What else is hot in Quebec
Your “What’s Hot in Quebec”map (CMJ September 2007) is very interesting. I would like to let you know that the Millennium Iron Range resource [KMag and LabMag projects] near Schefferville, Que.,rivals that of the famous Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota, which has mined over 5 billion tons of taconite ore in the last 50 years.
Dean Journeaux, director and project manager New Millennium Capital Corp. Rockland, Ont.
We recently read your September “Mining in Quebec” issue and were disappointed that there was no mention of Aurizon Mines’projects in the area, particularly its 100%-owned Casa Berardi mine in northwest Quebec. Casa Berardi commenced commercial operations on May 1, 2007, and is expected to produce in excess of 1 million ounces of gold over its initial six-year mine life.The mine is expected to produce 165,000 oz of gold in 2007, and currently provides employment to more than 300 people.
In 2007,Aurizon received the prestigious “Company of the Year” award from the Association de l’exploration minire du Qubec in recognition of: the successful commencement of commercial gold production at the Casa Berardi mine; the discovery of a new gold zone (Zone 123 South) at Casa Berardi; acquiring the Joanna gold project and establishing mineral resources of 11.3 million tonnes averaging 1.7 g/t Au for 630,000 oz in the indicated category, and 28.6 million tonnes averaging 1.6 g/t Au for 1.4 million oz in the inferred category; and the discovery of gold, uranium and rare earth elements at the new Kipawa prospect. In addition, Casa Berardi received the Abitibi Ouest Chambre de Commerce’s “Investment of the Year” award.
Aurizon is a proud contributor to the Fonds Restor-Action Nunavik, created in September 2007 to rehabilitate mineral exploration sites in Northern Quebec that have been abandoned for several decades.
The company’s web site (www.aurizon.com) can provide you with a full, in-depth, review of its activities, where I think you will find that Aurizon has been a key contributor to Quebec through its numerous mining, development and exploration activities.
David P.Hall, president and CEO Aurizon Mines Ltd. Vancouver, B.C.
Another hot diamond project
Your journal’s map entitled “What’s hot in diamonds ” (CMJ October 2007) is a well researched and informative map of the well known diamond mines and diamond exploration programs currently underway in Canada.
My company, Goldstake Explorations Inc., has been active in diamond and gold exploration on its McGarry property, approximately 1 mile from the [former] Kerr Addison mine in Ontario.
Diamonds and abundant kimberlite and diamond indicator minerals were first discovered in the mid-1980s on this property by Prof. Hulbert Lee. The second diamond discovery was by geologist Ernie Gallo in 1995/96 who went back to Prof. Lee’s discovery pits and panned two pieces that were identified as diamonds by the University of Toronto. Goldstake is earning a 75% interest in this property from Transpacific Resources.
Extensive exploration has been carried out by Goldstake during the past three years, including three diamond drill programs (for gold) with some spectacular results, the best of which was 8.5 m of 33 g/tAu from 94 m to 102.5 m.
Geologist Robert Dillman has carried out work on tracing the diamond source on this property using geophysics and till sampling, etc., to the point where we are now ready to drill for the source of these diamonds, which we will do as soon as we can raise the funds.
Notifying you of this situation may be a good start in getting Goldstake and its projects better known.
Robert Cleaver, chairman, Goldstake Explorations Inc. Toronto, Ont.
Barrick’s “Unlock the Value” program
We are very excited about our Unlock the Value program, and we’ve had a positive response from the mining and scientific community worldwide. We would like to clarify some aspects of the program raised in a recent editorial (CMJ October 2007).
We believe the path to innovation lies in trying new ways of doing things. In an industry that has sometimes been perhaps too insular, we are breaking out of that mould. Barrick is often involved in research initiatives with other firms, universities and institutions. Reaching out to collaborate is part of our R&D philosophy because good scientists look to the world for new ideas.
We have some of the top metallurgists in the world in our Research and Development team. After trying every known metallurgical approach, we did not find an economically viable way to increase silver recovery at Veladero. We don’t regard this as a failure of metallurgy, but as a recognition that the answer may lie elsewhere. It was the Research and Development team that suggested we invite other scientific disciplines to participate in solving this earthly conundrum.
The Internet has changed the world in many ways, including the world of applied research. Barrick, like companies in various industries today, is participating in this bold new approach to innovation that makes the world your R&D department. Specialized web-sites now invite scientists to apply their skills to specific research problems, and scientific problem- solvers can post their credentials to be reviewed and hired by companies. It is a whole new model for connecting scientists and problems that need solving. Barrick’s “Unlock the Value”program builds on this trend to address one of our own specific business opportunities.
Your editorial asked if the “Goldcorp Challenge” was successful; indeed, it was! By inviting ideas from outside geologists, that initiative identified a significant new deposit. It is a good example of the value of Internet-based research challenges.
Using the Internet for research is not without cost. Our Unlock the Value program, for example, requires funds and time to design the program, prepare the information, review the proposals, fund the testing and development, and pay the $10 million bonus.This represents significant support for R&D, focused on solving a specific challenge. The goal is to look for fresh, new ideas.
Barrick has increased spending and focus on internal R&D since the acquisition of Placer Dome.A little history is perhaps helpful here. In 1999,Placer Dome’s Technology group had initiated 66 research projects creating an ambitious path towards gold mining of the future; however, in a restructuring in 2005, almost all the R&D projects were eliminated and activities downsized. By March 2006, there were only seven permanent employees and 25 contract employees, and morale was low. After the acquisition in 2006, Barrick elected to keep the Technology Centre and develop it into a centre of excellence for metallurgy and process development. Today, the Barrick Technology Centre has 44 permanent employees. We are modernizing the facility and investing in new equipment. It has become an integral part of our R&D efforts and company initiatives worldwide.
In addition, Barrick started a new metallurgical processing R&D program three years ago. Since then, activity and investment in this area have grown dramatically. That team has developed new techniques to enhance metallurgical performance, generating millions of dollars in added value for the company and 10 patent applications.
As you can see, Barrick is fostering its internal and external R&D capabilities. The Unlock the Value program also employs the “virtual R&D” potential of the Internet.Multiple approaches give us the continuity and flexibility to rapidly focus resources, internal and external, on our scientific challenges. We are convinced that innovation–and innovative approaches to innovation–will prove good investments for the future.
Peter Kondos, PhD, manager, Research and Development
Barrick Gold Corp. Toronto, Ont.
Great editorial re “Cracker Jack Box” answers (CMJ October 2007).Your editorial applies to so many companies and governments.We are losing our technical people across society because industry and government are sparsely supporting fundamental education, skill development and research. In the case of geoscience, wonderful examples still exist (e.g., Canada’s Targeted Geoscience Initiative), and opportunities abound for more collaborative industry-government-academic research to solve such problems. Let’s keep geoscience research going by sharing the costs and ideas, and with it will come the new crop of people needed to maintain our technical capacities.
Charlie Jefferson, PhD, Geology Nepean, Ontario
Please send your letters to the editor at the address on page 5, or via e-mail to jwerniuk@CanadianMiningJournal.com