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Mining & Exploration Review

After Devolution – The Government of the Northwest Territories sets down road for growth Rock On – Alaska’s Geologic Materials Center (GMC) gets a new home Exploration and Mining Highlights from Alaska, Nunavut, Yukon and NWT


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Table of Contents 6 Optimistic Outlook – An overview of Alaska’s mineral industry in 2014 10 Developing Resources – An overview of Nunavut’s mineral industry in 2014 14 Continued Progress – An overview of Yukon’s mineral industry in 2014 18  Generations to Come – The Northwest Territories (NWT), the mining industry is planning and preparing for long term success

2 2 24 28 32 36

Untapped Potential – Nunavut holds promise of strong growth After Devolution – The Government of the Northwest Territories sets down road for growth Rock On – Alaska’s Geologic Materials Center (GMC) gets a new home Capturing Forever – Mining photographer braces elements to get the shot

38 Setting the Standard – How National Occupational Standards are changing the HR landscape in Canada’s mining industry

2 Farming Out Fuel Needs – Northern mine saves diesel and dollars with innovative wind farm 4 44 Effective tax management in turbulent times for mining 48 Firing on all Cylinders – Pistol Bay unveils more promising results 52  Silver as Good as Gold – Greens Creek’s ore production is unearthing all kinds of metals on a silver platter

54  Pointed in the Right Direction – North Arrow looks to 2015with northern prospects 56  Robust Resources – Red Dog Mine celebrates milestone anniversary 60  Shovels in the Ground - Fortune Minerals Limited works towards secure bismuth source 64  Digging Deep – One billion tonnes of ore at Western Copper and Gold Corporation’s Casino project

66  Taking A Different Path – Copper North Mining Corp.‘s Carmacks project 68  Mutual Benefit – Kiggavik Project holds great potential for Nunavut 70  Partners in Development – GKM Consultants is proud to take part in the development of mining operation and expansion projects

72  Finding it for You – The Saskatchewan Research Council’s Geoanalytical Laboratories and Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ assists clients with diamond exploration programs

74  Changing Seasons – Ice road experts counter seasonal drag with summer civil works 78  The Product that Can – Concrete Canvas is an innovative solution for the mining and construction industries

80  Safety Without Sacrifice - New safety gear ensures both comfort and high-standards in protection

82  PDAC – Global mineral industry to converge on Toronto for exploration and mining’s largest annual convention

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Government of the NWT............................. 61 Great Slave Helicopters Ltd.......................... 86 Heli Dynamics Ltd......................................... 6 Inland Kenworth Parker Pacific................... 62 J.S. Redpath Limited................................... 38 KBL Environmental Ltd................................ 75 Kitikmeot Corporation................................. 40 Kitnuna....................................................... 21 LiDAR Services International Inc.................. 70 Lynden Incorporate..................................... 41 Midnight Sun Energy.................................. 81 Napeg........................................................ 30 NEA Group..................................................IBC North Slope Telecom, Inc............................. 62 Northbest Distributors Ltd........................... 50 Nu-Line Powerline Contractors Ltd.............. 46 Nuna Group of Comapnies......................... 79 Nunavut Mining Symposium...................... IFC Parenty Reitmeier Translation Services........ 20



is published by DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com President & CEO David Langstaff

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Acme Analytical Laboratores Ltd................... 7 Airworks Compressors................................. 57 Alkan Air..................................................... 25 ALS Minerals............................................... 15 Arctic Co-operatives Limited................... 3, 20 Arctic Controls, Inc....................................... 56 Areva Resources Canada Inc........................ 69 Associated Engineering............................... 50 Aurora Geosciences Ltd............................... 23 Bald Mountain Air Service Inc..................... 24 BPT Components & Parts Inc....................... 26 Braden Burry Expediting............................. 35 Britespan Building Systems Inc................... 27 Calm Air International LP............................ 55 Cambridge House International.................. 17 Capital Helicopters (1995) Inc..................... 74 Cariboo Chrome & Hydraulics Ltd................ 56 Challenger Geomatics Ltd........................... 45 City of Iqaluit.............................................. 65


PDAC........................................................... 85 Peregrine Diamonds Ltd.............................. 45 Redrock Camps............................................ 53 Ron’s Auto Service, Ltd................................ 51 Ryfan Electric Ltd......................................... 48 Saskatchewan Research Council.................. 73 SGS North America...................................... 33 State of Alaska............................................ 31 Taiga Ventures Pacwest Drilling Supply....... 46 Terraquest Ltd............................................. 42 Tintina Air................................................... 11 Tli Cho Landtran Transport Ltd.................. 29 Tracer International..................................... 49 TSL Laboratories.......................................... 15 Tundra Airborne Surveys Inc........................ 82 Ventures West Transport LP........................... 5 Western Copper and Gold............................ 64 Williams Engineering Canada Inc................ 43

Publisher Jason Stefanik Managing Editor Carly Peters carlypeters@mts.net Advertising Manager Dayna Oulion Advertising Account Executives Cheryl Ezinicki | Corey Frazer Anthony Romeo | Gary Seamans Production services provided by: S.G. Bennett Marketing Services www.sgbennett.com Art Director Kathy Cable Layout / Design Joel Gunter Advertising Art Sheri Kidd Dana Jensen Cover image courtesy of envisiondigitalphoto.com © Copyright 2015, DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved.The contents of this pub­lica­tion may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisher­in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 Email: david@delcommunications.com PRINTED IN CANADA | 1/2015

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Photo: Alaska Miners Association


An overview of Alaska’s mineral industry in 2014

Drilling blast holes at Fort Knox.

By Lisa Harbo, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Economic Development Since statehood, Alaska has been committed to responsibly developing its resources as a key driver of economic development. Not only does the state offer political stability, secure land tenure, low-tax rates, a skilled workforce, attractive tax incentives, and a strategic Pacific Rim location, Alaska’s mineral potential ranks in the top 10 globally for known reserves of coal, copper, lead, gold, zinc and silver, along with more than 70 occurrences of rare earth elements. Although Alaska currently ranks fifth in the nation for production, the state’s minerals still remain largely undeveloped with more than 190 million acres of land

open to exploration and development. There are six major producing mines and almost 300 placer mines currently operating in Alaska. Three of the major producing mines are gold producers: The Fort Knox Mine near Fairbanks; the Pogo mine near Delta Junction; and the Kensington mine near Juneau. The Red Dog Mine north of Kotzebue is one of the world’s largest zinc and lead mines, while Greens Creek claims the status of one of North America’s largest silver mines. The Usibelli mine, Alaska’s only active coal mine, is a major source of power for interior Alaska and is a major exporter to Asia.

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Trends During 2013, Alaska’s mineral industry increased production despite low global commodity prices. Production totals for gold, silver, and zinc increased by five, six, and three per cent respectively, while the production of lead remained almost unchanged. Gold remains Alaska’s biggest driver in terms of production despite the effects of slumping metals prices, whose lingering effects have contributed to a decline in exploration spending – totalling $175.5 (preliminary) million dollars in 2013.

Modest growth of existing mines • P  ogo mine began producing from a second ore deposit, East Deep, in 2013. During 2014, the mine built tunnels into the North Zone ore deposit to allow deeper exploration, and also to explore for gold mineralization between East Deep and North Zone. Pogo’s 2014 capital budget is more than $30 million, including improvements to surface facilities. • In 2014, drilling and exploration continued at Greens Creek Mine – intersections at the Deep 200 South continue to be promising. Three surface drills tested the south, middle, and north regions of Killer Creek to follow up on broad zones of high-grade copper, silver, lead, and zinc mineralization found by 2012 and 2013 surface drilling initiatives. • Despite low prices, Alaska gold production – led by Fort Knox – exceeded one million ounces in 2012, a feat not accomplished since 1906. Investments in

11/14/2008 1:15:49 PM

smaller expansions continue at the Fort Knox Mine.

Domestic and international demand for Alaska’s coal Coal remains in a strong position as an efficient energy supplier to six interior Alaska electrical power plants, including three military sites: Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base and Clear Air Force Station; Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA); Aurora Energy; and the Uni-

Photo: Alaska Miners Association

Photo: Alaska Railroad Corporation

Coal transported via the Alaska Railroad.

Niblack project. versity of Alaska Fairbanks power plant. In the 2014 Capital Budget, the Alaska State Legislature approved a series of grants, revenue bonds, and loans to replace the UAF power plant. The project will replace existing coal boilers with circulating fluidized bed boilers, providing 17 megawatts of power and enough steam to heat the campus – greatly reducing the risk of a winter shutdown. In 2014, GVEA broke ground and began upgrades for a 50 megawatt coal-fired

power plant dubbed Healy 2. This project is expected to help offset rising oil prices and stabilize electric rates by utilizing cost effective coal – ensuring increased demand. Usibelli continues to export coal to both South Korea and Chile, while recently providing test shipments to several potential new markets, including Russia, Taiwan, China, and Japan.

State support for industry expansion The State of Alaska is leading respon-

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sible development, with projects focusing on developing Alaska’s mineral resources and promoting the use of public-private partnerships through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). In June 2014, Governor Sean Parnell signed SB99 into law, which gives AIDEA the authority to issue bonds up to $125 million in financing for infrastructure and construction costs at the Niblack project (copper, gold, zinc, and silver) and up to $145 million for the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Elements project, both of which are located on Prince of Wales Island. SB99 secures the legislative authorization needed to issue bonds greater than $10 million, allowing for a more efficient financing package without waiving AIDEA’s stringent due diligence process. Proceeds from the bonds may be used to help finance the cost of constructing key infrastructure at the Niblack project and the Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Elements project, including the mills, docks, and loading facilities at the mines as well as at the Gravina Island Industrial Complex in Ketchikan In order to access areas with commercially viable resource development projects, the State of Alaska is also investing in the Roads to Resources Initiative. As part of this initiative, AIDEA is leading an effort to provide access to the Ambler Mining District with a 200-mile, industrial, all-season access road. This development would be a boon to NovaCopper’s Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects, a region with rich copper, zinc, lead, silver, and gold deposits valued between $537 million and $857 million. A separate effort led by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) conducted the West Susitna Surface Access Reconnaissance Study.

This study sought to determine which potential resource developments west of the Susitna River could benefit from surface access. Additionally, the study analyzed potential crossings of the Susitna River, as well as alternative transportation corridors. DOT&PF’s website, www.dot.alaska. gov/roadstoresources, provides regionspecific information. To expand the knowledge base of Alaska mineral resource and catalyze privatesector development, the State of Alaska began the multi-year Airborne Geophysical/Geological Mineral Inventory (AGGMI) program. This project will characterize bedrock types, project geology between sparse outcrops, and identify vegetationcovered anomalous geologic signatures that might be associated with lode mineralization.

Continued exploration and project advancement Recent activity includes: • G  raphite One Resources Inc. holds title to 129 claims at its Graphite Creek prospect on the Seward Peninsula and is in the midst of a $4-million drilling campaign. In 2013, the Vancouver-based exploration company began three years’ worth of pre-development permitting last year for what it considers a worldclass flake graphite deposit. Financing the exploration has taken longer than expected moving a likely groundbreaking for the mine to late 2017 with first production beginning in 2018. (http:// graphiteoneresources.com/projects/ graphite_creek/) • Millrock Resources Inc. announced the staking of the Lisburne zinc project in northwest Alaska. (http://www.millrockresources.com/projects/alaska)


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Mining North of 60 | 2015

• N  ovaGold Resources Inc. released its first-quarter financial results and updates for its flagship 50 per cent-owned Donlin gold project; the endeavour is expected to spend close to $24 million at Donlin in 2014 for agency review and in preparation for issuance of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review in 2015. (http://www. donlingold.com/) • Freegold Ventures Ltd. announced that it has begun assessing the high-grade potential of its Golden Summit project located near Fairbanks. The project would link some two dozen past producing lode gold mines which produced at least 525,000 ounces of lode gold. (http://www.freegoldventures.com/s/ GoldenSummit.asp?ReportID=193678) · Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. announced that it has won the right to lease the 99,257 acre Haines land block from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. (http://constantinemetals.com/ projects/palmer/) • Heatherdale Resources Ltd. reported raising about $1 million via private placement for its Niblack project in Southeast Alaska. Since 2009, the company has invested $37 million and drilled more than 200,000 feet of core to define 5.6 million metric tonnes of indicated and 3.4 million metric tons of inferred mineral resources at Niblack. (http://www.heatherdaleresources. com/hdr/Niblack.asp) • Donlin Gold is proposing a pipeline project to transport natural gas to the mine site to potentially offset high energy costs. • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline of its determination for the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum project until February of 2015. Many in the mining industry remain optimistic about future development for Alaska in the long term. To support continued exploration, the State provides the Alaska Exploration Incentive Credit Program – allowing the deduction of up to $20 million of qualified costs from taxes and royalties over a 15-year period for new mines. n





Developing Resources

An overview of Nunavut’s exploration and mineral industry in 2014 Submitted by Government of Nunavut, Minerals and Petroleum Resources Division Nunavut has one settled land claims agreement, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), which established a regime of regulatory bodies and governments with co-management governance. The Inuit and their respective Inuit organizations (Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, or NTI, and three regional organizations, Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association, and Kitikmeot Inuit Association) hold surface land tenure rights to approximately 18 per cent of Nunavut with sub-surface (mineral) rights to two per cent. The crown (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) administers the remainder of surface and mineral rights in Nunavut. These arrangements establish certainty for land tenure in Nunavut and ensure that Inuit beneficiaries are the major recipients of any resource development. Nunavut continues to attract the attention of major global producers and remains a destination of choice for ex-

10 Mining North of 60 | 2015

plorers. The territory maintains an attractive investment climate due largely to the NLCA. Although streamlining of the regulatory processes is on-going, the processes are well-defined. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) determined that $270 million was spent on exploring for minerals in Nunavut in 2013, and estimates that $148 million will be spent in 2014. Although exploration efforts have experienced a decline in recent years, this is a global trend. Nunavut is geologically diverse and the resources are as varied and significant as the vastness of the land. All commodities are being explored for, including gold, zinc, copper, iron, uranium, diamonds, and coal.

Role of government in Nunavut Nunavut operates with a collegial system of co-management. The Government of Nunavut (GN) is committed to, “economic growth through responsible development across all sectors” in the recently

released mandate Sivumut Abluqta: Stepping Forward Together (2014-2018). This vision is shared between the many partners, including Inuit organizations, the federal government, and the mineral resource industry. The GN developed Parnautit: The Nunavut Mineral Exploration and Mining Strategy in 2007. The goal of Parnautit is, “to create the conditions for a strong and sustainable minerals industry that contributes to a high and sustainable quality of life for all Nunavummiut.” With one established operating mine in Nunavut (Meadowbank gold mine), a second mine recently opened (Mary River iron ore mine), a number of advanced development projects, and numerous discoveries, there are many resource-related opportunities on Nunavut’s horizon.

Exploration and mining in 2014 Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited’s (AEM) Meadowbank gold mine is projected to remain in operation until at least 2018.

Kingora Ridge of Carvingstone.

