Exploration and Mining in Northwestern Ontario
Precious metal prices are lofty for mid 2019, therefore providing direct benefit to New Gold Inc., Harte Gold Corporation, Barrick Gold Corporation, Newmont Goldcorp Inc. and North American Palladium Ltd., and their mines in Northwestern Ontario! As of August 26,
the price of gold was $1534.00 per ounce (U.S.) and palladium was $1446.00 per ounce (U.S.).
Robust gold prices provide a level of confidence with respect to future mine development including: Greenstone Gold’s Hardrock Mine, Treasury Metal’s Goliath Project, Pure Gold’s Madsen Mine Rubicon’s Phoenix Project and First Mining Gold’s Springpole Lake Project.
Greenstone Gold (Centerra Gold and Premier Gold) have $54M budgeted for 2019 expenditures at the Hardrock Mine, including: detailed engineering, infill drilling, indigenous consultation, permitting, project support and property acquisition. If all time lines are met, Greenstone Gold states that a production decision could be made in late 2019, with construction leading to production by 2021. Open pit mine life is 15 years, with underground resources (future shaft) significant as well.
Treasury Metals received Federal EA approval in August for the Goliath Deposit, located east of Dryden . Detailed engineering, community consultation and permit(s) acquisitions are in progress. A business decision on construction could then be made by the end of 2019; if that decision is positive, mine and mill construction could begin in 2020. Mine life (open pit and underground) is 13 years.
Pure Gold completed their Feasibility Study for the Madsen Mine project (located west of Red Lake) in early 2019. A decision to proceed to construction was made following financing (August). Current gold resources suggest a 14 year mine line. In Q3, Wabauskang First Nation and Lac Seul First Nation signed a Project Agreement with Pure Gold. Madsen will be Northwestern Ontario’s next gold producer!
Rubicon Minerals Corporation released a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Phoenix Gold Project, Red Lake. Life of Mine would be 6.2 years with approximately 500,000 ounces of gold produced.
Lithium remains a sought after commodity globally for high temperature glass and electric vehicle battery applications: Exploration projects by Avalon Advanced Materials (N. of Kenora), Frontier Lithium (N. of Red Lake), Ardiden (NE. of Armstrong) and Rock Tech Lithium (S. of Beardmore) have lithium deposits totalling approximately 25 million tonnes that potentially can assist to address EV demand 5 years out. The global lithium industry is shifting toward hard rock deposits, as opposed to brines, making the Northwestern Ontario deposits extremely attractive.
North American Palladium is investing over $20M in mineral exploration at the Lac des Iles Mine and Sunday Lake for 2019. Workforce growth is forecast at 19% over the next 3 years as Lac des Iles expands to become one of Canada’s largest underground mines.
Newmont Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine production has been severely impacted by an underground fire in March. Aggressive exploration continues. Underground mine rebuild is well underway.
Generation Mining has acquired the Sibanye-Stillwater Marathon palladium-copper deposit, located north of Marathon.
Benton Resources has acquired the Thunder Bay North and Escape Lake palladium deposits, located north of Thunder Bay.
New Gold Inc.-Rainy River produced 66,000 ounces of gold in Q2 and launched an exploration program on the Intrepid North area.
Great Bear Resources, 2019 NWOPA recipient of the Bernie Schnieders’ Discovery of the Year Award, embarked on a 90,000 metre exploration drill program(one of the largest in Canada) on the Dixie Lake gold project, located southeast of Red Lake.
Written by: John Mason, P. Geo., D. Sc., Project Manager, Mining Services - Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC)