HUDBAY MINERALS of Winnipeg plans to spend $45.5 million on exploration in northern Manitoba next year. The latest number replaces the mere $10-million figure previously announced for 2007. This is the kind of news we like to hear from Canadian miners.
“Exploration is key to HudBay’s organic growth,” said company president and CEO Peter Jones. “We have a long track record of discovery and our spending in 2007 is an effort to enhance that process.” Jones went on to say, “Our focus on mergers and acquisitions will also be a major priority in 2007.”
The bulk of the money$37 millionis earmarked for work in the Flin Flon Greenstone Belt, where drilling targets include known mineral deposits, structural re-interpretations and geophysical anomalies. Work will also be done to expand reserves and resources at its 777, Trout Lake and Chisel North copper-zinc mines in the Belt.
Outside the Flin Flon Greenstone Belt, exploration will aim to further expand mineral reserves and resources at its Balmat zinc mine in New York State and to discover new deposits in the Balmat district. Exploration in 2007 will also include HudBay’s mineral properties in southwest Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.
The remaining $8.5 million will be spent for work at the Bur deposit in the Snow Lake area of northern Manitoba. It will go toward infill diamond drilling, underground work aimed at extracting a 10,000-t ore sample, obtaining production permits, and completion of a feasibility study.
HudBay wants the Bur deposit to provide incremental feed to the nearby Snow Lake concentrator and the Flin Flon metallurgical plants for up to three years, producing an additional annual refined metal production of approximately 6,000 t of copper, 20,000 t of zinc, 2,000 oz of gold and 45,000 oz of silver.
I went to the opening of the Snow Lake concentrator in 1979 on a press junket paid for by the mining company. Reporters were flown from Flin Flon to Snow Lake in a single-engine plane with corrugated metal skin and no noise insulation. The pilot bore a resemblance to Howard Hughes. Fresh-faced and eager, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. And I am pleased to know that the Snow Lake mill still has a future ahead of it.