The Mary River iron ore project on northern Baffin Island officially opened for mining in September 2014. Four projects are progressing through the impact assessment processes. These include the Meliadine gold project in central Nunavut, the Kiggavik uranium project in the Thelon Basin near Baker Lake, and two gold proj-

ects, Back River and Hope Bay, in western Nunavut. Qikiqtaaluk Region – Exploration in the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) region is focused on iron and diamonds. The largest project in the region is Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s Mary River iron project. This high-grade iron ore project consists

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Sabina - Looking towards Goose camp. of five significant deposits and four additional prospects. Deposit No. 1 contains proven reserves of 160 million tonnes at 64.4 per cent iron and probable reserves of 205 million tonnes grading 64.9 per cent iron. In 2012, Baffinland revised its development plan into an “early revenue phase” that proposes shipping 3.5 million tonnes per year during open water season via Milne Inlet. In October 2014, Baffinland indicated that the plans need further revision to ship additional ore from Milne Inlet; this revision is before the Nunavut regulators. With the revisions, if approved, production could commence by 2015-16, leading to full operation (the later phase) within five years. The mine is anticipated to be operational for at least 21 years (based on current reserves). On southern Baffin Island, Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. conducted a bulk sampling program at the Chidliak diamond project (508 wet tonnes of kimberlite from the CH-6 pipe). Results returned are significant, with 7.47 million carats reported in 2.9 million tonnes at 2.58 carats/tonne. The property now has 67 confirmed kimberlites with at least seven having good economic (tonnage) potential. Bulk samples for CH-6, CH-7, and CH-44 are planned for winter 2015. Kivalliq Region – In the Kivalliq (central) region, gold and uranium are the main targets. The Meadowbank gold mine was Agnico-Eagle’s largest gold producer in 2014, with 1.8 million ounces of gold in proven and probable reserves (17 million tonnes at 3.2 g/t). A record production of 430,613 ounces was achieved with the millionth ounce produced in April 2013. The newly-discovered Amaruq property, located 50 kilometres northwest of Meadowbank, has multiple mineralized zones;

12 Mining North of 60 | 2015

Peregrine - Chidliak camp. these significant discoveries could provide further mill feed for the mine. In June, AEM entered into an option agreement with Aura Silver Resources Inc., on Aura’s Greyhound property, and started an initial 1,000-metre drill program. AEM owns the Meliadine advanced gold project near Rankin Inlet. Meliadine is one of AEM’s largest gold projects in terms of resources with overall higher-value gold grades. Final technical hearings for Meliadine were held in August 2014. In mid-October 2014, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) submitted its assessment that the project should proceed to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada; the minister’s decision should be forthcoming. AEM estimated spending approximately $42 million in 2014 for development of the underground ramp that will allow for access to, and further understanding of, the deeper parts of the Tiriganiaq and Wesmeg/Normeg zones. An updated technical study is expected in late 2014 or early 2015. Junior companies working on lodegold deposits in the southern Kivalliq region are Prosperity Gold Fields on the Kijuk Lake property and Northquest Ltd. exploring the Pistol Bay project in rocks trending parallel to, and 80 kilometres south of, Meliadine. AREVA Resources Canada Inc. continues to advance the Kiggavik uranium project. The Kiggavik deposit is proposed as three open-pits, and the Sissons deposit southwest of Kiggavik as an open-pit and underground operation. The inferred resource estimates are 132.6 million pounds uranium with an average grade of 0.5 per cent U3O8. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is in progress and with the

present regulatory timeline and approvals, construction could begin as early as 2015, and the mine could be operational by 2019. At Angilak (the Lac Cinquante deposit) located southwest of Baker Lake, Kivalliq Energy continues to expand the existing resource that currently has a strike-length of over 2.3 kilometres. The deposit’s resources are inferred to be 43.3 million pounds at 0.69 per cent uranium. Also in the Thelon Basin, Cameco Corporation is exploring the Aberdeen and Turqavik uranium properties. Drill testing has returned high grades of 12-18 per cent uranium. A second diamond project in Nunavut is the Qilalugaq property owned by North Arrow Minerals Inc. who acquired the property from Stornoway Diamonds Corporation. Bulk sampling has returned 26.1 million carats in 48.8 million tonnes at 53.6 carats/hundred tonnes. A mini bulk-sample is currently being taken and evaluated. Kitikmeot Region – In March 2013, TMAC Resources Inc. successfully acquired the Doris North and Hope Bay projects from Hope Bay Mining Ltd., a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. The Doris North deposit currently has a project certificate permitting mining, a five-year lease agreement with Kitikmeot Inuit Association and a 10-year renewal for Type A water licence. TMAC anticipates Doris North could be 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. Back River contains 10.4 million tonnes at 5.2 g/t gold for 1.761 million contained oz gold (measured); 17.9 million tonnes at 6.1 g/t gold for 3.536 million contained oz

gold (indicated), and 8.2 million tonnes at 7.3 g/t gold for 1.927 million contained oz gold (inferred). Sabina is conducting a feasibility study and the draft environmental impact statement is currently under technical review. In 2009, MMG acquired the Izok Corridor Project (zinc-rich Izok Lake and High Lake base metal deposits). 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, north of Izok, hosts 17.2 million tonnes at 3.4 per cent zinc and

2.3 per cent copper. Processing would occur for both deposits at the Izok mine-site, with the concentrate transported along a 350-kilometre all-weather road to Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf. MMG is currently investigating options for the road development and construction. Glencore owns the base metal Hackett River project with indicated reserves of 25 million tonnes at 4.2 per cent zinc, 0.6 per cent lead, 0.5 per cent copper, 130 g/t silver, 0.3 g/t gold, and inferred resources of 57 million tonnes at 3.0 per cent zinc, 0.5

per cent lead, 0.4 per cent copper, 100 g/t silver, 0.2 g/t gold. Petroleum Resources – The potential for petroleum prospects within Nunavut is high. Nunavut contains significant sedimentary basins, both onshore and offshore, with similar geology to the oil-producing basins of the rest of Canada and other areas of the world. It is speculated that up to 10 sedimentary structures with the potential for oil exist between Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador. Petroleum exploration and development could occur in the next decade under positive conditions of public understanding and benefits that can be derived from such development. n

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Aerial View of Wolverine Mine. yukon MINERAL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW



An overview of Yukon’s mineral industry in 2014 Submitted by the Yukon Geological Survey, Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Yukon Government. In 2014, many junior exploration companies worked to preserve capital by undertaking modest exploration programs. The injection of funding into the Yukon Mineral Exploration Program (YMEP) continues to be a valuable source of seed money for prospectors and juniors. Yukon government increased its 2014 program funding to $1.4 million from $1.17 million in 2013. Forty-eight placer and hard rock exploration projects received funding in 2014. The program has also increased its limits from $35,000 to $50,000 matching dollars per project, offering companies strong backing for their programs. Exploration spending is forecast to be approximately $65 million for 2014. Nine programs are spending over $1 million and 10 programs involve drilling. Although numbers are down from the peak activity of 2011, exploration spending shows healthy increases from 2013 and the activity level is well above the average for the past two decades. Gold continues to be alluring, with two thirds of

14 Mining North of 60 | 2015

exploration programs searching for this precious metal. The remaining programs are searching for lead, zinc, copper, nickel, silver, and platinum group elements. Despite current equity markets, a few exploration companies had enough cash or were able to raise the money to undertake substantial programs. With a budget of $6.8 million, Atac Resources continued exploring its Rackla Gold project along the northern margin of Selwyn basin. Kaminak Gold Corp continued to drill its multi-zone Coffee Gold property and began a feasibility study after posting a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in July 2014. Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd. is carrying out an ambitious $65-million exploration and development project on its massive lead-zinc property in eastern Yukon. The program includes infill drilling, geotechnical drilling, and upgrading a historic road to a full access road connecting the property to the Nahanni Range Road near Cantung mine.

Wellgreen Platinum Ltd. (formerly Prophecy Platinum Corp.) announced a new NI 43-101 Mineral Resource estimate on its Wellgreen PGM-Ni-Cu project in southwest Yukon in July 2014. Measured and indicated resource increased to 330 million tonnes at 1.67 g/t platinum equivalent at a 0.57 g/t Platinum equivalent cut-off. The new resource estimate, along with metallurgical testing results, will be incorporated into a PEA to be released this year. After a hiatus from drilling in 2013, Rockhaven Resources has resumed its drilling program at its Klaza epithermal gold-silver property, located in the historic Mt. Nansen district. The 21,000-metre drill program includes definition drilling on the high-grade western BRX and Western Klaza zones.

Mining and development The territory is home to three hard rock mines. Capstone Mining’s Minto (copper-gold-silver) mine continued to

produce at capacity, producing over 37 million pounds of copper from open pit production in 2013. Capstone began underground mining at Minto in 2014 after exhausting the reserve in the Area 2 open pit and is in the process of permitting all known mineral reserves with the expecta-

tion of mining the high grade Minto North pit by 2015. The Wolverine (lead-zinc-copper-goldsilver) mine of Yukon Zinc achieved full production in early 2013 (1700 tonnes per day), but then reduced production by 40 per cent six months later due to uncertain

economic conditions and declining metal prices. The company has since ramped up to 75 per cent production capacity. Alexco temporarily suspended its mining operation at Bellekeno (silver-leadzinc) mine in the historic Keno Hill Mining District in September 2013 due to low

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Yukon’s commitment

silver prices. Alexco filed a PEA technical report in December 2013 for its operations at Bellekeno, Lucky Queen, and the new Flame & Moth property. The company successfully renegotiated its silver purchasing agreement in June 2014. Production decisions, including the reopening of Bellekeno mine are expected to be made in 2015. The company continued to explore its property in 2014 with a budget of $5 million and a plan for 10,000 metres of surface drilling. Victoria Gold received permits to begin development of its Eagle gold deposit, but has deferred a production decision until equity markets recover. In the meantime, Victoria Gold has undertaken a metallurgical sampling program at the Olive Zone, a drill target two kilometres north of the Eagle deposit, and begun the second phase of drilling at Olive. Phase two

16 Mining North of 60 | 2015

is following up on high-grade intersections from the phase one (19 holes, 3,000 metres) program. The company plans to calculate a resource estimate at Olive to be later incorporated into an updated feasibility study. Golden Predator Mining Corp. is advancing its Brewery Creek gold deposit with a PEA anticipated for the fourth quarter 2014. The PEA will assess open pit mining of several shallow oxide deposits on the property. North American Tungsten is undergoing the final stages of assessment for its Mactung tungsten deposit near the NWT border at Macmillan Pass. Western Copper and Gold Corp has begun the assessment process for its massive Casino copper-gold porphyry deposit in western Yukon.

The Yukon government’s commitment to supporting a strong mining and exploration industry continues to be reflected in their Yukon Mineral Exploration Program (YMEP), which provides a portion of the risk capital required to locate, explore, and develop mineral projects to an advanced exploration stage. YMEP has also proven to be a strong vehicle for companies to leverage additional funding from investors. The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an attractive investment climate. This is achieved through a strong regulatory system, a consistent, and comprehensive mining regulatory framework, good access to markets, and engaged First Nations partners. 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. The Yukon Geological Survey supports mineral exploration and mining by providing information that helps to reduce exploration risk. Projects underway this year include ongoing bedrock mapping in the eastern-most Rackla belt in the Hyland Group in southeast Yukon, and in southwestern Yukon in rocks that are correlative to the Juneau gold belt. In addition, they initiated a new study to assess the porphyry potential of Jurassic-aged granitic plutons in south-central Yukon. New data releases this year include a gravity survey in the Dawson area, a three-dimensional geologic model between Aishihik Lake and Carmacks, and some new interpretive maps generated from stream sediment geochemical data. n For more information on Yukon’s Mineral Resources, visit www.emr.gov.yk.ca/mining

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Generations to Come

In the post-devolution climate of the Northwest Territories (NWT), the mining industry is planning and preparing for long term success Submitted by Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories. The Northwest Territories (NWT) has a wealth of mineral potential. Since the start of the mining industry in the territory more than 80 years ago, exploration and development have been vital to the economy and the future looks favourable. The NWT currently has four producing mines, five advanced exploration projects, and exploration activity is increasing, with rejuvenated interest in diamonds. There is significant exploration interest brewing. While the mining industry accounted for 29 per cent of the NWT’s

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, it is expected to rise to 38 per cent by 2018. The mining industry is the largest private sector contributor to the NWT economy and the largest private sector employer. Since the construction phase of the Ekati Diamond Mine started in 1996, the three diamond mines (Diavik and Snap Lake diamond mines included) combined have provided employment of more than 18,000 NWT person years and purchased nearly $10 billion from NWT businesses.

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The plan: managing resources in the NWT The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is now responsible for managing public land, water, and resources in the NWT. Devolution of these responsibilities from the federal government to the GNWT is the key to helping unlock the NWT’s vast mineral and resources potential. With this transfer of powers, future resource development decisions relating to the NWT will be made by those who live and work here. The NWT Mineral Development Strategy (MDS) is a blueprint to guide the GNWT’s long-term actions and decisions. The MDS was released in 2013, and focuses on enhancing geoscience information, increasing exploration, evaluating infrastructure needs, building aboriginal capacity, further developing the NWT labour force, and creating a competitive edge. One of the recommendations of the MDS was to develop a Mining Incentive Program (MIP). The MIP was launched this summer and is designed to fund eligible prospectors and mining exploration com-

life of at least 11 years. There are approximately 120 people currently on site and at its peak there will be an estimated 700 people employed at Gahcho Kué. Fortune Minerals was issued a land sse permit and water licence by the Wek’ eezhii Land and Water Board in June of this year. The project, which would mine gold, cobalt, bismuth, and copper, has a projected 20 year lifespan. Avalon received a land use permit to begin pre-construction from the MVLWB in April 2014. The target date of initial pro-

panies that are already involved in mining exploration projects or proposing new projects in the NWT. It aims to offset some of the financial risk associated with grassroots mineral exploration in the NWT. Through the MDS and MIP, the GNWT is able to ensure that mineral resources continue to be developed in a responsible way that benefits residents, ensures development is sustainable, and protects the environment. In its inaugural year, the MIP was oversubscribed, with strong interest shown by companies and prospectors. This program will be valuable in securing renewed interest and investment in the territory and maintaining a robust mining industry.

The potential There are five advanced exploration projects in the NWT, including Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek Mine, De Beers’ and Mountain Province Diamond Inc.’s Gahcho Kué Deposit, Fortune Minerals’ NICO Project, Avalon Minerals’ Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements, and Tyhee Gold Corporation’s Yellowknife Gold Project. CZN was issued a water licence by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB) in September 2013. CZN also made an application to the MVLWB, in April 2014, for permits to construct, maintain, and operate an all season road from the mine to the Liard Highway, and to build and operate an airstrip connected to the road. Prairie Creek has a mine life of 14 years and will create 220 direct jobs. The development of the Gahcho Kué mine site remains on schedule for completion in late 2016, and will have a mine

duction is late 2017, with a 20-year mine life. A feasibility study estimates the Yellowknife Gold Project the has an estimated mine-life of 15 years with average personnel requirements of 220 people per year, with approximately 120 on site at any one time.

The product The total value of minerals and diamonds produced by the NWT in 2013 was $1.67 billion. Diamonds account for 93 per

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cent of the total estimated value of mineral and non-mineral production in the NWT in 2013. There are four producing mines in the NWT: Ekati Diamond Mine (Ekati), Diavik Diamond Mine (Diavik), Snap Lake Diamond Mine (Snap Lake), and the Cantung Tungsten Mine (Cantung). In 2013 Ekati, now 80 per cent owned by Dominion Diamond Holdings Ltd., announced an extension project that could add up to 10+ years to the mine life by developing the Jay Pipe, considered the most significant prospect due to its large size and high grade. The Diavik mine, which has been a fullyunderground operation since late 2012,

has undertaken a number of community outreach activities this year to maintain a strong relationship with its community partners. Diavik’s Mine Plan, released in 2014, supports production to 2023. Snap Lake was officially opened in 2008 as a full underground operation with an estimated 20 years of mine life. De Beers, who owns 100 per cent of the mine, continues to improve water management and is implementing an optimization process with new capital investments thus contributing to improved production in 2013. Cantung’s 2013 activity includes continued underground drilling, a surface exploration program, mill improvements, and a comprehensive tailings management

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program. Production is not supported beyond fiscal 2014 by the current mine plan. An updated mine plan is pending and permitting for the upgrade of facilities is in progress. While mines can’t last forever, the mineral development and exploration cycle has been a pillar for the NWT economy. The cycle is ongoing and the NWT has benefitted from responsible and sustainable mineral exploration and development. Careful long-term planning by the GNWT, the opening of new mines, and the creation of more jobs, will continue to build a legacy of positive benefits and a bright future for generations to come. n

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Nunavut holds promise of strong growth

By Melanie Franner With a population of approximately 33,000, Nunavut is both one of the country’s largest regions (roughly the size of Western Europe) and one of its most sparsely settled. The Territory of Nunavut legally came into being in April 1999, with Iqaluit as its capital city – a status that was officially granted in 2001. As the service centre hub to all of the Baffin region communities, the city of Iqaluit is strategically located to benefit from a largely as yet untapped mining industry. According to the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, this industry (extraction only) represented approximately 19 per cent of the total Nunavut GDP in 2011. But according to Iqaluit Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman, there is a lot more still to come. “The eyes of the world are on Nunavut,” she says. “We’re seen as an untouched, unexplored area with lots of potential for mineral exploration and development.”

22 Mining North of 60 | 2015

In production Nunavut’s mining industry is overseen by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporation (NTI), a separate entity that co-ordinates and manages obligations and promises made under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA). The NTI received its first royalty payment of $2.249 million from Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. in May 2012, as a result of mineral production on Inuit-owned lands. “Until Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s Meadowbank Gold Mine came into production, there was no mining in Nunavut on Inuitowned lands,” says NTI President Cathy Towtongie. In April 2014, Towtongie announced that NTI and Agnico Eagle Mines had concluded a series of agreements regarding exploration and mining on Inuit-owned lands. As a result, there are now 15 mineral exploration agreements in place, which will allow for the exploration of 110,241

hectares of land in the Kivalliq region. The Meadowbank Gold Mine is an open-pit mine located about 300 kilometres west of Hudson Bay and 70 kilometres north of Baker Lake. The mine employs approximately 650 people. Gold production for 2013 totalled 430,000+ ounces. The mine is expected to produce 430,00 ounces of gold in 2014, with an average of 380,000 ounces of gold per year from 2015 through 2016, with a mine life through 2017.

