One of the great joys of going to the PDAC is learning good news directly from the people responsible for making it happen. One such item came up in conversation with Hugh Wynne, president and CEO of SAN GOLD RESOURCES.
His company has purchased the former Bissett gold mine in Manitoba from Harmony Resources, and plans are afoot to resume production. San Gold and its equal joint venture partner GOLD CITY INDUSTRIES paid $3.5 million in cash and another $4 million in stock for a ready-to-go underground mine and 1,250-tons/day mill. Previous owners spent a total of $120 million on the project. They picked up quite a bargain, in my opinion. The mine was idled in the fall of 2001.
"It's a good news story, especially for the town of Bissett," Wynne told CMJ. The population of the town has dwindled from 400 when the mine last operated to about 90 souls now. The creation of 150 new jobs will certainly be welcome.
The Bissett mine (also known as the San Antonio project) was originally developed for shrinkage mining. With that technique, Harmony was recovering grades of about 0.27 opt Au, said Wynne. But then Harmony implemented longholing, and recovered grades dropped to 0.15 opt. Now the plan is to go back to shrinkage at a rate of 500 tons/day, and he estimates the grade will be 0.25 opt Au.
The joint venture holds not only the Bissett mine but also 7,000 hectares along the Rice Lake Belt east of and adjacent to the mine. Drilling has already intersected 7 ft of 0.48 opt Au in one new zone, and there are two others. Those zones are in addition to the audited resource of about 500,000 oz at about 5,000 ft in the Bissett mine.
The partners need to raise about $4 million to restart production, but that is not going to slow them down. "People are throwing money at good gold projects these days," Wynne says. I think so, too, and look forward to an invitation to the reopening ceremonies.