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CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES: VIEWPOINT – New finds may lead to new Canadian mines

Mineral deposits are not made overnight. Some have their roots in celestial events dating back four billion years. ...


Mineral deposits are not made overnight. Some have their roots in celestial events dating back four billion years. So it is particularly good news to report that new deposits are still being found in Canada. Most of them will never become mines. Long lead times mean that production from others will begin only years from now. But in the meantime, their discoverers can dream.

DONNER METALS of Vancouver says it has made a new zinc-copper discovery near Matagami, Que. A massive sulphide was intersected by three drillholes at Bracemac, with the best averaging 14.0% Zn and 3.7% Cu over 8.8 m. The discovery was made at the Upper Tuffite in mafic volcanics lying 220 m above the Key Tuffite, which occurs at the top of the Watson Lake felsic volcanics. Donner plans a total of 45,000 m of drilling.

Toronto’s LAURION MINERAL EXPLORATION has made a new volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) discovery 40 km northwest of Timmins, Ont. Drill core assays from the 100%-owned Enid-Massey project have returned 1.5% and 1.6% Zn along with copper and precious metals values. The odds are against this being another mine as rich as Kidd Creek, but Laurion has more work planned. The focus is on the relatively unexplored Cote-Enid-Massey Mafic Intrusive Complex, the location of yet-untested airborne conductors showing potential VMS Cu-Ni-PGM and Au mineralization, says the company.

Calgary-based STRATABOUND MINERALS has drilled a new gabbro zone at its Elmtree project near Bathurst, N.B. One hole intersected 11.0 m averaging 2.59 g/t Au including 4.5 m at 5.4 g/t Au in the newly discovered dike. The Elmtree claims are located north of the Rocky Brook-Millstream Fault, whereas the Bathurst base metal camp lies south of the fault.

Vancouver’s TYHEE DEVELOPMENT is re-exploring the old gold mines of Yellowknife, N.W.T., in particular the Discovery mine 90 km north of the city. Recent drilling has identified a new zone that tested as high as 7.4 g/t Au over 1.66 m. The company believes this is a potential recurrence of the Discovery deposit, north of the previous mine workings.

A new zone of copper-gold mineralization has been drilled by Vancouver-based WESTERN COPPER at its wholly owned Carmacks project 200 km north of Whitehorse, Yukon. The best hole of the three reported returned 0.6% Cu and 0.14 g/t Au over 89.0 m. The Carmacks project is in development with initial production planned as early as Q3 2008, and finding a little extra ore is always a good thing.

News of these discoveries is heartening for our mineral industry. But discoveries are not made without funding. Fortunately, the sustained high commodity prices of the last few years are making it relatively easy to raise exploration money today. NRCAN estimates that more than $1.7 billion was spent on mineral exploration and deposit appraisals in 2006. That’s roughly three times as much as was spent in 2002.

Let us hope the money for exploration continues to roll in. Without it, new discoveries like these will in the future be few and far between.


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