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Drones to Drills
Drones used for exploration, monitoring, and marketing in the Yukon
Mining & Exploration Review 2016
Look Up â€“ Way Up
Baffinland Iron Minesâ€™ Mary River mine swings into production
Mining and Exploration Highlights
From Alaska, Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories
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Nunavut Mining Symposium
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Mineral Exploration Roundup 2016 January 25-28 Vancouver, B.C.
Roundup 2016 is this yearâ€™s must-attend mineral exploration and development event to gain vital industry insights and make valuable connections. Opportunities are tailored to your role within the industry, from networking events to technical sessions, and from the trade show to best practice showcase sessions, come connect and collaborate with industry leaders.
Learn more at www.amebc.ca/roundup
Table of Contents 6 From Gold to Zinc – An overview of Alaska’s exploration and mineral industry 12 World-Class Mines and Developing Resources – An overview of Nunavut’s exploration and mineral industry in 2015
6 1 Committed to a Sustainable System – An overview of Yukon’s mineral industry in 2015 20 Unlocking the Potential – The Northwest Territories works to conquer logistical challenges as it welcomes industry investment
24 Finding Optimism – Playing in Nunavut’s minerals industry is tough, but the rewards can be sky high
8 2 Northwest Territories – Exploration may be down, but not out 32 Drones to Drills – Drones used for exploration, monitoring, and marketing in the Yukon 34 Fitting the Pieces – How MDRU is uniting explorers in the Yukon
is published by DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com President & CEO David Langstaff
to assemble the discovery puzzle
8 3 Assessing the Safety Risks – Electrical geophysics and lightning 42 Finding the Skills – Several indicators point to a malfunctioning mining labour market 44 Pulling Together for Productivity – The Ultra-Deep Mining Network 46 Shine On – Kennady Diamonds Inc. continues to move forward, while several other companies are hoping to make the next big diamond discovery in the NWT
50 Something Good is Brewing – Golden Predator has identified the Brewery Creek project as one of its top priorities in the Yukon
2 5 Look Up – Way Up – Baffinland swings into production 56 Next Big Thing – Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle Gold Project 58 Evolving Direction – Copper North’s different path blossoms 62 Full speed ahead – Freegold focuses on future 64 Making a Name – Kennady North is Northwest Territories’ highest profile exploration project 68 Competitive Success – Kaizen the key to Coppermine exploration 70 High Optimism – TerraX Minerals Inc.’s Yellowknife City Gold Project exploration work has been encouraging
2 7 Safe & Sound – Preventing and responding to remote medical emergencies 74 Mining Cargo – How to make the best of your sealift project 78 Building Value – DMC Mining Services helps tackle the challenges of building and running safe and profitable mining operations
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80 Big Show – PDAC 2016 promises to bring another exciting event to Toronto © Copyright 2016, 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.
Index to Advertisers Acme Analytical Laboratories Ltd.................... 19 Air North......................................................... 55 Alkan Air........................................................... 8 Als Minerals Division...................................... 51 Ame-bc............................................................ 3 Arctic Controls Inc. / Buzz Bizz........................... 7 Arctic Cooperatives Limited............................. 31 Arkbro............................................................. 36 Aurora Geosciences......................................... 65 Bpt Components & Parts Inc........................... 26 Calm Air International Lp................................ 35 Cambridge House International Inc................. 61 Capital Helicopters (1995) Inc......................... 22 Cascom Ltd...................................................... 54 Copper North Mining Corp............................... 59 Custom Helicopters Ltd................................... 33 Desgagnes Transarctik Inc............................... 75 Dmc Mining Services...................................... 79 Duncans Ltd...................................................... 9 Emco Corporation No.744................................ 41
Mining North of 60 | 2016
Fednav Limited............................................... 77 Fireweed Helicopters....................................... 17 Gem Steel Edmonton Ltd............................10, 11 Government Of The Nwt................................ 23 Great Slave Helicopters.................................... 53 Gtc North America Inc.................................... 29 Inland Kenworth Parker Pacific....................... 44 Js Redpath Mining.......................................... 27 Kbl Environmental Ltd................................... 49 Kitnuna........................................................... 25 Lockett Consultation Services Inc.................... 44 Lyden Incorporated........................................... 5 Midnight Sun Energy Ltd...............................OBC NAPEG............................................................. 63 Neas Group................................................... IBC Nor-ex Engineering....................................... 15 North Slope Telecom....................................... 28 Northern Industrial Sales................................ 66 Northern Security Systems.............................. 39
Northern Transportation Company Limited......................................... 47 Nu-Line Power Contractors Ltd........................ 37 Nuna Group Of Companies.............................. 69 Nunavut Mining Symposium Society Co. Mercer Business Support Services...........IFC Peregrine Diamonds Ltd.................................. 33 PDAC............................................................... 81 Ron's Auto....................................................... 45 Saskatchewan Research Council...................... 67 Sirius Wilderness Medicine.............................. 73 Smithers Regional Airport............................... 30 Sub Arctic Surverys........................................... 6 Summit Helicopters........................................ 13 Terraquest Ltd................................................. 14 Terrax Minerals, Inc......................................... 71 Tsl Laboratories Inc........................................ 37 Tundra Airborne Surveys Ltd........................... 40 Victoria Gold Corp............................................ 57 YJ Fire Prevention............................................ 66
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: firstname.lastname@example.org PRINTED IN CANADA | 1/2016
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Alaska Mining Highlights
From Gold to Zinc
An overview of Alaska’s exploration and mineral industry
Photo: Alaska Miners Association
Submitted by Eric Van Oss, development specialist, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Division of Economic Development
Drilling blast holes at Fort Knox. Since statehood, Alaska has been committed to responsibly developing its resources as a key driver of economic development. The state offers 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 el-
ements. 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
B RUCE H EWLKO , C.L.S.
Trends The total reported value of Alaska’s mineral industry decreased in 2014 to $3.66 billion, more than seven per cent lower than its $3.95 billion value in 2013. The total value is a composite of the year’s expenditures on exploration and development plus the estimated first market value of the commodities produced. Alaska’s mineral sector weathered slowdowns in exploration and development spending but the industry remains poised to expand in the near term with significant identified resources and drill-ready targets across a range of commodities. Zinc was the top metal produced in 2014, accounting for almost 44 per cent of total Alaska metal production value. Gold followed at 37.5 per cent, along with silver at 9.5 per cent, and lead at 9.2 per cent. The decrease in mineral production value from 2013 to 2014 resulted primarily from lower metal prices. The average 2014 price for gold dropped 10.3 per cent from the previous year’s average, while zinc rose 12.6 per cent. Exploration expenditures were down 45 per cent, from $175.5 million in 2013 to $96.2 million in 2014. Much of the loss of exploration investment results from the $61 million decrease in southwestern Alaska exploration, particularly in the Bristol Bay watershed. The remainder of the drop in Alaska exploration
B RUCE H EWLKO , C.L.S.
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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 Mine 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 throughout 2014 and early 2015 exported Alaskan coal to international markets.
Figure 1. Mineral Development Expenditures in Alaska by Commodity 1982-2014 (Source: DGGS SR 70).
ceeded that of gold from 1990 through 2011. Zinc’s strong performance in 2014 is due to record production at Red Dog combined with strong zinc prices. In contrast, reduced metal output from Fort Knox Mine and placer mines statewide combined with declining gold prices resulted in a $1.2 billion value of gold produced in 2014, a 23 per cent decline from the record value in 2013. Gold production totalled 948,547 ounces in 2014 driven by production at Fort Knox, Pogo, Kensington, and Greens Creek mines. Despite the decline from the historic million ounce annual production threshold in 2013, the state is still producing gold at a volume not seen for a century. The currently producing mines have identified mineral resources to maintain the present production level, depending on metal prices, through at least 2020.
Domestic demand for Alaska’s coal is consistent with a 25 per cent worldwide decrease in exploration expenditures and does not suggest waning interest in developing minerals prospects in Alaska. These trends and much of what follows is a summary of Alaska Mineral Industry 2014, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Survey’s Special Report 701.
Existing mines hold steady Development expenditures in Alaska, down 21.5 per cent in 2014 to $281.7 million, correlate closely with production expenditures at the major mines; development expenditures at Alaska’s major mines account for more than 80 per cent of total development expenditures. Significant development outlays of more than $5 million per project were noted at Red Dog, Fort Knox, Pogo, Kensington, and Greens Creek mines, the Donlin Gold project, and at the Nome offshore placer operations lease area. Based on reported expenditures, Fort Knox Mine had the largest ongoing development project in Alaska. Since 2001, precious metals have been the impetus behind more than twothirds of the annual development investment and in 2014 precious metals accounted for 71 per cent of development expenditures (Figure 2).
Zinc overtakes gold Zinc returned to its place as the leading
mineral product of the state with a value of $1.4 billion in 2014, an increase of 21 per cent over 2013 and accounting for 42 per cent of Alaska’s production value. The annual value of zinc production ex-
Due to the rise in the U.S. dollar and an oversupply in the coal market international exports of Alaskan coal fell to half a million tonnes in 2014 – a 57 per cent drop from 2011. Despite this drop off in inter-
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Photo: Alaska Railroad Corporation
Photo: Alaska Miners Association
Coal transported via the Alaska Railroad.
Underground at the Niblack Prospect. national demand, coal remains in a strong position as an efficient energy supplier to six interior Alaska electrical power plants, including three military sites. In the fiscal year 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 coal boilers, providing 17 megawatts of power and enough steam to heat the campus – greatly reducing the risk of a winter shutdown. In 2014, Golden Val-
ley Electric Association broke ground and began upgrades for a 50 megawatt coalfired power plant dubbed Healy 2. This project is expected to stabilize electric rates by utilizing cost effective coal – ensuring increased demand for Alaska’s coal industry.
Continued exploration and project advancement Recent activity during late 2014 and early 2015 includes: • The Donlin Gold partnership is mov-
ing forward on permitting of the Donlin Gold project. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers is expected to publish a draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review before the end of 2015, which would pave the way for a final EIS to be published in early 2017 followed by a Record of Decision later that year. (http://www.donlingold.com/) • NovaCopper Inc completed 14 drill holes at Arctic for a total of 3,056 metres of core. The 2015 in-fill drill program was designed to evaluate vertical
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STEEL FABRICATORS OF THE NORTH HEATING, PLUMBING, VENTILATION and AIR CONDITIONING Figure 2. Reported annual exploration and development expenditures of the mineral industry and the estimated first market value of mineral production in Alaska in millions of dollars (preliminary numbers, Source: DGGS SR 70). and lateral continuity of the high-grade polymetallic copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc mineralization. These drill results will be used to upgrade inferred resources to indicated resources in support of a pre-feasibility study on the Arctic deposit. Additionally, in October of 2015, the State of Alaska approved continuing work for the Ambler Access Road Environmental Impact Statement, which could potentially provide overland access to the Ambler Mining District. (http://www.novacopper.com/s/ Home.asp) • At their Bokan Mountain project in Southeast Alaska, Ucore Rare metals upgraded 98 per cent of their inferred resource to an indicated resource of 4.79 million tonnes at 0.602 per cent TREO and extended the Dotson Ridge zone deeper with an additional 1.05 million tonnes of newly estimated inferred resource grading 0.603 per cent TREO as a result of 2014 drilling. The company continues metallurgical research and is working towards completion of a feasibility study. (http://ucore. com/projects/bokan-mountain-alaska) • Graphite One Resources Inc. completed a new resource assessment at the Graphite Creek deposit on the Seward Peninsula, north of Nome, upgrading 17.95 million tonnes averaging 6.3 per cent graphite to the indicated category
and expanding the inferred resource to 154.36 million tonnes at 5.7 per cent graphite. This resource is the largest published large flake graphite resource in the United States. Graphite One consolidated the mineral tenure position on the deposit and is advancing metallurgical testing and other studies towards a preliminary economic assessment. (http://www.graphiteoneresources.com/) • Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. completed a new resource assessment in May 2015, nearly doubling the inferred resource at the Palmer Prospect to 8.1 million tonnes at 1.41 per cent copper, 5.25 per cent zinc, 0.32 grams per tonne gold and 31.7 grams per tonne silver. Constantine also announced the signing of a Selection Agreement with Dowa Metals & Mining Alaska Ltd. on the Haines Block mining lease that surrounds the Palmer Property near Haines, Alaska and a $5 million exploration budget for drilling in the 2015 season. (http://constantinemetals.com/ projects/palmer/) n 1
Freeman, L.K., Athey, J.E., Lasley, P.S., and Van Oss, E.J., 2015, Alaska’s Mineral Industry 2014: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Special Report 70, 60 p. doi: 10.14509/29515
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Nunavut Mining Highlights
World-Class Mines and Developing Resources An overview of Nunavutâ€™s exploration and mineral industry in 2015
Photo courtesy Government of Nunavut and Agnico Eagle
Submitted by Government of Nunavut, Minerals and Petroleum Resources Division
Agnico Eagleâ€™s Meadowbank mine from the air.
Nunavut has an all-encompassing settled land claims agreement, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), which has established regulatory bodies answering to governments with co-management responsibilities. 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
12 Mining North of 60 | 2016
cent of Nunavut with sub-surface (mineral) rights to two per cent. The crown (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) administers the remainder of surface and mineral rights in Nunavut. These arrangements establish certainty for land tenure in Nunavut, as well as for Inuit to benefit from resource development. Nunavut has a history of attracting major global producers and remains a destination of choice for explorers. The territory continues to position itself for mining
industry investment with a stable and increasingly streamlined regulatory process, as well as ongoing bedrock mapping and new mineral exploration. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) estimates that $161 million was spent on exploring for minerals in Nunavut in 2014 with spending intentions in the order of $258 million for 2015. The increase in mineral exploration can be attributed to a small number of mining companies adding to the metal inventories of major de-
Role of government in Nunavut Nunavut operates under a system of comanagement. The Government of Nunavut (GN) is committed to “economic growth through responsible development across all sectors” in the mandate Sivumut Abluqta: Stepping Forward Together (20142018). This vision is shared between 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.”
Exploration and mining in 2015 Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited’s (AEM) Meadowbank gold mine is projected to remain in operation until 2018 from onsite reserves with new offsite resources yet to come on stream. The Mary River iron ore mine on northern Baffin Island opened fall 2014. Four projects continue to progress through regulatory processes. These include the Meliadine gold and Kiggavik uranium projects in central Nunavut and the Back River and advanced Hope Bay gold projects in western Nunavut.
Photo courtesy Government of Nunavut and and Baffinland
posits. A significant increase in mine development expenditure in 2015 is mainly due to Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s establishment of mine and shipping infrastructure at Mary River. Direct-shipping high-grade iron ore is a welcome addition to the gold bars Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited has been pouring since 2010. While the primary focus is on gold, zinc, copper, iron, uranium, diamonds, and coal, Nunavut is a vast land of much geological diversity with many under-explored commodities.
Qikiqtaaluk region Mining development and exploration in the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) region continues with a focus on iron and diamonds. The largest project in the region is Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s Mary River iron project where the first shipment of ore departed August 2015. The company is currently permitted to ship 4.2 million tonnes per year during open water sea-
Iron ore from Baffinland on its way to Europe.
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Photo courtesy Government of Nunavut and Agnico Eagle
Photo courtesy Government of Nunavut and Agnico Eagle
Meadowbank employee driving heavy equipment at Agnico Eagle’s gold mine in central Nunavut.
A welder getting some work done at Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine.
son. Baffinland is seeking to amend its project certificate to 12 million tonnes per year with a 10-month shipping season requiring icebreakers. This revision is currently before Nunavut regulators. The mine is anticipated to be operational for at least 20 years based on current reserves of direct-to-smelter high-grade ore. All production comes from Deposit No. 1, with the company exploring another four deposits. Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. advanced the Chidliak diamond project on south Baffin Island in 2015. Pipe CH-6 returned minibulk sample results with an average price of $213 per carat for 1013 carat package recovered from 404.2 tonnes in February 2014. A revised resource estimate of 8.57 million carats in 3.32 million tonnes at grade of 2.58 carats/tonne was announced in September 2015 for CH-6. The property has 71 kimberlites with eight identified as potentially economic. Results from three additional mini-bulk samples are expected winter 2015-2016.