In the works The Mary River Iron Mine is another active project in Nunavut. Located on Baffin Island, it is owned by Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation. Initially, for the early

revenue phase, 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore will be mined per year and transported by trucks to Milne Port and shipped to market during the open water season. As global markets improve for the prices of iron ore, the company intends to proceed with the construction and operation of the larger approved project, which could involve a production rate of 21.5 million tonnes of iron ore per year. The first shipment of iron ore is expected to take place during the open water season of 2015. Other mining projects in the works but not yet in commercial production include: Kiggavik, a proposed uranium mine located 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake and owned by AREVA Resources; Meliadine Gold, an Agnico Eagle Mines-owned advanced-stage gold mine located near Rankin Inlet, with 2.8 million ounces of gold in proven and probable reserves; Back River Gold deposit, which is currently in the advanced exploration and permitting stage, is located in southwestern

Nunavut about 75 kilometres southwest of Bathurst Inlet and owned by Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.; Hackett River, a proposed silver mine owned by XStrate Zinc Canada and located 45 kilometres west of the Back River Gold Project; Izok Corridor Project, a proposed zinc mine owned by MMG Resources Inc.; ULU & Lupin Gold Mines, both of which are advanced exploration properties owned by Elgin Mining Inc.; and Hope Bay Project (Doris North), an early stage gold project development located about 160 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay and owned by Newmont Mining Corp. City of Iqaluit Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman.

Towards a new tomorrow According to an annual global survey of mining executives released in March 2014 by the Fraser Institute, Nunavut ranks 44th out of a total of 112 worldwide jurisdictions as the most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment. The NWT, by comparison, ranked 47th. “If we ever become an independent territorial government with more authority and powers, we will have to be more selfsustaining,” states Wilman. “Right now, we’re not. We depend solely upon the governments. We have to demonstrate that we have the natural resources available to become self sufficient.” How and when Iqaluit – the largest city in Nunavut, with a current population of approximately 7,200 – will deal with this anticipated growth from the mining industry remains to be seen.

“As a municipal government of Iqaluit, we would need to be kept in the loop,” says Wilman. “If there is any planning going on, then we need to be at the table. As the capital city of Nunavut, any potential mineral exploration and development will certainly have an impact on our infrastructure. And we will need to be prepared to handle the demands of that growth so that we can continue to meet the needs and aspirations of young and old, Inuit and non-Inuit, long-time and new residents, business owners and employees.” With buy-in from all parties involved – the NTI, municipal officials and the mining companies themselves – it would seem that Nunavut and its capital city Iqaluit are poised to become a future economic power engine of the north. n

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After Devolution

The Government of the Northwest Territories sets down road for growth By Melanie Franner The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is open for business. Although a long time in the making, the final stages of the devolution process were put to bed as of April 1, 2014, when the GNWT officially took over the management of public land, water, and resources in the territory – the last “piece” of the devolution process that began years ago with the gradual transfer of “soft services,” such as education, health care, social services, highways, airport administration, and forestry management.

The first mineral claim under the new government was recorded that very day. “Our government is committed to the responsible management and development of our resources to create sustainable benefits for our people,” states GNWT Premier Bob McLeod. “We are now in control of our own future.”

The end of a process The NWT’s sister territory, the Yukon, officially completed its devolution back in 2003. The lengthy GNWT process that has

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Government of the Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod. culminated in this transfer of land, water, and resources management has taken many years to bring to fruition. Work on the Memorandum of Intent on this last piece of devolution alone began back in 2001. The vast quantity of public land involved in devolution may have been at the root of this delay, as may have been the significant resource development activities that have national economic impact potential. Regardless, the point of the matter is that the GNWT is now operating in a post-devolution world. Aboriginal parties that have signed onto the NWT Land and Resources Devolution Agreement to date include: Acho Dene Koe First Nation and Fort Liard Métis, the Deninu K’ue First Nation, Salt River First Nation, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NWT Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council, and Tlicho Government. “A majority of the aboriginal groups in the NWT have signed on to devolution,” states Tom Hoefer, executive director, NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. “The reason the remaining groups haven’t yet signed could be related to the fact that they haven’t settled their land claims as of yet.” The transfer of responsibilities that took place on April 1, 2014, saw 132 federal employees becoming employees of the GNWT. The goal is to stay the course for the immediate future.

Building on a strong past “We are the third most valuable diamond mining producer in the world,” states Hoefer. “And our oil and gas potential is just as big.” According to Hoefer, 2013 diamond production in the NWT represented $1.56

billion. The territory also has significant tungsten with some copper production. “Between 1998 and 2012, our new diamond mining industry exceeded expectations,” says Hoefer, who pegs total diamond production in the territory at around $22 billion. “It creates approxi-

mately 3,000 jobs a year. Of our northern resident mining workforce, half is aboriginal.” One change that has taken place since devolution is the introduction of the territory’s first Mineral Development Strategy. This strategy includes a new Min-

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ing Incentive Program (MIP) intended to stimulate and sustain mineral exploration activities throughout the NWT and to reduce the risk associated with grass-roots mineral exploration. During the 2014-15 year, the new MIP program will provide a total of $400,000 in funding. Prospectors licensed to operate in the NWT can apply for up to $15,000 in funding under the Prospector Mining Incentive Program and mineral-exploration companies licensed to operate in the NWT can apply for up to $100,000 under the Corporate Mining Incentive Program. “This inaugural mining incentive program will be an important tool in helping rejuvenate exploration investment in the NWT,” says Brooke Clements, president of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines. “It’s a very symbolic first step under the new NWT Mineral Development Strategy.” Clements views a healthy exploration sector as being critical to the ability to sustain and build upon the tremendous benefits that mining has created to date for northern residents and businesses. Hoefer concurs. He says more invest-

26 Mining North of 60 | 2015

ment is needed to help build infrastructure within the NWT, particularly allweather roads and power lines. “The roads to the diamond mines are ice roads that melt each year,” he explains. “Right now, the mines build their own roads, power supply and airports at their own cost. That means you need the ore bodies to be more robust to address these extra costs. Under new NWT infrastructure strategies, the plan is to work together to build all-weather roads and to create a single power grid tied to southern Canada that can supply cheaper power to mines and communities.”

Building a stronger future According to Hoefer, a number of ways are being examined to generate the revenue needed to create a better infrastructure that would, in turn, help attract new investment to the NWT. One way is to have the Government of Canada increase the GNWT’s borrowing limit, he says, a process that is already underway and awaiting a decision. Another is to tap into existing Canadian govern-

ment programs, such as the Building Canada Fund, another process already in the works. And the third option is through partnerships with industry and/or aboriginal groups. In this post-devolution world, the GNWT is actively pursuing all of these. “We need to build strength in our economic future,” says Hoefer. “I believe the GNWT recognizes this and is being very proactive, especially with the introduction of its MIP.” And already, the GNWT is taking its devolution responsibilities seriously. In April, the government approved its first two mining water licences – one for the Cantung tungsten mine and one for reclamation work at the now-closed Con gold mine. In June, the GNWT approved the land use permit and water licence for the proposed NICO polymetallic mine. And expectations are that the GNWT will sign the land use permit and water licence for what would become the NWT’s fourth diamond mine, Gahcho Kué. These approvals are the final steps required to support construction decisions for Gahcho Kué and NICO.

“The recent mine approvals demonstrate that mines can be permitted in the NWT,” says Clements. “The GNWT, through its new Mineral Development Strategy, is showing that as the new landlord for the non-renewable resource industry, they want to help sustain and grow community benefits from the NWT’s largest industry.” And in August 2014, Moody’s Investors Service’s announced the continuation of its Aa1 credit rating for the GNWT, a rating on par with that of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In a speech delivered to the House of Commons in June 2014, GNWT Premier Bob McLeod spoke of the future of the NWT and of the potential for growth after devolution. “I have said many times that the north is the future of Canada and that our potential is bright,” he said. “We have a strong resource base that includes diamonds, gold, tungsten, rare earth metals and other minerals. We have world-class oil and gas reserves that stretch from the Beaufort Delta through the Sahtu and down into the Dehcho. We have untapped hydro

potential that could provide clean, affordable energy for our homes and businesses and drive economic growth at home and in the south. With all this potential, it is time for this territory to make its mark on the national, and international stage.” It looks like the time for the NWT to

come into its own has finally begun. And under the careful guiding hand of the GNWT, the NWT may indeed emerge as a driving economic force for not only for the residents and businesses within its boundaries, but for all of those all across the country. n


| Mining North of 60 27

Alaska Geologic Materials Center

Rock On Rendering of the new Alaska Geological Materials Center in Anchorage.

Alaska’s Geologic Materials Center (GMC) gets a new home A hidden gem of the mining industry will soon have the chance to shine brighter. Alaska’s Geologic Materials Center (GMC) is preparing to move from their current facility in Eagle River to a larger, more accessible facility in Anchorage. The center, in operation since 1984, helps to advance exploration and research knowledge of Alaska’s natural resources through its library of geologic samples, baseline geologic data, maps, and reports. The samples are an important source of information for mining industry professionals, who can visit the center to view, sample, and analyze the minerals, gaining valuable insight into the state’s natural resources and potentially saving time and money on exploration endeavours. The GMC’s move to a state-of-the-art facility in Alaska’s largest city is a necessity as it has outgrown its current warehouse. Between the lack of space and inadequate storage, GMC’s curator, Ken Papp, explains that the center was in “dire need” of a new home. “The physical condition of our current facility is not befitting for such an important and impressive geologic sample collection. A lot of the buildings and warehouses where we currently store the samples in Eagle River were built in the

28 Mining North of 60 | 2015

The new GMC will have 3,800 square feet of sample viewing space. The boxes of samples are moved through these doors onto the roller tables.

‘60s and ‘70s,” says Papp, a geologist specializing in geologic materials and data preservation, and database documentation. In addition to the original 6,000-squarefoot warehouse, which became full in the early ‘90s, the center uses 60 substandard storage containers with no heat or lighting to house some of the hundreds of thousands of rock samples. “The experience of pulling samples out of a shipping container in the dead of February is not fun,” says Papp. “We have to defrost padlocks, boxes stick together

Courtesy of ECI/Hyer Inc.

The new GMC will have 4,356 three by eigjtfoot shelves and provide many years of growth for the state's geologic sample archive.

– literally frozen together in some cases. It’s an unfortunate mess that will soon be resolved.” The primary concern is the potential damage to the physical samples from a leaking shipping container or the freezethaw that threatens to slowly degrade the rocks each year. The new 110,000-square-foot facility in Anchorage will allow the center to hold all the samples under a single, dry, climatecontrolled roof. This large warehouse will also provide ample space for future growth as Papp expects about one third

GMC’s impressive rock collection

The current Alaska GMC in Eagle River. The 6,000-square-foot main warehouse was full in 1992. to half of the space will be used at first, depending on the size of several anticipated sample donations. The move – which may take up to 12 weeks to complete and likely involve 150 40-foot semi-trucks – has other benefits, including improved accessibility for the mining companies that are typically located in downtown Anchorage. Currently, the GMC is under-utilized by the mining industry considering the potential savings in exploration spending. According to Alaska’s Resource Development Council, the mining industry spent approximately $180 million in exploration of Alaska’s valuable minerals in 2013.

The Alaska Geologic Materials Center (GMC) has: • non-proprietary rock core and cuttings that represent over 13 million feet of exploration and production drilling in Alaska • more than 260,000 feet of diamond-drilled hard-rock mineral core • rock materials from more than 1,650 oil and gas exploratory or production wells • rock core from nearly 1,800 exploratory hard-rock boreholes • hundreds of thousands of surface rock samples, including extensive geochemical data and processed material derived from this rock

View the GMC inventory online at www.dggs.alaska.gov.gmc.

“The mining industry would really benefit from taking a look at the samples that we have here because we will offer a single, convenient location and access to a very organized inventory,” says Papp. “Reanalysis of existing samples using the latest techniques is extremely important. What we have here would help them better understand potential or known resources and basically not have to reinvent the wheel. If they learn something, it will likely save them money.”

Papp gives one example of a mining company saving hundreds of thousands of dollars just by utilizing the maps available at the GMC. Armed with scanned copies of the maps – which also contained tables of trace-element geochemistry results – the company was able to pinpoint the area of interest, saving valuable time and money in research and fieldwork. In addition to the 2,400-square-foot main viewing area, three private viewing rooms will allow companies a quiet envi-


| Mining North of 60 29

Over 60 per cent of the GMC's entire sample archive is stored in 60 unheated shipping containers. ronment to examine samples. Each room has acoustic dampening material within the walls and door. The doors lock for privacy and sections of the walls are magnetized so maps can be hung up. “You can leave your stuff out and don’t have to worry about other people walking by and seeing what you’re working on,” says Papp. Two slabbing slaws and a plugging drill allow some samples to be taken immediately and/or sent to labs for further examination, such as a geochemical analysis. Another part of the GMC making a

GMC staff must wear headlamps and warm clothes while accessing the samples in the winter.

move is their online inventory. Currently available through Google Earth, which requires special software that must be downloaded, the inventory will be updated and uploaded to a searchable map of Alaska available in any web browser. (The inventory will still be viewable using Google Earth.) “You will be able to draw a box anywhere in the state and it will list the results of any samples that we have in that particular area. You can fine-tune and print the results, save it to a spreadsheet or shape-

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The current GMC in Eagle River has only 800 square feet of space for researchers to view samples. file, or send in a request to look at those samples,” says Papp. Papp also has his eye on a future, inhouse physical library and better organizing all the center’s physical documents, including hundreds of maps and reports. The center, which currently offers public tours upon request, will also have more prominent public displays in the new location. Papp explains that one of the GMC’s long-term goals is to improve the outreach and educational programs. The curator wants to show people that the center is “more than just a big building full of rocks” by educating individuals on the importance of the center and the mining industry and its positive benefits to the state, such as revenue and job opportunities. The move date for the GMC, originally scheduled for August 2014, was postponed and a new timeline is still in progress, but Papp is optimistic. “We’re working very closely with project partners to try and come up with a solution that will allow us to relocate the collection and open up as soon as possible.” The facility will remain open in Eagle River until the sample archive can be relocated. The GMC currently sees approximately 500 visitors each year. Papp anticipates that number will increase in the new, more convenient facility, ensuring this important resource is further recognized. The change in location will give the GMC a brighter sheen and let this goldmine of Alaska’s mining industry excel. n Want to see what the GMC has to offer your company? Visit www.dggs.alaska.gov.gmc. Appointments can be made to view or sample the minerals. Public tours are also available by request.

S UPPORT IN G T H E MIN IN G IN DUST RY F ROM E XPLOR AT ION TO PROD UC T IO N Alaska is 5th in the United States for minerals production and 1st for potential, possessing significant resources of coal, copper, lead, gold, zinc, silver, and rare earth elements. Alaska is committed to the responsible development of the state’s mineral resources, offering: • • • • • • •

Exploration tax incentives Consistent and effective permitting Infrastructure financing Political stability A skilled workforce A strategic location University leadership in mining and geological engineering

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Archbould Photography



Mining photographer braces elements to get the shot By Melanie Franner Whether it means kayaking, snowmobiling, or coming into a site by chopper, Archbould Photography founder Cathie Archbould is one person who always gets her shot. Her commitment to traversing great distances, partaking in unusual transportation, and pretty much doing whatever it takes to get on site is one of the features that has helped set her apart from other ordinary photographers – and one that has helped establish her as the premier on-location photographer for mining companies all across Canada’s great north.

Testing the waters “I was always interested in photography,” explains Archbould. “I took my first photography course in high school. It was the one thing that I always stuck with, the one thing that was consistent for me.” After high school, Archbould attained a Bachelor of Applied Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto. She debated about returning to her native Victoria but opted to stay in Toronto and get a job. “I was working at the Toronto Star,” she recalls. “It was the early 1990s and there

32 Mining North of 60 | 2015

was a real downturn in the economy. A lot of media jobs were let go.” Luckily for Archbould, a small newspaper in Whitehorse was looking for a photographer to fill the newly created position at the Yukon News. She applied, got the job, and moved up north. “I had a huge student loan to pay off so I needed a job,” she says, adding that she was young enough to be adventurous about where that job could be. That sense of adventure has never left. And although Archbould did eventually move back to Toronto, she lasted only about six weeks. “I went back up to the Yukon,” she says. “I just couldn’t live in Toronto anymore.” All the while, Archbould continued to build her freelance business, with clients like the Associated Press. Her photos graced the front covers of several media outlets over the years, including Canadian Press, The Vancouver Sun, and The Globe and Mail – to name but a few.

