Dome Mine. Usibelli Coal Mine also has future reserves in its Rosalie Mine (named after Emil’s daughter) and the Wishbone Hill Mine. The former mine was worked much earlier in the company’s history but remains a potential source of an additional seven million tons of surface-mineable reserves, with an estimated lifespan of 13 to 15 years. “We’re not actively mining the Rosalie Mine right now,” explains Bill Brophy, vice president, Customer Relations, Usibelli Coal Mine. “But we own the leases and have the capability to go back there with more modern equipment.” The Wishbone Hill Mine is located outside of the Healy area and thus, would require some investment in infrastructure
before becoming fully operational. The mine is considered to have a deposit of about 14 million tons of identified reserves. “We would like to go into Wishbone Hill as soon as we have secured all of the necessary permits and approvals, which are currently under review with the State and Federal agencies,” states Brophy.
Servicing a Range of Customers The initial Usibelli Coal Mine customer, the U.S. military, specifically Fort Wainwright (formerly Ladd Field), continues to be a customer of Usibelli Coal Mine to this day. The base’s onsite co-generation heat and power plant currently burns approximately 320,000 tons of coal per year. Other U.S. military customers include the Eielson Air Force Base, which has a co-generation plant that burns approximately 195,000 tons per year; and the Clean Air Force Station, where a co-generation plant burns approximately 53,700 tons a year. Additional customers of Usibelli Coal Mine include Aurora Energy LLC, a cogeneration power plant and district heat system operating in the core area of the city of Fairbanks that burns approximately 220,000 tons of coal per year, as well as the Golden Valley Electric Association, which operates an electrical power-generation plant and is in the process of purchasing the operations of a second plant from the Alaska Industrial Development & Export Authority; as well as, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which operates a co-generation heat and power plant that burns approximately 70,000 tons of coal per year.
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Other Usibelli Coal Mine customers include several locations along the Pacific Rim. Approximately half of Usibelli’s production is exported through the Port of Seward to South Korea, Japan, and Chile. Usibelli coal is popular with international customers, in particular, because of the
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Although Usibelli Coal Mine may be considered one of the smaller mining companies on the world stage, it is a company known for its commitment to the environment, to its employees and to its history as a private, family-owned operation. “One of the hallmarks of our company is the reclamation efforts we do at the mine sites,” explains Brophy, who adds that the company began its reclamation efforts seven years before the government regulated the process. “We have an airplane drop grass seed and fertilizer after we have re-groomed the land. We then have a reclamation crew go in and plant anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 saplings that have been grown from seeds indigenous to the area.” The people at Usibelli Coal Mine are also a mark of the company’s character. Joe Usibelli Jr. is currently the President of the company, while his father, Joe Usibelli (son of Emil Usibelli) is Chairman of the Board of Directors. Emil’s daughter, Rosalie, is also involved with the Board of Directors. Brophy himself is a 12-year veteran of the company.
“Of our 130 employees, more than 30 of them have been here for more than 20 years,” notes Brophy. “And out of that 130 employees, 50 of them are either 2nd, 3rd or 4th-generation family members. I think these numbers are pretty profound and show the strength of our commitment.”
Burning Bright into the Future With extensive permitted reserves and future reserves, Usibelli Coal Mine is well situated to remain a contender in the State of Alaska for many years to come. And, as a company that started out small and has grown steadily ever since, it more than likely has bigger plans to come. “We continue to look at opportunities to increase our production,” concludes Brophy, who adds that the company will quite possibly increase its current production of two million tons per year to as much as three or four million tons per year within the next few years. “Within the 35,000 acres of land we have leased within the area of Healy, we have identified 700 million tons of surface mineable coal. At our current rate of production, that alone will last about 350 years.” n
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 65
Tyhee gold Corp.
Going for Gold
Tyhee Gold Corp.’s vision for the Yellowknife Gold Project
Brian Briggs, Tyhee Gold Corp.’s president and Chief Executive Officer laughs when he’s told that building a mine in the Canadian north is tough. “I’ve worked on mines in Africa where my wife and I lived in a 20-foot shipping container for months on end and where it took weeks, even months, to get a critical part delivered. After that, this is going to be easy… Well, almost easy,” he laughs. Briggs is talking about Tyhee’s vision of taking the company’s Yellowknife Gold Project, and building the next new gold mine in the Northwest Territories, one of
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Canada’s oldest and most prolific gold districts. “Given that Tyhee is a junior developer, we are fortunate to have a management team that is already heavily weighted towards operations and development. Typically, a company at Tyhee’s stage of development is frantically looking for experienced people to construct and operate the mine, particularly people familiar with working in the far north,” he explains. The roots of Tyhee’s Yellowknife Gold Project began in 2001 when the predecessor company, Tyhee Development
Corp., purchased the old Discovery Mine property from GMD Resource Corp. Back in the summer of 1944, prospector A.V. (Fred) Giauque had spotted visible gold in quartz veins in rusty mafic volcanic rocks near the west shore of the since-named Giauque Lake, 90 kilometres north of Yellowknife. The next year, he optioned the claims to Discovery Yellowknife Mines Limited, which quickly began developing both a mine and the company town of Discovery. Gold production began in January 1950 and, two years later that company was renamed Consolidated
Discovery Yellowknife Gold Mines Limited. As more gold was found, the mining operation was steadily expanded. The Discovery Mine produced more than one million ounces of gold from almost a million tonnes of ore before it was closed in 1969 following a fire that had destroyed the mill, making it one of the richest and highest grade gold mines in the NWT. While further surface exploration and diamond drilling continued intermittently and a number of related claims changed hands over the next 32 years, Tyhee’s management, led by Dr. David Webb, recognized the tremendous potential not only for the site, but also for the district. Following the acquisition of the Discovery site, Tyhee purchased or staked more land, accumulating a total of 35,085 acres of what is generally recognized as the most prospective land between Discovery and all along the trend to Yellowknife. In the past dozen years, the company has conducted extensive exploration work on its land position, although Val Pratico, Tyhee’s head geologist, estimates that less than 10 per cent has been tested in any serious way. Still, that work has turned up at least 17 gold showings thus far. Meanwhile, the largest portion of Tyhee’s focus has been on what has come to be known as the Ormsby deposit, which is contiguous to the now dormant Discovery mine workings. Some 122,000 metres of drilling in 510 diamond drill holes have provided enough positive results to support the company’s independent positive Feasibility Study (FS), which is the detailed basis Tyhee will be using to develop the mine, starting with an open pit at Ormsby. This FS provided Tyhee
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with the economic and technical framework supporting an operation that would produce approximately 100,000 ounces of gold per year during the first eight full years of production, beginning in 2016. Given the particularly challenging times that virtually the entire junior resource market is facing, the keys to Tyhee’s near term success lie with two critical path items - financing and permitting. Along with virtually every other resource junior, Tyhee is facing unusually difficult capital markets. However, the company has continued to move ahead due to the particularly strong support of its loyal shareholder base, as well as its deeply invested board of directors, a status that Briggs is confident will continue for the foreseeable future. On the permitting side, Tyhee’s technical team has been working on an updated Project Description, as well as on responses to Information Requests (IRs) received from interested parties, and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB). Tyhee expects to file this information with the MVEIRB in 2014. Following receipt of this information, Tyhee expects the MVEIRB to convene technical sessions to discuss Tyhee’s responses, where a second round of IR’s may be required. The company hopes to be through the environmental assessment process next year before moving into the regulatory phase in preparation for final permitting. Meanwhile, Tyhee has also been working closely on the development and operation of the project with the affected First Nations, who have offered their broad support. A key next step will be the conclusion of a formal agreement that defines the key benefits the project will provide these communities. “My entire team is dedicated to this project,” says Briggs. “It’s been a long time in the making and the markets are providing tremendous challenges, but history has shown us repeatedly that this too will change. When it does, we’re going to be ready. This is a worthwhile endeavour and once it gets going, it is going to keep going for decades.” n
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We’re built for the North First Air’s cargo fleet is ready to take on any job: our versatile B737s and ATRs are equipped for any combination of passengers and cargo, while our rugged B767 Superfreighter and twin Hercules aircraft do the heavy lifting. Recognized for our superior service and nearly 70 years of unmatched expertise in every part of the globe, it’s easy to see why First Air is the heavyweight champion of the North. First Air — Charter and cargo. Anywhere. Anytime.
ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᕐᒧᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᒃᓯᒪᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᒃᑯᑦ ᐅᓯᑲᖅᑕᖅᑎᖏᑦ ᖃᖓᑕᓲᑦ ᓱᓇᑐᐃᓐᓇᕐᓂᒃ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖃᕈᖕᓇᖅᑐᑦ: ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕆᐊᖅᑕᐅᔪᖕᓇᖅᑐᑦ 737 ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ATR ᖃᖓᑕᓲᖁᑎᕗᑦ ᑕᒪᐃᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᖏᕐᕋᔪᓄᑦ ᐅᓯᒐᒃᓴᓄᓪᓗ ᐊᑐᐃᓐᓇᐅᔪᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔪᖕᓇᑦᓯᐊᖅᖢᑎᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ B767 ᐅᓯᑲᖅᑕᖅᑎᒻᒪᕆᒃᐳᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒪᕐᕉᒃ ᕼᐆᑭᓖᓯᕗᑦ ᐅᖁᒪᐃᑦᑐᐊᓗᖕᓂᒃ ᐅᓯᒍᖕᓇᕐᒥᔪᑦ. ᐃᓕᑕᕆᔭᐅᓯᒪᓪᓗᑕ ᐱᔨᑦᓯᕋᑦᓯᐊᒻᒪᕆᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ 70 ᐅᑭᐅᑦ ᖃᓂᒋᔮᓂᒃ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᑦᓯᐊᖅᖢᑕ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᕐᒥᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓇᓂᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥᑦ, ᑕᐃᒫᒃ ᓇᓗᓇᙱᓚᖅ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᒃᑯᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᕐᒥᑦ ᖃᖓᑕᓲᓕᕆᔨᑦᓯᐊᕙᐅᓂᖅᐹᖑᖕᒪᑕ. ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅ ᖃᖓᑕᓲᓕᕆᔨᑦ — ᐊᑐᖅᑐᐊᖅᑎᑦᓯᓂᖅ ᐅᓯᑲᖅᑕᕐᓂᕐᓗ. ᓇᒧᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ. ᖃᖓᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ.
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Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
Avalon intends to become the leading outside-of-China supplier of heavy rare earths and other rare metal and mineral products By Michael Schwartz China produces 95 per cent of the world’s rare earth elements and nearly 100 per cent of the scarcer heavy rare earths. Avalon Rare Metals Inc. is determined to break a near monopoly with a new supply of the heavy rare earths from outside China. Headquartered in Toronto, Avalon aims to capture a five to 10 per cent share of the global rare earths market, and intends to become the leading outside-of-China supplier of heavy rare earths and other rare metal and mineral products to the global market. Its flagship project is the 100 per cent owned Nechalacho Deposit at Thor Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT). Nechalacho is emerging as one of the largest undeveloped rare earth element resources anywhere. It is exceptionally enriched in the ”Critical 5” rare earth elements (neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium, and yttrium), which are key to enabling advances in green energy technology and other growing high-tech applications. It is one of the few potential sources of these vital elements outside China.
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President and CEO of Avalon Don Bubar is encouraged by his company’s opportunities. “With Nechalacho being the most advanced project outside China, there is an opportunity for us to be first to market and become the leading new supplier of heavy earths from outside China. This is our goal,” he states.
Work to Date While exploring and developing Nechalacho, Avalon has invested over $90 million and over 100,000 metres of drilling had been completed by May 2013. The latest resource estimation update showed measured andindicated mineral resources in the prospect’s basal zone as 65.83 Mt, grading 1.57 per cent Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) and 21.86 per cent Heavy Rare Earth Oxides/Total Rare Earth Oxides (HREO/TREO), using the base case $320/t NMR cut-off. At the $800/t NMR cut-off there are an estimated 18.57 Mt of resources grading an impressive 2.2 per cent TREO, and 25.8 per cent HREO/TREO. The deposit also contains significant by-prod-
uct rare metals, tantalum, niobium, and zirconium.