Kivalliq region Gold and uranium are the main targets in the Kivalliq (central) region. The Meadowbank mine was Agnico-Eagle’s largest gold producer for two years running. Meadowbank has 1.2 million troy ounces of proven and probable reserves remaining. AEM’s Amaruq property, located 50 kilometres northwest of Meadowbank, has a resource of 1.5 million ounces in one deposit. The Nunavat Impact Review Board (NIRB) provided notice in early November 2015 that the Amaruq all-weather exploration access road may proceed without review. AEM also owns the Meliadine advanced gold project near Rankin Inlet. Meliadine is one of AEM’s largest gold projects with 3.3 million troy ounces of proven and probable reserves contained in two deposits. The NIRB issued a project certificate for the Meliadine gold mine project to AEM in February 2015. The Kivalliq Inuit Association and AEM signed an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement (IIBA) in July 2015. In
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October 2015, the Nunavut Water Board issued a Class B water license for the Meliadine project. The Class A water license is necessary for production activities expected mid-2016. Saskatoon-based AREVA Resources Canada Inc, a subsidiary of French multinational company AREVA, manages the Kiggavik uranium project west of Baker Lake. Kiggavik is a significant deposit with inferred resources of 132.6 million pounds uranium at an average grade of 0.5 per cent U3O8. In May 2015, the NIRB submitted its final hearing report to all parties recommending that the Kiggavik uranium mine project not proceed at this time citing lack of confidence for assessing near-term socio-economic and environmental impacts without a start date and development schedule submitted by the proponent. AREVA, since 2009, has performed mineral exploration, technical studies, community consultations and a final environmental impact study. A decision regarding the project certificate for Kiggavik should be forthcoming from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. A second diamond project in Nunavut is the Qilalugaq diamond property near Naujaat owned by junior company North Arrow Minerals Inc. A May 2013, resource estimate listed 26.1 million carats in 48.8 million tonnes with a grade of 53.6 carats/hundred tonnes. Mini-bulk sample results released June 2015 reported an average value of $36 per carat for a 383.5 carat package recovered from 1353.4 tonnes.
Photo courtesy Government of Nunavut and and Baffinland
Iron ore from Baffinland is transported up the tote road on Baffin Island.
Kitikmeot region Gold and base metal exploration is ongoing in the Kitikmeot (western) region. TMAC Resources Inc. and Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. advanced major gold projects while multinational companies Glencore and MMG are reevaluating base metal inventories during a downturn in global economy. In March 2013, TMAC Resources Inc. acquired the advanced Hope Bay project from Hope Bay Mining Ltd., a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. The Doris North deposit has a project certificate for mining, a five-year lease agreement with Kitikmeot Inuit Association and a 10-year renewal for Type A water licence. TMAC has commissioned a processing plant and anticipates delivery of the mill to the Doris North mine site by fall 2016. The Back River gold project, owned by Sabina Gold & Silver Corp., consists of two main properties, George and Goose, which host up to eight mineral deposits with 7.184 million troy ounces of measured, indicated and inferred resources per Sabina’s Oct 2015 Initial Feasibility Study. The proposed open pit-dominated mining of the Llama-Umwelt-Goose deposits at the Back River property lists 1.346 million ounces of proven reserves and 1.157 million ounces of probable resources. Sabina’s Final Environmental Assessment Study is expected in November 2015. In 2009, MMG acquired the Izok Corridor Project with two significant base metal deposits some distance apart. Izok Lake
deposit hosts 14.8 million tonnes grading 12.8 per cent zinc and 2.5 per cent copper. The High Lake deposit hosts 17.2 million tonnes at 3.4 per cent zinc and 2.3 per cent copper. Concentrate would be transported along a 350-kilometre all-weather road to Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf. Glencore owns the giant 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 Nunavut contains oil-bearing sedimentary basins, both onshore and offshore, with similar geology to the oil-producing basins of Western Canada and other areas of the world. Up to 10 sedimentary structures with potential for oil and natural gas exist offshore between Greenland, Baffin Island, and Labrador. The potential for petroleum in Nunavut is high and comes with significant economic benefits, as yet unrealized. The High Arctic is glacially-impacted, climatically-challenged and environmentallysensitive. The debate concerning petroleum exploration and development in Nunavut continues.
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Yukon Mining Highlights
Committed to a Sustainable System An overview of Yukonâ€™s mineral industry in 2015 Submitted by the Yukon Geological Survey, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Government of Yukon
Junior exploration companies working in Yukon continued to brace themselves against unfriendly equity markets. Exploration spending decreased from $80 million in 2014 to $63 million in 2015. There were 17 drill programs in the territory, an increase from the 10 drilled projects of the previous year. Of the 85 exploration projects, 11 projects are projected to spend over a million dollars. Almost 60 per cent of exploration programs were searching for gold; the remainder for lead, zinc, copper, nickel, silver, platinum group metals, and jade. Levels of funding for the popular Yukon Mineral Exploration Program (YMEP) remained at $1.4 million CAD. The funds were distributed to 62 placer and hard rock exploration projects to offset exploration costs. The funding was leveraged into an additional $2.8 million in exploration expenditures in 2015.
Significant exploration projects â€“ precious metals Kaminak Gold Corp advanced its Coffee property through an injection of $21 million for its 2015 exploration program. The company continues to work toward feasibility, completing 70,000 metres of infill drilling on four of the main deposits in 2015. An updated resource was released in September 2015: 52.4 million tonnes at 1.68 g/t Au (2,824,000 oz) in the Indicated category and 42.7 million tonnes at 1.52 g/t Au (2,088,000 oz) in the Inferred category. Engineering work is well underway and the company expects to release its feasibility study in Q1 2016. Atac Resources Ltd. continued exploring its Rackla Gold property along the
16 Mining North of 60 | 2016
Geologists at the Plateau South property. northern margin of Selwyn basin. Within the Carlin-style Nadaleen trend, a rotary air blast drill program at the Anubis Cluster resulted in the discovery of the Orion target: ARB-15-026 intersected 47.24 metres of 3.79 g/t Au. Diamond drilling at the Conrad zone within the Osiris Cluster continued to produce significant results, including 3.02 g/t Au over 124.96 metres in hole OS-15-231. Within the carbonate replacement-style Rau Trend to the west, trenching, drilling, and optimization work recommended in the Tiger Deposit Preliminary Economic Assessment (September 2014) were carried out. The 2015 program was designed to advance the project towards prefeasibility. It included four geotechnical drillholes and 14 infill and expansion diamond drillholes (1,400
metres) in order to better define the nearsurface portion of the gold deposit. Wellgreen Platinum Ltd carried out recommendations from its March 2015 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Wellgreen PGM-Ni-Cu project in southwest Yukon, including infill and offset diamond drilling to upgrade and bring unclassified material into the mineral resource estimate. The 2015 PEA characterized the project as an open-pit operation yielding 208,800 ounces of platinum group metals+gold and 128 million pounds Ni+Cu in concentrate annually over the first 16 years. Milling for the first five years would be 25,000 tpd, and conventional sulphide flotation would be used to produce concentrates for shipping via deep sea ports in southern Alaska.
all Photos courtesy of the Government of Yukon
Camp at Kudz Ze Kayah property. Phase 2 work on the project, begun late in 2015, and continuing into 2016, involves prefeasibility-level metallurgical work, engineering and baseline environmental and socio-economic assessment studies. Rockhaven Resources Ltd spent over $4 million exploring its Klaza epithermal gold-silver property in the historic Mount Nansen mining district in west-central Yukon. The program included 13,738 me-
Reverse circulation drill rig at the Wellgreen property. tres (56 holes) of diamond drilling within and below the current resource on the high-grade western BRX and drilling at the Klaza and BYG zones. The company conducted substantial environmental and engineering data in support of future permitting applications. Alexco Resources Ltd.â€™s 2015 exploration program focused on drill-definition of the Bermingham silver-lead-zinc de-
posit (2,595 metres, eight holes); Diamond Drillhole K-15-0580 intersected an impressive 7462 g/t Ag over 4.98 metres (true thickness). Updated resource estimates were released in April 2015 for Bermingham (6.0 Moz indicated and inferred) and Flame & Moth (30.7 Moz silver â€“ indicated and inferred). The company has made progress on re-engineering and permitting for its Flame & Moth deposit,
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| Mining North of 60 17
Future site of the proposed heap leach pad at the Coffee property. three kilometrs west of the Bellekeno mine, which is in temporary closure. The Plateau South property saw continued activity by Goldstrike Resources Ltd. The company spent $1 million exploring with shallow drilling (11 holes, 924.1 metres) targeting the Gold Dome and Goldstack prospects. At Goldstack, a 30 metre step-out (PSGS15-01) from the discovery hole assayed 13.5 g/t Au over 17.5 metres. At Gold Dome, 17 kilometres east of Goldstack, eight exploratory holes were drilled, with one testing a blind anomaly and returning 9.09 g/t Au over 1.5 metres near surface and 12.65 g/t Au over 0.5 metres at a depth of 117 m (drillhole PSVG15-06). The Boulevard gold property in westcentral Yukon saw renewed activity by Independence Gold Corp. A reverse circulation program (1,746 metres; 13 holes) tested geochemical soil anomalies with coincident magnetic lows, resulting in
two new discoveries on the property. The best intersections include 7.23 g/t Au over 12.2 metres at the new Sunrise Zone and 4.25 g/t Au over 6.10 metres at the Denali Zone. Independence also carried out ground magnetics and geological mapping on the property. The Lonestar property of Klondike Gold Corp was explored with diamond drilling (19 holes, 1,374 metres) on various targets with visible gold in quartz veins. Drillhole EC15-10 near Gay Gulch intersected 75.6 g/t Au over 2.8 metres. The company also carried out a drone orthophoto survey, 1,000 metres of induced polarization and remediated historically disturbed areas. Victoria Gold Corpâ€™s Eagle deposit in central Yukon is permitted for construction, but the company has deferred a production decision until equity markets recover. Immediate attention has shifted toward the Olive Zone, two kilometres
Historic pit at the Bermingham deposit Keno Hill property.
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Helicopter staging area at the Klaza property. north of the Eagle deposit. The Olive zone lies on the intrusive-sediment contact of a broad northeasterly mineralized trend on the property. Metallurgical testing of drillcore from this zone demonstrated favourable heap leach recoveries. Although recovery is lower than at Eagle, the higher grade at Olive may improve the Eagle depositsâ€™ economics. The company plans to calculate an initial resource estimate at Olive to be later incorporated into an updated feasibility study. Strategic Metals Ltd. continued to improve upon historic work at its Hopper gold-copper skarn-porphyry property. Historic drilling on the property consisted of short drillholes, and much of the drillcore wasnâ€™t analyzed for gold. New horizons of shallowly dipping copper-rich skarn were intersected in deeper holes during the 2015 diamond drill program: DDH 15-01 intersected 12.15 g/t Au and
Stripped Face for Flame portal Keno Hill property.
0.95 per cent Cu over 2.65 metres (true width) 300 metres north-northwest of historic drilling.
Significant exploration projects – base metals Selwyn Chihong Mining Ltd. advanced its large lead-zinc sedimentary exhalative property along the Northwest Territories border in east-central Yukon. The program at the Selwyn property included 10,000 metres of drilling in support of a new prefeasibility study to be completed by the end of 2015. The company recently completed a socio-economic participation agreement with the Kaska First Nation, on whose territory the property lies. The First Nation members will vote on whether to accept the agreement in early 2016. BMC Minerals Ltd. acquired the Kudz Ze Kayah volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) property in east-central Yukon in early 2015 from Teck Resources Ltd. Early season work included relogging 19,000 metres of historic drillcore, 75 line kilometres of ground gravity, and a VTEM survey over the property. Subsequently, the company completed 23,000 metres of diamond drilling on the ABM and GP4F deposits, both infill drilling and exploratory step-out holes. The overall focus is to advance the project through prefeasibility in 2016. Copper North Mining undertook a phased exploration program at its Carmacks Copper copper-gold property, in west-central Yukon, in support of a prefeasibility study. Phase 1 consisted of 2,500 metres of infill diamond. Phase 2 of the program involves more in-fill, step-outs and definition of near-surface oxide mineralization. The company intends to prepare an updated resource estimate based on this season’s drilling and continues to work on optimizing the economics of the project.
Rackla gold property looking toward core stacks. process underground and stockpiled ore while a new zone, Minto North, is being developed.
Yukon’s commitment The Government of Yukon is committed to providing an attractive investment climate by improving the minerals industry regulatory framework and working with stakeholders to create a responsive, sustainable system for mineral development in the territory. The Yukon Geological Survey supports mineral exploration and mining by conducting studies and surveys that are regional in scope, including airborne geophysics, geochemical stream sedi-
ment sampling surveys, metallogenic studies, and bedrock mapping projects. A large geochemical levelling and analysis project was undertaken, which involved reanalysis of archived stream sediment samples for most of the mapsheets south of 65 degrees and subsequent statistical analysis of data to generate mineral potential interpretative maps. This season marked year two of a metallogenic study to assess the porphyry potential of Jurassic-aged granitic plutons in south-central Yukon. For more information on Yukon’s Mineral Resources, visit www.emr.gov.yk.ca/mining n
Hard rock mining The territory currently has one operating hard rock mine: Capstone Mining Corp’s Minto (copper-gold-silver) mine produced 12,065 t Cu, 11,794 oz Au and 118,000 oz in the first three quarters of 2015. Mill throughput for the first three quarters of 2015 was 3828 tonnes/day at a head grade of 1.36 per cent Cu, 5 g/t Ag and 0.49 g/t Au. The mine continues to 2016
| Mining North of 60 19
NWT Mining Highlights
The Northwest Territories works to conquer logistical challenges as it welcomes industry investment Submitted by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories Diamonds continue to be the foundation of the northern mining landscape as the Northwest Territories (NWT) gets ready to welcome another mine. When the De Beers’ and Mountain Province Diamonds joint venture begins producing diamonds from the Gahcho Kué project in 2016, it will further solidify NWT’s position as one of the world’s top diamond producing regions. Currently, Canada is ranked as the third highest diamond producing county by value. The territory’s standing as a world-class diamond producer was further highlighted in 2015 by the discovery of a 187.7-carat, gem-quality rough diamond at the Diavik Diamond Mine. The Diavik Firefox was unveiled in December 2015. Twenty years before that discovery, the largest staking rush in Canadian history spurred by diamond exploration, resulted in exploration and mining companies laying claim to over 26.7 million hectares of the territory for exploration. Some of the other valuable mineral deposits found in
20 Mining North of 60 | 2016
the NWT contain gold, tungsten, silver, bismuth, lead, zinc, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth elements. The territory is a virtually untapped, world-class storehouse of mineral resources. In fact, the Fraser Institute ranks the NWT second best in Canada and fourth out of 122 jurisdictions globally in its Best Practices Mineral Potential Index. Industry perception of NWT policies (regulations, land use restrictions, taxation, political risk, and uncertainty) shows there is room for improvement. NWT is presently ranked 11th in Canada and 38th out of 122 jurisdictions globally in the Fraser Institutes Current Practices Mineral Potential Index. A rich history of gold exploration in the North has established the mining industry as a cornerstone of the NWT’s economy. The mining industry is the territory’s largest private sector employer and contributor to the territory’s Gross Domestic Product. Due to its size, distance between communities and its limited population, there
are logistical challenges when operating in the NWT, but there are also ample opportunities. The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), working together with business and Aboriginal organizations, is taking steps to improve NWT transportation infrastructure to connect opportunities for residents, businesses, industry, and visitors. Transportation within the territory is improving every year and the GNWT is advancing business cases for three all-weather road corridors: the Mackenzie Valley Highway from Wrigley to Norman Wells; an all-weather road from Highway 3 to Whati; and an improved access into the Slave Geologic Province. These three transportation corridors will support a lower cost of living, improved quality of life, increased resource development, tourism, and other economic activities. Transportation and shipping between southern Canada and NWT regions are multi-modal – air, land, water, and rail. The NWT highway system consists of 2,200 ki-
all Photos courtesy of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories
lometres of all-season highway and 1,625 kilometres of public winter roads. Since 1990, the GNWT has improved the uninterrupted year-round access from 21 per cent to 72 per cent for the NWT population. Improvements for the transportation system are on the horizon with the planning and early construction of new allseason highways aimed to increase access to even more NWT regions. An all-season road that is under construction between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, means the Canadian highway network will finally reach from coast to coast to coast. Marine transportation is vital to the NWT. With 14 federally owned and operated community marine facilities along its numerous shorelines, extensive federal marine support services, and several experienced NWT-based marine carriers, the Mackenzie River is a key shipping route for all sectors of the NWT. Shipment by rail is also an option in the NWT, with Canada’s northernmost rail service stretching 311 kilometres from Northern Alberta to Hay River, which is situated on the south side of Great Slave Lake and connected to the NWT highway and marine systems. The NWT rail system was constructed from 1961 to 1964 by the Government of Canada to support base metal mining operations in the Pine Point area.
The GNWT’s Mineral Development Strategy seeks to support and advance sustainable mining in a way that respects Aboriginal rights and the environment. The NWT welcomes socially and environmentally-responsible companies and investment that recognize and contribute to the economic opportunities available from a vibrant mining sector.