Going it alone In 2000, Archbould left the newspaper (by now, she had been working for

the Yukon’s daily for a number of years). She started Archbould Photography and found immediate clients in the government and tourism industry. And then things changed. “I got a call from a client I had worked with in the past who offered me a job to go into a mine site and do some still photography of the First Nations people who were working at the mine,” recalls Archbould. “It was a good job that required me to drive about three and a half hours north to get to the site. I decided to take the assignment.” And the rest, as they say, is history. “Once I had that in my portfolio, it just opened up the door to all sorts of companies,” says Archbould. “My name went through the mining industry like wildfire and mining photography became my forté.”

relax. It can be by talking about the site, the business or even about where they are from, how long they have been in the north and why they like it in the Yukon. The goal is to set them at ease so I can get that perfect shot.”

All in a day’s work

Today, mining photography represents between one-quarter and one-third of Archbould’s business. It’s a mainstay of what she does and who she has become. And part of who she has become is her key ability to make an immediate connection to the places and people she shoots. Archbould’s easy manner and natural curiosity have helped her excel in a way that nurtures a better connection to the subject. “A lot of the people who I photograph aren’t necessarily at ease with facing the camera,” explains Archbould. “I often have to rely upon my instincts to get them to

On average, Archbould’s photo shoots take anywhere from one to three days on site, never mind how long it takes her to get there. “Last week, I was trying to get to the exploration site of what is going to be Canada’s largest open pit mine,” she explains. “The pilot spent two hours trying to fly in pockets of visibility to get to the camp before finally giving up. I was choppered in to take the shots this week instead.” Archbould jokes that over the last 14 years, she has spent a lot of time in small aircraft or helicopters – not to mention dark, underground spaces. “A lot of my work means going underground,” she adds. “There was one location where I had to descend 19 storeys underground in a very tiny elevator.”

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| Mining North of 60 33

Luckily, Archbould isn’t claustrophobic – or frightened of flying – or frightened of just about anything. Two years ago last October, Archbould was travelling to a location shoot – this time by the traditional method of an allwheel vehicle – when she hit a bad spot. “I had left Whitehorse pretty early in the morning so that I could get to the site before the roads became dicey,” she explains. “But the roads were pretty bad so I turned around and decided to add some weight to the truck and put on new snow tires before making another attempt the next morning.” The 300 pounds of sand in the back of the truck and the new snow tires made a huge difference and Archbould was able to get to her destination, which was about a two and a half-hour drive north of the city. “I was at the mine for two days and took plenty of shots,” she says. “After spending the night, I headed out very early in the morning so that I get on the road before it started freezing. I was about an hour into the drive – and already thinking about what I was going to make for dinner – when I hit some black ice. I went into a spin and rolled the truck twice before ending up in the ditch.” Luckily, she was unharmed. “Even though I was in shock, I still managed to grab all my gear and equipment and pile it up by the side of the road,” states Archbould. “When another vehicle

34 Mining North of 60 | 2015

eventually came by, the driver helped me load everything in his vehicle. He drove me into the next small community, where we discovered that I had glass in my hair and eyes. There was a bit of damage to me and the equipment but I was very, very lucky.”

Through water, snow, or sand Another interesting location shoot required that Archbould be up to date on her paddling skills. “There was one client that required me to go on a 10-day canoe trip to reach the camp site,” she explains. “I have also travelled by ATV, which was kind of cool.” Archbould is also willing to stand in the heat for hours on end, alongside many whining corgis no less. This particular shoot, although not mining related, saw her covering the Queen at the Victoria Commonwealth Games. “I had been shooting her for days and got some pretty bland expressions for my efforts,” notes Archbould. “But when the Queen drove through the long line of corgis, her face lit up. It was an expression of pure glee.” And an expression that Archbould managed to capture forever – and one that resonates with own self. “I feel fortunate every day to be doing what I’m doing,” states Archbould. “I love what I do, and to be able to do it here in the Yukon especially, is extremely satisfying.”

And although Archbould gets plenty of adventure during her work days, she is not one to sit around aimlessly on the few days she gets off. “When I’m not working, which is happening less and less often, I do a lot of fishing, canoeing and sea kayaking,” she enthuses. “I also like to cross-country ski and snowmobile.” And with that, Archbould is off preparing for her next adventure. She is booked solid for the next 14 days, is toying with the idea of taking a couple of days off after that before plunging back into a full work load that will take her right through to the end of September. It may be a thankless job for many – but somebody has to do it. And Cathie Archbould, thankfully, is more than happy – and grateful – to be that somebody. n


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mining family matters

A Whole Lotta Heart

Mining Family Matters strengthening industry families in Canada and Australia By Jillian Mitchell fact, they have moved six times in the space of a decade. Six years ago, however, at her kitchen table in Adelaide, Australia, the mother-of-two recalls hitting a hurdle with the FIFO lifestyle. “My daughter especially was just not cool with her dad leaving, so I went looking for resources to help my children and there was just nothing available anywhere,” Ranford recalls. “From there, I started thinking about the ins and outs of mining life and surely there were people all over Australia having the same issue.” Friend and journalist, Anderson, was quick to jump on board with Ranford’s vision of creating an online support net-

The kitchen, it’s been said, is the heart of the home. And for Australian mining moms Alicia Ranford and Lainie Anderson, the heart of their home is also the heart of their online business, Mining Family Matters. “We still officially work from my kitchen table,” chuckles Ranford, a former nurse

turned entrepreneur. “When we first started, it was almost like a hobby and we didn’t know how it would fly. We’ve seen real changes in the nearly five years we’ve been operating which is just fantastic.” Ranford’s family is well-familiar with the fly-in fly-out lifestyle – in

work for industry families; soon, more of her friends began to follow suit. Before long, the Mining Family Matters website encompassed a whole array of supportive content – expert relationship and parenting advice, free psychologist services, lifestyle columns, and articles about mining workers and families, and professional career advice and tips. Today, over 16,000 visitors view the site each month. Add to that, the duo has sold more than 100,000 copies of their Austra-

36 Mining North of 60 | 2015

Top Five Tips for Mining Families There are many practical things families can do at home to connect to their loved ones while they are away. Additionally, there are countless practical things families can do to best connect when together at last. Here are the Mining Family Matters co-founders’ top five favourite tips. 1) Life is not a competition; you’re both exhausted. “It’s pivotal to not think my day’s worse than yours. Everybody is tired,” says Ranford. “Instead, focus on the positives and try and tell your partner what you like and appreciate about them, particularly if you’re tired and you can tend to focus on the things that frustrate you.”

lian survival guides for families in mining and resources. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” says Anderson, co-founder of Mining Family Matters. “The biggest thing is that families love knowing they’re not alone, that it’s absolutely normal to have a few ups and downs when you’ve got one of you flying or driving in and out to work.” Most recently, the team has expanded into Canada with www.miningfm.ca and The Working Away Guide, the Canadian equivalent to The Survival Guide for Mining Families. Anderson cites the expansion into Canada as a natural progression. “The

Canadian mining industry is very similar to Australia’s. If we could help all of these families in Australia, we could help Canadian families as well,” she says. Eventually the duo would like to help U.S. families too, bringing Mining Family Matters to three countries. “It’s bigger than we ever imagined,” says Ranford. “We started out as two moms who wanted to help some people, and it has just grown and grown. Anderson echoes Ranford’s sentiments. “It’s really exciting for both of us,” she says, “especially the heartfelt emails we get from the people the website has helped.” n

2) Communicate with your partner – especially about the little things. Couples in the FIFO lifestyle tend to exude better communication skills than most, particularly regarding the day to day. Yet it is equally important to communicate emotions and grievances as they come up, says Anderson. “Couples have to be really honest about how they’re feeling and what’s going on in their lives,” she says. “Especially about the little things. Something’s it’s hard to listen and really hear the things that are bothering each other, but there are really practical things you can do to fix them.” 3) Talk feelings with your children. Anderson stresses the importance of encouraging children to share their feelings about the FIFO lifestyle. “Sit them down, ask them why they’re sad, listen to them,” she says, “and then say something like, ‘Mommy’s missing Daddy as well. How about we do something that cheers us up?’” Activities that come well-recommended by the mining mom include drawing a picture for the FIFO parent, or writing a list of things to talk about with that parent during the next phone call. 4) Build in transition time. Ranford’s husband initially found it difficult to transition from work life to home life. “We’re all like puppy dogs vying for his attention,” she admits. “He would get home and as much as he was excited to see us, he would need a little bit of space, a couple of hours, after which he would be back on board. “Even though it was hard for me to hear, I could accept that and we made a change. It works really well for us. And I get some time to myself too – he makes me breakfast in bed.” 5) Make the most of time together at home. As Ranford shares, there are pros to the FIFO family life. “When we had very small children and my husband was working a Monday-toFriday job, we really didn’t have much family time,” she recalls. “When he did a fly-in fly-out job, he would get a good extended block of time home and he would be able to do things with the kids that he wasn’t able to do when he was working Monday to Friday. He could be involved in some of the day to day, which certainly eased the pressure on me.”


| Mining North of 60 37


Setting the Standard

How National Occupational Standards are changing the HR landscape in Canada’s mining industry By Lindsay Forcellini, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) As mining employers and contractors look toward skills and training to grow the

potential pool of available talent in many key occupations, National Occupational

Standards (NOS) are at the forefront of the discussion – both in Canada and internationally. NOS provide a detailed inventory of the skills, knowledge, and competencies required to perform specific jobs safely and productively. They are tools developed by industry and widely used by employers, trainers, and job seekers and they play a key role in managing the HR impacts of the mining cycle and helping to mitigate the skills shortage. If we look at the industry’s hiring needs over the next decade, despite the current market conditions, the mining skills shortage is forecast at 120,000 workers, with a significant portion of this being worker replacement due to retirement. Occupational Standards provide a common, industry-defined lexicon for articulating the skills required to fill the myriad of vacant positions, and subsequently support training departments and institutions in developing effective programs to teach people how to perform these jobs and to meet the needs of industry. In addition, during a downturn, NOS enable workers to demonstrate their transferable skills as they transition to new role, and as operations ramp back up they are an excellent hiring tool, and baseline for training skills gap analysis.

Mining NOS: What’s available now?

• • • •

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The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) has led the collaborative development of four NOS by committees of industry subject matter experts (job incumbents, managers, and trainers). NOS were validated by a broader group of industry representatives. Currently, NOS are available for: • Underground miner • Surface miner • Minerals processing operator

• Diamond driller In January 2014, MiHR received funding from Employment and Social Devel-

opment Canada (ESDC) through its Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP) to update the current suite of NOS and develop

three new standards. Following industry consultation, the following occupations were identified for development: frontline


| Mining North of 60 39

supervisor, hoist operator, and Industry Trainer. These new NOS will be published in 2016.

NOS: The benefits and applications NOS are tools to help individuals, employers, and training providers to improve workforce performance. They create a common understanding among employers, trainers, employees, and job seekers of the skills and knowledge required to consistently work safely, efficiently and effectively in the occupation. NOS of-

fer a framework for formal training and workplace skills development. They also support skill transferability and mobility. Using NOS as a benchmark, companies can build on these common best practice guidelines to create workforce planning and development strategies to establish a highly-skilled labour force. One of the widest applications of the NOS is MiHR’s Canadian Mining Certification Program (CMCP). NOS form the foundation of the program, which is has now certified close to 1,000 workers from

across the country as surface miners, underground miners, diamond drillers and minerals processing operators. In addition to supporting personnel certification, NOS are used in a variety of industries in Canada and around the world to: • facilitate recruitment and expedite hiring processes by informing job descriptions and providing the basis for job applicants • inform training program development and assess third party training providers • identify career paths to support employee retention • evaluate and determine the qualifications of potential employees including internationally trained workers • facilitate bridging programs, such as occupation-specific English as a Second Language (ESL) training curriculum for internationally trained workers • establish performance criteria and develop training plans • support succession planning by identifying the critical competencies of experienced workers transitioning out of the industry and identifying the training and experience required for junior workers to assume more senior positions

International interest Canada’s NOS are garnering international attention amongst global mining employers and Canadian companies operating abroad. MiHR has received inquiries from across the globe from countries such as the United States, Ghana, Turkey, Indonesia, Peru, Colombia, South Korea, Chile, and Kazakhstan. Some nations are referencing the standards for research and comparison or as a model to develop their own NOS, while others are interested in certifying their workers against the Canadian standard. This global interest points to a growing commitment to standardized skills and training, the safety and productivity of mine sites, and the development of a highly-skilled mining workforce. n For more information, or to request NOS, visit www.miningcertification.ca or email certification@mihr.ca.

40 Mining North of 60 | 2015

Diavik Diamond Mine

Farming Out Fuel Needs Northern mine saves diesel and dollars with innovative wind farm By Lea Gunner Diavik Diamond Mine, located in Lac de Gras, a remote area 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, is only accessible by an ice road for just eight weeks a year. So each winter, the entire yearly supply of diesel must be trucked in – all 50+ million litres. But what happens when that ice road doesn’t freeze on time? The mining company was faced with this dilemma in 2006 when unseasonably warm temperatures caused the ice road to not be fully constructed when expected and it was prone to melt. Diavik quickly discovered that the mine’s reliance solely on diesel – which in 2006 had to be flown in to ensure mining

could continue – needed to be addressed. “We have the ice roads, so there’s only one way to get the fuel. There’s no natural gas up here in the north where we are; there’s no other hydro dams or anything like that,” explains Chris Bertoli, electrical and instrumentation superintendent for Diavik Diamond Mine. The company looked at various renewable energy options to supplement the diesel, from solar to geothermal. The alternative finally selected was wind power due to the frequent and high winds (average 26 kilometres per hour) in the area. Diavik worked closely with ENERCON in Germany to create wind turbines that


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42 Mining North of 60 | 2015

could withstand the harsh Arctic climate, and in September 2012, a 9.2-megawatt, four-turbine wind farm began running. It’s the one of the world’s largest wind-diesel hybrid power facility and the first of its kind in such a remote, northern community. With the wind farm’s hefty price tag of $31 million, Diavik won’t see a return on investment for eight years. As the mine will only be in operation for an additional two to three years (it’s expected to be fully excavated by 2023 or 2024), Diavik took a risk building the wind farm for such a small window of opportunity, but it’s one that is already paying off. Over the past two years, the wind farm has reduced the mine’s dependency on diesel by about 10 per cent. According to Bertoli, the mine saved over $5 million and four million litres of diesel in the first year of operation. The second year, currently underway, is almost two months ahead of forecasted savings. “It’s better to do something than do nothing based on current and projected fuel costs. If we can take 10 per cent of our reliance on diesel over the next 10 years – it’s a lot better than not doing anything,” says Bertoli, who also states the amount

of diesel needed by the mine will only increase as the company digs deeper and deeper. “The more we can do to offset those costs to the mine, the better.” While the wind farm was ultimately a smart business decision, it’s one that has earned the company praise for its commitment to the environment. This

innovative facility has earned several accolades, including the Canadian Wind Energy (CanWEA) 2013 Group Leadership award and the 2013 Environmental Excellence award from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG).

While the wind farm isn’t going to provide Diavik with a windfall, it has helped decrease the mine’s dependence, and the subsequent bill, on diesel, while reducing the mining company’s carbon footprint. All vital elements to ensuring a strong and vibrant future for the mine, the north, and future generations. n


| Mining North of 60 43

DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Canada, Ltd.

Effective tax management in turbulent times for mining By Jon d’Easum, senior director operations, Western Canada, DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Canada, Ltd. The unparalleled natural resources in Canada’s north represent untold opportunities that have permanently placed the region onto the world stage. With levels of mining, exploration, and development already at record levels, and forecast to grow dramatically over the next decade, it is an exciting time to be a part of the northern mining community. At the same time, being part of a global industry requires that business leaders maintain operations that are competitive with companies from all corners of the globe.

Tax challenges As owners and operators deal with the challenges of turbulent commodity markets, shortages of skilled labour, government intervention at multiple levels, and raising capital in a cash restricted environment, the importance of creating and adhering to an effective tax management plan can seem minor by comparison. However, failure to proactively address the myriad of direct and indirect taxes that property owners and corporations are required to comply with can undermine profitability and result in companies incurring unnecessary expenditures. Failure to address these areas also exposes the organization to new risks requiring

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additional management oversight, which would be mitigated by addressing taxation matters in a timely manner. The challenges associated with taxation reach beyond the taxpayer. Government has always been tasked with walking the fine line between generating sufficient tax revenues to provide constituents with essential services, while maintaining tax burdens at levels that can be effectively levied without discouraging corporate development. Managing this formula requires constant review and adjustment as demographics and regional commerce change. With the continued expansion of the mining industry, government agencies are faced with their own challenges and dilemmas as they work to maintain and create effective tax policies in a rapidly evolving environment. As a key stakeholder in the northern regions of Canada, the mining industry is drawn into the additional challenge of understanding the implications of taxation, and when necessary, advocating for the changes required to ensure that it remains fair and equitable across all industries.

