For many companies, “care and maintenance” means The End. It’s a sad term known throughout the mining industry that says: “Things aren’t going well, and operations will be suspended until further notice.” In other words, the mine is ultimately closed for business.
Underground exploration in the former Kiena gold mine.
Like the mines themselves, the reasons for declaring “care and maintenance” run the gamut from spent resources, to declining market prices that make the cost of mining unprofitable, to the most common factor of all, no money.
And, as we all know, when there’s no money, and the cost of mining exceeds the value of the product, it’s time to quit.
Thankfully, however, there are still companies like Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd., of Toronto, who are not quitters, and their Kiena mine complex located near Val d’Or, Quebec, is a perfect example of the company’s never give up attitude.
In fact, even after struggling to hold onto their Quebec property, Wesdome’s management continued to believe in Kiena, and that its excellent geological potential would someday once again deliver value to its shareholders.
And now, more than two-and-a-half years after suspending operations, company Vice-president, Exploration, George Mannard, proudly announces that renewed drill results “exceed expectations, and that new rich veins are unlike anything previously encountered at this property.”
Again, faith and perseverance looks like it will pay off as two drills are now testing for a repetition along a Z-fold interpretation 200-300 metres below existing mine infrastructure at a depth of approximately 1,200 metres. The nominal drill spacing to test the target is 100 metres.
Mannard says at least two quartz veins and quartz vein breccia systems have been observed so far, all occurring near altered and deformed komatiite – theoleiitic basalt contacts.
And the results are impressive, just look at these numbers:
- 94.35 g/t Au over 17.40 metres uncut (18.03 g/t cut) in hole U-6124.
- 223.12 g/t Au over 14.25 metres uncut (18.59 g/t cut) in hole U-6125.
- 238.81 g/t Au over 5.00 metres uncut (15.71 g/t cut) in hole U-6125.
- 8.43 g/t Au over 8.20 metres uncut (3.82 g/t cut) in hole U-6130.
Historically, the Kiena mine complex was known as a good producer, and with these results, you can see why management is optimistic that its mine will once again regain its status as being one of the province’s better gold mines.
And why not?
The Kiena site is fully permitted.
The mine is already fully permitted, and the integrated mining and milling infrastructure, which includes a 900-metre production shaft and a 2,000 tonne per day capacity mill, produced (from 1981-2013) 1.75 million ounces of gold from 12.5 million tonnes at a grade of 4.5 g/t.
The bulk of this production came from depths between 120 and 960 metres.
Aside from the strong results listed earlier, the complex’s resources currently stand at 4,313,000 tonnes at an average grade of 3.7 g/t for 513,000 ounces in the measured and indicated category, with an additional 336,000 tonnes at an average grade of 7.5 g/t for 80,000 ounces of gold in the measured and indicated category, and 2,311,000 tonnes at an average grade of 8.0 g/t for 598,000 ounces of gold in the inferred category, from its adjacent property.
In total, Wesdome’s Val d’Or property consists of a contiguous block of mining claims and concessions covering more than 7,500 ha. This 8 x 9km parcel includes 8 shafts, more than 2.8 million ounces of historic gold production, and once again, a central 2,000 t/d milling and refining complex.
The Kiena mine complex is a perfect example of a mine “at rest,” so to speak, but one that holds promise to once again become a productive, and profitable operation for Wesdome Gold Mines of Toronto.