Exploration news highlights Diamonds Canada’s NWT portion of the Slave Geological Province, an area of land between Great Slave Lake and the Arctic Ocean, is seeing renewed diamond exploration activity by several companies, including Arctic Star, Canterra Minerals, Denendeh Exploration and Mining, Kennady Diamonds, Dominion Diamonds, Margaret Lake Diamonds, North Arrow Minerals, Olivut Resources, Prima Diamonds and Proxima Diamonds. Several of these companies and one prospector received funding from the GNWT’s Mining Incentive Program (MIP) in 2015 to assist with their diamond exploration programs. Canterra has several properties between the Snap Lake Mine and the Gahcho Kué project. Margaret Lake Diamonds continues to explore its Margaret Lake property and has an option to earn up to
a 49 per cent stake in Canterra’s adjoining Marlin Lake property. Kennady Diamonds is concentrating its work on delineating the Kelvin and Faraday kimberlites at its Kennady North Project. In July 2015, the company reported a 0.93-tonne sample of Faraday 2 kimberlite averaged 1.93 carats of diamonds per tonne. In August 2015, Kennady reported that a 433-tonne bulk sample from the southeast lobe of the Kelvin kimberlite graded 2.02 carats of diamonds per tonne and in October 2015, the company announced the parcel of diamonds from this bulk sample had an average value of about US$ 68 per carat. In December 2015, Kennady Diamonds announced an average sample grade of 2.79 carats per tonne yielded from 12.8 tonnes of Kelvin North Lobe core samples processed throughout 2015. Kennady is planning an approximate 500 tonne bulk sample on the Kelvin North Lobe in winter 2016 with results expected to deliver more than 1,200 carats to support revenue modelling for the Kelvin kimberlite. Subject to the successful completion of the North Lobe bulk sample, the company also plans to recover an approximate 200-tonne bulk sample from the Faraday 2016
| Mining North of 60 21
completed and several drill-ready targets will be tested this winter. North Arrow is also joint-ventured with Dominion Diamond Corp. on its Lac de Gras project.
2 kimberlite. Kennady Diamonds will commence a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in early 2016 for Kelvin. The company recently secured $48 million of private investment and is fully funded to the end of 2017 when it expects to be in a position to make a decision on building the first mine at Kelvin. Proxima Diamonds completed magnetic surveys on its properties and has identified an anomaly that it plans to drill 350 metres northwest of the T-10 kimberlite on its Sancy property. North Arrow has an option to earn a 55 per cent stake in Arctic Star’s Redemption project. Ground magnetic surveys were
Gold and base metals TerraX Minerals has carried out extensive drilling on its Yellowknife City Gold Project and has discovered additional areas of mineralization while intersecting significant high-grade gold values just north of Yellowknife, the NWT’s capital, in the Yellowknife Greenstone Belt that once hosted multi-million ounce gold mines. The project has the added benefit of being all-season road accessible and within 15 kilometres of Yellowknife. The company plans to complete a resource estimate in early 2016. Also in the Yellowknife area, Panarc Resources has mapped and performed geophysics and is planning a drill program. Both TerraX and Panarc Resources received funding in 2015 from the GNWT MIP. Nighthawk Gold is active on its Indin Lake and Colomoc, properties that contain an inferred mineral resource estimate to 2.1 M ounces of gold. In 2014, Nighthawk completed the drilling of 13,649 metres on the Colomac Main, Goldcrest, Kim and Cass gold zones with the goal of verifying past results, upgrading the resource and identifying expansion opportunity. Results included the best drill result ever for Nighthawk with 52.5 m grading 7.78
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grams gold per tonne from the Colomac sill and extension of the zone for 700 metres. In addition, historic drill core from the KIM deposit was sampled and resulted in encouraging assays. In 2015, Nighthawk completed a 3,000-metre follow-up drill program at Colomac and expanded gold mineralization at Zones 1.5 and 1.0. Other recipients of MIP funding include GGL Resources, which is exploring its Providence Greenstone Belt property, and DEMCo, which is exploring its Camsell River Property. Resampling of historic drill core in 2014 on the Camsell River property resulted in a 65.5-metre intersection that graded 0.51 per cent copper equivalent. Following results of a 2015 underground exploration drilling program, Canadian Zinc Corporation’s increased the mineral resource tonnages by 35 per cent at its zinc-lead-silver Prairie Creek mine. The mine life is currently 11 years. The company is presently seeking regulatory approval for a proposed all-season road from the Liard Highway to its site. Another advanced base metal project is Fortune Minerals Limited’s cobalt-bismuth-goldcopper NICO Project. NICO has proven and probable reserves that total 33 million tonnes of cobalt, bismuth, gold, and copper that could support a 20-year mine life but will need a road to ship concentrate out from site. Feasibility studies, test mining, pilot plants and environmental assessment have already been completed. Both companies are working to finance their projects. Several other NWT advanced mineral exploration projects are: Avalon Rare Metals’ Nechalacho Rare Earth Project, Selwyn Chihong’s Selwyn Project and Seabridge’s Courageous Gold Project. Nechalacho is a rare earth elements deposit with mineral resources to support an estimated mine life of 20 years. Selwyn is the largest undeveloped zinc-lead project in the world and has a proposed 11-year mine life. The Seabridge project hosts the FAT deposit, one of Canada’s largest undeveloped gold deposits. Modeled as an open pit mine, it has an anticipated mine life of 15 years and proven and probable gold reserves of 6.5 million ounces. In addition to requiring additional permits to enter a production scenario, these projects combined require in excess of $3 billion in financing. n
Nunavut Chamber of mines
Finding Optimism Playing in Nunavut’s minerals industry is tough, but the rewards can be sky high By Elizabeth (Liz) Kingston, general manager – Nunavut, NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines
Worldwide commodity markets are volatile and a lack of investment in projects makes these challenging times for the mining industry. Canada’s North is not immune to this reality. Still, a number of projects in the Nunavut territory continue to persevere, despite the many and obvious obstacles – weather, darkness, remoteness, and a lack of infrastructure chiefly among them. Optimism is high for mining growth in Nunavut. Nunavut (“our land”) is full of resource opportunity with a rich and diverse geology. At least four projects are currently advancing closer to becoming mines in Nunavut, representing a variety of products from gold to silver to copper and zinc, and diamonds. Over the last 80 years, Nunavut has produced billions in a variety of minerals. Significant contributions have come from Nunavut’s past-producing mines that include the Lupin gold mine, the Polaris and Nanisivik zinc-lead mines, the Rankin Nickel mine, and the Jericho diamond mine. In terms of numbers from now until 2030, Nunavut’s potential mines could contribute over $36 billion to Nunavut’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); taxes and royalties of over $10 billion and; nearly 100,000 years of person employment with an overall income of $9 billion. Not only will governments and Nunavut residents benefit, but through the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, the Inuit land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. would also reap a considerable portion for its Inuit beneficiaries. Nunavut’s Land Claim Agreement is one of the most comprehensive claims in the country. It shares resource management between Inuit land claimants and government. It also requires major projects to sign Inuit Impact Benefit Agreements. In selecting lands, the Inuit leaders recognized that their future also relies on non-renewable resources. As a result, they built an attractive portfolio by strategically selecting subsurface lands for their potential mineral wealth. Royalty benefits from some of these lands have now begun to flow. Mining holds great promise to help pave the way to Nunavut’s
24 Mining North of 60 | 2016
economic self-reliance. Nunavut has two operating mines. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM) opened Meadowbank Gold Mine in early 2010 as Nunavut’s first new gold mine development since the creation of the Territory in 1999. Production from Meadowbank accounts for roughly 18 per cent of the GDP, reflecting the importance of mining to the territorial economy. The company recently announced it is proceeding with a pit expansion at Meadowbank, extending its operating life to 2018. Mary River, Nunavut’s newest mine, mined its first iron ore in September 2014. Due to the mine’s remote location, ore was stockpiled until the ice-free shipping season opened, and the first ore was shipped to customers in summer of 2015. The project, owned by Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., is located on northern Baffin Island. Due to the quality of the ore, no processing is required before shipping it to market, reducing overall impact to the environment and keeping production costs low. Baffinland has adopted a phased development strategy for this resource which is critical to prudent, reduced-risk development. The company employs just over 600 people between the port at Milne Inlet and the mine site itself. Revised federal government projections for 2015 mineral exploration and deposit appraisal spending are “up” in Nunavut. Natural Resources Canada’s latest semi-annual report Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures, by Province and Territory (September, 2015) shows 2015 spending intentions of $202.5 million in Nunavut, an increase of $44.5 million (28 per cent) from $158 million in 2014. The majority of that spending will be on precious metals. Senior companies in Nunavut are expected to spend the majority at 60 per cent of the total exploration, while 39 per cent of the spending is projected to be on grassroots exploration, with the majority on deposit appraisal. As a share of projected Canadian investment, Nunavut remains in fifth place. Mining projects developing in Nunavut include the Doris deposit at Hope Bay where the TMAC Resources team is pushing for
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gold production by late 2016. AEM recently increased its capital budget to keep its Meliadine gold project on track for a potential late 2019 startup. Sabina Gold & Silver produced a positive Feasibility Study on its Back River project. MMG is working on infrastructure to support development of its Izok Corridor project. Public hearings on AREVA’s Kiggavik uranium mining project were completed although a final decision has not yet been rendered by the federal minister. There are some great exploration projects in Nunavut. AEM continues to advance the Amaruq gold deposit near its Meadowbank mine. Peregrine Diamonds completed a bulk sample on its promising CH-7 kimberlite near Iqaluit, and Kaizen Discovery is using “new eyes” to revisit copper properties previously explored by others. North Arrow Minerals completed a bulk sample on its Q1-4 kimberlite and Kivalliq Energy continued to advance its Angilak uranium property. Nunavut offers an attractive and certain regulatory environment. There are number of regulatory improvement initiatives underway in the North. Launched in 2009, the Government of Canada’s Northern Regulatory Improvement Initiative is helping to complete land claim obligations and create timely, consistent and certain processes. Increasing participation in the industry by Aboriginal governments and businesses is a positive sign for the future. Federal Bill C-47, the Northern Jobs and Growth Act created Nunavut’s first ever dedicated environmental legislation, the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act. The Act, which became law on July 9, 2015 (Nunavut Day), establishes a proven, highly-
26 Mining North of 60 | 2016
efficient “single-entry” system which promotes the concept of a “one-project – one-assessment” approach to resource development projects and land use planning approval. Legislated timelines in the act promise process efficiency. Nunavut’s policy makers are taking an equally pragmatic view of the future. The Inuit have produced a progressive Mining Policy which helps reinforce investment certainty. In 2007, the Government of Nunavut released a positive Mineral Exploration & Mining Strategy. Then, in 2012, through public consultation, the government was able to reinforce a supportive Nunavut Uranium Policy. Also underway, the Nunavut Planning Commission is working towards establishing a final Nunavut Land Use Plan. All of these developments send the signal that mining is welcome in Nunavut. However, a lack of infrastructure plagues the territory and is a major cause of high production and exploration costs. With government-sponsored transportation networks such as roads, port facilities, and airstrips, Nunavut would be in a position to provide easier and cheaper access to not only support expanding exploration programmes and new mining development, but also lower the cost of living for communities. The Chamber of Mines continues to advocate and educate on behalf of the Northern minerals industry. We remain confident that by working together, we can help our industry rebound and recover. For more information on the mining and exploration industry in Nunavut, contact Elizabeth Kingston at: email@example.com, or visit www.miningnorth.com. You can follow the Chamber on Twitter @MiningNorth. n
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Exploration may be down, but not out By Tom Hoefer, executive director, NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines The year 2015 found us in very challenging times, and the NWT is not immune to what’s happening elsewhere on the globe. Declining markets are affecting our mining industry directly, and the fallout of weak markets is that exploration investment also takes a hit. Compounding that, investors’ aversion to risk has not improved, helping contribute to declining exploration financings. The NWT continues to be a major global producer of diamonds, and mining continues apace at our three diamond mines. Kim-
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berley Process statistics show that the NWT continues to be the third most valuable producer of diamonds in the world, and has moved up to number four in terms of carats mined. NWT diamond production in 2014 was 11.3 million carats, up nearly 15 per cent from the previous year. The price our miners fetched for their rough stones was also up 15 per cent from the year previous at just shy of $1.8 billion. Since mining contributes a lot of northern jobs, businesses, and tax benefits, we are hoping that diamond price reductions the mines are facing this year won’t significantly affect these. Unfortunately, our tungsten mine hasn’t fared so well. As the markets for that commodity fell, the mine was pushed below profitability. As a result, the mine is being put on care and maintenance until markets improve. But Cantung has proven to be a survivor, and past market downturns have affected it similarly. We are hopeful that the mine will re-open at some future time as markets allow. Looking ahead, construction of the NWT’s fourth diamond mine, Gahcho Kué, continues on plan and budget for first production in the second half of 2016. The project is a joint venture between De Beers (51 per cent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent). At the time of writing, the project was reportedly
more than 70 per cent complete. The over $800-million investment to construct the mine is very welcome in the North. Its expected 12-year mine life should help keep those benefits robust, and keep the NWT a global diamond mining force for many more years to come. This coming year may also see a return to some gold production, albeit from a small operation. New Discovery Mines has re-
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ceived final permits to install and operate a 100-tonne-per-day mine and mill complex at their MON property just north of Yellowknife. Attracting exploration investment continues to be problematic. Natural Resources Canada projects that spending in 2015 will be down to $93 million, a drop of $8.7 million (nine per cent) from 2014 expenditures of $101.7 million. But while exploration may be down, it’s not out. The most active exploration is at Kennady Lake, an area of high diamond potential adjacent to the Gahcho Kué mine currently under construction. Kennady Diamonds Inc (KDI) has outlined a significant kimberlite resource and in November outlined an ambitious two-year vision that includes defining up to 16 million tonnes of resource at two to 2.5 carats per tonne at their Kelvin – Faraday kimberlites, to define resources at the MZ and Doyle kimberlites, to discover additional kimberlites, and to build a mine. They are also very bullish on their ability to finance, and want to be fully funded to support a decision to build at the end of 2017. That the president of KDI also heads up the joint venture partner in the new Gahcho Kué mine is likely not lost on investors. Two other explorers are investing in the shadow of former gold producers. TerraX Minerals continues to uncover highly-anomalous gold values in the Yellowknife gold belt, north of the former Giant gold mine, through both prospecting and drilling. This summer, TerraX acquired additional claims but now south of the former Con gold mine, putting them into control of one of the six major highgrade gold camps in Canada – and the least explored according to
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TerraX. Its two past producing mines yielded 14.2 million ounces at an average grade of 16 g/t Au over their 60-year life span; and being in close proximity to Yellowknife, TerraX’s project is close to vital infrastructure, including transportation, service providers, hydro-electric power and skilled tradespeople. Some 200 kilometres to the north, Nighthawk Gold conducted a diamond drill program this year on their Indin Lake project, site of the past producing Colomac gold mine. The company now
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holds most of the land in the gold belt, where they continue to identify and explore a number of interesting gold targets. Latest figures show an inferred mineral resource estimate of 39.81 million tonnes with an average grade of 1.64 g/t Au for 2.101 million oz gold using a cut-off grade of 0.6 g/t gold. A number of smaller exploration projects are underway in the NWT for diamonds, gold, and base metals by companies including Canterra, DEMCo, Proxima Diamonds, Panarc Resources, North Arrow Minerals, and Songful Resources. While it’s a far cry from what we need and wish for exploration activity, given the current situation, we are happy for the investment. Recognizing industry’s challenges, the NWT government (or GNWT) is trying to make a difference. This year under the guidance of their new Mineral Development Strategy, the GNWT awarded exploration assistance grants under the Mining Incentive Program, announced mineral tenure relief, created a Mineral Industry Advisory Board, and announced plans for a core library. The government also partnered with industry members and Aboriginal groups to deliver three prospector training programs in an attempt to reinvigorate an aging prospecting fraternity with younger blood. With continued focus on Aboriginal communities, the program can not only help provide new opportunities but also new exploration eyes throughout the territories. The NWT government has also unveiled a 25-year transportation strategy, which looks to develop three priority transportation corridors that will help with resource development: the Mackenzie Valley Highway, an all-weather Tlicho road, and improved access into the Slave Geologic Province from Yellowknife to Nunavut. With the fall elections now over, the Chamber of Mines and is members will be renewing their work with the new governments to seek improvements in the NWT’s investment climate. Given that the territory’s economy is taking a financial hit due to the depressed market prices and lowered exploration expenditures, voices of support for mining exploration and development are growing stronger. Along with some of the most attractive geology on the planet, that kind of support can go a long way in reinvigorating investment in the NWT. n
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Drones to Drills
Drones used for exploration, monitoring, and marketing in the Yukon By Kylie Williams “Send in the drones” is not a statement Shawn Ryan ever imagined would pass his lips when he began prospecting in the Yukon almost 18 years ago. Today, it’s second nature. Ryan is a well-known and highly-successful prospector who kick-started the Yukon’s second gold rush in 2009 when soil samples he collected “lit up” and ultimately lead to the discovery of the White Gold and Coffee deposits. Now, using aerial mapping drones, lightweight mobile drills, and gigabytes of carefully collected data he’s combining traditional hard work and good science with new technology to reshape the way we explore Canada’s Yukon and beyond.
Drones to drills Ryan was one of the first people to import a professional eBee aerial mapping drone from Swiss company, senseFly, in 2012. This autonomous drone weighs less than a kilo, stays in the air for almost an hour and covers 1.5 square kilometres in a single flight.