Tax types Property tax provides an example of the potential benefits of implementing

a comprehensive tax management plan, and also the risks, which can arise in the absence of one. The taxation of real property has been practised throughout all of recorded history and remains a key source of government revenues. The determination of the basis upon which property taxes are levied is challenging in itself as it must reflect the guidelines enacted by not just one, but multiple offices of government, including provincial or territorial and municipal. The complexity of mining operations creates additional challenges, as interpretation of existing regulations, which by its nature is subjective, often requires ongoing and extensive dialogue between the taxpayer and assessment authority. Despite representing a significant expense item for property owners, property tax is often overlooked and incorrectly addressed as an uncontrollable expense. Authorities have an obligation to implement the relevant legislation to the best of their ability based on available information. This infers an inherent responsibility on the part of the taxpayer to clearly delineate issues relating to the accuracy and completeness of tax calculations, and to identify additional information, which may assist the assessor or official in rendering a more accurate

assessment. As a taxpayer, you must be equipped to review tax notices and filings to determine if they are prepared in accordance with, and reflect the intentions of, applicable legislation. Lack of communication with assessors to address appropriate classifications, determine if an item is exempt from taxation, reflect the disposal of assets, or consider the impact of various valuation methodologies can result in overstated property assessments and

resulting tax expense. Of course taxation is not limited to the assessment and levies associated with property ownership, and the scope of factors that tax practitioners must contemplate in the preparation of a tax management plan continues to grow in complexity and depth. In response to government’s efforts to encourage growth through the termination of capital taxes and reductions in corporate income

tax rates, alternate methods of generating tax revenues have emerged including an expanded role of transactional and production based taxation. These taxes are unique in that the government has essentially delegated the role of tax collection and remittance into day-today commerce. As a result, corporations must have the capacity to deal with the intricate requirements of items such as royalties and commodity taxes, as well as the complexities that surround interactions with government agencies. These complexities continue to increase as the applicable laws evolve in concert with

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| Mining North of 60 45

economic drivers. With both corporate tax departments and government offices already running beyond capacity, the risk of inadvertently incurring unnecessary liabilities and compliance related penalties is a very real consideration for all North American taxpayers, including those with operations in Canada’s north.

Tax expense management While the path of least resistance is to assume that all filings and tax notices are correct and issue payments accordingly, the potential of overstated tax expenses, as well as the corporate obligations regarding accurate filing and compliance, suggest this to be a high-risk approach.

Prudent tax management involves the identification of all tax legislation affecting your organization, and ensuring a complete understanding of the responsibilities, rights and recourse available to the company. This allows management to prioritize the various exposures and determine what level of investigation and review each one warrants. There are multiple options available to corporations in undertaking this challenge including retention of assistance from a third party specializing in the particular field of taxation, with many companies opting to supplement internal knowledge bases with external subject matter experts. The rights of a taxpayer to review, and where appropriate challenge, the basis upon which taxes have been calculated are available for finite periods of time. As such, whether your course of action involves outsourcing your tax advisory requirements or developing the in-house resources, one of the most critical elements of an effective tax management program is the capacity to act proactively. n



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northquest ltd. – pistol bay gold project

Firing on all Cylinders

Pistol Bay unveils more promising results By Melanie Franner probable reserves. Some 300 kilometres southeast of the Meadowbank Mine is another Agnico Eagle gold deposit at the high-grade Meliadine Gold Project. This project has 2.8 million ounces of gold in proven and • Fuel tank farm piping and probable reserves, but is not yet in prodispensing systems • Process piping duction. • Dewatering installations And a mere 80 kilometres south of the • Sewage and water treatment • Industrial Mechanical Meliadine Gold Project, still in the Nunaplant installations Installations vut Territory, is the Pistol Bay Gold Project. • Pressure pipe fi tting, registered • Design/Build installations in NWT, Alberta and BC Dave Tucker “We already have visibility on approxi• Pressure pipe fi tting welding, Head Office mately two million ounces in the Vickregistered in NWT, Alberta, BC Yellowknife, NT • Structural welding, CWB ers Zone and I would estimate that we’ll 867-765-6109 registered probably have visibility on more than that Darren Fraser, GM • Millwright services Spruce Grove, AB • Heat recovery installations by the end of this year,” states Jon North, 780-960-1850 • Mine site yard piping president, CEO, and founder of Northquest Ltd. “Geologically, the rock formaNorthern Canada Ventures Corp 9 Nahanni Drive, Box 1835 Yellowknife, NT tions at Meadowbank, Meliadine, and PisT: 867-765-6100 F: 867-765-6122 tol Bay are the same age and there is no geological reason for why additional gold Northern Northern Canada Canada Ventures Ventures Corp Corp deposits will not be discovered and put 9 Nahanni 9 Nahanni Drive, Drive, Box Box 1835 1835 Yellowknife, Yellowknife, into productionNT inNT Nunavut.” T: T: 867-765-6100 867-765-6100 F: F: 867-765-6122 867-765-6122 According to North, the gold occurrences of the Pistol Bay Gold Project ap-

The Meadowbank Mine is the only operating gold mine in Nunavut. A conventional open-pit mine that began production in 2010, it is expected to produce 430,000

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48 Mining North of 60 | 2015

ounces of gold in 2014. This would make it Agnico Eagle Mines Limited’s largest gold producer of the year. The mine has 1.8 million ounces of gold in proven and

pear to line up along a westerly trend, parallel to the westerly, linear trend of the Meliadine gold deposits to the north, which are on the opposite side of a sterile, granite gneiss block. This makes the Pistol Bay Trend a structural mirror image of the Meliadine Trend – with excellent potential for the discovery, delineation, and mining of additional gold deposits.

A man with a mission North founded Northquest in 2008, as a way to provide resource investors with an opportunity to invest in a company that was focused on exploring for gold and

other metals in Canada and other prospective geological terrains. The emphasis has been – and continues to be – on selecting projects in permissive rocks and in jurisdictions and geologic terrains that have not achieved exploration maturity. “Essentially, I choose which rocks to work on and that’s where I go,” states North, who adds that at the time when Northquest purchased the Pistol Bay Gold Project in late 2010, the company was exploring for gold in Mali and had commenced applying for gold exploration permits operations in Myanmar (previously Burma). “Today, the Pistol Bay Gold Project is the company’s top priority. Every as-

pect of exploration that we have done on this property has shown spectacular results. The Pistol Bay Gold Project’s results are the best results of my career – and I’ve been doing this for 30 years now.” The Pistol Bay Gold Project consists of 861 square kilometres of mineral rights covering a 90-kilometre strike length of a two-kilometre wide deformation zone known as the Pistol Bay Corridor, which contains numerous gold occurrences. The initial, optioned claims consisted of six claims covering an area of 54.4 square kilometres. Four major campaigns of claim staking and permitting have been completed since and the property now


| Mining North of 60 49

consists of 104 claims covering an area of 861.5 square kilometres. Field operations began in April 2011, and major drilling campaigns have occurred in every summer since.

over the last few years. This has slowed

the $12 million cap it has today. “What

down his progress to date.

we have had since we started is a nomi-

“I would call the current state of the

nal amount of money. But the fact that

industry ‘diabolical’,” he muses, adding

we have survived is because of our great

that if it were the same market conditions


Not the best of times

experienced in 2004, the Northquest Ltd.

According to North, there are 17 known

Unfortunately for North, the mining exploration industry has been in a low cycle

would probably have a market cap of sev-

gold occurrences on the property. Al-

eral hundred million dollars, rather than

though many of them are very promising,

50 Mining North of 60 | 2015

work has focused on the Vickers, Sako, and Bazooka Zones. “INCO owned claims in the area from 1983 to 1989 and the Vickers Zone was one of the areas they identified as warranting further work,” explains North. “At the time, it was called the Wilson Bay Zone and the man who was responsible for the discovery was INCO geologist Dwayne Car. Once we purchased the property in 2010, one of the first calls I made was to Dwayne Car and he agreed to come out of retirement to work for us as our current vicepresident.” The first phase of the company’s 2011 exploration work saw drill holes at the Sako, Cooey, and Pistol Porphyry occurrences. The latter two were considered lower priority for further work. No work was competed in 2011 at the Vickers Target because the claims covering the target were the subject of a dispute. The second field season saw additional drilling at the Sako Occurrence and the first holes were drilled at the Bazooka Occurrence. Good results deemed that both be targeted as warranting further exploration. Late in 2012, the dispute over the Vickers Target claims was settled and the drill rig was moved in. Results showed that these were among the best exploration drill holes in Canada in recent memory. Additional drilling was completed at the Vickers Target in 2013 and more good results were published to the market. An infusion of cash from international gold producer Nordgold brought some much-needed investment to institute a very meaningful program in the Vickers Target in the field season of 2014, which is currently ongoing. “From here, we need about $20 to $30 million to delineate the Vickers Target to see just how big the deposit is and to drill the very promising Sako, Bazooka, and Defender Zones that we have discovered since purchasing the property,” explains North. And the additional good news is that unlike the Meadowbank Mine and Meliadine Gold Mine Project, the Pistol Bay Gold Project is located on Crown land. Regardless, North speaks of a positive relationship with the Hamlet of Whale Cove and its community of 350 people. “We have hired more than 10 people from Whale Cove for the summer,” he

states, adding that the Pistol Bay Gold Mine Project is located within 10 kilometres of the community. “We have received very good support from the community and hope to contribute to its economic prosperity in the years ahead.” And according to North, that could be as early as 2019. “I believe that in five years time, the Pistol Bay Gold Project will be well in the construction stage and possibly even in production,” he states. “It could well be a world-class gold deposit.” n

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| Mining North of 60 51

Silver Gold Hecla Mining – greens creek

as Good as

Greens Creek’s ore production is unearthing all kinds of metals on a silver platter By Emily Pike One of the world’s largest silver mines, Hecla Mining’s Greens Creek, is also the only active mine with part of its operations inside a United States National Monument. Having produced 7.4 million ounces of silver last year, 2014’s production is anticipated to be around the same at between 6.5 and 7.0 million ounces, with a “golden lining” of 55,000 ounces of gold to be produced. The outlook for 2015 and beyond is promising with the mine having a projected life of another nine years. The proven and probable reserves for Greens Creek are 92.5 million ounces of silver, 713,000 ounces of gold, 256,130 tonnes of lead and 677,940 tonnes of zinc. Mike Satre, manager of Government and Community Relations at Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company explains how “proven and probable reserves” are tested for. “It’s a simple question with a very complex answer, however in the simplest of terms: drilling information is used to create geologic models of the ore deposit. As more drilling occurs, the higher the confidence in the models. Once sufficient drilling has occurred, economic parameters are applied to the models so that engineered plans can be created in the areas

52 Mining North of 60 | 2015

that are profitable to mine. The material selected in the mine plans become ‘ore’ and are then officially accounted for in the mine’s reserves,” he states. Satre shares the second quarterly report for 2014: “At Greens Creek, definition and pre-production drilling continued to upgrade the 5250, West Wall, and Deep Southwest resources. Drilling of the Deep 200 South confirmed the resource model and shows the upper limb of the bench fold extends up to 150 feet east beyond the current model. Drilling of the bench mineralization provided some of the widest and highest grade intercepts in recent history at the mine. Significant drill intersections include 85.1 oz/tonne silver, 0.18 oz/tonne gold, 10.2 per cent zinc, and 4.8 per cent lead over 12.9 feet, and 44.3 oz/ ton silver, 0.40 oz/ton gold, 23.1 per cent zinc, and 12.4 per cent lead over 3.2 feet. Drill intersections at the Deep 200 South continue to be very encouraging and mineralization remains open to the south. Three surface drills were positioned in the south, middle, and north regions of Killer Creek in mid-June to follow up on broad zones of high-grade copper, silver, lead and zinc stockwork mineralization defined by surface drill programs in 2012

and 2013. This program should better define the extents of copper and silver-zinc rich stockwork mineralization and evaluate the deeper mine contact.” Greens Creek’s mine lies on 17 patented federal mining claims and they are all 100 per cent owned by Hecla. “We lease lands from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service for our surface facilities including the mill facility, admin offices, equipment shops and our dry stack tailings facility,” explains Satre. They also have rights to land above ground. “In 1995, an act of congress allowed us to facilitate a land exchange whereby we purchased and conveyed private lands in Admiralty Island to the federal government. In exchange we received exclusive mineral rights to approximately 7,400 acres immediately surrounding the mine. In addition, we hold numerous unpatented federal mining claims to the north of the land exchange boundary,” says Satre. While none of the underground mine site falls within the National Monument boundaries, their tailings facility and part of their road are inside Admiralty Island National Monument.

As an underground operation where they mine 2,200 tonnes of ore a day, they also have a presence above ground. “[The] total surface impact [of the mine] is about 350 acres, approximately 45 per cent of which is the mine access road.” Once brought to the surface, the mined ore is “shipped to a variety of smelters around the world for refining, [where the metals are extracted from the concentrates we have produced],” says Satre. Located approximately 15 miles south of Juneau, Greens Creek is found in Southeast Alaska on Admiralty Island. With only one permanent settlement on the island – Angoon, a small village 50 miles south of the mine - the island sees quite a jump in its population every day when around 200 of Greens Creek’s approximately 415 employees (mining and underground support, mill workers, surface support and administrative staff ) are shuttled to the island on Hecla’s 35 minute ferry ride. The mine is mostly staffed locally. Satre shares: “75 per cent of the workforce is Alaskan, 55 per cent of the workforce lives in Juneau, 10 per cent live in other Southeast Alaska towns, 10 per cent live in other parts of Alaska, and 25 per cent live in the lower 48 states.” Hecla operates its mine all year round, and for some, that means not seeing daylight for a couple of weeks a year. The entrance to the mine, along with the administrative, mill, and maintenance buildings are at the 920 site – so named for its elevation from sea level – and this area doesn’t see direct sunlight for a few weeks every year around the winter solstice (December 21). Workers go in when its dark, and emerge from the depths at the end of their shift when its dark, undoubtedly happy to see a little sparkle in their day thanks to the silver they’re unearthing. Such harsh conditions might pose a threat to the work force on the small Alaskan island, if Hecla didn’t feel an obligation to do what they can to develop and maintain their employees. “We have committed to developing a skilled local workforce through funding of the Mine Training Center at the University of Alaska Southeast, ([having contributed] $600,000 since 2011), Engineering and Geology Scholarships at University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as internal training programs that build

skills and allow for upward mobility of all workers,” happily reports Satre. Now one of the top 10 silver producing mines in the world, the mineralized outcrops for this mine were discovered by geologists back in 1974, underground drilling began in 1978 and the mine was

opened with first production of metals in 1989. There was no production at Greens Creek between 1993 and 1996 but other than that, the mine has continued to satisfy Hecla with a history of exploration success and replacement of reserves. n


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| Mining North of 60 53

North Arrow Minerals Inc. – redemption diamond project

Pointed in the

Right Direction

North Arrow looks to 2015 with northern prospects North Arrow Minerals Inc. has completed an exploration drilling program at the Redemption Diamond Project in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Redemption is located in the Lac de Gras region, approximately 32 kilometres southwest of and 47 kilometres west of the Ekati and Diavik Diamond Mines respectively. North Arrow spent under $1 million on the campaign as part of its option to earn a 55 per cent interest in the project from Arctic Star Exploration. Almost 800 metres of drilling tested seven targets within the central part of the property near the up-ice termination of the South Coppermine Kimberlite Indicator Mineral (KIM) train. This particular KIM train is one of the last well-defined but unsourced trains within Lac de Gras. The targets included various combinations of gravity, magnetic, and electromagnetic geophysical surveys from both detailed data compilation and of new airborne and ground geophysical surveys.