The Geology The Thor Lake rare metals deposit is hosted by the peralkaline Blachford Lake intrusion, an Aphebian-age ring complex emplaced in Archean-age supracrustal rocks of the Yellowknife Supergroup. Principal rock types in the intrusion are syenites, granites, and gabbros and associated pegmatitic phases hosting rare metal mineralization. The host of the Nechalacho mineralization, the nepheline-sodalite syenite, is within and below the Thor Lake Syenite, and is exposed locally in the north west part of the Thor Lake Syenite. Key features are a distinct chemical composition showing under-saturation in quartz, cumulate layering, agpaitic zircono-silicates including eudialyte, and hosting of zirconiumniobium-tantalum-rare earth mineralization. Five distinct deposits of rare metal mineralization have been identified as being of potential economic interest - the
Nechalacho deposit (historically known as the Lake Zone), which is currently top priority due to its large size and enrichment in REE, and the smaller North T, South T, S and R zones, which are not currently being worked by Avalon. Nechalacho, a tabular hydrothermal alteration zone, often extends to 200-250 metres in depth, and is characterized by alternating sub-horizontal layers of relatively high and lower grade REE mineralization. HREE are present in the Nechalacho deposit in fergusonite ((Y,HREE) NbO4) and zircon (ZrSiO4), whereas the lighter earths are to be found in bastnaesite, synchysite, allanite, and monazite. There is a gradual increase in HREE from the surface down to the basal zone. Typical proportions of HREO to TREO in upper zones can be seven to 10 per cent, but in the basal zone the average is over 20 per cent, and as high as 50 per cent in individual samples. There is also a tendency for the basal zone HREO grade to increase with depth and the highest grades are found in a basinal structure along the south west side of the deposit.
Whether you need geophysical, geological or exploration support services, our ideas, experience and northern expertise mean you’ll have the best thinking on your project. Go ahead – pick our brains.
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www.aurorageosciences.com Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
Sustainability and CSR Nechalacho is situated in an area known as the Akaitcho Territory which is subject to a comprehensive land claim negotiation between several communities of the Dene Nation and Canada’s federal government. Avalon has been proactive in engaging with local Aboriginal communities with a view toward sharing the benefits through partnership agreements.
Bubar is acutely aware of the importance of community engagement and embracing the principles of sustainable development generally. Indeed, he notes that, “There are lots of large companies needing HREEs, that conduct audits of their supply chains right back to the sources of raw materials and insist that all their suppliers adhere to the same principles of sustainability that they do.” Avalon has taken a multi-dimensional approach in terms of the environment and working with local communities. In 2010, it received PDAC’s 2010 Environmental and Social Responsibility Award. In 2011, three different MOUs were signed with the Akaitcho First Nations, leading to a future cooperative partnership for the Nechalacho deposit. In June 2012, Avalon entered into an accommodation agreement with the Deninu K’ue First Nation. The company is now actively consulting with the four nearest Akaitcho Dene communities with a view toward implementing a co-operative development approach for the Nechalacho’s rare earths.
Confident with Good Reason Avalon has had several challenges to confront. There was the sheer complexity of processing data. Seven years have passed since exploration started at Thor Lake, and expenditures have reached over $90 million. Although Avalon was in a unique position seven years ago, the surge of interest in rare earths three years ago attracted lots of competitors, but with a four year head start Avalon remains far more advanced than most of its competitors. “Heavy rare earths are vitally important to many industries including automotive, electronic, and clean technology, but we have to develop the markets for our products directly with consumers,” states Bubar. “We need off take commitments before we can raise capital to commence construction. While we have $15 million in our treasury and no debt we need over $1.0 billion in hand before we can begin construction toward a production start date in 2017. In the interim, there is a lot to do to optimize the project, to reduce costs, and to improve profitability.” n
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Dunedin Energy Systems Ltd.
The SMART® Nuclear Battery
A safe, low-cost, zero emissions energy solution for northern miners
Faced with overcoming the enormous technical and logistical challenges of mining in remote northern locations, cost control has become the rallying cry of miners. Chief among these costs is energy, and the relentless upward march of world oil prices confirms that this problem will only worsen over time. Fortunately a solution is at hand. The Dunedin Energy Systems Ltd. SMART® nuclear battery offers safe, lowcost, zero emissions electricity and heat with unparalleled 20 year price stability. Designed by NIKIET, a company with more than 60 years experience in the design of small reactors, the SMART® nuclear battery incorporates design and operational features that ensure the highest levels of safety and operational flexibility. Employing conventional pressurized water reactor technology that has been proven in over half a century of operations, SMART® is factory built, fuelled and delivered to the mine site as a sealed unit. In approximately 20 years, when the nuclear fuel is spent, the entire reactor module is returned as a sealed unit to the fuel manufacturer in Russia for recycling. The reactor is never opened on site and nuclear waste is never stored or disposed of in Canada. At six megawatts electric with an option for steam/electricity co-generation, SMART® is the right size to provide mines with the multiple generating units necessary to ensure a secure energy supply without compromising operational flexibility or maintenance schedules. n
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 73
AREVA Resources Canada Inc.
AREVA’s Kiggavik Project exploration field season relies on local help At the Kiggavik exploration site, AREVA Resources Canada relies on the help of local workers to assist in a variety of tasks around the camp and on the drill sites. The Kiggavik Project team also depends on a diverse collection of Nunavut contractors to supply everything from groceries to jet fuel. Ensuring that these goods and services are delivered in a cost-efficient and timely manner is often a challenge, especially in the demanding environment of Canada’s north. Daniel Zunti, Kiggavik Facility and Logistics coordinator, explains that the Kiggavik Project exploration summer field season is fairly short due to the weather, and there is no winter exploration for this project. “Every year since 2007, the exploration team mobilizes on the tundra in the spring and closes-up the camp in late summer. This year was no different, the exploration camp opened on June 10 and closed on September 5 and employed about 30 to 40 people each day. This year we were fortunate to count 17 local Inuit workers among the team,” says Zunti. The exploration field season at Kiggavik entails drilling to define better known reserves and discover new areas of interest. This year four Inuit graduates from the drillers training program in Arviat were among the drill crew who successfully drilled 39 holes for a total combined depth of 10,593
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metres and performed ground geophysics on a distance of over 460 kilometres. Aside from drill work, the exploration field season is also the opportunity to collect much needed environmental data to improve the project team’s understanding of the conditions in the area and complement existing baseline studies to support the environmental assessment (EA) and review for mine development. Several local helpers from the Kivalliq region have assisted and/or led data collection for the EA in past years and local assistants contributed to additional aquatic baseline work conducted this season. The knowledge of the land that the local Inuit workers bring to the Kiggavik exploration team is invaluable, much like the services provided by local contractors. One of the businesses who entered into a mu-
tually beneficial relationship with AREVA to meet our procurement needs is Forest North Aviation and Logistics. Forest is an Inuit-owned joint venture between Forest Helicopters, and Peter’s Expediting Limited that provides helicopter services for the Kiggavik site. AREVA had been relying on Peter’s Expediting Limited’s efficient services for many years already to perform the late winter overland haul of equipment and supplies necessary for the field season. It was only natural to obtain the services of its joint venture partner Forrest Helicopters. The overland haul is no small feat. It represents close to 500 hours of hauling with each trip taking over eight hours each way. This March, Peter’s Expediting hauled close to 300,000 pounds of fry goods, 100,000 litres of jet fuel, and 100,000 litres of diesel fuel – that represents about 30 loads.
