Thursday, September 5, 2019

Operating mines will lose rebate

In March, the Government of Nunavut (GN) departments of economic development and transportation and finance announced that the fuel tax rebate program should be cancelled once a mine becomes operational. The GN collects fuel taxes from companies to reinvest into infrastructure and programs in the territory.

The fuel rebate program gives mining companies, and others, a break on the amount they are obliged to pay in fuel tax. Development partnership agreements, which detail what Nunavut gets out of the deal, such as jobs and investment, must be signed before a company can qualify for the tax rebate. To be eligible for the rebate, a company or individual must be involved in harvesting, outfitting, quarrying for carving stone, mineral exploration or mining development, extraction or reclamation.

The departments will still allow mining companies to get a fuel tax rebate during the exploration and development stage of their projects and are now working on developing a replacement for the development partnership agreement.

The rebate could still be helpful in enticing junior mining companies to the territory by offsetting the huge cost of launching mineral exploration programs in the arctic.

MVLWB approves amendments

Kennady diamonds has announced that the Mackenzie Valley land and Water Board (MVlWB) has approved amendments to its type A land use permit and type B water licence, allowing the company to expand its exploration and evaluation programs at its Kennady North project with a new camp capacity of 150, up from 50 employees.

The amendment approvals will allow Kennady North to accommodate a broader range of activities including core drilling, bulk sampling, environmental studies and engineering studies.

The Kennady North project is comprised of 13 leases and claims located immediately to the north and west of the four leases controlled by the Gahcho Kué Joint Venture between de Beers Canada and Mountain Province.

Diamond drilling program to begin in March

Arctic Star Exploration Corp. has announced that its partner, North Arrow Minerals Inc., has reached an agreement with Umgeni holdings International limited (“Umgeni”) under which Umgeni has agreed to acquire a royalty interest in North Arrow’s redemption diamond Project for $800,000. Umgeni is a private company of which Christopher Jennings, a director of North Arrow, is a beneficiary of the sole shareholder.

The redemption diamond Project is located in the lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, approximately 32 km southwest, and 47 km west of the Ekati and diavik diamond mines, respectively.

This agreement will allow the team to immediately move ahead with exploration drilling programs at the redemption diamond Property. Planning is underway to conduct a drilling program at redemption starting mid-March.

Sample returns viable diamonds

Peregrine diamonds ltd. has reported an 814.0 dry tonne bulk sample from the Ch-7 kimberlite pipe from the Chidliak diamond Project. The sample returned an overall diamond grade of 0.88 carats per tonne with a total 717.65 carats of commercial-size (+1.18 mm) diamonds recovered, including 53 diamonds one carat or larger and 183 diamonds over 0.50 carat in size.

The largest gem quality diamond recovered was a 5.33-carat white/colourless octahedron with no inclusions. Significant diamond breakage was observed, including a gem quality diamond that may have originally been larger than six carats. A substantial portion of the parcel is gem quality diamonds and a population of coloured stones is present.

Open pit mine testing has begun

The 2016 Amaruq drill program commenced in February with two drills testing targets in the Mammoth lake area. Eventually Agnico Eagle expects to have eight to 10 drills operating with a focus on infilling and expanding the known mineralized zones, testing other nearby targets with a focus on developing a second source of open pit ore and further evaluation of regional target areas. The initial 2016 exploration program contemplates approximately 75,000 metres of drilling with a budget of approximately $19 million. The 2016 program also includes engineering studies and permitting activities for the construction of an initial open pit mine and an underground exploration ramp.

The company expects to ultimately develop Amaruq as a satellite operation to Meadowbank, with the potential to begin production in 2019. The company believes there is good potential for Amaruq to have similar annual output to Meadowbank in its peak production years. The Meadowbank mine is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.

NIRB public hearings on gold projects set for April

The Nunavut Impact review Board (NIRB) has announced final public hearing dates for two Kitikmeot gold projects: TMAC Resources ltd.’s Doris North mine and Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.’s Back river project.

TMAC wants to amend the doris North project certificate to allow for an expanded six-year mining period over a larger area.

The NIRB’s public hearing on the project certificate amendment proposal is set to start April 12 at Luke Novoligak Community hall in Cambridge Bay. NIRB board members will hear technical presentations on April 12 and April 13 and a community round-table April 14.

Sabina proposes a gold mining complex that would straddle seven sites at its George and Goose properties, about 400 kilometres south of Cambridge Bay on the mainland, producing 300,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold per year. They would build a network of all-weather roads between the two properties and a winter road to a “marine lay-down area” at Bathurst Inlet.

Their plan would stretch over 22 years: a two-year construction period, mining operations for 10 to 15 years, and a five-year shutdown and reclamation. They would employ 1,333 people at peak production, including contract workers.

The Back river public hearing will start April 25 at the Luke Novoligak Community hall in Cambridge Bay and continue until April 30. The review board will hear technical presentations on the project proposal until 9 p.m. April 27.

April 28-30 are reserved for community round-table discussions.

Copper-zinc project in the works

BHP Billiton has agreed to spend $40 million over the next nine years to help Aston Bay holdings ltd. develop a copper-zinc project on Nunavut’s Somerset Island, north of Taloyoak.

The two firms have signed a letter of intent. If the project proceeds, BHP will have a 75 per cent interest in the Storm Copper Project. BHP will also give Aston Bay $325,000 in cash.

Drilling and other exploratory work in the past suggests the site may contain a viable copper deposit.

Skookum Jim Award recipient announced


Darrell Beaulieu, CEO of Denedeh Investments, is the winner of the 2016 Skookum Jim Award recognizing achievement by aboriginal-owned mining businesses.

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), since 2008, presents the award annually to an individual or a company that has made a significant contribution to the mining industry.

Beaulieu has worked in the mining industry from Hudson Bay to the Mackenzie mountains. His first mining job was at the age of 17 working for Noranda Explorations Ltd., 100 kilometres from Yellowknife. He spent about seven months in the bush, surveying, staking claims and setting up camps all over the territory. He was involved with the Impact Benefit Agreement for Ekati diamonds. In 2005, Beaulieu became the CEO of Denedeh Investments. In 2013, he oversaw the creation of DEMCO, a wholly Dene-owned mining exploration company, which currently owns silver, gold and diamond properties.

Nickel mine under review


The Glencore Raglan mine may still have an extended future. The Nunavik nickel mine, expected to close in 2020, is reviewing its phase two, the Sivumut project.

The Kativik Environmental Quality Commission will evaluate the Sivumut project’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in 2016. If approved, the project would include two new underground mines, which would operate from 2019 to 2032.

Potential gold and base metals being explored


An alliance between the Inuit-owned Nunavut Resource Corp. and a Sudbury, Ontario-based company, Transition Metals Corp., has turned up potential sites for gold and base metal exploration following aerial surveys on Inuit-owned land last summer.

The surveys revealed high potential gold and base metal target areas within the north portion of parcel IOL CO-20, known as the Izok Corridor, about 175 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay.

Transition metals aims to spend at least $18 million on exploration in the area and has support from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association for the project.