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“We can launch it from a helicopter pad in a treed forest and it will come back in and land on that pad,” says Ryan. Ryan and the team at Ground Truth Exploration have now flown over 700 drone surveys. They are increasing the odds of future discoveries by perfecting their fast and efficient “Drones to Drills” approach, a new, high-tech process designed to find the rich deposits of gold and copper the Yukon keeps hidden under cover. Normally it takes a large team of workers with helicopters and heavy equipment two field seasons and up to $750, 000 to follow up on a promising soil anomaly. However, the commando-style Ground Truth Exploration team can survey the same area for $100,000 in less than two and a half weeks, any time of year. Using geo-referenced aerial photographs collected by the drone, the Ground Truth Exploration team plan and execute a geophysical survey then send in their custom-built drills, including their purpose-built, track-mounted GT probe. “We’re able to collect 40-50 holes per
day with the GT probe, sampling as we go,” says Ryan. This quick, low-impact process saves time and money and it’s not just the geologists who benefit either, but everyone involved in exploration and land management in the Yukon.
Beyond geological applications While the detailed images collected by drones can locate outcropping rock and
even fist-sized hand samples for exploration geologists, they’re also a practical and inexpensive way for mining inspectors or First Nations groups to monitor exploration and mining activity. By surveying the ground before work begins and again during and after the project wraps up, drone images can be used to visualize and even quantify how much ground is disturbed. “It’s like a report card and it’s non-invasive to begin with,” explains Ryan.
Images that sell In addition to these environmental
monitoring applications, Ryan recognises the importance of presenting scientific data to the decision-makers, marketing teams and investors in a digestible format too. “The beauty of this system is that we can take a drone image, make a beautiful 3D model and send it to the customer in Google Earth format. They don’t have to be GIS-savvy to view it,” he says. Raising money is what keeps exploration projects moving forward. A mix of solid scientific data and quality presentation materials should inspire fundraising in non-geological audiences too.
The next wave Looking ahead, Ryan sees some interesting 3D visualization methods coming from the gaming in-dustry but he’s certainly not sitting back waiting for the latest gadgets. Technology may have put Ryan to the head of the pack but he warns that it isn’t a magic bullet. The technology responsible for the next big discovery in the Yukon has probably already been in-vented and is just waiting for a savvy explorer to apply it the right way to the right problem. “If we don’t change how we do it, we’re not going to find anything.” n
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Mineral Deposit Research Unit
Pieces How MDRU is uniting explorers in the Yukon to assemble the discovery puzzle
By Kylie Williams
Exploration companies may know their patch of ground inside-out, but each tenement is just one piece in a giant geological puzzle. Someone needs to put the pieces together, especially when the resulting picture could direct explorers to new deposits of gold and copper in an area as rich as the Tintina Gold Belt that stretches across Yukon and Alaska. A team of researchers working hard to deconstruct and re-assemble these pieces can be found at the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) in Vancouver. They have been studying the diverse inventory of mineralization styles in the area since the 1990s and are working hand-in-hand with exploration companies and geological surveys to better understand the geological features that control mineralization: providing answers to the essential what, when, and where questions that will uncover future discoveries. In 2009, exploration-mania hit the Yukon for the second time since the gold rush of 1896. Newly-appointed MDRU Di-
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rector, Dr. Craig Hart, and veteran Yukon researcher, Dr. Jim Mortenson, visited the brand new White Gold district that year and recognized that it was a new mineralization style, unlike anything they had seen in Yukon or Alaska before. A conversation with Adrian Fleming, then CEO of Underworld Resources who owned the White Gold project at the time, resulted in a new company-sponsored project for MDRU researchers in the Yukon. This project grew into the Yukon Gold Project, a two-year program involving 11 industry partners, nine MDRU students and researchers, and a $1.7-million budget with support from government surveys and research programs.
Exploring challenging terrain MDRU Research Associate, Dr. Murray Allan, who cut his teeth exploring the margins of the giant Pebble porphyry copper deposit and the Alaska Range, was brought on board soon after to coordinate MDRU’s Yukon Gold Project. His
northern experience prepared him for the unique challenges faced by explorers in western Yukon and eastern Alaska. “This part of the Cordillera is poorly exposed. The land surface was never scraped clean by ice so there are thick and ancient soils that obscure the bedrock. We only have access to maybe one per cent of the rock information at the surface. It’s thousands of square kilometres of dirt, basically,” explains Allan.
Aside from this blanket of soil, the international border presents a big challenge to explorers and researchers too. Some maps on the Alaska side were made in the 1970s, before the advent of airborne magnetic surveys. “If you take the maps literally and put them side by side, almost always you see a ‘map fault’. The geology doesn’t necessarily agree terribly well across the border,” says Allan.
The MDRU have since identified new fault systems that cut across the border by reinterpreting the geology using subsurface magnetic and gravity data. They’re also developing a “metallogenic framework”; a roadmap to help explain how the gold formed, when it formed and, most importantly, where it formed. “Without a geological understanding of where, why, and when the gold formed, you can only get so far. The role MDRU
has played is understanding the geology better so we can make reliable predictions about where there might be viable targets in the future,” says Allan. This information also has implications for processing the ore after it is mined. Building up a better understanding the minerals in the rocks and how those minerals fit together directly impacts how ore is processed and leads to cost saving methods during processing.
| Mining North of 60 35
Collaboration is the solution Building on the successes of the Yukon Gold Project, MDRU launched two new projects in 2014 and began two new projects: the Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny project, supported by Kaminak Gold Corporation, Sumac Mines Ltd. and the Yukon Geological Survey, and the Yukon Coffee Gold project, also supported by Kaminak Gold Corporation, and NSERC. Kaminak are supportive of the valuable work MDRU are doing in the Yukon. Their flagship Coffee Gold project, and similar deposits elsewhere in the White Gold district, were discovered through meticulous, gridded soil sampling in 2009-2010 and repre-
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sent a new breed of deposit style for the Yukon they’re keen to know more about. “Frankly as an industry we still don’t know too much about how they formed and what the geological controls were. We want to find more Coffees and MDRU will help us understand where and what to look for,” says Tim Smith, Kaminak’s vice-president for Exploration on the Coffee Gold project. Like most exploration companies, Kaminak are not out to achieve a technical success. Primarily they are driven by the economic realities of building a mine but they still recognize the importance of good science to the next discovery.
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“With MDRU on board we can trust a huge chunk of the science to a group of world experts in the field of metallogeny and ore paragenesis, while we get on with the boring stuff like drilling holes to support our ongoing mining feasibility study,” says Smith. The MDRU actively seeks company support to stretch their research dollars further too. “Companies can host us in remote areas that we’d never be able to get to or afford to get to without them, but there’s also dozens of amazing company geologists in the field. We’re able to assimilate huge amounts of information based not just on
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what we observe but what the company geologists are observing too,” says Allan.
The Nucleus-Revenue story So what do research geologists contribute that the company geologists cannot? Companies usually don’t measure the age of the rocks on their properties. By dating rocks from the various deposits they work on, MDRU are able to connect settings where the gold or copper was formed at a similar time in geologic history, creating a regional model for exploration. “For example, the Casino porphyry copper project in the Yukon is a huge, undeveloped deposit that is about 75 million years old. We were able to demonstrate to Northern Freegold that Nucleus-Revenue are essentially the same age, and there are about half a dozen other systems of the same age on trend. So there’s a story in there that companies can latch on to and apply to exploration,” says Allan.
Silver anniversary Success stories like this have seen MDRU through several industry down-
turns and kept them at the forefront of industry-driven exploration for 25 years. “We cannot exist in an academic bubble so we need to stay relevant, and the companies demand that. Each project comes with a set of deliverables, typically on a very short time line, so we like to execute
our projects more quickly than is typical for a university environment,” says Allan. This research, industry and survey symbiosis is sure to continue. Everyone has a role to play in assembling the geological puzzle because the final picture is far too valuable to leave unfinished. n
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| Mining North of 60 37
Geophysics and lightning
Assessing the Safety Risks Electrical geophysics and lightning By Dennis Woods
Figure 1. The risk of electrocution from high-powered generators and transmitters is one of the primary considerations when assessing safety in electrical geophysical surveys, along with all of the other common safety risks inherent in mineral exploration field work – driving accidents on remote back-roads and trails; turning an ankle, or worse, while hiking through the bush; dangerous situations around helicopters and drill rigs; boating accidents; the list is long. However, one of the most significant risk factors of field work, and one that is often overlooked, is being hit by lightning. This is particularly true for electrical geophysics surveys because such surveys inherently have a lot of wire strung out across the countryside. All this wire naturally acts as perfect grounding for lightning, there is no way around it, and since a single bolt of lightning contains enough energy to power a typical geophysical survey for about a half a year, it is easy to see the danger posed by lightning for an electrical geophysics survey crew. Worldwide, lightning is the cause of about 24,000 deaths per year, and for each
38 Mining North of 60 | 2016
death, an additional 10 people are injured. While injury and death by lightning is still relatively rare, it cannot be ignored for field workers or anyone spending a majority of their time outdoors, and especially for workers on electrical geophysical surveys. To better understand the risk, we need to look deeper into the numbers. Canada receives over two million lightning strikes per year on average – that’s almost four strikes every minute of every day on average. But the vast majority of these strikes
occur over the summer months, with July being the most active month. Worldwide, the lightning death rate ranges from 0.3 to six deaths per million people per year. And the statistics are clear – the more time spent outside in the summer months, the greater the risk. While lightning represents a very small risk compared with others such as vehicular accidents, when your plans and activities take you outside in the summer months, you are wise to consider lightning safety. The Canadian government website offers the following suggestions for lightning safety: • To plan for a safe day, check the weather forecast first • Watch the skies for developing thunderstorms and listen for thunder • Get to a safe place • Do not handle electrical equipment, telephones, or plumbing • If on water, get to shore as quickly as possible • If caught outdoors far from shelter, stay away from tall objects For a business whose specialty it is to collect electrical and electromagnetic data, often in remote locations, some of these safety measures are particularly challenging. Electrical resistivity geophysical surveys involve the placement
of many kilometres of insulated wire, and the use of a high-power generator and a transmitter. This electrical equipment, and in particular, the wire, can act as a collection system for electrical energy – the wire is, after all, designed to transmit electricity. So when lightning strikes anywhere along or near to the path of the wire, a part of the energy can easily be carried through the wire to the entire working area. And since our field crews are almost always working in the vicinity of the wire, this creates added risk to the crew members. In addition, it is common for a field crew to be working in areas where there a lots of lakes and swamps, so the need to evacuate from a lake may be required. Figure 3.
Lightning strike incident A couple of years ago, one of our survey crews was in the early stages of carrying out a large electrical resistivity survey in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan. For this survey, called “pole-pole resistivity”, two long wires extend from the survey towards the east and west, to locations approximately 10 kilometres on either side of the working area. In this way,
the “footprint” of the survey is approximately 20 kilometres. The crew was just completing production across a large lake near the centre of the survey grid (see Figure 2) when an electrical storm hit the area. One of the two boats required to complete the lake work was on the lake and the other was
already on shore. Recognizing the risk, the field crew stood down, disconnected the wires from the equipment, and the boat returned to shore. After waiting out the storm, the field crew returned to their positions to resume production. The trailing boat, with two crew members in it, pushed out onto the
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Worldwide, lightning is the cause of about 24,000 deaths per year, and for each death, an additional 10 people are injured. lake again. Within a few minutes, a rogue lightning bolt struck somewhere in the vicinity of the current wire (red line in Figure 2), and energy from the strike entered the current wire and travelled along the wire to the lake and into the boat where the two crew members were seated. The current operator was positioned very close to the current wire and was leaning against the metal gunnel of the boat. The lightning energy jumped from the wire and went through the arm and back of the operator. We know this, because he sustained burns to his right arm and back. In addition, the current that entered his body interfered with his own electrical system, and he had to be resuscitated by the other crew member in the boat. He has fully recovered from this incident. As far as we know, this was not a direct lightning strike, but the energy was enough to seriously harm a person and could have resulted in a fatality if first aid
had not been quickly administered. There are many lessons to learn from this situation. A full review of the facts and the circumstances surrounding the incident has led to several important improvements to our lightning safety protocol.
Lightning safety measures When electrical storms occur, as we know they will, we employ lightning detector systems that provide early warning of the presence and approach of lightning. These handheld systems can detect lightning to a distance of many 10s of kilometres. A detection at 50 kilometres is an appropriate warning level for a field crew to stand down and take cover. And 30 minutes is an appropriate time to wait after the last instance of lightning or thunder. Lightning detection systems have their limitations, such as topography and rogue strikes, so additional measures are needed to protect the crew.
We have redesigned the way that connections are made at junctions and at wire spools. We have minimised the number of exposed wires by utilizing specialized electrical connectors. But because it is never possible to eliminate all exposed wire, we have established strict new protocol for all crew members to stand well away from all wires, winders, spools, and electrodes, whether actively in use or not. While these measures help, the risk remains for electrocution from rouge lightning strike energy entering wires and other equipment while in use by crew members. To minimize this risk, Discovery Geophysics has developed a new technology called a lightning shunt. This small electronic box is designed to divert or shunt, sudden high-voltage energy from a wire, into the ground. If extremely rapid, highvoltage, lightning energy enters the survey wires, it will be instantly detected by the lightning shunt, and some or some or all of the energy will be rerouted directly into the ground. We place several of these shunts along the wires throughout the survey area to protect both our crew members and the equipment, at locations where it is possible to make good electrical contact with the ground .
A happy ending In prime lightning season last summer, we had another lightning incident. In this case, the crew members detected an approaching storm and were able to stand down before any sign of lightning and took shelter from the hail storm. However, they did not have time to disconnect the survey wires from the equipment. Upon returning to their positions, the crew discovered that there had been a lightning strike in the vicinity of the survey wires. The lightning shunts had done their job because several shunts were tripped and the wires around the shunts were burnt, but no other equipment had been damaged. The equipment had been protected by the lightning shunt technology. We are pleased to say with confidence that our new lightning safety equipment and procedures have significantly reduced the risk to our field crews. And we urge everyone to be safe when spending time in the great outdoors. n
40 Mining North of 60 | 2016
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Several indicators point to a malfunctioning mining labour market
Weak commodity prices have softened skills shortages and gaps over the past few years, but labour market issues persist for Canada’s mining sector. The 2015 report, Canadian Mining Industry 2015 Employment, Hiring Requirements and Available Talent 10-Year Outlook, includes new information that highlights some of the challenges and inefficiencies in Canada’s mining labour market. The report outlines that the mining labour gap is closing – but not because we’ve solved the problem. The findings, published by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), show that the mining labour market is much tighter than other sectors. For every job vacancy in mining, there are less than three potential job seekers across Canada, compared to the average of six job seekers per vacancy for all other industries. Less competition among job seekers is an issue for the mining industry, but a good news story for people considering a career in mining.
42 Mining North of 60 | 2016
“A tight labour market puts upward pressure on wages and salaries, as employers compete for a limited supply of skilled workers. According to data from Statistics Canada, earnings in the mining sector have increased nearly 40 per cent in the last decade – significantly more than the average for all sectors in Canada. Layered on to this is mining’s volatile business cycle and the challenges of recruiting people to rural or remote mining operations,” says MiHR Executive Director Ryan Montpellier. “If unresolved, this labour market tightness has the potential to undermine the competitiveness of Canada’s mining sector when the cycle does rebound.” The report also found that the industry is highly dependent on a commuter workforce – those who live in one province but work in another. This is a mining-specific challenge that employers have made significant efforts to address by building a local workforce through the attraction of Aboriginal peoples, however, MiHR research shows that this effort is constrained for a va-
riety of reasons including that up to one in four Aboriginal people of working age do not actually participate in the labour force. MiHR is estimating the total hiring requirements for the coming decade will be between 86,000 and 126,000 workers, depending upon the economic outlook and industry performance, but it is important to note that the majority of the hiring requirements are to replace existing workers, leaving the sector to retirement or to other industries. In light of this, mining will create between 11,000 and 21,000 new jobs over the next 10 years, depending upon current trends and projected industry growth. Should economic conditions worsen, the industry is expected to shed around 6,300 jobs but will still have significant replacement hiring requirements. Mining sector employers have to look harder to find the right people as there is fierce competition for skilled and experienced workers. Each round of hiring is associated with costs including the search for candidates, interviewing, on-boarding, and training costs – all of which add to the cost to keep production levels up and maintain safety standards.
What does this mean for mining employers today? It means working together to create the future supply of skilled workers and to minimize the inefficiencies in the current labour market. It means being strategic about retention efforts and finding ways to invest in employees, such as through professional development and certification – even during a closure or downturn situation – because the employees that can support a company through a successful closure today are also industry’s future talent during an upturn.
The mining labour market is tighter than other sectors A “tight” labour market describes a situation in which the number of available jobs is high, relative to the number of people available to fill them. Employers’ demand for workers has outpaced supply – likely causing wages to rise and unemployment to fall. • For every job vacancy in mining, there are less than three potential job-seekers across Canada, compared to construction which has more than seven from which to choose. • The average for all industries across Canada is – six job-seekers per vacancy. • With the exception of 2009, the unemployment rate in the mining industry has remained consistently lower than the Canadian average since the late 1980s – career seekers need to know this information.