While local contracting expenditures would rise drastically should the Kiggavik project proceed to construction and operation, AREVA has already spent more than $22 million dollars for northern contracting, goods, and services purposes since 2007. These northern expenditures account for 34 per cent of total contract expenditures to date and 21 per cent specifically with Inuit-owned companies. In fact, it is estimated that during the lifecycle of the proposed Kiggavik Project, construction, operation, and decommissioning, the value of contracts going to northern suppliers could exceed $1 billion. These existing and future relationships will continue to contribute to the region’s economic growth through the creation of new training, employment and business opportunities. The local knowledge generously shared by Inuit employees and contractors during the exploration season provide AREVA with increased appreciation for the existing and future local contracting capacity required to potentially bring a project such as Kiggavik online. “Indeed, north of 60 businesses bring knowledge of logistics and timelines of doing business in Nunavut that definitely helps us during the exploration field season but also ensures that the Kiggavik Project proposal is realistic,” confirms Zunti. It is a fact the employment of local Inuit people at exploration camps such as Kiggavik adds to the local economy, but benefits extend beyond simple economics. Local employment and contracting contribute to increased information sharing and understanding for communities and companies. Community members gain a deeper understanding of exploration work
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 | 2013-2014 75
Remote Communication & IT Solutions
Serving Mining & Exploration, Oil & Gas, Remediation Projects, Construction Sites Connecting you to business • Semi-permanent & long term camps Phone, fax, computer network • Flexible data packages • Secure VPN Custom solutions • Wireless networking • Satellite TV • On-call support Canada wide-deployments • Northern owned & operated
We’ve got remote under control T: 867.765.2020 | F: 867.765.2021 | email@example.com www.cascom.ca 76 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
and mining project proposals by being participants in the process. Additionally, local employment provides another opportunity for local knowledge to influence and inform the Kiggavik Project environmental assessment studies and reports. Indeed, AREVA is committed to applying Inuit principles, such as Pilimmaksarniq, promoting skills development through observation, mentoring, and practice; Ikajuqtigiinniq, focused on working together for a common cause; and Tunnganarniq, aiming to foster good spirit by being open, welcoming and inclusive. In the end, by recruiting and contracting locally as much as possible during the project’s exploration phase and gathering the knowledge and experiences from local people to complement existing data, AREVA is ensuring that its Kiggavik Project proposal is sound, well informed, and that potential future development is better understood by community members and company representatives. AREVA looks forward to strengthening its partnerships with Inuit people and businesses as the Kiggavik Project exploration and environmental assessment continue to advance. n
difference Cameco is a leading producer of uranium. Our products are used to generate clean energy at nuclear power stations around the world. We are based in Saskatchewan where our largest mines are located. We work in partnership with northern people. About half our mine workers
are northerners and we depend on northern-owned businesses to support our operations. To Cameco, success means safe, healthy and rewarding workplaces, a clean environment, and the support of communities wherever we operate.
11-166-233 – Making a difference Friday, October 14, 2011 – North of 60 Mining & Exploration magazine 1/2 Page Horizontal 4C 7” x 4.625”
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Box 26, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 5X9 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fireweedhelicopters.ca Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 77
Det’on Cho Corporation
Changing Business in the North
Det’on Cho has built incredible success by finding new ways to support the mining industry
Det’on Cho Corporation is a company driven by innovation. As the economic development arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, its mission is to create prosperity for its people. The company has been around for 25 years, but since the discovery of diamonds in the Northwest Territories, it has developed new and unique ways to create that prosperity through mining support services. That focus on the mining and exploration industry has allowed Det’on Cho to grow exponentially in the last five years. Earlier this year, it was named to the PROFIT 500, a list of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. A company can’t get to that point without being innovative in how it does business. “Our goal isn’t just to make money,” says Roy Erasmus Jr., president and CEO of Det’on Cho. “It’s also to create opportunities for the Yellowknives Dene people and for northerners in general. To do that, we have to be smart about how we do things.” With a stake in 16 subsidiaries and joint ventures, Det’on Cho in involved in nearly every aspect of mining and exploration support. But the core of its business re-
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volves around four aspects: catering, janitorial and camp management services; logistics and expediting; construction; and mine remediation support.
Training with a Twist When a catering company that serves the mining industry is growing, you might think a restaurant would be the last thing on its mind. But that’s exactly what Bouwa Whee needed. The company started with catering services at the Diavik Diamond Mine, but now does much more. It has expanded to tackle housekeeping and janitorial services, camp management, and food supply at both the Diavik and Snap Lake diamond mines. With its expanded role, Bouwa Whee found itself in need of even more welltrained employees who were comfortable working at a mining camp. Instead of training employees at the mine sites, or simply hoping to find workers who were already qualified, the company decided to do things differently. It opened the Smokehouse Café, a restaurant that also serves as a training ground for people who would like to work at the mines.
“To be effective as a training kitchen, the restaurant has to mimic the mining camps as much as possible,” says Roger DeLeeuw, head chef at the Smokehouse. “Everyday, we prepare gourmet-quality, buffet-style meals, just like at the mines.” The Smokehouse has a regular staff to keep things consistent, but that staff helps to train workers in everything from food preparation to janitorial work. “It’s an innovative way to train northern workers,” says DeLeeuw. “And judging by the crowds at the Smokehouse on any given day, it’s a great place to learn.”
Taking Northern Logistics Above and Beyond For a northern mining camp, expediting and logistics aren’t always simple. When a camp is hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town, accessible only by air (or by ice road in the winter), it’s important not only to keep supplies and equipment properly stocked, but to make sure that both inventory and employees are transported efficiently. Det’on Cho Logistics isn’t satisfied with providing a simple service. Its goal is to add
value for its clients to take northern expediting and logistics above and beyond. Whether moving goods or people, it tailors its processes to each client, like customizing the supply chain to control costs. And every piece of freight is scanned into an electronic control and tracking system. “Our system lets our clients monitor the status of their shipments almost in real time,”
says Matt Mossman, president of Det’on Cho Logistics. “That gives them peace of mind, but it also helps them control their shipments. If they need something urgently, for example, it can help them decide whether to bump less urgent freight so they can get what they need sooner.” Whether Det’on Cho Logistics is helping a client manage its inventory or reduce its re-
ceiving costs by nearly 50 per cent, that added value has become the company’s signature. Perhaps that’s why its clients continue to increase its role within their companies.
