By Brodie Thomas
PORT AUX BASQUES Exploration work at the former Hope Brook Gold Mine has been ongoing through 2011 and the president and CEO of the company exploring the site said he is looking forward to the coming year.
Bill Pearson of Castillian Resources is expecting the release of an independent review of available resources at the former mine site sometime this month.
A NI-43-101, as it is known in the industry, is a review carried out by independent experts and it allows the company to release scientific and technical information about discoveries at the site.The review will include an independent assessment of potential tons and grade of minerals in the ground at the site. Castilian is basically looking for gold and copper, according to Pearson.
Once the company has its NI-43-101, it will be working at a preliminary economic assessment.
The Hope Brook Gold Mine operated for about a decade before it closed in 1997. It produced about 750,000 ounces over 10 years. The mine employed 400 people at its peak and provided many spinoffs to the southwest coast.
The price of gold has increased dramatically since 1997, from around $400 an ounce to more than $1,500 an ounce.
Pearson said the company recently acquired $3.9 million in financing for exploration in 2012.
At the height of the summer, there were 40 workers at the site doing exploratory work, which included operating two drills. During the Christmas holidays two workers were on site maintaining the camp.
“We’re a big consumer of services and they mostly come from Burgeo, Port aux Basques and Deer Lake," said Pearson.
Many of the crew members working at the site are also from the southwest coast primarily, or from elsewhere in the province.
In the fall, Castillan brought the mayors of Port aux Basques and Burgeo to the remote mine site for a tour. While Hope Brook is only accessible by boat or plane, Pearson said it does have one great infrastructure perk because of a nearby power line system the company has been able to access.
“We’re hooked up the grid,” said Pearson. “That’s been a huge plus that gives us obviously very stable electricity."
He said using generators increases fuel costs and can lead to power surges that harm or destroy electronic equipment at the site.
Pearson said putting the camp on the power grid has saved the company $100,000 in fuel costs.
The Gulf News