MiHR has developed many programs and resources to assist employers in addressing these HR challenges: a national mining worker certification program, a pre-employment training program for Aboriginal peoples, and a mining career brand and a suite of diversity tools, to name a few. Employers are actively involved in adopting new strategies to address their unique HR challenges, but in order for the industry to remain competitive, emphasis must be placed on industry-wide strategies and solutions that can create long-term change across the sector. “MiHR’s research demonstrates the immediate need for governments, educators and employers to work together to address the major human resource challenges facing Canada’s mining industry,” says Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. To request a copy of Canadian Mining Industry 2015 Employment, Hiring Requirements and Available Talent 10-Year Outlook, visit www.mihr.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org. n
| Mining North of 60 43
Ultra-Deep Mining network
Pulling Together for Productivity The Ultra-Deep Mining Network
The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) in Sudbury has been a Canadian repository of best practices in mining innovation since 2007. In 2014, it added an exciting, new dimension to its work. With an injection of $15 million from the federal government’s Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program, the Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) was established. This network – composed of mining and oil and gas companies, mining service and suppliers and academic institutions from across Canada – are developing new techniques, technologies, and processes associated with
mining at depth, 2.5 kilometres below the earth’s surface. Essentially, the UDMN’s goal is become a global leader in ultradeep (below 2.5 kilometres) bulk-mining research and innovation, solving the challenges that impact resource extraction in these environments, explains Bora Ugurgel, UDMN managing director. This will be important to enliven an industry which is currently in a bust cycle. However, deep underground metal mines are the source of the specialized metals including nickel, chrome, molybdenum, lead, zinc, platinum, and palladium – that are essential for the modern industrial economy. While the supply of commodity metals such as iron, aluminum, and copper generally come from very large openpit mines, the specialized metals are largely produced by deep underground mines. The need to fundamentally shift the design, development and financially feasible operation of underground metal mines is driven by three converging factors: the need for many of the large open-pit copper mines in the world to go underground while sustaining unchanged production levels; the need to pursue specialized industrial metals to ever greater depths; and the need to attract a new generation of well-educated, socially-diverse employees. Therefore ultra-deep mining is being
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examined as a way to boost productivity in the industry, reduce costs, and re-capture Canada’s competitive edge globally. Currently there are three of the deepest mines operating in Canada: Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Kidd Operations in Timmins, and LaRonde in northwestern Quebec all of which are working with UDMN. With mining at greater depths comes significant challenges. The network has identified four areas which need to be tackled to ensure safety and security of such underground initiatives: 1. Rock stress risk reduction: improve the control of stability in deep underground excavations. Projects in this theme explore ways to better measure, anticipate, mitigate, and manage and even modify built up stresses in the rockmass. 2. Energy reduction: the 40 per cent mine; improve the energy consumption profile of deep mines. This aims to reduce the energy consumed by mines, specifically for cooling. 3. Novel methods of material transport and productivity; increase the rates of development and production in mines. Mining companies continuously strive to improve each of the processes involved in getting their product to the mill. As their operations expand further underground, it becomes more critical to find these improvements, because
it will take longer to transport workers and materials into the mine and to the work place. 4. Improved human health and effectiveness; enhance the human environment in deep mines. There is a need for the development of effective personal protective gear that will help keep people working within appropriate occupational conditions. Developing systems and technologies that improve communication, navigation and the overall well being of the ultra-deep workforce is a priority. The network has solicited project ideas from across Canada to meet these challenges at and to put the viability of deep mining into action. The call for proposals received 65 applicants and selected 28 projects that are underway. To make their selection, they used a technology readiness level – a rating of one represents a pure-research/theoretical idea and a rating of nine means the idea is ready for use. Selections were made based on midrange ratings. Implementation of these projects will to deliver a return on investment to the mining industry. Theme leaders, change management services, and commercialization support services will help these initiatives come to fruition; an industry consultation group has also been established to ensure ideas and updates are shared between the network and the industry, adds Ugurgel. “This will be critical to establish a working relationship among all parties and the level of trust required to achieve our mutual goals and ensure the network tackles industry challenges.” Network members have contributed an additional $31 million to the network’s five-year operational plan. That is a lot of incentive to get it right. “By supporting solution providers capable of creating the industry-needed tools and technologies in the short term, UDMN will lead the way in helping ultradeep mines to operate more effectively and safely, generate more value, improve the human environment, and enhance mine productivity,” remarks Ugurgel. As projects develop progress project details will start to be presented at various conferences and lectures. For now, reporting on the network’s successes and learnings will be contained within the network
and industry as the intellectual property will rest with the companies who design the project work. “It is really about creating maximum benefit for those who are supporting the network to achieve its mandate,” he says. And those who are onboard can be proud; this is an important and unique network in the world. Ugurgel concludes, “the network will help close the commercialization gap by providing members with access to commercialization support services and a chance to carry out prototyping and test-
ing at actual mine sites. The private sector will further benefit from the validation of research findings and sharing of knowledge through collaboration with the SME and research teams, further increasing the relevance of research projects and the potential for project outputs to be implemented. This will increase industry’s capacity and capability to advance innovations to market. Ultimately, the UDMN will lead the way for innovations to be commercially viable and build capacity to deliver new technologies to the Canadian and global mining industry.” n
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| Mining North of 60 45
Kennady Diamonds Inc. continues to move forward while several other companies are hoping to make the next big diamond discovery in the NWT By Melanie Franner
It may be the most significant diamond find in the Northwest Territories since the Gahcho Kué mine was discovered in 1995. And it may very well be the last diamond find for an entire generation – or longer. Kennady Diamonds Inc. continues to move forward on its Kennady North Project (KNP) – a total of four kimberlites to date that holds the promise of great expectations for the junior mining company. The KNP is located 280 kilometres from Yellowknife and measures approximately 20 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide. It also happens to be located within five kilometres of the DeBeers/Mountain Province Diamonds’ Gahcho Kué mine, which is currently under development. And this is where the story begins.
A mine in the making According to Patrick Evans, president and CEO, Kennady Diamonds Inc. and Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD), the current Kennedy North Project is located within a greater area that was initially
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staked by MPD in the early 1990s. The company discovered the first kimberlite on the property in 1995 and entered into a jointventure partnership with DeBeers Canada in 1997. The partnership resulted in the discovery of an additional seven kimberlites. In 2006, DeBeers Canada made the decision to pursue only four of the leases on the property, with the others going back to MPD (despite the fact that they had discovered two kimberlites on one of the leases). In 2011, MPD decided to spin off the Kennady North Project as a separate company to avoid any distraction with the joint venture. That company, Kennady Diamonds Inc., was created in February 2012. Shares of Kennady Diamonds began trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange in July 2012. “We initially focused on the Kelvin kimberlite because we thought it had the best potential to have the largest tonnage,” says Evans. “We started drilling in the summer of 2012.” Once the company had delineated
much of the Kelvin kimberlite, it moved onto Faraday – which held the promise of possessing the second-largest tonnage. “In the last year, we have discovered two pipes at Faraday,” adds Evans.
The power of process Evans anticipates that following the preliminary diamond valuation last month, the NI 43-101 resources statement on the Kelvin kimberlite will be completed by the end of 2015. The strike covers over 600 metres across to a depth of 350 metres below the surface. “We expect that the southeast lobe of Kelvin will be an indicated resource and that the north lobe will be an inferred resource,” says Evans. “At the end of January 2016, we plan to go back and take a further 500 tonne bulk sample from the north lobe of Kelvin. We expect to upgrade all of the Kelvin pipe to an indicated resource within the next year.” A preliminary economic assessment on Kelvin is expected to be produced in the
first half of 2016, followed by an application for a Class A water license (Q3) and a feasibility study (H2 2016). Bulk samples of Faraday 1 and 2 are anticipated to be taken in Q1 2017. A complete feasibility study on Kelvin and Faraday is expected to be undertaken in the second half of 2017. “The key in all of this is the permitting,” says Evans, who adds that the company hopes to make the decision to build by the end of 2017. “It’s the primary hurdle.” If the permitting goes forward as anticipated, Evans anticipates that production can begin in 2020. In conjunction with all of this, Kennady Diamonds has begun drilling on the latter two kimberlites: MZ and Doyle. “The main reason we’re going forward on the MZ and Doyle kimberlites is that we want the Class A water license to encompass all of the mining operations at the Kennady North Project,” says Evans.
Great expectations According to Evans, the bulk sampling done to date has shown that the Kelvin
Patrick Evans, president and CEO, Kennady Diamonds Inc., at Kennady North.
and Faraday kimberlites have about 13 million tonnes between the three pipes, with Kelvin having the largest of the three. Kelvin is expected to host somewhere in the region of 12 million tonnes. Faraday is looking good for another three million tonnes. “The mine will be designed to process
one and a half million tonnes/year for 10 years,” says Evans, who adds the grade estimate is between two and 2.5 carats/per tonne. “Based on 2 carats per tonne, we anticipate a production level of three million carats per year.” Evans adds that despite having recently
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a few of the projects currently on the go.
Core drilling at Kelvin.
completed a preliminary valuation, the diamond sample was too small to accurately model the entire ore body. Regardless, Evans suggests that a reasonable estimate is $100/c. At 300 million carats/year, that’s a revenue of $300 million/year. “We know that operating costs at Gahcho Kué are expected to be US$60/tonne,” says Evans. “Given that, we can estimate that our costs will be US$90 million in total, against a revenue of about US$300 million.”
The last man standing The Kennady North Project – if it proceeds – will be the most significant diamond discovery since the Gahcho Kué mine. “Our project is the only serious diamond exploration taking place in the Northwest Territories right now,” says Evans. “It has taken us three years to get to this point in the exploration process and it will probably take us another year – at a cost of between US$50 and US$60 million – to get us to the point where we can apply for a Class A water license. And if that isn’t difficult enough, we could face another four years of permitting.” Evans claims that the Northwest Territories is the most difficult permitting region
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in Canada due to federal permitting legislation. “If you are a junior mining company, then the Northwest Territories is not the most attractive regulatory regime,” he says. “It takes half the time to get permitting in Quebec or even in Iqaluit. Yukon and Iqaluit operate under federal legislation as well but it is much more streamlined.” Evans suggests that until the federal government changes its legislation, there won’t be many other junior mining companies doing any serious exploration in the NWT. “In the meantime, junior exploration companies will be looking elsewhere,” he concludes. “And they are already looking elsewhere.”
Corridor of Hope: The hunt for diamonds Kennady Diamonds is but one of several companies hoping to make the next big diamond discovery in the NWT. Several others have committed resources over the years in the search of the next big diamond find. Among these are: De Beers Canada Inc., North Arrow Minerals, Canterra Minerals, Demco, Prima Diamonds Corp. – and the list goes on. Here is a quick synopsis of
Proxima Diamonds Corp. Proxima Diamonds Corp., a private Canadian company, is well into the hunt for diamonds. Since spring 2014, Proxima has staked 17 target areas covering the up-ice origins of 31 unresolved kimberlite indicator mineral (KIM) trains with no known kimberlite sources. Exploration in 2015 has focused on two areas: The Sancy Project and Proxima. The Sancy Project, located near the northern boundary of the Ekati Mine leases, hosts several unresolved KIM trains and two kimberlites. Gravity surveys conducted there as part of a spring multicomponent geophysical program identified a compelling drill target 300 metres northwest of the diamondiferous T-10 kimberlite pipe. During the summer, KIM till sampling was conducted on a separate nearby target to define the source of a strong olivine-rich KIM train. To the south, Proxima is concentrating on the Hortensia, Tavernier, and Orlov targets between the Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué mines. On each of these properties, the company conducted confirmatory and delineation KIM till sampling to define areas for winter multi-component geophysical surveys early in 2016. Proxima also worked on other properties in its target pipeline near Diavik and Hardy Lake, and is planning a large winter geophysical program on its Cullinan Project, south of Lac de Gras in early 2016. Margaret Lake Diamonds Inc. Another diamond player in NWT is Margaret Lake Diamonds (MLD) Inc. The company owns 100 per cent of the Margaret Lake Diamond Property (subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval), which is comprised of 19 mineral claims totalling 48,720 acres contiguous to the north and west of Kennady Diamonds Inc.’s Kennady North Project. The claims lie 78 kilometres north of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and are bound to the south by both the Kennady Diamonds and De Beers/Mountain Province Diamonds joint venture. MLD recently obtained a Type “A” Land Use Permit from the Mackenzie Valley and Water Board. The permit is good through to May 2020. The company plans to proceed with a drill program this upcoming
winter to evaluate 12 previously identified high-priority drill targets, which were developed through a state-of-the-art airborne gravity gradiometry survey. Margaret Lake Diamonds is also earning an interest in the adjacent Marlin property from Canterra Minerals. Olivut Resources Ltd. Olivut Resources Ltd. is also in line to potentially find diamond deposits in the NWT. The exploration and development company’s principle asset is its 100 per cent interest in the HOAM Project in the Interior Plains region. The region is considered to be favourable for the emplacement of diamond-bearing kimberlites. Olivut has made 29 kimberlite discoveries to date and has identified additional numerous targets defined for drilling. The Interior Plains region was subjected to little modern exploration techniques prior to Olivut’s involvement in the area. High resolution, regional magnetic geophysical surveys, detailed heli-mag geophysical surveys, and geochem sampling programs – all conducted by Olivut – have since identified several favourable areas for kimberlite occurrence. A National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report (Filed on SEDAR December 12, 2014) was written by Paul Pitman, P.Geo. and details the merits of the HOAM Project. Panarc Resources Ltd. Panarc Resources is a private company working on gold and base metal projects in the NWT. The company has conducted geophysical surveys, geological mapping, sampling and diamond drilling on their Up Town Gold project adjoining the Giant Mine property. Geophysical surveys, mapping and prospecting were conducted on the Fox South Showing. Prospecting here returned grab samples up to 30.3 g/t Au. At the Rod Showing, three diamond drill holes were completed, extending the strike of mineralization north of the historic workings. In addition, the open pit was dewatered and the north end of the production pit was channel sampled. Selected samples from the pit returned up to 318 g/t Au, the best drill hole results were 20.7 g/t Au over 1.20 metres and the best channel sample results were 14.55 g/t Au over 1.84 metres. A 300 kilogram bulk sample was also collected for metallurgy tests. n
Bulk sampling at Kelvin.
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| Mining North of 60 49
Something Good is Brewing Golden Predator has identified the Brewery Creek and 3 aces project its top two priorities in the Yukon By Jim Timlick
"Golden Predator is excited to get moving on the 3 Aces program this winter, this kind of project comes along once in a lifetime. At least that is what the geologists say when they see our gold samples from the outcrop at surface. I am just happy to be working in the region where I initially worked in the Yukon 27 years ago. These are great people to work with and a unique part of the world."
Rock sample from surface at 3 Aces. The yellow is all gold and it is throughout the sample. From 1996 until 2002, Brewery Creek was a productive gold mine in Canada’s Yukon territory. The mine was closed in 2002 due to low gold prices and remained inactive until it was acquired by Golden Predator in 2009. Vancouver-based Golden Predator has identified the Brewery Creek project as one of its top priorities and has made advancing it towards production a primary concern moving forward. The company is bullish about the project’s future and with good reason. A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) conducted in 2014 by Tetra Tech EBA Inc. indicated the net present value (NPV) to be worth $18.1 million at a gold price of USD$1,150 per ounce and as much as $114.5 million at a price of $1,500 per ounce. Meanwhile, total life of mine capital at Brewery Creek has been estimated at $89.4 million including initial capital, sustaining capital, and indirect costs.1 Golden Predator CEO Janet Lee-Sheriff says the mine was and one day will again be a vital part of the fabric of the community of Dawson City. “We envision a scenario of getting into production, producing some revenue, [and] using the revenue to expand the drilling and keep the mine life going.” Preliminary test results from the site have been encouraging. In 2013, projections established Brewery Creek had an updated oxide resource estimate of 14.1 million indicated tonnes at an
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Janet Lee-Sheriff Chief Executive Officer of Golden Predator average grade of 1.27 g/t Au for 577,000 ounces and 9.3 million inferred tonnes at an average grade of 0.94 g/t Au for 269,000 ounces.2 Lee-Sheriff says one of the factors that made Brewery Creek appealing to Golden Predator is that it already has some significant resources in place including buildings and roads and will require far less investment than a new mine. “A lot of times people get excited about brand new discoveries, green fields gold, brown fields gold... it all sells for the same price. Sometimes the best place to find a mine is where there was an old mine,” she explains. “What we liked about Brewery Creek was it was advanced, it had operated before, it was proven and proven environmentally. In this tough market it is easier to advance a project like Brewery Creek with, a capex of under $100 mm, than a much more expensive capex.” Another attractive aspect of the Brewery Creek property is its location. It’s located about 55 kilometres due east of Dawson City and is accessible by paved and gravel road, meaning there is a ready and willing pool of labour located just a short drive away. Lee-Sheriff estimates the mine could eventually employ as many as 100 people. The company’s CEO says it will likely take about two years to complete the permitting process once it begins. As to when that might be, Lee-Sheriff says it will depend largely on financing & market conditions.
Photo courtesy of www.archbould.com
Golden Predator holds a Type A water license for Brewery Creek and has a socio-economic accord in place with the Tr’ondek Heech’in. Lee-Sheriff says there is still some work Golden Predator must complete before it can begin the permitting process including a new heritage study and some Janet Lee-Sheriff, chief executive additional water sampling. officer of Golden Predator. The other priority for Golden Predator is the 3 Aces project, located on the Cantung Mine Road in Southeast Yukon. 3 Aces is an organic, shear-hosted gold vein system with distinct similarities to the Pogo Deposit in Alaska. Visible gold and bonanza grades has been found in quartz vein outcrops with grab samples up to 4,820 g/t gold, 530 kg metallurgical sample returning 260 g/t gold with 97.9 per cent total recovery. A total of 11,000 meters was historically drilled at site, targeting the Sleeping Giant Zone and Main Zone with subsequent large sample (500-800kg) metallurgical tests returning gold recoveries of 93.5 to 98.3 per cent. RAB blast hole drilling, in advance of bulk sampling, tested a portion of the Sleeping Giant vein where previous channel sampling by Golden Predator (formerly Northern Tiger Resources Ltd.) returned grades up to 3.88 oz/t (132.91 g/t) gold over 22.63 feet (6.9 m).3 4 Metallurgical testwork from a 1,366 pound (620kg) sample (sample BS-3A13-03) returned a metallic screen gold assay of 6.29 oz/t (215.5 g/t) gold with reported gravity recoverable gold of 78.9 per cent and overall gold recovery of 97.9 per cent. Golden Predator has plans to complete a bulk sample program in February and March 2016 and expects to initially extract, and ship for processing, approximately 600 short tons (500 tonnes) of high grade vein material targeting the top 2.5 feet to 7.5 feet of the vein and may continue to extract additional tonnage within the confines of the permit based on conditions and grade encountered following the initial blast and excavation. Bulk sampling will provide data on the amount of gold recovered by actual milling as compared to the results obtained by
metallurgical testing in the laboratory and the results indicated by recent close spaced Rotary Air Blast drilling. Golden Predator signed an Exploration Memorandum of Understanding with the Kaska Nation in 2013. n NI 43-101 Technical Report, EB Tetra Tech, November 19, 2014. NTR NR dated August 8, 2012. 4 GPY NR dated September 14. 2015. 12 3
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Mary River mine
Look Up – Way Up Baffinland swings into production By Melanie Franner
Overcoming all obstacles
The first European-bound shipment of iron ore made its way from Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River mine in August 2015. It was a major breakthrough for all involved and marked the official start of the production/shipment cycle for the estimated 400-million-tonne deposit. “The Mary River mine, or Nuluujak as it is known to the Inuit, was first prospected in 1962,” explains Tom Paddon, CEO, Baffinland Iron Mines. “It has remained unde-
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veloped until now because the technological means of developing mines in the Arctic wasn’t advanced, and many would say that the economic, social, and environmental ability to responsibly execute a project like this is also relatively recent development. The recognition that the ore itself is a rather spectacular product certainly helped make it of more interest internationally.”
The Mary River mine site is one of the most northern in the world. As such, it comes with a host of challenges. “Our winter temperatures range from minus 40 to minus 50 Celsius,” states Paddon. “There are other mines that experience severe cold but it’s usually for only brief periods, in our case the thermometer can bottom out and stay there. Add to that the 24 hours of darkness that you get in the winter months and the safety of people working at our operation needs special consideration.” According to Paddon, the winter conditions necessitate having appropriate redundancies within the system and reacting quickly to changes in the weather and conditions. As a final backstop, the operation keeps a plane at site at all times in the event of a medical emergency. “It’s all about being well prepared,” he says. This need for preparedness came to the fore during the 2013/2014 winter construction season. “We worked through that first winter with very little in the way of infrastructure,” explains Paddon. “People were working on heavy equipment outside during the winter months because we didn’t have any maintenance buildings
at that point. Likewise, we were construct-⠿ ing the camp in which people now live;⠿ at the time, the workforce was living in⠿ tents. And we made it through that whole⠿ winter without a single case of frostbite. I ⠿ think that’s a testament to the people doing the work and the efforts made to ensure their safety.”
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ects in the North,” says Paddon, who adds that some of these people came from Ekati and Diavik in the Northwest Territories, Voisey’s Bay in Nunatsiavut, Raglan in Nunavik, and Polaris in Nunavut. “Once we had assembled the team, we had people with good insight into the requirements to construct the site and live up here, not to mention how to operate in extremely cold conditions.” The current workforce at Mary River operates on a two-week fly-in-fly-out rotation with about 400 workers on site at any given time. “Approximately 200 Inuit work at the project and are already used to the climate so they’re best prepared for the weather conditions,” says Paddon, who adds that the closest community is 160 kilometres away. “We’d like to see more people coming from the five closest Inuit communities and believe it would be in both our and North Baffin’s interests for this to happen. Remote site work means time away from home and it’s not for everyone but we’ll continue to try to increase the amount of local participation in the project.”
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To help employees from the local population adjust to camp life, Baffinland employs Inuit elders, who provide counsel to those Inuit experiencing difficulty in coping with the situation. The company also provides a separate kitchen and food storage area to ensure Inuit can prepare traditional foods. “Working at a remote site means six
months a year away from home and we encourage people to think carefully about the implications,” says Paddon. “For those it suits, it suits very well. Having two weeks off every fortnight can be great. But it is an isolated site.” That being said, Paddon is quick to add that although there is no community located near the Mary River mine site, the
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people working there have done a great job in making the workplace a friendly and hospitable one. “People here take care of themselves, of others and the equipment,” he says. “It may be a challenging environment but people make strong friendships.”
In production Mary River mine officially began production in 2015 – although it is still ramping up to full production levels. It is currently permitted to produce 3.5 million tonnes per year (Mt/a), but it won’t reach that for 2015. “Right now, we’re still in the Early Revenue Phase,” states Paddon. “ It’s intended to test out the project, to get us into production and to demonstrate that the project is viable.” From there, Paddon says the mine will aim to increase production in incremental stages – until it reaches the anticipated 18 Mt/a production rate. The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) has already issued a Project Certificate for full-scale development of the mine’s Deposit No. 1 for a production rate of 18 Mt/a, but it is based on the development of a railway link to Steensby Port and the development of the port itself. “It doesn’t make sense to take on the development of a railway to the south at this point,” says Paddon. “It’s a very capitalintensive project with a lot of significant upfront costs. Given the pricing changes in the global iron ore market, it’s not something that we choose to pursue at this particular point in time.”
But Paddon is interested in increasing production rates through other means. “Right now, we’re shipping ore only during the open-water months from July to October,” he explains. “To ensure the project is viable in the projected future marketplace, we need to ship during the winter months as well, which means shipping through ice. This means an evolution in the project and
requires significant communication with and careful understanding from all stakeholders.” According to Paddon, it’s a process in which the company is already engaged. “We intend to increase the amount of mining, crushing, hauling and shipping that we’re currently doing,” concludes Paddon. “It’s stage-wise process and we’re looking at doing it in incremental steps.”
If all goes well, however, the totality of these steps will see the current production rate rise to 12 Mt/a in the coming years and eventually beyond that. Until then, however, the Mary River mine will continue to defy the harsh northern climatic conditions to produce a high-grade iron ore product – one that is in high demand all over the world. n
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Dr. Tom Setterfield TERRAX MINERALS INC.
| Mining North of 60 55
Victoria Gold Corp.
Next Big Thing Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle Gold Project
Aerial view of the 100-person camp at Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold Project in central Yukon.
Victoria Gold Corp.’s Eagle Gold Project is a proposed, shovel-ready, open-pit, invalley heap, gold project that will produce approximately 200,000 ounces of gold per year over a 10-year mine life making it the largest gold mine in Yukon history. The Eagle Gold Project is located in central Yukon which is recognized as a safe mining jurisdiction with over a centurylong history of gold mining. The deposit is contained within the company’s 100-percent-owned Dublin Gulch property which lies within the Tintina gold belt and is located approximately 85 kilometres by road north-northeast from the village of
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Mayo, and about 400 kilometres north of the capital city of Whitehorse. The Project is the most developed project in the region and is well supported by local infrastructure, including a yearround all-weather access road, is near grid power, and an airstrip approximately 80 kilometres to the south. The existing 100-person camp on site will be expanded prior to construction. Since acquiring the project in 2009, Victoria Gold has advanced the Eagle Gold Project to be shovel-ready – it is fully permitted for construction and operations, has completed a feasibility study, has
The NI 43-101 2.3 million ounce gold reserve is located on the hill above the Eagle Gold camp. a signed comprehensive benefit agreement with the local First Nation, and has completed the environmental assessment process. Victoria Gold’s focus is to bring the Eagle Gold Project into production. The 2.3
The proposed Eagle Gold open pit mine will produce approximately 1.7 million ounces of gold over a 10-year mine life. million ounce proven and probable gold reserve is contained within a much larger resource. The proposed Eagle gold mine will be a conventional low-cost, open-pit mine with a three-stage crush, in-valley heap and gold recovery plant with a 10year mine life. During the initial three to five years of production, the Eagle gold mine will process higher grade material at a better recovery rate, resulting in a capital payback period of three years. Over the 10-year mine life, the Eagle gold mine will produce 1.7 million ounces of gold at an approximate average of 200,000 ounces
per year. During operations the mine will be a significant economic contributor to the Yukon, employing 350 to 400 people. Initial construction and pre-stripping costs are estimated at $400 million CAD. The Projectâ€™s economics are robust, and will generate a Net Present Value of $381 million dollars. The per ounce average operating cost is approximately $615. There is potential to expand the mine for increased production and a longer mine life with ongoing exploration and new discoveries. In addition to the Eagle deposit, the large Dublin Gulch property
hosts a number of high quality exploration targets that lie along the Potato Hills Trend â€“ a 13 kilometre by three kilometre trend of significant mineralization. Drilling results at the Olive-Shamrock Zone, located two kilometres from the Eagle deposit, show potential economic contribution to the Eagle mine plan. Victoria Gold also holds additional claim blocks nearby on their Aurex, Clear Creek, and Cat B properties. Victoria Gold trades on the Toronto Venture Exchange under the symbol VIT, and more information is available at vitgoldcorp.com n
2.3 million ounce gold Reserve
(92 M tonnes averaging 0.78 g/t)
200,000 ounces of gold per year
| Mining North of 60 57
Evolving Direction Copper Northâ€™s different path blossoms
Copper Northâ€™s flagship project, Carmacks project, is located approximately 30 kilometres off the Klondike Highway at Carmacks, Yukon. The Carmacks copper-goldsilver deposit is in the southern portion of an evolving copper-gold district that extends to the northwest to the Dawson gold fields. Copper was discovered in 1970s, and the mineral deposit has been through several exploration and development programs. Carmacks is somewhat unique as it is the only large oxide copper deposit in Canada, a feature resulting from avoidance of glaciation. The deep weathering of the sulphide mineralization has left a residue of copper, gold, and silver mineralization that is amenable to leaching to produce copper cathode that can be sent directly to copper fabricators. The relatively high gold and silver grade is also somewhat unique and required Copper North to change the copper leach method to facilitate the recovery of gold and silver. With a change in management in March 2014, the project has been brought back to life with expansion of mineral resource and re-engineering to include recovery of gold and silver. The efforts of a new team have made the project more robust and
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progression to a new feasibility study that should demonstrate attractive economics, even at todayâ€™s depressed copper and gold prices.
Strategic evaluation A review of the project in March 2014 indicated that the project needed to overcome several hurdles: expansion of mineral resources, reduction of capex and opex costs, and recovery of gold and silver to increase revenues. The previous feasibility study completed in 2012, consisted of mining the oxide copper-gold-silver resources, crushing of the ore and placement on a large leach pad, followed by sprinkling of sulphuric acid to leach the copper, collection of the copper laden (pregnant solution) liquid to strip out the copper by electrolysis to make cathode copper sheets. The operation of heap leach pads in winter conditions and closure of the leach pads provides engineering challenges.
Re-engineering of Carmacks: evolution of a new leach plan The key to the re-engineering was the recovery of gold and silver, increasing operating revenues, and reducing opera-
tional risk. To evaluate the economics the company undertook a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) to provide some insight as to the impacts of gold and silver recovery in improving project economics. The results were encouraging as the PEA indicated that a modified heap leach copper and gold-silver plan would provide an approximate 40 per cent increase in gross mine revenues and a reduction in the cost of producing copper from US$1.65/lb copper to approximately US$1.07/lb copper after deducting gold and silver credits.
New copper leach plan The common approach to processing oxide copper deposits is heap leaching on engineered leach pads with multiple liners. This technology was the focus of the earlier engineering and presents considerable challenges in preparation and management of construction of liners beneath and within the leach pads. The engineering team considered other forms of leaching the oxide copper that would ensure high recovery for the gold and silver. The metallurgical test work commenced in fall 2014, with the investigation of vat leaching. Although the test results were favourable, with acceptable
leach times for copper of approximately 16 days, the team did not stop there. This was a major step forward in addressing the concerns associated with heap leach processing as the vats are enclosed and the risk of leakage during the leach operations is reduced. Overall de-risking of the main environmental concern, previously addressed in permitting submissions, is achieved. Copper North tested the leaching at a finer crush and confirmed that a grind to one millimetre resulted in leach times of
less than 24 hours. The motivation of pursuing the finer crush was driven by trying to reduce materials handling in winter conditions and therefore reducing operational risk. The next step was to determine how much effect temperature might have on the proposed agitated tank leach - the answer was surprising with optimal leach times for copper being approximately four hours. With these very positive test results test work moved to recovery of gold and silver using the same agitated tank leach process.
Recovery of gold and silver Evaluation of gold and silver recovery commenced with pumping residues from the copper circuit, rinsing the residues to remove all acid and soluble copper, and pumping the washed materials directly into the cyanide circuit to recover gold and silver. The test work confirmed similar fast leaching of less than 16 hours and improved gold and silver recoveries. The gold and silver are recovered by Merrill Crowe Leach method to produce goldsilver dore.
220 KM NORTH OF WHITEHORSE, YUKON - 400 KM FROM YEAR-ROUND PORT AT SKAGWAY, AK
ADVANCING CARMACKS COPPER-GOLD DEPOSIT TO BE THE YUKON’S NEXT COPPER MINE COPPER NORTH
112 0 - 1 0 9 5 W. P E N D E R S T, VA N C O U V E R B C , C A N A D A V 6 E 2 M 6 T E L : 6 0 4 3 9 8 3210 » TO L L F R E E: 1 8 4 4 4 01 26 4 4 » FA X : 6 0 4 3 9 8 3 4 5 6 2016
| Mining North of 60 59
The final stage of processing is the cyanide destruction of the waste materials and dewatering them for dry stacked tailings disposal. The later reduces many of the concerns of waste disposal at mining projects.
Mine economics and environmental performance A new PEA is in progress to confirm the details of the new leach plan and provide the basis for re-entering the permitting process and the pursuit of project financing. Some of the key areas for improvements include the fact that we have eliminated heap leach plan which reduces capex in the July 2014 PEA (US$225M) by approximately $75 million; which of course will be offset to some extent by addition of tankage and fine crush equipment. The transition to agitated tank leach also reduces required manpower and leads to increased operational efficiency and an expected reduction in operating cost. The adoption of agitated tank leach technology indicates that we should expect improved recovery of copper, gold and silver, and lower reagent costs. In further addressing capital cost reduction of equipment we have shared the engineering between JDS Energy and Mining Ltd. who built the Minto mine nearby, and Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy who are undertaking detailed engineering of the leach equipment utilizing their northern experience. The sourcing of equipment designed and engineered by BGRIMM includes sourcing fabricators to make and export the equipment for installation at Carmacks. Benchmarking indicates po-
60 Mining North of 60 | 2016
tential for reduction of capex for some equipment and further capital reduction for the Carmacks Project. We are particularly pleased by the much improved operational efficiency and control. The outcome of these improvements reduces the risk of leakage and spillage that could negatively impact the environment. We are confident that the regulators, First Nations and other interested parties will approve of the changes that we are proposing. We look forward to engaging with First Nations and the permitting of the new Leach plan.
Carmacks is bigger than you think After dormancy of exploration since 2008, Copper North has taken on the challenge of expanding mineral resources. In fall 2014 it commenced exploration on Zone 2, located approximately 2,500 metres to the north of the planned open pit in zones 1, 4, and 7, the basis of the July 2014 PEA. The modest program at Zone 2 extended the small deposit to a mineralized zone having a length of over 500 metres and remains open to the south. Although interesting and potentially mineable it was relatively narrow compared to other targets south of the Zone 1 area. The 2015 exploration program was expanded to $1M, allocated to better understand controls of mineralization and commence fill-in drilling sufficient to expand mineral resources. All drilling was focused on a 2,000-metre-long mineralized zone, interpreted as the south extension of the initial proposed mine area. Copper North has news released that the tonnage potential associated with this yearâ€™s drilling is approximately 10 million tonnes of
oxide and sulphide mineralization that almost doubles current Indicated and Measured mineral resources. A new NI 43-101 resource report is in progress and will include the potential resources into the new mineral resource inventory. This yearâ€™s fill-in drilling tests approximately 25 per cent of the mineralized structure. The new potential is open to depth and along strike; additional drilling will further increase mineral resources in the South Target area. The 2015 exploration work also identified attractive targets in the North Target area. Current mineral resources are 12 million tonnes grading 1.07 per cent copper, 0.456 g/t gold and 4.58 g/t silver. Beneath the main oxide resource are approximately 4.7 M tonnes grading 0.75% per cent copper, 0.22 g/t gold and 2.45 g/t silver in the Indicated category and 4.03M tonnes grading 0.71 per cent copper, 0.19 g/t gold and 1.9 g/t silver. However, these sulphide resources are at the bottom of the pit and therefore of lower priority. Much of the new resources in the South Target area are sulphides, commencing at depths of approximately 50 to 75 metres; they represent an attractive addition to future development. Copper Northâ€™s next challenge will be to evaluate the leaching of sulphide mineralization and continue the SXEW recovery of copper, and perhaps gold and silver. This planning and investigation is at an infant stage but part of the new path forward.