Changing the Face of Northern Construction Det’on Cho Construction was designed to be a northern leader from the start. When Det’on Cho management saw the
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Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 79
opportunity for a new construction company, it invested $10 million in state-of-the-art equipment that would bring greater efficiency to northern road construction. Civil construction is rarely done during the harsh winters of Canada’s north. The brutal cold is hard on the equipment. But when Det’on Cho Construction saw the deadline for its largest project to date - building a new section of highway to bypass the contaminated Giant Mine site - it knew that it would need to work through the winter to keep things on schedule. “We looked at the mines and saw that they operate year-round,” says Erasmus. “We thought, why can’t we do that too?” So the company found cold-weather gear that would keep the equipment running even at −30°C. It also searched the world for the latest crushing, drilling and blasting equipment to keep its operations as efficient as possible. Those investments have paid off. The company worked through one of the coldest winters in decades to keep the project on schedule.
hardware building centre Corothers Home Building Centre 332 Old Airport Road Yellowknife, NT X1A 3T3 1-867-669-9945 Ext 218 | 1-867-669-9940 Fax 80 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
A New Kind of Partnership Det’on Cho isn’t just innovative in how its companies conduct their business, but in how it forms partnerships as well. Det’on Cho Nuna is responsible for care and maintenance at the abandoned Giant Mine site, which is in the process of remediation. The company is a joint venture between Nuna Logistics (which provides the expertise to handle a project of this nature) and Det’on Cho (which is the local partner). Det’on Cho was not satisfied to simply be an investor in the company. To create real prosperity, it wanted to build capacity as a company, which would, in turn, build capacity for its people. “From the start, Nuna Logistics agreed to help us become the managing partner in the project when we were able to do so,” says Erasmus. “As we learned to manage an operation like this, we would take over more responsibility. Eventually, we’ll be able to handle projects like this on our own.” That management transition officially began in September 2013. “It’s a different way of doing things because companies don’t usually train others to essentially become competitors,” he says. “We have a great relationship with Nuna and we’re glad that they’re willing to be such fantastic partners to help us get to this point.”
Looking to the Future While Det’on Cho is focusing its business on mining support services, it does so with an eye to the future. “The mining and exploration industry has allowed us to grow our company, and we’ll continue to serve that industry,” says Erasmus. “But we’re building our companies to serve other areas as well.” “The mines won’t be around forever, but Det’on Cho will still be here, creating prosperity for our people and our community. We’ll continue to be an innovative company so we can be even more successful in the future.” n
Associated Engineering (AE)
Connecting Northern Communities
Associated Engineering (AE) offers world-class expertise, experience, and collaboration on the Deh Cho Bridge Photo credit: Photo by Bill Braden www.billbradenphoto.com For decades, residents in the Northwest Territories did not have a fixed land-based transport connection to the rest of Canada due to an unreliable crossing of the Mackenzie River by either ferry or ice bridge. The impressive new Deh Cho Bridge, located on Highway 3 at Fort Providence, now links northern communities with the rest of Canada, creating new opportunities for economic and social development. At Associated Engineering (AE) are proud of their involvement with the project by assisting the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) since 2010, with the management and control of the project completion. AE developed a project management strategy, and implemented processes, procedures, and specialized systems, all of which were geared to mobilize and control human and material resources to accomplish a successful design, maintain construction continuity, and integrity, and minimize further delays and costs. We are most proud of our role in establishing a team approach to completion of the project. The large project team, scattered throughout North America and further afield, worked as a unit to achieve the project success. Also key to this success was the involvement of the local community. Going forward we remain committed to the principles of teamwork and working with local communities. We offer world-class expertise and experience, but realize that we can only continue to be successful in the north if we approach project collectively. n
Offices in Whitehorse, Yellowknife & across Canada
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
Collaboration in education is the key to modern industry training By Michael Vernon Collaboration is something Yukon College does well – listening to industry needs, hearing their concerns, zeroing in on what matters. And this type of skilled partnership is changing the face of industrial training in Yukon. “The old model of students learning solely in the classroom, applying for a range of jobs, and companies sifting through applications doesn’t work anymore,” says Shelagh Rowles, executive director of the new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM) at Yukon College. “Skills training is
a major investment of time and money for both industry and the student. Both need to be certain that the skills being taught line up directly with the job openings that are available, and collaboration is the key to achieving that.” This is especially true for Yukon’s fastmoving mining and exploration sector. In March 2013, 10 students graduated from the first offering of the Introduction to Mining Operations program at Yukon College, and within weeks all 10 were working at one of Yukon’s three operating mines.
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The program was created by the Yukon Producers Group, Yukon government, and CNIM. It prepares students for entry-level positions and features a deeper partnership than the college and the companies had ever attempted previously. Alexco Resource, Yukon Zinc, and Capstone Mining, the three companies with operating mines that make up the Yukon Producers Group (YPG), were intimately involved in the planning and development of the program. Applicants were each interviewed by CNIM and YPG prior to being selected. The program features an overview of the entire mining process, an orientation to the working environment in an underground and surface mine, heavy equipment training, and essential certifications in safety awareness. It ends with students experiencing a two-week shift rotation, allowing them to face the realities of mine work and camp life up close. “The benefit for students is that the companies are talking to you all the way through and getting a more well-rounded assessment of your capabilities,” says Rowles. “We did not guarantee jobs at the end,
Photo Credit: Archbould.com
Collaborating with industry to respond to yukon’s training needs
but by taking this approach we found that students took on a more professional demeanour throughout the course as they were much more aware of what the companies are looking for.” “It is absolutely in our best interest to hire locally,” states Brad Thrall, COO, Alexco Resource, and chair of the Yukon Producers Group. “The greatest challenge we face in doing so is the scarcity of available skilled workers in Yukon. This program sets the foundation for an expanded mine training initiative that is essential to a healthy and sustainable Yukon mining industry.” The Intro to Mining Operations program is gearing up to run again in 2014. Meanwhile, by the end of the year, a new collaboration between Selkirk First Nation, Pelly Construction, Capstone Mining, and CNIM will see students at Yukon College’s Hets’edan Ku campus in Pelly Crossing trained as Heavy Equipment Operators. n
Accredited progrAmming And contrAct trAining Get the results you expect from a training investment. Create a safe, skilled workforce with our team of industry experts and our 50 years of training experience across Yukon. Customize your workforce’s training: our innovative Mobile Trades Training Facility delivers the training you need to the location you choose. Centre for northern innovation in mining and sChool of Continuing eduCation and training 867.668.8760 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 83
Galaxy Broadband Communications
What’s new in satellite communications, and how can you improve it in your camp Reliable satellite communications is essential to remote mining operations. Voice over IP (VoIP) and Internet access is rapidly becoming as important to miners as food and a warm bed. There have been exciting new satellite technologies over the past few years and we thought it would be a good idea to interview the CEO and founder of one of Canada’s leading satellite companies to see just what’s new. Rick Hodgkinson started his career in satellite communications in Peace River, Alberta in 1981 where he co-founded Norsat Leasing and Sales who went on to become one of the largest satellite TV dealers in Canada. In 1992, Hodgkinson founded Galaxy Satellite which morphed into Galaxy Broadband Communications, one of the country’s leading satellite service providers. Galaxy’s head office is in Mississauga, Ontario and has a western office in Edmonton with sales offices in Prince George, B.C. and Dallas, Texas. North of 60: What’s new in satellite communications? Rick Hodgkinson: I think the most significant change that I have seen in this industry is that the Internet has become an indispensable part of our modern economy, and for remote operations satellite has become a virtual lifeline. It has always played a critical role in remote communications, but now it is integral to the business itself. We have customers in the oil and gas industry that if the Internet link drops, the drilling stops immediately.