The challenge None of the drill holes definitively encountered a bedrock kimberlite source for the South Coppermine KIM train. Drill

54 Mining North of 60 | 2015

hole 14-RED23-08 tested a linear gravity low and encountered predominantly fresh to weakly altered granite that included a moderately to strongly fractured fault zone from 89.9 metres to 99.7 metres down-hole. This fault zone contained intervals of dull green clay fault gouge which have been collected for KIM analyses, but North Arrow believes the source of kimberlite indicator minerals at Redemption remains an unanswered question. The property still hosts a number of lake-based geophysical targets that could not be tested as part of the current drilling program, therefore the company will continue to evaluate the comprehensive project exploration database, including information on surficial geology and an evaluation of the geophysical data sets for the identification of more subtle, and perhaps linear structural kimberlite targets. North Arrow is exploring Redemption under an option agreement with Arctic Star, whereby it can earn a 55 per cent interest by incurring $5 million in exploration expenditures prior to July 1, 2017. Arctic Star has assembled a board of its own that is highly experienced in explo-

ration and investment. Vice-president of exploration Buddy Doyle led the team that discovered the $14 billion in situ Diavik mine, while another Director John Buckle, was also instrumental in discovering Ekati. A follow-up drilling program is still required to test remaining top priority ice-based targets that could not be drilled from land. President and CEO Ken Armstrong comments: “our plans for the future are uncertain right now. We still need to find the source of the South Coppermine indicator mineral train, but when and what targets we will be focusing on is still to be determined. A 2015 winter drilling program is under consideration, but plans will not be concrete until we prioritise the existing targets and define new ones based on what we have learned from the recent drilling campaign.�

Other projects North Arrow is also the operator of the Pikoo Diamond Project in east central Saskatchewan where it has an 80 per cent interest with JV partner Stornoway Diamond Corporation. The discovery of kimberlite at the property last summer and

the stellar diamond results that followed in November triggered a staking rush in this new Canadian diamond district. North Arrow is currently working towards a much anticipated follow-up winter drill

program for early 2015. The company’s flagship project is the advanced stage Qilalugaq Project near Repulse Bay in Nunavut where a 1,500 tonne sample of the large tonnage Q1-4

kimberlite has been extracted and will undergo processing to recover around 500 carats of diamonds this fall in order to obtain a preliminary understanding of the value of the stones. n


| Mining North of 60 55


Robust Resources

Red Dog Mine celebrates milestone anniversary By Melanie Franner It’s been 25 years since the opening of the Red Dog zinc and lead mine, created through an operating agreement between Teck Resources Limited (Teck) and NANA Regional Corporation Inc. (NANA), an Alaskan native corporation, to develop mineral resources on its territorial land. That agreement is still in effect today and has resulted in approximately $1 billion in royalties being paid to NANA. “We have been operating the Red Dog Mine since 1989,” explains Wayne Hall, manager, communications and public relations at Teck’s Red Dog Mine. “There is a long history associated with the mine which began in the early 1980s when NANA began looking for a mining com-

pany to partner with that had experience mining in northern latitudes and cold climates.” That company turned out to be Cominco Limited, which eventually became part of Teck Resources, Canada’s largest diversified resources company. NANA, owned by the Iñupiat people of Northwest Alaska, is the landowner of a region that measures 38,000 square miles, most of which is above the Arctic Circle. The region includes 11 communities that range in size from 122 to more than 3,500 residents. Of the $1 billion in royalties received to date, NANA has paid $608 million to other Alaska Native corporations under revenue-sharing provisions of the

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Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and $199 million in dividends to its own shareholders. “We are the only tax payer in the Northwest Arctic Borough Region,” states Hall,

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who adds that Red Dog pays approximately $11 million to the region in lieu of taxes annually. The Red Dog Mine provides 60 per cent of the Borough’s total revenue.

Terms of agreement NANA places a very high priority on the traditional subsistence way of life for its people. As such, there were several factors inherent in that ground-breaking mining agreement, which was officially

signed in 1982. The first of these called for NANA to participate in a net royalty return once the initial capital needed to develop the mine had been recouped. The rate of the net royalty would increase by five per cent every five years to a maximum of 50 per cent. NANA currently receives a 30 per cent net royalty. “NANA’s primary driver for developing the mine was to provide livelihoods and jobs for the region,” notes Hall, who adds that the agreement put a priority on in-

digenous NANA shareholder hires. “We currently fluctuate between 55 to 58 per cent of our total employees being NANA shareholders.” A third factor of the agreement was to provide NANA-owned companies “contractor preference” status. As such, NANA companies currently provide a range of services to the Red Dog Mine, including camp accommodation and food services, engineering services, drilling, construction, hauling, etc.

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“Another part of the agreement called for the operation to protect and maintain the subsistence lifestyle of residents in the area,” explains Hall. “Most of our employees work rotational shifts of two weeks on and one week off or four weeks on and two weeks off, depending on their job responsibility. This gives them flexibility to work and also pursue traditional subsistence activities such as hunting and fishing.” Additionally, an independent Subsistence Advisory Committee, consisting of elders and hunters from the two closest villages, helps to establish policies and procedures to protect subsistence resources. This includes ensuring the traditional seal hunt has been completed before shipping begins on the Chukchi Sea.

In terms of ore output, the Red Dog Mine produces approximately one million tonnes of zinc and lead concentrate annually. It also employs approximately 550 full-time people, of which about 100 are from NANA-Lynden (the contractor which hauls the concentrate) and NANA Management Services (the contractor overseeing the camp’s accommodation and food services). The remainder are direct Red Dog Mine employees. “We continue to have a very active exploration program in the region,” states Hall, who credits this exploration program with finding the Aqqaluk deposit, which the company started mining in June 2010, and continues mining to this day. “We believe that this is quite a rich area for zinc.”

Looking forward Still productive The Red Dog Mine is considered to be a world-class ore body and is one of the largest producers of zinc concentrate in the world. According to Hall, the current permitted number of reserves should keep the mine operational until 2031. The mine itself is an open pit truck and loader operation that uses conventional drill and blast mining methods. The processing facilities use conventional grinding and sulfide flotation methods to produce zinc and lead concentrates. “We mine approximately 11,000 tonnes of ore a day, which produces 3,000 to 3,500 tonnes of concentrate a day,” explains Hall. “All of the ore is shipped down a 52-mile road to a port facility, where it is stored in two large buildings during the winter and then shipped to customers in Canada, Asia, and Europe between early July and mid-October each year.” The two storage facilities themselves are among the largest in the state of Alaska, with one measuring 1,500 feet long by 218 feet wide by 130 feet high and the other 1,200 feet long by 218 feet wide and 130 feet high. The Red Dog Mine operates 365 days a year. It is a remote facility and is therefore responsible for producing its own power, drinking water, and sewer services, as well as its own airport. The mine consumes approximately 18 to 20 million gallons of fuel per year. It requires approximately 40,000 gallons of fuel a day just to power the facility.

The past 25 years have certainly been beneficial for both Teck Alaska Resources and for NANA. The Red Dog Mine has been a key contributor to Alaska’s economy over the years. Between 1989 and 2009, total direct and indirect economic impacts of the mine to the regional and state economy were $921 million. In 2009 alone, the mine provided $116 million in federal and state taxes. The Red Dog Mine has further distinguished itself as being one of only a few operating metals mines to receive ISO14001-2004 certification. “We are in a very ecologically sensitive area and we want to ensure that we do things properly,” states Hall. “We are also governed by many regulatory requirements and other commitments, from both government and the indigenous people. We recognize that one of the best ways to make sure we’re doing things properly was to create and implement an environmental management system. That’s why we decided to go through the ISO certification process.” And, according to Hall, work at the Red Dog Mine is far from over. “This was a very exciting year for us because we were able to celebrate our 25th year of operation,” he states. “Looking forward, our goal is to continue to try to become more efficient from a mining and energy standpoint and to look at ways to increase local indigenous hires. We’re also going to continue to look for new mining opportunities in this area.” n

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Aerial view of Fortune Minerals NICO gold-coblat-bismuth-copper project in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Fortune Minerals Limited – revenue silver mine

In Ground


Fortune Minerals Limited works towards secure bismuth source Bismuth, a soft metal with a high density but low melting temperature, is primarily utilized in the automotive and medical sectors. Already widely recognized as the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, its use is becoming steadily more common as an environmentally-friendly lead substitute. One example of this latter is in a development by South Korean steel producer POSCO, where bismuth serves as a lead substitute in the world’s first mass-produced and bismuth-added free-cutting steel. Bismuth is seen in most of the 80 million cars produced annually in the black compound protecting the adhesive around the perimeter of the windshield and in anti-corrosion coatings on automobiles, both taking advantage of the dimensional stability properties of this metal. In addition, it expands on cooling, as distinct from most elements. The importance of bismuth is acknowledged by the British Geological Survey, which classifies it as economically impor-

60 Mining North of 60 | 2015

tant and at very high-risk to supply disruption. Further proof lies in China having been the dominant supplier, with 60 per cent of world reserves and 80 per cent of world production. Having a reliable North American source is therefore highly attractive to manufacturers who need security of supply. Fortune Minerals Limited, headquartered in London, Ontario, NICO deposit in the Northwest Territories (NWT) contains 12 per cent of the world’s bismuth reserves, underpinning its status as a potential secure and reliable North American source for global customers. To underline the diversity of Fortune’s operations, NICO also hosts significant gold and cobalt reserves, the latter required to manufacture rechargeable batteries used in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles – not to mention the company’s Arctos anthracite deposit in British Columbia, the Revenue Silver Mine in Colorado and the Sue-Dianne copper-silver-gold deposit, which is also located near NICO in NWT.

“It is an exciting time for us with the acquisition of the Revenue Silver Mine transitioning us to a producing mining company that is developing two strategic assets. NICO is essentially shovel ready and is positioned to be an important North American source gold, bismuth and cobalt chemicals need to manufacture rechargeable batteries,” says Robin Goad, Fortune’s president and CEO. Fortune’s gold reserves can serve as a hedge against bismuth and cobalt price volatility. In all, NICO is to become a fully vertically integrated project; ores will be mined and concentrated before being transported to a refinery for ultimate conversion to a high-value product. Working with Deloitte Corporate Finance Canada Inc, Fortune is now in negotiations with a strategic partner and its banks for the project financing that NICO requires for construction. There has already been corporate level investment by Procon Resources Inc, a subsidiary of China CAMC Engineering Co Ltd, and the


Diamonds. Zinc. Tungsten. Gold. Rare Earth metals.

Mineral resources have made the Northwest Territories a land with immense potential. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to further developing those natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner and attracting new investment that will provide economic benefits to residents, businesses and communities. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment provides programs and services to develop and profile the NWT’s mining resources, through the following:

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A new Mining Incentive Program (MIP) was launched in June, 2014. The MIP was a key recommendation of the Mineral Development Strategy.



Dr. Rick Schryer collecting cattails at NICO for the development of a demonstration wetland for water treatment.

firms are working together to advance NICO towards its construction activities. More than $110 million of work has already been conducted for the NICO project to delineate and engineer the deposit and reduce risks from the development, including completion of front-end engineering and design and feasibility studies, underground test mining, and several pilot plant tests to verify the process methods and products the company plans to produce. Detailed engineering and design work has recently been conducted by Hatch Ltd., which has been coordinating engineering for the mine, processing plant and other facilities such as tailings, water and power, and site access.

Location NICO is situated 160 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife and 85 kilometres north of Highway 3 to Edmonton. Access will be by a proposed all-weather road which will also serve the nearby Tlicho Aboriginal communities. The CN railway terminates at Hay River on the south shore


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Fortune Minerals prepares the site for targeted construction activities at its NICO gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories.

of Great Slave Lake and provides a rail link to ship the concentrate from the mine to Saskatchewan for further processing.

The resource NICO is an Iron Oxide Copper Gold class deposit. Ore is hosted in three, 40-50 degree dipping stratabound lenses of brecciated ironstone up to 1.3 kilometres in length, 550 metres in width and with individual lenses up to 70 metres in true thickness. The recoverable metals are associated with the approximate five per cent sulphide fraction consisting primarily of cobaltian arsenopyrite, cobaltite, bismuthinite, chalcopyrite, pyrite and pyrrhotite, as well as native gold and native bismuth. The deposit contains open-pit and underground proven and probable mineral reserves totaling 33 Mt containing 1.1 Moz of gold, 82 Mlb of cobalt, 102 Mlb of bismuth, and 27 Mlb of copper. The planned mill throughput rate of 4,650 t/d for the ore will sustain operations for 20 years.

Planning goes smoothly Environmental assessment for the NICO

mine and mill have been completed in both NWT and Saskatchewan. Fortune has also received its Class A water licence and the land use permit required to construct and operate the NICO mine and concentrator – the final step in the permitting process. Financially, what stands between Fortune and the construction of the mine is the receipt of the project financing. In addition, Tlicho participation agreements are currently being negotiated and are expected to conclude successfully. With growth in the markets for both cobalt and bismuth in new environmentally sustainable applications (electric cars and lead-free products), and due to the concerns with the dominance of supply of both metals from the Congo and China, NICO presents an opportunity to capitalize on a reliable Canadian source of supply for both metals. A highly liquid and important gold co-product, along with the other metals found at NICO, make for a resource highly valuable in its own right in financial terms and of great importance in respect of Canadian self-sufficiency. n

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Western Copper and Gold Corporation – casino project



One billion tonnes of ore at Western Copper and Gold Corporation’s Casino project The Yukon’s Casino gold-copper project is the focus of Western Copper and Gold Corporation. With a feasibility study completed in 2013, and an environmental assessment application submitted in 2014, Western Copper and Gold is on track to be construction-ready in 2016, with initial heap production in 2017 and mill operations commencing in 2019. Western has now been trading for eight years, having acquired Lumina Resources Corporation and, in consequence, Casino, which is 100-per-cent-owned by Western. Casino is situated 380 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon, and 560 kilometres from the year-round port at Skagway, Alaska. Its characteristic terrain comprises rounded, rolling topography with moderate to deeply incised valleys, the Yukon River flowing to the west about 16 kilometres north. It is the Yukon River that will provide Casino’s fresh water. Within Casino there are significant resources and reserves of not only copper and gold but also molybdenum and silver. Overall Casino boasts 1.12B tonnes at 0.5

per cent CuEq, in the reserve. Adding heap leach ore into the equation, Casino offers 4.5 billion pounds of copper, 8.9 Moz of gold, 494 million pounds of molybdenum, and 65 Moz of silver (source is the feasibility study by M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation). The mine is open pit and expected to enjoy an initial 22-year life-span. At the height of construction employment is likely to be 1,000 people and 600 at peak production. One real challenge to Casino is its lack of accessibility. Year-round access is currently attainable only by air. After consideration of the options, the choice is a new 130 kilometres unpaved road extending from the current Freegold Road, which meets the Klondike highway at Carmacks.

Geology As a result of supergene alteration, Casino is weathered to 70 metres in depth; the consequent leached cap contains a certain amount of gold enrichment but also erratic grades of copper depletion. The copper


64 Mining North of 60 | 2015


at Casino descends from a 10 metre upper copper oxide zone to a 60 metre lower copper sulphide zone.

Development plan Casino will progress as a conventional truck-shovel, open-pit mine, initially processing the gold-bearing oxide cap as a heap leach operation. Sulphide ore processing will start approximately two years later at 120,000 t/d in a concentrator, in order to produce copper and molybdenum concentrates. Higher ore grades and greater concentrate production during the initial four years of operation will simultaneously provide faster cash flow, resulting in a capital payback in three years at long-term commodity prices. Western is stressing that Casino’s strip ratio for the first four years has been calculated at 0.49:1, with 0.59:1 for the following years. In other words, the amount of ore produced (notably for gold, copper, silver and molybdenum) will outweigh unwanted material. After drilling and blasting, the rock will be loaded onto rigid-frame haul trucks by electric shovels. The oxide ore will be transported to the run-of-mine heap leaching facility by off-highway haulage trucks. Copper will be recovered, as a precipitate, by the SART process to control the quality of the leach solution; this precipitate will be shipped to smelters. Any ore to be milled will be transported from the mine to the primary crusher, again by off-highway haulage trucks. Mineral concentrates of copper and molybdenum will be produced by conventional flotation. The gold and silver will report in the

copper concentrate and will be recovered in the smelting process resulting in credits to the Casino Mine. Gold bullion produced from the oxide gold ore will be shipped by truck to metal refiners. The project includes a power island consisting of two gas turbine generators complete with heat-recovery boilers and a single-steam driven generator, and internal combustion engine driven generators for a total installed generation capacity of 150 MW. Liquefied natural gas will be imported to the site and gasified to provide natural gas to fuel the power generation plant. Western announced its appointment of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) contract,

as well as a letter of intent to operate and maintain the Casino mine to M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation of Tucson, Arizona. M3 is very familiar with Casino, having worked on the project from an early stage, preparing two pre-feasibility studies as well as the feasibility study issued in early 2013.

First Nations Casino is located on Crown land administered by the Yukon Government and is within the Selkirk First Nation (SFN) traditional territory; the Tr'ondek Hwechin First Nation traditional territory lies to the north. Based just 40 kilometres from the project, SFN comprises around 480 members and signed its land claim and

self-government agreements in July 1997. As a self-governing First Nation, SFN can make laws on behalf of its membership and deliver an array of programmes and services to its citizens. Early in June 2014, Western Copper And Gold and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) signed a settlement agreement and a consultation work plan. The parties will in general review, evaluate and discuss Casino and, more specifically, promote and capture positive impacts of Casino that could benefit LSCFN members. Casino’s particularly favourable strip ratio, its poly-metallic structure and its relationships with the local First Nations all contribute towards a successful formula. n

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Canada’s Coolest Arctic Capital!