Overcoming difficult markets Copper North management are pleased that they have been able to refinance and re-engineer the project. We have raised approximately $5 million during the past 18 months for funding our steps forward. The financing required 11 financings with widespread search of funds. We have been lucky and rewarded for our perseverance. I encourage other junior companies to not give up and fight to move forward. Despite the long period of difficult markets we remain confident that there are opportunities going forward. With the optimism, that is key to explorers and developers, Copper North acquired a large land position adjacent to the dormant Kemess Mine in northwest British Columbia. Perhaps Copper North can also make their magic on the Thor property. n
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Freegold Ventures Limited
Full speed ahead Freegold focuses on future By Melanie Franner
Freegold Ventures Limited has got two potentially significant projects in its sights. The firm was founded in 1985 and has since established itself as an exploration and development company within the state of Alaska. Work on its flagship property, the Golden Summit project, continues to mount, as does the excitement surrounding its Shorty Creek project. Both are within relative close proximity of Fairbanks (32 kilometres for the Golden Summit and 120 kilometres for Shorty Creek) and both are poised for substantial development in the years ahead.
Historical finds Freegold Ventures has been involved with the Golden Summit project since the early 1990s. It has been dedicated to building NI 43-101 compliant resources on this property since 2011 – and has made significant progress. In March 2011, an initial combined indicated and inferred resource of about 700,000 ounces of gold was estimated.
62 Mining North of 60 | 2016
In 2011, a fair amount of drilling increased that number to 1.5 million ounces. An active drilling campaign in 2012 saw that number increased again to about 6.5 million ounces. “I think this is a real testament to systematic exploration,” says Kristina Walcott, president and CEO, Freegold Ventures, who adds that the property has great road access and offers infrastructure support for exploration activities on a year-round basis. Freegold Ventures may have done a lot of work on the Golden Summit project but it has barely touched the surrounding area. Several historic gold mines are located on the property and Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox gold deposit is located nearby. “To date, we’ve confined our resource drilling to an area on the property measuring 300 metres by 1.5 kilometres or about 110 acres,” says Walcott, who adds that the area is referred to as Dolphin/Clearly Hill. “But the project actually encompasses a total of 13,000 acres and hosts numerous other significant exploration targets with the potential to host additional resources,
all of which have an oxide cap in the upper 60 metres.” Other prospective areas already identified in the area, for example, include the Iowa, Too Much Gold, Goose Creek, and Christina, which are located six, five, four and two kilometres to the east respectively. According to Walcott, the company will continue to work toward completion of its Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA). It hopes to release it by the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. “Our PEA is really intended to give us guidance on how to develop the project,” adds Walcott. “We believe that our PEA will demonstrate the fact that as we expand the oxides, our economics will improve. I think there is tremendous potential with this project, given that there have been so many historical occurrences throughout the area.”
Newcomer to the block Although the Golden Summit project may come with a past that speaks to its potential, the Shorty Creek project is all about the unknown. The area has seen little exploration since the early 1990s when 20 holes were drilled to a maximum depth of 152 metres. The area drilled measured 500 metres by 200 metres. Although drilled as a gold target, the holes consistently bottomed in significant copper mineralization. “We’re very fortunate to have a project like the Golden Summit,” says Walcott. “We can apply the same systematic approach we’ve used there to our Shorty Creek project.” Since acquiring the Shorty Creek gold, copper, and molybdenum porphyry property in July 2014, Freegold Ventures has completed an induced polarization survey, a soil geochemical survey, staked additional claims and identified the presence of two significant drill-ready targets and in
September 2015 drilled one of the two drill targets. The first of these is an expansion of the original target area by another 500 metres to the southwest and 400 metres to the northeast at Hill 1835. The other target is located 2.5 kilometres to the northwest of the copper-gold target and shows the presence of a strong chargeability anomaly coincident with strong copper values in soils and covering a 2,000-metre by 1,000-metre area at Hill 1710; however the magnetic signature is over 6,000 metres length. Within the copper geochemical anomaly is a strong molybdenum core. Several other magnetic highs have also been identified on the property as a result of a review of airborne geophysical survey. These will require additional ground geophysics, geochemistry and further geological mapping to delineate other potential drill targets. Results of the 2015 drill program have demonstrated the potential for a significant copper gold porphyry deposit at Shorty Creek with discovery of 0.71 % Cu equivalent mineralization over 91 metres with the first core drilling carried out at Shorty Creek. Of particular interest are the large magnetic highs with coincident copper, gold and molybdenum soil chemistry, as these magnetic highs are often indicative of the core of porphyry systems. The program was also designed to test
the depth extent of the mineralization encountered in the previous Asarco drilling (1989/1990) in the area of Hill 1835. The Asarco holes were drilled to a maximum depth of 500 feet, and intersected gold and copper mineralization with copper grade increasing at depth. A total of four holes were drilled during the 2015 program. The results demonstrate that the Shorty Creek Project has the potential to host a significant copper-gold porphyry deposit. Freegold is looking forward to continuing the drill program in 2016. “Our plan is to drill another 10,000 feet in 2016 between the two targets we’ve identified, which we’ve called 1835 and 1710,” says Walcott. “It looks like 1710 has the potential to be a significant deposit so we will be doing the majority of our drilling in that area next year.” Walcott adds that the Shorty Creek project also has good access, being located only four kilometres from the paved Elliott Highway. She also believes that the property has the potential to be a huge discovery. “I think we’re just scratching the surface of the Shorty Creek property,” she says.
“There is a lot of excitement around this one.”
The path forward Although the Golden Summit project is next to a sure thing, the Shorty Creek project is the one with the most unknowns. Both, says Walcott, are worthy of immediate attention. “I think that we, as a company, need a mix of priorities,” she explains. “I believe that there are two types of investors out there right now. One wants exploration companies to go forward in a responsible development manner with a PEA. The other is looking for the excitement of something new, the next big discovery. Given the direction of exploration in this current market, it’s hard to find those new discoveries. And I don’t think you can bring investors back into the market unless you have those discoveries. Our Golden Summit project is a solid asset but a low-grade asset. Our Shorty Creek project holds the promise of excitement. I think that together, the two projects make for a compelling argument.” n
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| Mining North of 60 63
Aurora Geosciences Ltd.
Kennady North is Northwest Territoriesâ€™ highest profile exploration project Submitted by Aurora Geosciences Ltd. (AGL) The Kennady North project is 100 per cent owned and operated by Kennady Diamonds Inc. (KDI) of Toronto, Ontario. The project is managed and supervised by Aurora Geosciences Ltd (AGL) of Yellowknife. The property is located almost 300 kilometres northeast of the city of Yellowknife and 150 kilometres north of the community of Lutsel Kâ€™e. The Kennady North project is the highest profile exploration project in the NWT and operates under very high environmental standards. The project has undergone two early-stage land use permit applications and a water license application. The project is currently undergoing amendments to their current permits to more efficiently allow the extraction of another bulk sample. This winter, a bulk sample comprising up to 700 tonnes will be obtained from the north limb of the Kelvin kimberlite in order to provide enough total carats for a more accurate diamond valuation. The Kelvin-Faraday Corridor (KFC) is aptly named for the prominent occurrences of the current kimberlites (Kelvin, Faraday 1 and Faraday 2). The KFC trends from the north end of Kennady Lake (host of the Gahcho Kue kimberlites) to approximately five kilometres to the northeast through both Kelvin and Faraday Lakes. This corridor is approximately two to 2.5 kilometres wide. The Kelvin kimberlite is approximately 700 metres in length, varies in thickness from 75 to 200 metres, and 30 to 60 metres in width. The Kelvin kimberlite is open to the west-northwest and KDI will continue exploration and delineation in the hopes of ex-
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tending the kimberlite body past its current 700 metre length. Currently, the body comprises approximately eight to nine million tonnes which does not include any of the Kelvin kimberlite sheet complex.
The Faraday kimberlites are smaller pipe-like bodies comparable in shape to the Kelvin kimberlite and lay some two kilometres to the north-northeast. The Faraday 2 kimberlite comprises a strike length of over 250 metres and varies in thickness from 40 to 50 metres and in width from 30 to 40 metres. The Faraday 2 kimberlite has the potential to host between one and 1.5 million tonnes at this time and is open to the west-northwest.
The Faraday 1 kimberlite lies approximately 250 metres northeast of the Faraday 2 kimberlite. This body is also a pipe-like body lying on its side and has only been traced 100 metres to the northwest but is open in that direction. It was the identification of a volcaniclastic unit in the Kelvin sheet complex that lead to the discovery of the Kelvin kimberlite. This same type of volcaniclastic unit was identified in the Fara-
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| Mining North of 60 65
day area which led to the discovery of the two Faraday kimberlite bodies. Additional volcaniclastic units have been identified in exploration drilling between the two Faraday kimberlites and south of the Kelvin kimberlite confirming the high likelihood that other pipe-like bodies exist in the area. The current thinking is that much higher resolution geophysical surveying and more diamond drilling will need to take place in order to help identify more of these unconventional kimberlite bodies within the KFC corridor. The goal over the next few years is to delineate any of these new unconventional pipe-like kimberlite bodies to bring into the potential mine plan. Additional exploration is being conducted in other areas of the Kennady North project outside the KFC. This includes (but is not limited to) the MZ and Doyle kimberlite sheet complexes. Explora-
tion in these areas includes high resolution geophysical surveying to identify potential blows or unconventional volcaniclastic bodies. High resolution ohmmapper (capacitively coupled resistivity) and high resolution gravity surveying have been found to be the best tools for evaluating these bodies. In 2014, a property wide reverse-circulation overburden-drill program was conducted to evaluate the indicator mineral presence throughout the entire glacial till column. These results, along with historical indicator mineral samples, are being used to define additional kimberlite exploration target areas on the property. KDI is committed to using northern expertise, labour, and support. They have a very good understanding of community awareness and are committed to best industry practices for environmental stewardship and responsible development. n
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66 Mining North of 60 | 2016
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Kaizen Discovery Inc.
Competitive Success Kaizen the key to Coppermine exploration regularly, all of which has given me deep exposure to Japanese culture and in particular business culture. Adopting Kaizen techniques, which means continuous improvement, was an obvious fit with our business strategy, which is to take an old mineral exploration industry model and innovate by bringing our unique access to capital, technology and know-how to opportunistically supercharge the model during this unique and challenging time in our industry. We feel strongly that this preparation meeting the current opportunity will lead to a bright future.” Kaizen Discovery Inc. is a Canadian mineral exploration and development company exploring its 3,500-square-kilometre Coppermine project. In December 2013, it obtained access via the Typhoon geophysical technology of its majority shareholder HPX TechCo Inc. (High Power Exploration). Typhoon is claimed to address the limitations of existing exploration technology. Indeed, Kaizen’s long-term growth strategy is to work with Japanese entities to identify, explore, and develop high-quality mineral projects that have the potential to produce and deliver minerals to Japan’s industrial sector. Kaizen’s tenement area is located just five kilometres at its closest point from tide water, and the Nunavut town of Kugluktuk on the Coronation Gulf (Northwest Passage shipping lane). Kugluktuk has a commercial airport, with a twice daily service from Yellowknife. Access within the project area is by helicopter, fixed-wing float plane, or fixed-wing aircraft landing on an existing gravel landing strip. In addition, Kaizen has a wholly-owned Nunavut operating entity, Tundra Copper Corporation, acquired in November 2014, and then comprising 352 square kilometres of Crown land. Two further blocks of Inuit-owned land bring the total to 3,500 square kilometres.
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What is Kaizen?
It should be explained that Kaizen takes its name from a Japanese term for the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by its pioneer Masaaki Imai in his1986 book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. Kaizen is a continuous improvement process based on certain guiding principles: • good processes bring good results; • go see for yourself to grasp the current situation; • speak with data, manage by facts; • take action to contain and correct root causes of problems; • work as a team; and • Kaizen is everybody’s business. Matthew Hornor, president and CEO, Kaizen Discovery Inc., explains his adoption of Kaizen techniques, ”I first visited Japan in 1991 on an exchange program through my university [University of Southern California] after which I attended Tohoku University and Tokyo University and began my career in Tokyo as an international attorney at Paul Hastings, a U.S.-based law firm, after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. Over the past 25 years I have developed many strong personal and business relationships in Japan and still travel there
The Coppermine Project contains 115 kilometres of strike off an easterly-trending belt of mesoproterozoic continental flood basalts (the Coppermine River Group) and unconformably overlying marine sedimentary rocks of neoproterozoic age (the Rae Group). The belt has numerous showings and occurrences to demonstrate its prospectivity for two distinct deposit types: sediment-hosted stratiform copper-silver and structurally controlled, volcanic-hosted coppersilver. In addition, the Kaizen permits extend 23 kilometres north to cover possible down-dip extensions of mineralization to an estimated depth of 1,200 metres. In turn, Coppermine comprises two geologically distinct exploration targets: sediment-hosted stratiform copper (+silver) and structurally controlled volcanichosted copper (+silver). In late October 2014, Kaizen staked claims and applied for prospecting permits covering an additional 3,320 square kilometres prospective for sediment-hosted stratiform copper; there are over 18 highly prospective and extremely high-grade (some 45 per cent) copper showings. Most showings are structurally controlled along steeplydipping fault fissures and fault-breccia
zones in the basalts, while mineralization mainly occurs as massive bornite-chalcocite and lesser chalcopyrite, with associated calcite, hematite and chlorite. The Kaizen exploration permits cover approximately an 115 kilometre strike length of this basal contact, and extend 23 kilometres north to cover possible down-dip extensions of mineralization to an estimated depth of 1,200 metres.
Drilling and exploration As of late July 2015, Kaizen received the
remaining land and water use permits and mineral rights required for its exploration programme at Coppermine; its planned diamond drilling programme, comprising 14 holes totalling 1,500 metres, is now underway. The current exploration campaign targets district-scale, sediment-hosted, stratiform copper mineralization and highgrade, volcanic-hosted copper-silver within the larger permit area. Drill mobilization was completed in July, and drilling has commenced with initial holes designed to test volcanic-hosted targets. During a due diligence field visit, rock-grab samples collected by Kaizen geologists were grading up to 7.27 per cent copper and 26.7 g/t silver in laterally continuous, gently dipping, carbonaceous siltstones. As part of this programme, Kaizen will implement its carefully developed Wildlife and Environmental Impact Mitigation Plan, aimed at minimizing potential impact on all species but recognizing in particular the vulnerability of the Bluenose East Caribou. Camp construction and mobilization of equipment and supplies are underway, with diamond drilling commencing in August 2015.
The future Matthew Hornor welcomed representatives of several multi-billion dollar Japanese corporations to the Coppermine project in Nunavut during July 2015, all of whom, as he mentions, “spent time to not only research and understand the technical nature of the project but to become familiar with the history, customs and traditions of the Inuit people of the western Kitikmeot region. The Japanese seem suitably impressed with the Coppermine project and, as discussions concerning cooperative project funding mature, Kaizen will be providing details of the type and magnitude of the joint venture that results.” Looking to the future, Hornor continues: “In one year¹s time we expect to have provided our shareholders with additional value creation through multiple re-rating milestones as we continue to aggressively explore our highly prospective and growing portfolio of assets, while we also continue to assess additional undervalued acquisition opportunities on a global basis.” n
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| Mining North of 60 69
TerraX Minerals Inc.’s Yellowknife City Gold Project exploration work has been encouraging
Location map of the YCGP with the city of Yellowknife, Dettah, and N'dilo close by. Areas drilled in 2015 are indicated on the map. TerraX Minerals Inc.’s 116-square-kilometre Yellowknife City Gold Project (YCGP) is an area that has been explored since the 1930s - the very beginning of the discovery of gold in the Yellowknife Gold Belt. It covers 23 strike kilometres immediately north and south of Yellowknife on extensions of the shear system that hosts the high-grade Giant and Con gold mines which collectively produced 14M oz of gold at an average grade of 16 g/t Au. The first exploration on the YCGP predates the city of Yellowknife, but human occupation has a long history as the area is recognized as part of Chief Drygeese Territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN), who continue to live in the area in the villages of N’dilo and Dettah. Unlike almost all other exploration proj-
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ects north of 60, YCGP is accessed by an allseason road (known as the Ryan Lake or Crestaurum Road), and is crisscrossed with historical drill trails and local ice roads. It benefits from good infrastructure, a local skilled workforce and local businesses. But this accessibility brings its own challenges as the YCGP trails and lakes are used by the YKDFN, cabin owners on Ryan, Vee, Walsh (Eèkw’qq` Tı) and (Banting (Jı`ı Tı`) Lakes, and it is a common destination for snowmobilers, ATVs, cross country skiers and boaters. The property has a highly-visible public profile and environmental concerns are accentuated by its close proximity to the remediation work being carried out at the former Giant and Con mines. TerraX has embraced these challenges as it envisages a potential mine development that would be a great benefit to the people of Yellowknife, N’dilo and Dettah. The mantra of TerraX is “a project where you can live where you work”, in contrast to the fly-in, fly-out operations common in the North. A development on the doorstep of the capital of Northwest Territories offers the maximum benefit for the local economy of the city and the territory. And there is good reason to accept the challenges on YCGP as TerraX’s exploration work has been encouraging. Early stage
A group of mining industry analysts touring the surface exposure of the Hebert-Brent Zone in September 2015.