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North of 60: So it’s not just about email and surfing the web anymore? Rick Hodgkinson: No, but that’s still an important aspect. We are seeing more and more customers approaching us for better solutions. Their existing satellite solution is no longer meeting their needs and adversely affecting operations, or worse, camp morale. They know they need something better, but don’t know what. That’s where our experienced sales engineers really show value as they sit with the customer and after carefully understanding their needs. They are all unique, so we suggest a proof of con-
cept or trial at our facility or their site their applications. North of 60: Okay, so based on your experience with satellite what would you recommend our readers consider? Rick Hodgkinson: Firstly, don’t be blinded by speed claims. Secondly, the old adage you pay for what you get applies. Now, that being said, at Galaxy our biggest challenge is responding to the questions “so why is your price so much better than what I am paying now?” North of 60: Then why is your price less? Rick Hodgkinson: Simple - we have de-
ployed the latest most efficient technology to get the most bits of data from a satellite signal and we use the most powerful satellites. If your reader has an older large C Band dish and are looking to upgrade their service levels I say keep your C Band, but supplement with a newer Ka or Ku Band technology. This way your get a fully redundant service, on two different satellites that will deliver close to 100 per cent reliability and for a price that is dramatically less than upgrading the old dish. A true win-win scenario - more throughput, higher reliability and lower cost overall. n
Are you ready to stake your claim in mining? Aurora College has a program for you! • Introduction to Underground Mining • Underground Miner Training • Pre-Apprenticeship Heavy Equipment Technician • Heavy Equipment Operator • Class 1 Driver Training • Mineral Processing Training • Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry • Trades Access • Trades Access II • Building Trades Helper
Apprenticeship programs in: • • • • • •
Carpentry Electrical Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Plumber/Gasfitter Housing Maintainer Oil Burner Mechanic
Aurora College offers programs at three campus locations and in various communities in the Northwest Territories. Thebacha Campus in Fort Smith is home to the main Trades facility. In the Beaufort-Delta region, Aurora College makes use of a state-of the art Mobile Trades Training Lab. In the Yellowknife North Slave Region, our mining programs include extensive use of an underground mining equipment simulator and onthe-ground training. Many of our programs have regularly scheduled intakes, while others are offered through partnerships in various communities. For information on any of these programs, please contact one of the regional industrial training coordinators, or visit our website at www.auroracollege.nt.ca.
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Climbs Like a Goat, Digs Like a Bear
CanDig can make its way over any terrain
Remember when a prospector had to dig their trenches by hand? Well, over a decade ago, CanDig Inc. developed a helicopter portable trencher that was designed to replace the hand shovel in mountainous terrain. At 1,250 pounds, it can be flown in one load, or quickly and easily separated into two loads of 750 and 500 pounds. The design has evolved so that their equipment can now crawl along, and work safely on steep slopes of up to 35 degrees, excavating trenches over 10 feet deep. It’s powerful and reliable Honda engine generates incredible power to dig into the toughest of ground conditions. CanDig moves itself without a trace. Environmental inspectors have noted that very little environmental damage
occurs when the machine walks itself from trench site to trench site, making permitting easier for prospectors. Operation is easy. Each trencher comes with a complete owner’s manual, including a training/certification program for new operators. Companies who invest in a CanDig can rest assured knowing that a new operator will be able to control the equipment safely. Servicing is easy and inexpensive too. For the most part, all that’s required is daily greasing. You can expect to burn about two gallons of gas during an eight hour shift, and that would typically excavate about 50 feet of trench if you need to dig 10 feet to bedrock; or more like about 130 feet of trench if only excavating to five feet deep. n Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 87
Fuel Flo Logistics
Fuel Flo Logistics serve northern clients safely, and quickly Fuel Flo Logistics is a full-service supplier of drummed and bulk fuels in the north. In addition to fuels they also supply fuel safety, containment, and refueling equipment, fuel testing/recertification, and ice strip building. Fuel Flo understands the challenges of acquiring quality fuels at competitive pricing and will never jeopardize safety, quality, or service. Further to the proper filling, storage, and transportation of drummed fuel they understand the logistics of on time delivery for the transfer of the fuel to site. Together with their partners they have over 50 years experience in supplying bulk and drummed fuel throughout Canada and specifically throughout the north. All of the aviation products are drummed under the guidelines of CSA Standard B836-05 at their partners certified drumming facility, which has been audited and approved to supply the Canadian Department of National Defense for a number of annual contracts throughout Canada, various helicopter/ fixed wing companies, and exploration / mining companies. Last year Fuel Flo was called to supply several thousand drums of fuel to the eastern arctic of Nunavut. Fuel Flo not only supplied the fuel, but looked after the logistics as well. Shipping the fuel by road, rail, and then large cargo aircraft once it arrived in Churchill, Manitoba. All fuel made to it the mining camp on time and on budget. This is the reason Fuel Flo is called upon year after year by mining companies ranging from juniors to the majors across the north and rest of Canada. n
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Meet resource experts and learn about mining investment, demonstrated potential, and unparalleled opportunity in Alaska.
Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
International Convention and Trade Show, March 2-5, 2014
Sunday, March 2, 2014, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm Metro Toronto Convention Center North Building, Room 206DC
www.commerce.alaska.gov/ dnn/portals/6/pub/opak.pdf Opportunity Alaska will include presentations by the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Regional Corporations, and mining industry representatives.