The City of Iqaluit is strong with economic growth and potential in a unique northern location. It entices opportunities for mining, business and adventure. Major projects have the potential to generate jobs and improve economic prosperity for all. Success will bring in capital investment, create more jobs and contribute significantly to our economy for decades to come. The impact will truly be profound. This will create more importance in preparing education and training for our younger generation to fully participate in the future. It will also create meaningful job opportunities while placing education and training as a valuable tool for our children who want to fully participate in competing for the future employment opportunities. The City realizes that there is a significant list of business opportunities resulting from both exploration and mining activities. We would be more than happy to see it happen here in Iqaluit while at the same time respecting and giving careful planning and management of our natural resources. We are open for business. Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman



| Mining North of 60 65

Copper North Mining Corp. – carmacks project

Taking A Different Path

Copper North Mining Corp.‘s Carmacks project The Carmacks Project is located approximately 30 kilometres northwest of Carmacks on the Klondike Highway. The Carmacks copper deposit was first recognized in 1970, and advanced to feasibility stage with a feasibility study in 1993, and again in 2007, and 2012. Almost all of this work was focused on leaching of the oxide copper to produce cathode copper. In March 2014, Copper North undertook a strategic review of the Carmacks project to re-engineer the project to enhance project economics. Following the review of the 2012 feasibility study, management identified three objectives for improving project economics: reduction of the cash cost of production, reduction of the capital and operating costs, and expanding the mineral resource and mine life.

Production cost reduction Copper North added gold and silver leach alongside the leaching of copper to increase mine revenues. The addition of a gold and silver leach circuit increased Gross Revenues by 25 per cent and Net Operating Revenues by 48 per cent. The increase in revenues decreased the cash operating cost of copper, after deducting gold and silver credits, from approximately US$1.60 per pound copper, to $US 1.07 per pound. The decrease moved the project to the lower decile of the cost curve. These reduction in the cost of production, allowed the company to raise additional capital to continue its re-engineering effort. Re-engineering Carmacks copper The path to reducing capital and oper-

ating revenues began with benchmarking of Carmacks costs compared to similar projects. Good fortune allowed the company to identify the Kounrad SXEW copper leach operation in Kazakhstan as a reasonable proxy: about the same copper output and similar cold weather conditions in the winter. The President of Central Asia Metals PLC, shared with Copper North their experience in the pursuit of reduction of capex for Kounrad, and in effect introduced the company to Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM) in Beijing. The feasibility by BGRIMM indicated a 40 per cent decrease in capital expenditure for Kounrad - it was built on time, under budget, and performed well. After discussion with several of the large Chinese engineering firms, Copper


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North selected BGRIMM to provide detailed engineering and procurement of all metallurgical facilities. BGRIMM will work with JDS Energy and Mining who will take the lead in the new Feasibility Study that is targeted for completion in fall 2015. Both of these groups see potential for significant reduction of capital costs at Carmacks. The decision to leach gold and silver, led to a review and a significant change in the copper leach plan. Copper North then undertook additional metallurgical test work to confirm the leaching of copper in a series of vats. The recovery times for the vat leach copper are much faster than for heap leaching and the rinsing of the leach materials prior to commencing the cyanide leach. Recent metallurgical work indicates that leach times are shorter than expected and has triggered additional test work to investigate leach times at a finer crush of the ores. Early results indicate that a finer crush of two to four millimetres will speed up leach times and could allow use of an agitated tank leach for copper and perhaps also for gold and silver recovery. These developments provide an attrac-

tive opportunity to simplify operations, reduce environmental impact, and reduction of capital and operating costs. These positive developments would not have realized had it not been for addition of the recovery of gold and silver and efforts to bring those revenues forward in the cash flow plan. Exploration The third objective for expanding mineral resources and extension of mine life has a two-part approach: expansion of oxide mineral resources and confirming the viability of leaching the sulphide ores. Exploration is focused on expansion of the mineral resource adjacent the proposed open pit area, zones 1, 4, and 7. This past summer, exploration resumed with the southerly expansion of the Zone 2 mineralization. The new discovery extended Zone 2 and closed the gap of the known mineralization; however, a large gap remains between Zones 1 and 2 and is a prime exploration target. Recent drilling also indicated the potential to expand the oxide mineral resource to the south. Exploration adjacent to the proposed open pit area and in the various other

zones has the potential to double current oxide copper resources, as well as expand sulphide resources. The other opportunity for extending mine life is to demonstrate the leachability of the sulphide resources. The current sulphide inventory includes 4.3M tonnes Measured and Indicated resources grading 0.75 per cent copper, 0.22 g/t gold and 2.45 g/t silver and an Inferred resource of 4.03M tonnes grading 0.71 per cent copper, 0.19 g/t gold and 1.9 g/t silver. Test work is in progress to determine leach parameters. The leach fluids from a sulphide leach can use the same SXEW plant for making copper cathode. Copper North has made good progress on its three objectives towards re-engineering the Carmacks project, to make it a low cost producer and attractive for project financing. In the review and amend process, many of the risks associated with the previous project plan have been eliminated and potential environmental impact reduced. Exploration success would extend mine life and bring economic and social benefits to the Yukon for many years. n




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AREVA Resources Canada

Mutual Benefit

Kiggavik Project holds great potential for Nunavut Amongst the world leaders in uranium mining, AREVA has been contributing to Saskatchewan’s economy for over 50 years through its uranium exploration, mining, and ore processing activities. Today, AREVA Resources Canada employs close to 500 people in its head office in Saskatoon and at its northern Saskatchewan operations. Over 50 per cent of its mine site employees are residents of northern Saskatchewan, the majority of whom are aboriginal. In 2013 the company con-

tributed over $25 million in royalties and taxes and purchased nearly $85 million in goods and services from Saskatchewan suppliers. Uranium mining is one of Saskatchewan’s major economic drivers and the largest industrial employer of aboriginal people in Canada. Aside from its Saskatchewan based projects, AREVA has been active in Nunavut since 2005 when it started exploring at the Kiggavik Project, situated 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake. The summer

exploration program has grown and the existing resources are now estimated at about 133 million pounds of uranium. AREVA is proposing to develop the Kiggavik Project comprised of the Kiggavik and Scissons deposits in four open pit

   

 


 

 

   

  

 

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mines, one underground mine, an ore processing mill, and other related services facilities. The Kiggavik Project site would also include an employee camp able to accommodate 400 to 600 employees, most of whom are expected to be residents of the Kivalliq Region. Overall the Kiggavik Project would be expected to offer up to 750 jobs during construction and settling at about 500 positions during operation. The project would bring $1 billion in royalties and taxes to the Nunavut economy. AREVA is preparing to submit its Kiggavik Project Final Environmental Impact Statement by the end of September 2014, and has been working diligently to answer all the questions and comments received from the public, environmental, and nongovernmental organizations and the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The work presents the results of over eight years of technical studies assessing the potential environmental, health and safety, and socio-economic effects of the project. The Kiggavik Project team has also integrated Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or knowledge and experience related to the local environment and way of life, into the proposed development from facilities design to wildlife and environmental protection. AREVA and its consultants have studied the air, water, land, wildlife, and the potential effects of the project on each of them. In the document, the team addresses environmental protection, monitoring and remediation measures, as well as the protection of the health and safety of workers and the public. Plans for the proposed Kiggavik Project are based on AREVA’s positive track record over decades in Saskatchewan in terms of environmental, health, and safety protection. The Kiggavik Project would produce uranium that is used to create clean, reliable fuel to power nuclear power plants around the world. Nuclear energy is North America’s largest source of low-carbon electricity and a major provider of clean, dependable power to an energy hungry world. Increasing our use of nuclear energy is a good way to help prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Although the uranium and nuclear market expansion has been slower than anticipated a few years ago, AREVA re-

mains confident the long-term demand for uranium will stay strong as emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil build new nuclear power plants. Indeed the world demand for energy is expected to surge because of the growing population and improvements in standard of living, which rely on the availability of reliable sources of low-carbon electricity. At AREVA, the belief is nuclear energy and renewables are complementary and will play an increasingly important role in meeting future energy demands. When we submit the Kiggavik Project final envi-

ronmental impact statement is submitted, AREVA will be well positioned to move the project forward to the next steps when market conditions are favourable. For half a century, AREVA has been a good neighbour and contributed to the success of Saskatchewan’s uranium sector; through the potential future development of its Kiggavik Project, AREVA would continue its mission to provide solutions to meet the world’s low-carbon energy needs and support Nunavut’s socio-economic growth. n

WORKING IN HARMONY FOR A STRONGER COMMUNITY ᐱᓪᓕᕆᖃᑎᒡᒋᓯᐊᕐᓂᖅ ᐃᓐᓄᖃᑎ˙ᒡᒌᓯᖢᓐᓃ ᓴᖏᔪᑎᑦᓯᕗᖅ ᓄᓐᓇᓕᐅᖃᑎᒡᒋᓐᓄᑦ

Respect for the land and its people is at the core of everything we do at AREVA. That means listening more than speaking, treading softly and lending a helping hand wherever we can. A new mining operation would create hundreds of jobs and business opportunities for Nunavummiut. The North isn’t just where we work; it’s part of who we are. ᐅᑉᐱᒡᒍᓱᑦᓯᐊᖅᓂᖅ ᓄᓐᓇᒻᒥᒃ ᐊᒪᓗ ᐃᓐᓄᖏᓂᒃ ᐅᔭᕋᒃᑕᖅᕕᖕᒥ ᑕᒻᒪᐃᑎᒡᒍᑦ ᐊᕇᕝᕙᒻᒥᑕᐅᔪᒡᒍᑦ ᑐᑭᖃᖅᑐᖅᓈᓪᓛᓯᐊᔪᔪᑦ ᑭᐅᒻᖓᖏᖢᑎᒃ, ᐱᑦᓯᐊᔪᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᒪᓪᓗ ᐃᑲᔪᕈᓐᓇᑦᓯᐊᓗᑎᒃ ᖃᖓᒻᒥᐊᑯᑦ ᐃᓐᓅᖃᑎᒻᒥᓐᓂᒃ. ᓅᑦᑕᖑᔪᖅ ᐅᔭᕋᒃᑕᖅᕕᒃ ᐱᕈᖅᑎᑦᓯᓂᐊᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᒪᓘᓪ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᕙᕕᓕᓐᓄᑦ ᓄᓐᓇᕘᒻᒥᐅᓐᓂᒃ. ᐅᒃᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᓪᓕᕆᕙᕕᑐᐃᖕᓇᐅᖏᑐᖅ; ᐃᓪᓚᐅᖃᑕᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅᐳᒡᒍᑦ ᑭᑦᑐᖕᒪᖓᑉ`ᑕ.

Baker Lake Office ᖃᒻᒪᓂ’ᑐᐊᖅᒥ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᕝᕕᒃ

1-867-793-2000 arevaresources.ca • kiggavik.ca


| Mining North of 60 69

GKM Consultants

Partners in Development

GKM Consultants is proud to take part in the development of mining operation and expansion projects

Ground deformation.

Temperature measurement profile with thermistor strings installed along circumference of the frozen soil.

In partnership with Geokon Inc., the world leader in Vibrating Wire Technology, GKM provides geotechnical instrumentation solutions and integration services for tailings dike monitoring, openpits and slope stability, underground rock mass deformation, and paste filling. With professional achievements in more than 15 countries, GKM has the knowledge and expertise to offer a full range of services, which includes consulting, design work, detailed engineering, installation, integration, instrumentation project management, and a turnkey training program. GKM Consultants is proud to take part in the development of mining operation and expansion projects such as Meadowbank Agnico Eagle Mine, Nunavut; Raglan Mine Glencore Xstrata, Nunavik; Snap Lake De Beers, Yellowknife; Selwin Chihong Mines,

The leader in airborne LIDAR solutions art.silver@lidarservices.ca Suite 400, 3115 - 12 St. N.E. Calgary, Alberta T2E 7J2 Canada Tel: 403-517-3130 Toll-free: 1-888-870-9972 Fax: 403-291-5390

www.lidarservices.ca 70 Mining North of 60 | 2015

Yukon; Mont Wright Accelor Mital Fermont; Lac Du Bonet Tanco Mine, Manitoba; and most recently Jansen and Mosaic Potash mines in Sasktachewan. Over the past few years, the number of potash mining projects has increased substantially. The province of Saskatchewan is the world’s largest potash producer. BHP Billiton’s Jansen Mine is currently sinking two shafts through clayey material in an area approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon. The potash deposit is approximately 1.10 kilometres underground along with deposits of Halite, Sylvinite, and Carnallitite. GKM was initially appointed for the implementation of a relatively small-scale remote monitoring system, but its role has recently grown to include full-time on-site assistance. GKM’s tasks include the supply and commissioning of various sensors, the design and installation of a data acquisition system, and the configuration of data visualization software for online data presentation. To monitor the mine shaft’s behaviour under general excavation procedures, sensors are installed in identical sections to provide a reliable profile of the developing ground stresses and shaft deformation. The New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) adopted by the designer needed to be adapted for vertical excavation through the frozen upper soil layers and the shale stone below. The multipoint borehole extensometers installed to monitor the convergence of the shaft walls were custom designed to accommodate the particularities of the excavation methods, and the temperature sensor spacing was tailored to suit the designer’s needs for providing the most accurate ground temperature pro-

Production and service shafts view, Jansen Mine, Saskatchewan.

file. This vast number of instruments also include NATM pressure cells and strain gauges installed at the ground shotcrete interface. Sensor arrays are connected to a compact data acquisition system (DAS) designed to withstand the adverse conditions in a mine shaft. Each data acquisition system is hardwired to the surface where the data is sent via a cellular network to GKM’s datahosting service, which allows for real-time monitoring displayed

Ground vibration measurement with Instantel geophones installed on the Boring machine structure and in the frozen soils.

through a web-based database management and publishing tool. Full-time on-site assistance has allowed GKM to accommodate the ever-changing needs of both the designer and contractor and to accurately measure the key geotechnical parameters that can influence the shaft design as well as worker safety and ensure the monitoring solution remains 100 per cent relevant throughout the duration of the project. n

Extensive Instrumentation with Remote Monitoring of Goosebay Dike - Nunavut

The world is our playground.

With professional achievements in more than fifteen countries, GKM Consultants is now recognized both nationally and internationally for its expertise and know-how regarding structural behaviour and the manner in which structures interact with the supporting ground. gkmconsultants.com


| Mining North of 60 71

Saskatchewan Research Council

Finding it for You

The Saskatchewan Research Council’s Geoanalytical Laboratories and Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ assists clients with diamond exploration programs Submitted by the Saskatchewan Research Council The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) has been supporting the diamond industry since the first diamond discoveries in Saskatchewan and has expanded capacity and developed expertise concurrently with growing needs in industry. Now, almost 30 years after that first find, diamond companies from across Canada and around the world send samples to SRC for processing and analyses. Collectively at its Geoanalytical Laboratories and Advanced Microanalysis Centre™, SRC has the knowledge base to assist clients with diamond exploration programs and provide prospectors, junior exploration, and major exploration companies with the data and expert interpretation needed to facilitate their testing programs. SRC laboratories provide all of the services that exploration companies need to find new kimberlites and understand the diamond prospects of their deposits – from recovery of kimberlite indicator minerals (KIMs) to evaluating macro-diamond recovery from bulk samples. The indicator mineral circuit is designed to recover indicator minerals for both glacial and fluvial sediments samples and kimberlite. The KIM-bearing material is processed down to 0.25 millimetres for mineral observation conducted by an expertly-trained indicator mineral observation staff, all of whom have experience with many different regions across the country and are therefore familiar with different background mineralogies and subtle changes in morphology.