Left to right Brent McAllister, drill manager; Eric Hebert, senior geologist; and Alan Sexton, project manager examining the first hole from the new Hebert-Brent Zone discovered in summer 2015. exploration that began in the summer of 2013 quickly moved to Advanced Exploration when a permit was received from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board in March 2014. During 2014-2015 drilling totalling 18,137 metres were completed by TerraX. Results include 33.60 g/t gold over 2.85 metres and 10.32 g/t gold over seven metres on the Crestaurum Shear; 18.40 g/t gold over 5.16 metres within a broader zone of 22.40 metres of 6.35 g/t gold on the Barney Zone; and the newly discovered Hebert-Brent Zone has channel samples of 11.0 metres of 7.55 g/t gold and six metres of 10.26 g/t gold. Moving forward into 2016, TerraX will be continuing to explore these three areas, as well as several other targets identified in surface exploration work over the last two and a half years. TerraX is still a long way off from mine development, but with the continuing success optimism remains high. n
TerraX Minerals Inc. 2300-1066 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6E 3X2 Phone: (604) 689-1749
Sirius Wilderness Medicine
Safe & Sound
Wilderness first aid training simulation.
High arctic exploration camp.
Companies operating in remote and wilderness regions face many challenges – harsh environmental conditions, risk of workers being stranded because of inclement weather, risk of wild animal attacks, and much more. For 25 years, Quebec-based Sirius Wilderness Medicine has been a Canadian leader in wilderness first aid training and medical support services. “We have a strong track record in providing advanced care, medical infrastructure and training in some of the most isolated regions of Canada,” explains Bob Washer, Sirius founding president.
Complete medical support services
© Sirius Wilderness Medicine
Exploration and mining sites require
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© Sirius Wilderness Medicine
© Sirius Wilderness Medicine
Preventing and responding to remote medical emergencies
efficient and well-adapted medical infrastructure. For more than 10 years Sirius has provided organizations operating in the Northern and high arctic regions of Canada with medical solutions that can be relied upon in the face of the world’s most demanding conditions. Sirius provides: • highly-experienced medical personnel supervised by off-site medical direction • infirmary and clinic installation • medical equipment and supplies • regulatory and risk assessments • emergency response and medical evacuation plans • training Sirius’ success is based on the lasting relationships the company has developed with local First Nations and Inuit communities, as well as on close ties established with government departments and with industry.
Wilderness safety training An efficient medical support system ensures rapid and appropriate medical response. Targeted wilderness first aid training helps remote workers prevent medical emergencies in the first place. Over the past decade, governments across Canada have enacted more strin-
gent regulations regarding occupational health and safety. Employers are required to provide specific wilderness first aid training if an employee’s workplace is a remote region. There is increasing awareness within the industry of the need for high standards in occupational health and safety. With the aim of promoting safety, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) has worked closely with Sirius over the years to keep PDAC members informed of occupational health and safety issues and to provide them with annual safety training programs. “Our courses go far beyond urban first aid,” explains Washer. “We focus on the specific hazards of remote settings, including extreme environmental conditions and long-term care in cases of delayed evacuation. Acquiring these skills gives remote workers a great deal of confidence.” Sirius wilderness first aid courses are also incorporated into many college and university programs across Canada helping to prepare future Canadian engineers and geologists for safe work in the field. For more information, please visit www.siriusmed.com n
For the health and safety of your workers turn to
Sirius Wilderness Medicine Complete Medical Support Systems
Safety Training for Remote Work Sites
➢ Medical personnel
➢ Wilderness First Aid
➢ Clinic and infirmary installation
➢ Medical equipment and supplies ➢ Emergency response and medical evacuation plans ➢ Regulatory compliance
➢ Helicopter Safety ➢ Wildlife Predator Defense ➢ Wilderness Travel Skills
www.siriusmed.com (877) 982-0066
Desgagnés Transarctik Inc.
Mining Cargo How to make the best of your sealift project By Waguih Rayes, general manager, Desgagnés Transarctik Inc.
Maritime carriage in the Canadian Arctic, which is commonly known as sealift, is often compromised by treacherous weather and by the narrow window of opportunity during the navigation season in the Arctic waters. These inconveniences, compounded by near to complete lack of marine infrastructure in the North, render sealift operations, to the least, very daring at times. When heavy and dimensional cargo represent the major part of a shipload, which is often the case with a mining cargo project, leading such a project to a successful conclusion certainly isn’t a matter of luck, nor is it founded on simple logistical and operational formulas. It is therefore always rewarding to see cargo being safely discharged and delivered at a Northern mining site, at the term of a sealift operation. Indeed, this is the ultimate reward for both, client and carrier, after having invested massive efforts and ample time in planning and driving the project to a successful completion. Choosing a reliable sealift carrier is a major factor for a successful cargo project. Nonetheless, other elements are also essential and greatly contribute in maintaining smooth operations throughout the sealift stages and processes.
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Most of Nunavut Sealink and Supply (NSSI)’s major account clients, particularly the mining companies, realize after their first sealift experience that a well-executed procurement and logistical planning on their own end, along with a timely communication strategy with their carrier, are almost as important as having chosen the experienced and capable sealift company. No matter which type of carriage formula is chosen, or form of contractual agreement is concluded between the mining company and NSSI, it is remark-
able how much smoother the operations are and how efficient sealift costs become when both “right and left hands” work well together. The common objective is to maximize the outcome of the cargo project operations and to reach the greatest cost efficiency for the customer. NSSI’s availability and willingness to work at all times in a very close collaboration with its clients and other concerned stakeholders, starting many months before the ship-loading operations up to the completion of de-
livery at sites are very beneficial; and the client should take full advantage thereof. However, often the project management and operation resources on the customer’s end are not very familiar with constraints that certain international and federal regulations impose upon the carrier. Hence the importance of an efficient and timely communication between parties The perfect example for increasing efficiency through good communication at the planning stages is to maintain a well detailed and constantly updated list of cargo. Project managers should set a goal to complete and update such detailed cargo lists in a timely manner and share them with the sealift carrier through a well structured communication channel that both parties can define as part of their contractual agreement. Evidently, the effective procurement planning by project management resources and the efficient internal communications on the customer’s end, are the key to achieving this goal. When delays in project management’s timeline occur, cargo lists are not often
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ready when required by the sealift carrier. Sometimes lists could lack critical information such as cargo units’ volume and weight. In other instances, cargo lists receive drastic additions in terms of volumes and specifications after that the voyage planning process is engaged and the selection of the most adequate vessel for intended cargo is made. Certainly, this could translate into a poor operational outcome and diminished cost efficiency. More importantly, when lists of cargo do not indicate, with precision, the types and volumes of cargo commonly defined as “dangerous goods,” the consequences could be even more detrimental to the cargo project. NSSI’s customary logistical and operational support that the company extends to its client is driven by the instinctive proactivity of our customer service and operations management resources. An NSSI’ support is offered from the cargo project planning phase, throughout implementation stages and until delivery at the mining site is complete. Time after time, the cargo projects undertaken by NSSI are
brought to successful completion with the client’s full satisfaction. Additionally, state-of-the-art equipment and heavy-lift, modern ice-class vessels are deployed by our company and greatly contribute in maintaining safety and efficiency of cargo operations. In conclusion, if there is a couple of good recommendations that are worth reiterating to customers, it is to fully benefit from expertise and cooperation offered by NSSI and Desgagnés; and to maintain an efficient communication channel with the concerned stakeholders, from the planning stage and at all times throughout the sealift season. Further, it is worth emphasizing that Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreements (IIBA) are valued by Nunavut Inuit Associations as sinequanone for the implementation of any mining project in Nunavut. NSSI’ Shareholders and partners, being for the most Birthright Corporations of Nunavut, collectively and individually bring an interesting dimension to the application of IIBA with any sealift carriage contract that NSSI concludes with major account clients, particularly with the mining sector. Furthermore, by their respective fields of activities and expertise, NSSI’ shareholders are well positioned to provide a variety of services as well as support to major projects and mining sites located in their respective Nunavut regions. Waguih Rayes is general manager of Desgagnés Transarctik Inc., managing partner of Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc. (NSSI), the most active sealift carrier in Nunavut. n
SUMMIT MEETING www.fednav.com
DMC Mining Service
Building Value DMC Mining Services helps tackle the challenges of building and running safe and profitable mining operations mine with its equipment, trained personnel, and management systems. Where it assumes responsibility for mine operation, DMC hires staff, develops production budgets and schedules, produces reports, maintains regulatory permits and filings, manages operating staff, and assumes overall responsibility for safety and loss control.
Mine shaft sinking
Since its founding in 1980 as Dynatec Mining Limited, DMC Mining Services has been through a number of mergers, underscoring the company’s ability to create value, as well as earning many business and safety awards, proving the company as an innovator in the field. DMC Mining Services was started in 1980 as a mining contractor. In 1987, they purchased the Tonto Group of companies to strengthen their presence in Western Canada and added a drilling division based in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1997, the company merged with Sherritt International Corporation’s Metallurgical Technologies business to create a new publicly-traded company, Dynatec Corporation, which operated three divisions - mining services, drilling services, and metallurgical technologies. In 2001, Dynatec Corporation sold the drilling services division to Major Drilling Group International Inc. In June 2007, Sherritt International Corporation acquired Dynatec Corporation. In October of that same year Sherritt sold Dynatec Mining Services (Canada) and Dynatec Mining Services Corporation (USA) to FNX Mining Company Inc. The purchase did not include the name “Dy-
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natec" so the company now conducts business under the name DMC Mining Services (Canada) and DMC Mining Services Corporation (USA). In 2010, FNX Mining Company Inc., and Quadra Mining Ltd., merged to create Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. and in 2012, KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. purchased all of the outstanding shares of Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. DMC Mining Services is a division of FNX Mining Company Inc., which is a whollyowned subsidiary of KGHM International.
DMC services DMC has a long history as a safe and efficient contract miner, including at Inco’s Shebandowan mine in the 1990s, and at Goldcorp’s Red Lake mine in the early 2000s. Today, the company continues to provide comprehensive services ranging from mine feasibility, and underground mine design, including mine shafts, ore and waste handling systems, mine dewatering systems, backfill systems, and ventilation systems. It also advises on equipment selection and procurement. Once the feasibility and design of an underground mine has been established, DMC is able to develop and operate the
Mine shaft sinking is one of the most critical and technically difficult aspects of underground mine development and construction. A mine shaft must be completed and commissioned for a deep mine before any other underground mine development can begin. Accordingly, mine owners place a premium on rapid sinking schedules. DMC has the experience, skilled workers, and the specialized techniques and equipment necessary to complete technically difficult projects, such as those involving poor ground conditions or extreme depth, on time and on budget. The company has a history of innovation and continuous technical improvements, such as its patented Long Round Jumbo, which has increased the speed at which shafts can be completed. It was also chosen as the contractor to sink two 1,000-metre shafts at BHP Billiton’s Jansen potash project, using innovative new technology that it initiated and developed from concept to shaft sinking.
Mine development DMC is able to offer a bundle of related services, including lateral development work consisting of access ramps, declines, drifting, and crosscutting.
Mine construction Their mine construction services involve specialized activities related to both surface and underground mine construc-
tion. The company’s mine construction work has included refuge stations, underground explosives magazines, underground shops, crushing and conveying systems, sumps and dams for mine dewatering systems, ground stabilization, and grout injection, and backfill.
Superior safety Over its 36 years in business, DMC Mining Services has established a serious reputation for safety thanks to the company’s
top leadership and its on-site supervisors. To reinforce that culture of safety, DMC’s management has set up systems of accountability and worked to facilitate communication around workplace hazards, including through daily safety meetings at job sites. Through the years, DMC has been recognized many times for its health and safety efforts. It was runner up in the Ontario government’s Workplace Safety North (WSN) workplace safety excellence
audit in 2013, and won awards for having the lowest total medical injury frequency performance in 2011, and for workplace self assessment in 2011. However, instead of focusing on awards, DMC is trying to encourage more reporting to collect leading indicators such as near misses in the workplace. Having this information will help management understand what needs to be improved so future accidents can be prevented. n
PROVIDING THE SAFEST SOLUTIONS For 36 years we have been the foremost provider of mining services and solutions to the North American mining industry. • • • • • • • • •
Contract Mining Shaft Sinking Raise Boring and Raise Excavation Mine Construction and Infrastructure Mine Development and Rehabilitation Headframes and Hoisting Plants Ground Freezing and Grouting Programs Engineering Design and Feasibility Studies Property Development through Equity Investment, Partnerships or Joint Ventures
Canada 1-800-892-8293 or USA 1-800-748-2375
| Mining North of 60 79
Big Show PDAC 2016 promises to bring another exciting event to Toronto By Emily Pike
More than 23,500 people attended the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention in 2015 from over 100 countries, making it an unquestionable success – and they’re gearing up for another exciting event for 2016. Scheduled for March 6 to 9, 2016, the PDAC International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange will again be in Toronto, marking the convention’s 84th anniversary of being held in Canada’s largest city. The PDAC Convention is the world’s leading convention for people, compa-
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nies and organizations in, or connected with, mineral exploration. Since it began in 1932, it has become the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry. With access passes to satisfy every need – from student to senior, from one-day passes to VIP all-access passes – there’s no reason to miss any of what the conference has to offer, as PDAC President Rod Thomas shares. “The most popular offerings are the Aboriginal program, the CEO panel, the keynote session, the CSR event series, and the technical sessions,” he states, adding the
themes of this year’s technical sessions include coal, diamonds, securities, Nevada gold deposits, water and zinc, as well as many more. The Core Shack is also a proven draw for attendees. It’s a place where drilling projects can display core findings free of charge to the attendees, highlighting new and exciting results and discussing it with anyone who wishes to know more. Last year, over 25 per cent of the attendees from conference were international travellers; people from 116 countries around the world.
ONLY GOING TO ONE MINING INVESTMENT SHOW THIS YEAR?
MARCH 6 – 9 PDAC 2016 CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS • Technical Program featuring 18 sessions by industry experts • Over 1,000 exhibitors promoting technology, products, samples and claim results! • Topical Short Courses
• Aboriginal, Capital Markets, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Student Programming • Popular networking events such as Luncheons, Awards Evening, Receptions and Closing Party
REGISTER NOW! www.pdac.ca/convention
Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada
International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada
“Attendees came from as far as Australia, Peru, England, Mexico, Chile, China, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and the United States,” says Thomas. Last year there were 841 trade show booths and 492 speakers. The reason the convention is so big crowd is clear to Thomas, “It’s the largest industry event for mining and minerals in the world and the top destination for networking and learning.” Part of the appeal of a convention’s location for an attendee is coming early, or staying late, or both for the truly adventurous. Thomas shares the statistics of Toronto’s undeniable attraction. “In a study we received from Tourism Toronto, the convention injects about $70 million into the local economy.” For the second year, the PDAC Convention will have a trade show floor in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Con-
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vention Centre (MTCC), as well as the regular, larger show floor in the South Building, where companies, organizations and governments can showcase their technology, products, services and mining jurisdictions to attendees. It’s also the second year for the capital markets program, a specific stream of conference sessions aimed at education and discussion on financing mineral exploration. Thomas talks about a new offering coming this year, “We are in the preliminary stage of putting together an International Mines Minister Summit at the PDAC 2016 Convention to bring together industry government leaders from around the world.” If you’ve ever attended a PDAC convention, you know that the social events are not to be missed, and this year is no exception. “A few of the most popular events are
the welcome reception, awards evening, gala, mining night and media reception,” notes Thomas. If all of that isn’t enough, a few bonuses include a complimentary business tote for all-access pass holder, for their conference goodies and session handouts; an e-centre that provides attendees with internet access for the full four days of the conference; preferred rates are offered for nearby hotels; and free water stations and even shoe-shine stands available at the conference. But if you’re still on the fence about going, Thomas has some final words to lure you in, “It’s the Super Bowl event of the year for our industry! You’ll learn all about the latest trends, technologies and personalities shaping the mineral exploration and development industry. It’s a must-attend event.” n
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Reserve now 1-877-225-6327
Reserve online www.NEAS.ca
Iconic brands. Legendary service.
353B Old Airport Road, Yellowknife, NT (867) 873-6360 www.midnightsunenergy.com
Published on Jun 16, 2016