Looking and Digging in New Brunswick, 2001-02
In the Bathurst mining camp, Noranda Inc. has been preparing land packages for option, since the announcement last fall that its exploration office in Bathurst would close in 2002.
Outside the Bathurst mining camp, Heron Mines Ltd. and Aurogin Resources Ltd. completed two regional AEROTEM surveys in 2001 over the Ordovician Elmtree Inlier, and identified several drill targets. Follow-up drilling on one of them intersected vein-stockwork precious metal mineralization.
In southern New Brunswick, the search for gold deposits is accelerating in the emerging Clarence Stream gold district. Claim-staking nearly doubled in 2001. Several new targets related to intrusions of the Saint George Batholith were delineated following the recent release of a high-sensitivity aeromagnetic survey in the Clarence Stream area. Exploration activity is expected to increase because of till geochemical survey results, demonstrated potential in similar environments to the north, and structurally-related discoveries to the northeast and along the Fundy coast.
Freewest Resources Canada Inc. has delineated potentially mineable resources near the original Clarence Stream showing and additional potential in a newly-delineated, large mineralized area to the northwest.
North of Sussex, Pathfinder Resources Ltd. has been following a new, high-grade, structurally-related gold discovery associated with mafic intrusive and extrusive rocks of the Annidale belt.
The 2001 value of mineral production ($789 million) increased 2% from the final value of $773 million for 2000, due to the improved performance of the metals sector. Higher production of zinc and lead was sufficient to overcome generally lower metal prices and a weaker Canadian dollar.
During the year, Noranda’s Brunswick mine–the province’s sole metals producer–experienced a notable improvement in throughput and metal production. Antimony, bismuth, and cadmium continued to be produced as byproducts from the Brunswick operation. CanZinco’s Caribou mine remained closed for the third full year after low metal prices and metallurgical difficulties had forced a suspension of operations in August 1998. Zinc continued to dominate the metals sector.
The value and quantity of potash decreased from 2000 levels. In addition to the regularly scheduled shutdown, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s Penobsquis mine ceased production in November for six weeks to reduce excess inventory. After increases in the peat industry in the two preceding years, both the amount and value of peat fell in 2001.
The completion of the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline has resulted in a boom in oil and natural gas exploration in New Brunswick. Companies cur- rently exploring in the pro- vince include Columbia Natur- al Resources Canada Ltd., Corridor Resources Inc. and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. Eleven wells were licensed for a depth of 22,000 m. In light of this increased activity in New Brunswick, oil and gas legislation is undergoing review.
Dr. George Miller (IGRG Inc.) and Dallas Davis (Dalmin Corp.) were contracted by the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources & Energy to study the industry and prepare a report (“Miller Report”). After extensive consultation with industry, the province approved the recommendations as follows: comprehensive prospector program; continuation of the junior mining assistance program; deep drilling assistance/ advanced exploration; access to electronic information; enhanced Minerals, Policy and Planning Division budget.
S.R. McCutcheon and M.J. McLeod are regional geologists with the Geological Surveys Branch, and John Griggs is a mining engineer with the Mines Branch, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources & Energy