STEPHENVILLE — Several internationally based mining groups are expressing an interest in the Four Corners project, leading owners to plan for a year of advanced exploration in 2013.
Four Corners Mining Corporation is the operator of the Four Corners project for parent company Triple Nine Resources Ltd.
Vic French, vice-president and chief operating officer for Triple Nine Resources Ltd., said this interest is based on the potential to develop a vast tonnage of iron ore, titanium and vanadium from five targets in a 20-kilometre zone along the Burgeo Highway, coupled with a recent recovery in iron ore prices.
The Four Corners Project attracted the attention of international mining interests since being discovered in late 2009 and now that iron ore prices have recovered to $116 a tonne from a low of $86.70 a tonne, a renewed interest is being sparked in the project. French said the vast tonnage potential at the project is based on the positive results obtained from Keating Hill, which is the only one of the five targets trenched and drill tested to date. The testing confirmed the hill holds a large tonnage of mineralized rock estimated to be greater than one billion tonnes and containing ore grade values for iron ore, titanium and vanadium.
All five of the target zones are amenable to surface mining. French said the international-based consultants have favourably reviewed these positive features and in reviewing the exploration results and visiting the site, recommend the next work phase should be to de-risk the metallurgical aspects of the mineralization.
He explained this metallurgical testing is to determine if the three metals they are looking at mining can be separated using conventional milling procedures, as companies may just want to purchase one particular metal.
“There is every indication this will be very large deposits and now our objective is to do further drilling and metallurgical testing to state a measurable resource,” French said.
He said a lot of de-risk will have to be done on this project before it is economically viable. This de-risking is viewed to be critical to the company’s plan and management is focused on moving the project forward and availing of the optimism for iron ore markets shared by global analysts and economists.
2013 a pivotal year
Next year is being regarded as a pivotal year for advancing projects as the global demand for iron ore during the next few years is estimated to increase as much as 26.8 per cent or 436 million tonnes by 2016 as indicated in a Pope and Company publication on Dec. 3.
“If you compare the location of this emerging resource to mines developed in the Labrador trough, the advantages for developing the Four Corners resource are many with easy access to transportation along a paved highway and to hydropower from the power grid, which runs through the property,” he said.
The project is strategically located with three ice-free, deepwater ports within an hour or less of driving distance, including St. George’s, Stephenville and Corner Brook.
French said to date $1.5 million has been spent on the Four Corners project and the development will likely be in the $20 to $25 million range.
He said as they proceed with metallurgical testing and if they get positive results, it will become a more attractive project for mining groups.