CMJ’s Top 10 Canadian Junior Mining Companies
With the coming of the New Year, many use the relative lull of the holidays as a time for reflection and planning. We think of the milestones we’ve reached, our stage at the present and where we would like to be going in the future. Some of us, seeking to acknowledge those who have had success over the past years, make lists and give awards.
The mining industry is no different. Each January at an awards banquet held in Toronto, members of the Canadian mining industry gather to induct esteemed colleagues into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. Often times these inductees have developed new technologies that have played an important role in the discovery of new mineral deposits; others, exhibiting great fortitude and tenacity, have made significant mineral discoveries following years of hard work.
Many of the honorees had humble beginnings, starting their careers with junior exploration companies. Often times the inductee’s success led to the success and growth of the junior into a senior mining company.
But what about the current batch of junior explorers that make up the bulk of today’s mining industry. Which ones have the potential to become a top-tier mineral producer? Should they not receive some sort of recognition too? With this in mind, CMJ put together its own list of Top 10 Canadian junior mining companies.
As candidates, we chose only companies that are “Canadian”, that is, having either headquarters or properties in Canada, or a listing on a Canadian stock exchange. The company could not have a producing asset but should, through successful exploration and/or project development, demonstrate significant success towards achieving production. Other qualities demonstrated by the top companies include their use of new technologies or ideas, management’s drive and persistence, and share price appreciation.
Cumberland Resources Ltd., Metallica Resources Inc. and FNX Mining Company Inc. all have deposits nearing production.
Cumberland has shown great persistence in the exploration and development of the Meadowbank gold project, the third largest undeveloped gold resource in Canada. The company expects to complete a feasibility study in the first quarter of 2004 and, following permitting, put Meadowbank into production at a rate of 250,000 ounces per year by late 2006 or early 2007. Metallica is developing its Cerro San Pedro gold-silver project in Mexico and, with Noranda as a joint venture partner, is developing the El Morro copper-gold project in Chile. FNX, having optioned five formerly-producing properties from Inco in 2001, completed exploration and began producing nickel in mid-2003. Its shares have jumped from the 50-cent level to around $9.00.
Many juniors such as Fronteer Development Group Inc., Rubicon Minerals Corp. and Wolfden Resources Inc. have chosen to take large land positions within prolific but under-explored mineral belts. Each of these companies has a significant land position in the Red Lake, Ont., greenstone belt and has aligned itself with a senior producer with knowledge of the camp.
Queenston Mining and Sudbury Contact Mines both have a long history in the exploration of projects in the Abitbi greenstone belt. Queenston’s Kirkland Lake project is the largest in the camp, encompassing 25 properties totaling 12,000 hectares. The project includes five gold deposits with resources of approximately 1.5 million ounces of gold. Sudbury Contact began exploring for gold in the Abitibi more than 10 years ago but now is also searching for diamonds on its 33,000-hectare Timiskaming property.
Others, such as Orezone Resources, have gone further afield. Orezone has three advanced-stage projects encompassing 5,000 km2 of prospective ground in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Essakan, Orezone’s most advanced project, is a joint venture with Gold Fields Ltd. with resources totalling 1.6 million ounces of gold.
Stornoway Diamond Corp. is a leading exploration company with five projects in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Quebec. It has been a pioneer in developing new diamond plays, and has experienced management and more than 11 million acres of mineral rights.
Undoubtedly many readers will take issue with the list that we came up with. This is to be expected. We encourage those who are so moved to make your opinions known by sending an e-mail or letter to the editor. Perhaps a reader’s list of the Top 10 Canadian junior mining companies will result.
CMJ’S TOP 10 JUNIOR COMPANIES
Cumberland Resources Ltd.
FNX Mining Company Inc.
Fronteer Development Group
Metallica Resources Inc.
Orezone Resources Inc.
Queenston Mining Inc.
Rubicon Minerals Corporation
Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Sudbury Contact Mines Ltd.
Wolfden Resources Inc.
– Order of list is alphabetical.