Presented by the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. VISIT US PDAC Trade Show Booth #1204
private sky aviation ltd.
Private Sky Aviation Ltd. charters flights with style, safety, and comfort in Canada’s north Private Sky Aviation Ltd. was founded in 2006 to fill a gap in the aviation industry where customers were limited to operator’s availability and fleet.
Private Sky is an aircraft charter agency, not an operator, and is therefore able to effectively focus on customer’s exact needs on a daily basis, with a large em-
Private Sky Aviation is an aircraft charter agency, not an operator, therefore able to effectively focus on specific customer needs with full emphasis on safety. Recent Accomplishments in the North • Fly in / out programs for mining projects through exploration, construction and production
• Business jet charters for executive & analyst tours • Cargo ﬂights for fuel, supplies & ad hoc cargo • Hot shots via chartered aircraft
phasis on safety. On a recent analyst tour to Nunavut, Private Sky Aviation was called to move 25 passengers from Toronto and Vancouver to a private site in western Nunavut where the VIPs would tour the site and remain overnight. Private Sky expertly used a Global 5000 and Challenger 605 Business Jet to fly passengers in the utmost comfort to Yellowknife with each aircraft landing within five minutes of each other. Passengers were than transported several hundred miles north on an awaiting DHC8 aircraft where the plan was to hold overnight and return the next day to Yellowknife via the awaiting business jets. When weather became an issue at the site Private Sky was tasked with turning the aircraft around that same day rather than overnighting in Yellowknife, as hotels were not available. The Private Sky team was aware that weather up north may be a factor so advised the flight crews of the jets to start their rest period to ensure that they could fly again that evening should weather not cooperate. As it turned out the aircraft and passengers had to return early and because of this “northern knowledge,” and a dedicated northern team, passengers were returned to their home base comfortably and in style that same day. This is just one example of how Private Sky is meeting the needs of the north. n
Photo: Jason Pineau
email@example.com | Toll Free: 888.878.2660 Yellowknife | Calgary | Edmonton | Vancouver | Toronto w
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With over 30 years of experience, Kluane Freight Lines Ltd. is a First Nation owned, Yukon based company offering daily freight service between Whitehourse and Dawson City. We also service Carmacks, Pelly Crossing and Mayo, and have extensive experience in servicing the mining & exploration industry. We provide Hot Shots Loads Yukon wide, and interlining with all major carriers. We haul van, reefer units and deck loads and offer our services year round. WHITEHORSE
T 867-667-7447 F 867-633-6492
T 867-993-5632 F 867-993-6525
Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014
K&K expediting ltd.
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.”
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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 pro-
What does K&K stand for? The k’s are for Kailah and Kristen, McClelland’s daughter and niece, who were both born the year K&K was created. vide 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 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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Sirius Wilderness Medicine
In the Field
Preventing and responding to remote medical emergencies
High arctic exploration camp. Companies operating in remote and wilderness regions face many challenges - harsh environmental conditions, risk of workers being stranded because of inclement weather, risk of wild animal attacks, and much more. For more than 20 years, Sirius Wilderness Medicine has been a Canadian leader in wilderness first aid training and medical support services. “We have a strong track record in providing advanced care, medical infrastructure, and training in some of the most isolated regions of Canada,” explains Sirius founding President Bob Washer.
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Photo Credit: © Sirius Wilderness Medicine Complete Medical Support Services Exploration and mining sites require efficient and well-adapted medical infrastructure. Sirius has developed a specific expertise in organizing and providing medical care for remote locations. Sirius provides: • highly experienced medical personnel supervised by off-site medical direction • infirmary and clinic installation • medical equipment and supplies • regulatory and risk assessments
Photo Credit: © Sirius Wilderness Medicine Wilderness First Aid training simulation. • emergency response and medical evacuation plans • training “Sirius looked after all aspects of our medical support system. They are extremely professional and reliable,” says According to Gilles Tremblay, president of Otelnuk Management Inc.
Northern Capacity According to Sirius CEO Eric Lapointe, “Our success in the north is based on our close and lasting relationships with local First Nations and Inuit communities and government departments and industry. Our clients trust us year after year to manage the health and safety of their workers.” In 2009, Sirius established Qikiqtaaluk Medical with its Inuit partners in Nunavut to provide organizations operating in the high arctic regions of Canada with reliable medical solutions.
Wilderness Safety Training An efficient medical support system ensures rapid and appropriate medical response. Targeted wilderness first aid training helps remote workers prevent medical emergencies in the first place. Over the past decade, governments across Canada have enacted
Photo Credit: © Sirius Wilderness Medicine more stringent regulations regarding occupational health and safety. Employers are required to provide specific wilderness first aid training if an employee’s workplace is a remote region. There is increasing awareness within the industry of the need for high standards in occupational health and safety. With the aim of promoting safety, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada has contracted Sirius to provide annual safety training programs to its members. “Our courses go far beyond urban first aid,” explains Bob Washer. “We focus on the specific hazards of remote settings, including extreme environmental conditions and long-term care in cases of delayed evacuation. Acquiring these skills gives remote workers a great deal of confidence.” Sirius wilderness first aid courses are also incorporated into many college and university programs across Canada helping to prepare future Canadian engineers and geologists for safe work in the field. For more information, please visit www.siriusmed.com. n
Sirius Wilderness Medicine For the health and safety of your workers turn to
Sirius Wilderness Medicine Complete Medical Support Systems ➢ Medical personnel ➢ Clinic and infirmary installation ➢ Medical equipment and supplies ➢ Emergency response and medical evacuation plans ➢ Regulatory compliance Safety Training for Remote Work Sites ➢ Wilderness First Aid training ➢ Customized safety training
www.siriusmed.com (877) 982-0066 Mining North of 60 | 2013-2014 95
The Wildlife Watcher By Jason Northcott, Wildlife Biologist, ERM Rescan Imagine yourself in Nunavut perpetually sitting on the Arctic tundra, never sleeping or eating, resistant to winter cold and summer mosquitoes, all the while collecting valuable data on the movement and presence of wildlife. The wildlife biologist has a powerful tool to perform such a feat, one that is both cost effective and reliable â€“ the remote camera. Remote camera trapping is an innovative approach to collecting data on wildlife species for baseline studies, long-term monitoring, population surveys, migration patterns, or even nonwildlife purposes such as snow melt and ice breakup. Wildlife data provided by the camera can include identification of traditional migration routes for caribou, the number of muskoxen present around a project area or monitoring effects of roads at key wildlife crossings.
