Development News (April 01, 2003)
Tulsequah project awarded project approval certificate
Redfern Resources Ltd. of Vancouver was granted a Project Approval Certificate in mid-December for the 100%-owned Tulsequah project.
Redfern proposes to re-open the Tulsequah Chief mine, an underground Au-Ag-Cu-Zn mine that operated in northwest British Columbia in the 1950s. Since the early 1980s, Redfern has spent almost $30 million to define the deposit and design an environmentally responsible re-development plan.
The proposal is based on a 2,500 tonne/day underground mine, mill and flotation processing plant producing a gold-rich gravity concentrate as well as zinc, lead and copper concentrates. Estimated average annual payable metal output, at full production, is 98 million pounds Zn, 22 million pounds Cu, 10 million pounds Pb, 58,000 oz Au and 2.3 million oz Ag. The reserve contains a total of slightly less than 1 million ounces of gold-equivalent in addition to its significant base metal content. The deposit remains open at depth and laterally.
In reaching their latest decision, the B.C. Court of Appeal has concluded that the project can be constructed, operated and closed in a manner that minimizes impacts on the environment and accommodates the concerns and asserted rights of the Tlingits. Development of the mine will bring an estimated $150 million of capital investment, 260 direct high-paying jobs, and an estimated 550 indirect and induced jobs to a region of the province that has endured many years of high unemployment and a severely depressed economy.
Meadowbank feasibility and permitting underway
Cumberland Resources Ltd. awarded a feasibility study for the Meadowbank gold project to the international engineering firm AMEC in December 2002. The feasibility study on the 100%-owned Meadowbank project, 70 km north of Baker Lake, Nun., is planned to be completed in late 2003.
Meadowbank is host to the third largest undeveloped gold resource in Canada with six closely spaced, near surface, gold deposits. A preliminary assessment completed in January 2002 indicated the project could support a production rate of approximately 250,000 oz Au per year at an estimated cash cost of US$168 per ounce over an eight-year mine life, with 85% of gold production from open pit mine designs.
In early April 2003, the company reported 12.3 million tonnes of measured and indicated reserves grading 5.0 g/t Au, and 9.3 million tonnes grading 4.2 g/t Au. This includes resources in the newly-discovered PDF deposit.
Large drilling programs are underway as the company initiated the field component of its $10.5-million 2003 work program at Meadowbank focussing on deposit definition and further exploration.
The company recently submitted a Project Description Report to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) to initiate Nunavut’s mine development permitting process. NIRB will conduct a project screening in consultation with Baker Lake and other communities, Designated Inuit Organizations, Community Land and Resource Committees, Hunters and Trappers Organizations, federal and territorial government departments, and relevant wildlife management boards.
Nui Phao prefeasibility study results
Tiberon Minerals Ltd. of Calgary announced in January the positive results of its prefeasibility study of the Nui Phao polymetallic deposit in Vietnam. Tiberon holds 70% interest in the deposit, with the minority interest equally divided between two Vietnamese partners. The study was completed by AMEC E & C Services Ltd. in conjunction with Knight Piesold Consulting and Laurion Consulting Inc.
The Nui Phao project will be operated as a conventional truck and loader open pit mine. The mine is scheduled to deliver 10,000 tonnes per day ore, or 3.5 million tonnes per year, for a mine life of 16 years. Production will be year-round from a single open pit with an overall strip ratio of 1.6:1 waste to ore.
The process plant designed consists of a conventional “gravity plus flotation” tungsten concentrator.
With an initial capital cost of US$140 million, there would be a 21% internal rate of return, and a payback period of 3.8 years.
The next stage will be to initiate a bankable feasibility study, which should be complete during 2004. A construction period of 12-18 months would lead to the commissioning of the mine in 2005, according to Tiberon president Loren Komperdo.
Construction release on the Rosebel Gold Project
Cambior Inc. has received all the necessary permits and subscribed to the political risk insurance required to officially begin the construction and development of its 100%-owned Rosebel gold project in Suriname. The political risk coverage will be underwritten by a syndicate of insurers including Export Development Canada (EDC). Commercial production from the project is scheduled for the first quarter of 2004.
During 2003, Cambior will concentrate its efforts on the development of the Rosebel gold project, at an estimated capital cost of US$95 million. It is estimated that Rosebel will produce 270,000 oz Au in its first year of operation at a mine operating cost of US$157/oz, boosting Cambior’s gold production to over 700,000 oz in 2004.