1-800-782-0780 0 401 Heeliccop pter Drive, St. Andrews Airport, St. Andrrews, MB R1A 3P7

Winnipeg (204) 338-7953 Rankin Inlet (8 ( 67)) 645-3885 Thompson (204) 677-37200 Gillam (204) 652-2212 Garden Hill (204) 456-2655 The Pas (204) 623-4595

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Positively identified KIMs are then passed to mineralogy experts working in the Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ where the minerals’ major and minor element concentrations are measured using a state-of-the-art electron microprobe. The Advanced Microanalysis Centre electron microprobe facility provides clients with quality control data suitable for independent verification of precision and accuracy. A wide range of standards, operating conditions, and matrix corrections allows for complete customization of the analyses to suit the clients’ needs. If desired, trace-element analysis can be provided by laser ablation mass spectrometry for Ni-in-garnet thermometry and further study. Geoanalytical Laboratories diamond recovery facility has several different areas designed for high-security diamond recovery and analysis – an 80 kiln caustic fusion micro-diamond recovery facility and a full mini-bulk sample dense medium separation plant complete with x-ray sorting and final recovery grease table. Safety and security are the guiding principles of the diamond recovery circuits at SRC. These ideals have led to the development of a secure glove box for hand sorting and other new and innovative physical, electronic, and personal security measures that ensure that it is nearly impossible for samples to be contaminated or tampered with. SRC provides a full spectrum of diamond exploration and mining services in one single location. This combination of services is good news for companies looking to streamline their laboratory services to keep programs on track and reduce overall shipping costs. And all of SRC’s facilities work cooperatively so as not to overlook any value-added opportunities that can surface during analyses. This integrated approach means there’s potential to provide important information that could be missed by sending material to several different laboratories and or locations. For a complete list of service offerings or for more information, visit www.src.sk.ca/mining. The Saskatchewan Research Council is one of Canada’s leading providers of applied research, development and demonstration (RD&D) and technology commercialization. With more than 350 employees, $67 million in annual revenue, and over 67 years of RD&D experience, SRC provides services and products to its 1,400 clients in 20 countries around the world. n

Tli Cho Landtran

Changing Seasons

Ice road experts counter seasonal drag with summer civil works Submitted by Tli Cho Landtran After spending 16 years establishing themselves as the premier ice road construction and transportation provider in Canada’s north, Tli Cho Landtran (TCL) is working to diversify its offerings in the unique world of northern construction. “We want to avoid that bubble where

80 per cent of our revenue comes from the winter road season, and 20 per cent for the rest of the year. We want to work towards a more sustainable model, where it’s closer to 60 per cent – 40 per cent,” says TCL General Manager Shawn Talbot. “It’s taken us more than 10 years to build up



Servicing Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia & Alaska

Whitehorse, Yukon / P. (867) 668-6200 / F. (867) 668-6201 Email. capitalheli@northwestel.net


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to the point where we’re comfortable with our ice road construction and transportation business, now we can focus on using that same infrastructure and those same resources on the summer civil works side of our operation.” Yellowknife-based Tli Cho Landtran has been perfecting its winter ice road construction and transport model since the early 2000s when it launched its first two big projects with Diavik Diamonds and BHP Billiton mines. Since then TCL has carved out a specialty in both building the ice roads, which provide singular access to remote diamond mine sites across the northern Northwest Territories, as well as hauling freight across them. Some of their current clients include DeBeers Canada, Diavik Diamond Mines, and Dominion Diamond Mines. It’s a difficult job with demanding work in some of the world’s harshest weather and punishing terrain. It requires highlytrained drivers and skilled construction crews to follow strict standards and protocols. Any mistakes in extreme subzero temperatures can quickly lead to lifethreatening situations.

The stakes are high too. If a delivery deadline is missed and the cold-weather window expires, the winter road becomes impassible. The only alternative to deliver critical freight (like supplies or infrastructure) to mine sites is via airlifts, which can cost millions of dollars. The diamond mine business in NWT began to expand rapidly about 10 years ago. When TCL first began working the ice road season, they would haul a few hundred loads annually. Now they have fine-tuned their processes and scaled up to become the largest ice road transportation provider. Last year they hauled 3,000 loads during the short 55-day season. This success is due to a number of factors. The biggest is TCL’s focused understanding of how to safely maximize the winter road season, and how to work in all types of weather conditions. Secondly, being a small company, TCL has been able to offer clients highly dedicated service. To TCL, the mine company’s success is their own success. Finally, it has been the support and resources of TCL’s parent company, Landtran Systems, which helped them scale up to the size they are today. Based in Western Canada, the Landtran Group of companies consists of diverse subsidiary business units who provide extensive reach and service across Canada, the United States, and Mexico. With more than 60 years of transportation and delivery experience, Landtran Systems’ versatility and international range has helped it secure its place as one of the largest integrated, regional distribution operations in Western Canada. In fact, Landtran has strategically shaped its service offerings around the

Waste Management Services:

Complimentary Services:

• • • • • •

• Staffing placement • Emergency response • Environmental products

Classification Packaging Labeling Manifesting Transporting Recycling & Disposal

Whitehorse 867.393.4373 Yellowknife 867.873.5263 info@kblenv.com Yellowknife - Whitehorse - Edmonton

WWW. KB L EN V . C O M 2015

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needs of its diamond mine clients, and since then has mainly only taken on work that complemented the seasonal demands of the ice roads. Landtran Systems has established steady “counter-seasonal” work throughout its business units to balance the company’s sustainability and even out revenue streams. But to date, TCL has been focused on building its winter road construction and transportation capacity, and hasn’t had the opportunity to counter that with summer work. Over the past few summers that all changed as the company began taking on civil works projects. These included a four-kilometre widening and reconstruction of the Ingraham Trail in NWT (part of a busy 79-kilometre stretch that provides access to the ice roads that lead to the diamond mines). TCL has also widened and reconstructed sections of Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto Winter Road, constructed a com-

76 Mining North of 60 | 2015

post facility at the Yellowknife city landfill, and managed a gravel quarry. Crews are currently working on constructing a new loop at a local campground. TCL purchased a civil works company in Yellowknife in 2005. At the time, the acquisition was originally required to support their growing winter road operations, but now TCL has been able to use that infrastructure to develop their civil construction capacity as the company works toward providing year-round work for their ice road construction crews and equipment. Besides helping it earn a steadier stream of revenue, avoiding a seasonal shut down is also proving to be a great HR advantage for TCL. Attracting and retaining construction staff is a common and ongoing challenge for seasonal companies across Canada who are competing with the booming oil and gas and logging

industries to attract labour. Being able to offer year-round work and a variety of different roles for employees helps TCL position itself as an employer of choice. “Being able to do both the winter and summer has given us a really good ability to maintain our crews and equipment. It allows us to keep them busy year-round,” says Talbot. This means turnover is lower, which cuts down on the extensive training new employees must go through for the winter road construction season. Plus, the skills used during winter road construction are highly transferrable to offseason civil projects. “When [employees] come from the winter road, the civil stuff is really a treat. They’re use to the harsh environment, working in minus 50 conditions. And a lot of the skills, equipment and knowledge needed are the same in the summer months.” n

Nuna Group of Companies

The Product That Can

Concrete Canvas is an innovative solution for the mining and construction industries By Grant Pearson, P Eng, vice-president, Business Development, Nuna Group of Companies In today’s world of technology there is little that can astonish people, but Concrete Canvas (CC) is probably the product that can. Concrete Canvas – a versatile construction material that has a wide variety of applications across a range of sectors has predominantly been used for ditch lining in the private civil construction industry, but increasingly CC is being specified in the mining sector for general water management projects across the globe. CC is a flexible, concrete impregnated fabric that hardens when hydrated to form a thin, durable, waterproof and fire resistant concrete layer. CC allows concrete construction without the need for plant or mixing equipment. CC can be installed quickly, and is uniquely suited for installation in remote, difficult to access sites of all terrains and in all weather conditions making it ideal for time-critical mining works. Simply position CC then just add water. CC consists of a three-dimensional fibre matrix containing a specially formulated dry concrete mix. A PVC backing on

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one surface of the CC ensures the material is completely waterproof. The material can be hydrated either by spraying or by

being fully immersed in water. Once set, the fibres reinforce the concrete, preventing crack propagation and providing a

safe plastic failure mode. CC is available in three thicknesses: CC5, CC8, and CC13, which are five, eight, and 13 millimetres thick respectively. Following the recent success of a 52,000-square-meter CC installation in the Alta Montaña III region of Chile, Ledcor Group, acting on behalf of Walter Energy, specified CC as a protective liner for a large carrier ditch, directing mining industrial wastewater from Willow Creek mine to a nearby settling pond. Willow Creek is a large open-pit mine located 45 kilometers west of the town of Chetwynd in Northeast British Columbia. The mine is a truck-and-shovel operation and is capable of producing both hard-coking coal and low-volatile PCI coal for steelmaking. The customer specified that the lined ditch had to be as waterproof as possible, handle freeze/thaw conditions, and be easy to repair. The carrier ditch was 10.5-12 metres wide, between three and five meters deep and approximately 650 meters long. The overall size, performance requirements of this particular application, as well as the cost potential meant that Ledcor were reluctant to use shotcrete. CC was dispensed in bulk rolls from spreader beam equipment and was cut to length on site, minimizing waste as lengths were cut specifically to each section of profile. No perishable formwork or additional reinforcement was required. “As an engineer, I liked the fact that CC was adaptable to changes in channel shape as we had segments of trapezoidal shape that had to transition to a rectangular shape. The drape characteristic allowed the CC to be placed on a pretty rough surface,” states Michael Graham, senior geotechnical engineer, Northwest Corporation. “Finally, it seems that any future damages to the CC will be easily fixed by patching. This should result in very low maintenance costs.” n 2015

| Mining North of 60 79


Safety Without Sacrifice

New safety gear ensures both comfort and high-standards in protection By Matt Lussier, Xpromo.ca Workplace safety often comes with strings attached, especially from the perspective of those whose interests are directly in question. The lawmakers and bureaucrats who create the rules surrounding safe work practices are generally well-meaning but are all too often distanced from the realities of the workplace. Rules are written and standards created that look great on paper and often do lead to safer outcomes for frontline workers, but sometimes this comes at the cost of sacrificing comfort or efficiency. In more extreme cases this tradeoff leads to safety regulations being outright ignored. Regardless of your personal stake in this issue – as a frontline worker, crew chief, manager, or lawmaker – you almost certainly agree that workplace safety is important. Fortunately, we seem to be on the right track within Canada. The latest available data published by Employment and Social Development Canada demonstrates that workplace injuries across Canada have been on a nearconstant downward trend since 1982. As of 2010, workplace injuries were at an all-time low with 14.7 injuries per 1,000 employed Canadian workers. Even better, the industry segments related to natural resource extraction fell below this national average with mining and quarrying at 9.9, and electricity, gas, and water at 11.5 annual injuries per 1,000 employed. These statistics demonstrate that as cumbersome as they sometimes feel, workplace safety regulations are having a positive effect after all. It should be noted, however, that the data only shows incidences of injuries – not overall severity – and when dealing with heavy machinery, confined spaces, and remote work sites, caution remains extremely important to those working within the fields of natural

80 Mining North of 60 | 2015

resource extraction. Positive trends aside, ignoring workplace safety protocols or working without the right equipment can prove fatal, and nobody wants to become a statistic. What then can we do to reduce the tradeoff between workplace safety and the comfort or efficiency of the workers in question? Some of this needs to be undertaken at higher levels, ideally in an arena where policymakers and frontline workers can engage in crafting sensible regulations together. The rest of it can be approached at just about any level, and that boils down to choosing the right equipment for the job. As any tradesman knows, using the correct tool is both more efficient and safer than trying to improvise with something that “might work.” Safety equipment is no different – it is a tool that you use to keep yourself or your workers safe. Like any other tool, it comes in a variety of qualities. You can equip yourself with the barebones version which will pass regulation but leave you feeling like you are encased in a suit of medieval armor, or you can select a more refined alternative which will keep you safer and give you the mobility and comfort that you need to actually do your job. The fact of the matter is that safety equipment has come a long way since it first began to be seen in the early days of organized labour, and the technologies have improved exponentially in the last few decades. Take flame-resistant jackets, for example. Product lines like Carhartt and Bulwark FR make flame-resistant jackets that will not only pass muster as a genuine safety product, but often look and feel indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts. Likewise, highvisibility safety-wear is now available in a large variety of cuts and styles – with

options that can meet the needs of any workforce. If we want to eliminate incidences of workers eschewing safety for comfort, we need to tackle the problem right at its base by making certain that safety is comfort. Budgets are an ever-present reality in any industry, but given the overall costs associated with workplace accidents (in lost time, legal fees, and morale) it simply does not pay to settle for the baseline minimum standards when dealing with safety equipment. Safety does not have to be packaged up with sacrifice – not in the 21st century with our vast array of possible choices. We simply need to make the correct choices for ourselves or for our workers. When considering new safety equipment, we need to move past the idea of “one size fits all” within a company and start looking at the individual needs of the roles and people in question. More than ever, you’re going to find a product that meets your exact needs. If you are a decision-maker within your organization, please consider this next time you review your workplace safety equipment. The costs of misuse will very often outweigh any budgetary savings you may have made in selecting generic equipment. Likewise, if you are a front-line worker, please explain this to your boss, as not only will you be safer and more comfortable in the right safety equipment, but you’ll also be considerably more productive. Based out of Winnipeg, Xpromo.ca / Xpressions Corporate Promotional Products has been serving the Canadian apparel and promotional products market since 1987. We carry a full range of products ranging from corporate apparel to work and safety wear and specialize in premium brand-range lines. n

Iconic brands. Legendary service.

353B Old Airport Road, Yellowknife, NT (867) 873-6360 www.midnightsunenergy.com

pdac 2015

PDAC 2015

The Prospectors & Developers Association

al event that provides a world of oppor-

of Canada’s (PDAC) International Conven-

tunities for attendees to learn about the

tion, Trade Show & Investors Exchange is

latest trends, technologies and personali-

set to once again take place in downtown

ties shaping the mineral exploration and

Toronto from March 1 – 4, 2015. The PDAC

mining sector.

Convention is the industry’s largest annu-

82 Mining North of 60 | 2015

The convention attracts investors, ana-

lysts, mining executives, geologists, prospectors, and government delegations from all over the world. In 2014, more than 25,000 people attended the convention for the fourth consecutive year. “Canada leads all global countries in mineral exploration spending, and since Toronto is the global capital of mining finance it makes sense that we host the industry’s most important networking and educational event here,” says PDAC President Rod Thomas. “We’re looking forward to another banner year for the PDAC Convention.” Over the past 83 years, the PDAC Convention has grown exponentially and this year is no exception as PDAC 2015 will be extending into the North Building of the MTCC to host additional exhibit space, as well as the Core Shack. Entrance to Trade Show North will be complimentary during the inaugural year, and show hours have been extended to ensure attendees can cover both the North and South buildings of the MTCC. The PDAC 2015 Convention will feature

Photos courtesy of envisiondigitalphoto.com

Global mineral industry to converge on Toronto for exploration and mining’s largest annual convention

a series of topical Short Courses, Work-

geology of copper, and a Keynote session

shops and Technical Sessions designed to

that explores the role of retail investors in

showcase the challenges and trends fac-

the junior mining sector.

ing our industry. New additions include

“The convention is designed to help the

a session on Plan Nord, a course on the

sector find the creative answers it needs to

Innovation in every BOXX. The Ultimate Solution for Process Water and Wastewater Treatment. As a leading provider of packaged and modular water and wastewater treatment solutions, our technologies address industry demands in critical utility areas. Our capabilities and experience covers a wide range of applications in both upstream and downstream markets. From early conceptual or pilot studies to fully designed and integrated treatment processes, FilterBoxx has delivered projects around the globe to the highest of standards. Discover how our treatment solutions can improve your bottom-line and exceed your performance, reliability and schedule expectations.

www.FilterBoxx.com 2015

| Mining North of 60 83

meet the challenges it faces,” says Thomas. “Programming reflects economic and industry trends, and aims to provide networking and educational opportunities to encourage a healthy mineral exploration industry.” PDAC 2015 Convention highlights: • Technical Program featuring 19 sessions by industry experts • Trade Show featuring over 500 exhibitors promoting technology, products and services • Investors Exchange featuring over 540 exhibitors—free and open to the public • Prospectors Tent featuring maps, sam-

84 Mining North of 60 | 2015

ples and claim results of independent prospectors • Core Shack featuring more than 60 of the latest mineral discoveries from around the world • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Event Series • Aboriginal Program including the Aboriginal Forum and the Skookum Jim Award • Student Program including the Student-Industry Networking Luncheon and the Student-Industry Forum • Topical Short Courses and Workshops • Popular ticketed events including Lun-

cheons, the Awards Evening and the Gala PDAC is a national association representing the mineral exploration and development industry. The PDAC has more than 10,000 individual and corporate members, and encourages the highest standards of technical, environmental, safety and social practices in Canada and around the world. Early registration deadline is February 6, 2015. For more information about the convention or to register, visit www.pdac.ca.convention n


ONLY GOING TO ONE MINING INVESTMENT SHOW THIS YEAR? MAKE IT PDAC. March 1 – 4, 2015 International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Canada www.pdac.ca/convention

Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada



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Reserve now 1-877-225-6327

Reserve online www.NEAS.ca

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North of 60 2015  

North of 60 magazine highlights mining activity in Canada's northern territories. The 2015 issue features stories on Alaska's Geologic Mater...

North of 60 2015  

North of 60 magazine highlights mining activity in Canada's northern territories. The 2015 issue features stories on Alaska's Geologic Mater...