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The strengths of the remote cameras include the quality, quantity and accuracy of data. Remote cameras can capture images using two simultaneous methods. Cameras can be programmed to take an image at pre-determined timed intervals (e.g. every 10 minutes, one hour, or any preferred time interval). In conjunction with timed intervals, remote cameras are triggered by motion snapping one image per second for up to 10 seconds. In addition, cameras contain infra-red technology to capture images at night and are built for very low temperatures (-40Â°C). For every image, the time, date and temperature are automatically recorded and the cameras are equipped with lithium batteries that permit them to be left unattended for months at a time. Data collected from remote cameras are lauded by government officials as
About ERM Rescan ERM Rescan is a leading consulting firm offering a wide range of environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting services and sustainability related services. Working closely with the mining industry over the last 30 years which included a strong northern focus, ERM Rescan has extensive experience operating in remote regions throughout Canadaâ€™s territories. Visit www.erm.com for more information.
being indispensable and recommended for wildlife baseline and monitoring studies especially in the natural resources sector. For example, you can place 30 remote cameras strategically around a proposed project area to monitor po-
tential effects on caribou numbers and distribution during the spring and fall migrations. Camera placements are selected based on previous studies and on-the-ground verification. Local aboriginal guides and elders have shared their traditional knowledge of caribou thereby improving the confidence of camera placements. A study like this is akin to having 30 full-time biologists on the tundra - all day - all night - all year and at a fraction of the price. Remote camera traps work very well on the open tundra as the field-of-view is unimpeded. Camera traps have also been proven invaluable on projects in mountainous, riparian and forest ecosystems. As these surveys are becoming
widely appreciated for their minimum disturbance to wildlife and high quality data output, expensive and intrusive surveys by helicopter or fixed-wings are becoming less practical. Finally, remember that remote cameras keep on snapping photos long after the last biologist is compiling data, writing reports, and preparing for the next field season. For more information on ERM Rescanâ€™s northern services contact our Yellowknife office at (867) 920-2090 or visit www.erm.com. n
Jason Northcott is a wildlife biologist based in B.C. with ERM Rescan and has worked in remote areas throughout Canadaâ€™s north.
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index to advertisers
AcmeLabs....................................................................15 ALS Minerals................................................................47 Arctic Tracks Ltd............................................................79 Areva Resources Canada Inc.........................................75 Associated Engineering................................................81 Aurora College..............................................................86 Aurora Geosciences......................................................71 BBE..............................................................................41 Britespan Building Systems Inc....................................35 Calm Air International LP.............................................65 Cambridge House International Inc.............................IBC Cameco........................................................................77 CanDig Inc....................................................................87 Capital Helicopters (1995) Inc......................................43
Cariboo Chrome & Hydraulics Ltd.................................16 CasCom Ltd...................................................................76 Challenger Geomatics Ltd..............................................8 Coast Fraser Tower........................................................98 Colas Natural Resources...............................................45 Corothers Home Building Centre..................................80 Desgagnes Transarctik Inc............................................21 Det’on Cho Corporation................................................23 Diamond Shelters.........................................................45 Duncan’s Mechanical Contractors Limited....................57 Dunedin Energy Systems Limited...................................9 Eagle Mapping.............................................................16 EBA - A Tetra Tech Company.........................................54 Energy Wall Building Products.....................................57
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ERM Rescan..................................................................97 Falcon Equipment........................................................82 Fednav...........................................................................3 Fireweed Helicopters....................................................77 First Air........................................................................69 Foraco Canada Ltd........................................................55 Fuel Flo Logistics..........................................................88 Galaxy Broadband Communications............................85 GSH (Great Slave Helicopters Ltd.)................................61 Heli Dynamics Ltd........................................................58 Inland Kenworth Parker Pacific....................................16 K & K Truck Rentals.......................................................93 KBL Environmental Ltd.................................................17 Keewatin Air Charter Services......................................43 Kitikmeot Corporation..................................................59 Kitnuna..................................................................... OBC Kluane Freight Lines.....................................................91 Lidar Services International Inc..................................56 Lynden.........................................................................33 Midnight Sun Energy...................................................27 M.T. Housing, Inc..........................................................28 Napeg.........................................................................44 Northbest Distributors.................................................49 Northern Transportation Company Limited..................29 Nu-Line Powerline Contractors Ltd...............................64 Nuna Group of Companies............................................94 Nunavut Arctic College.................................................91 Nunavut Eastern Artic Shipping (NEAS)........................11 Nunavut Mining Symposium Society.............................8 NWT PAS......................................................................13 Parenty Reitmeier Inc...................................................64 Pebble Partnership.......................................................25 Peregrine Diamonds.....................................................55 Pinzgauer Canada........................................................63 PKS Equipment & Engineering Inc................................50 Private Sky Aviation.....................................................90 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada..........37 Redpath Mining...........................................................12 Redrock Camps.............................................................49 Ron’s Auto Service, Ltd...................................................7 Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC).........................19 SGS North America - Mineral Services..........................49 Sirius Wilderness Medicine...........................................95 Skills Canada NWT........................................................30 Standard Bus Contracting.............................................48 State of Alaska.............................................................89 Taiga Ventures..............................................................72 Terraquest Ltd..............................................................34 Tli Cho Logistics...........................................................IFC Transwest Air...............................................................44 TSL Laboratories...........................................................31 Tyhee Gold Corp...........................................................67 Ventures West Transport LP............................................5 Williams Engineering Canada Inc.................................42 Yukon College..............................................................83
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Head Office: Cambridge Bay P.O. Box 92, 10 Omilik Rd, Cambridge Bay, NU X0B 0C0 P: 867.983.7500 F: 867.983.7501
Kitnuna is a 100% Inuit owned company. Through divers partnerships we are able to provide you with the most professional service — from cat trains and earthworks to expediting, fuel and building supplies. We are capable of fulfilling your needs to ensure successful operations in the North.
Kitikmeot Supplies If you have a Building or Recreational need, Kitikmeot Supplied has it all.
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Kitikmeot Supplies is your Northern full-service Building Supply & Recreational Store. If it’s not in stock, we will order it for you.
Kitikmeot Supplies is a Division of Kitnuna Expedition Service. 5 Omilik Road, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut X0B 0C0 Ph: 1.867.983.2227 Fax: 1.867.982.2220 Toll Free: 1.800.661.0814
The 2013/14 issue of North of 60 features stories on the NWT minerals industry, the Mary River Project, Victoria Gold's Eagle Gold project,...