Ana­conda Min­ing granted ap­proval to fill Pine Cove pit with tail­ings

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES RIS­DON

Toronto-based Ana­conda Min­ing is get­ting a present from the prov­ince of New­found­land and Labrador worth up to $70 mil­lion — the green light to use the com­pany’s dy­ing Pine Cove Pit to store its tail­ings.

“It’s great be­cause it’s not some­thing that’s of­ten seen,” said Lynn Hammond, An­na­conda Min­ing’s vice-pres­i­dent of pu­bic re­la­tions, in an in­ter­view last week. “It’s an as­set at a very low cost.”

Af­ter gen­er­at­ing more than $140 mil­lion in rev­enues, the com­pany’s Pine Cove de­posit is now al­most spent. Min­ing op­er­a­tions there are ex­pected to come to an end in about six months. Ana­conda Min­ing will then move to its nearby Stog’er Tight de­posit while con­tin­u­ing to use its cur­rent mill to process the ore.

That will leave the com­pany with a gi­ant hole to fill. The Pine Cove pit is roughly thou­sands of times big­ger than an Olympic-sized swim­ming pool.

It’s also what Ana­conda Min­ing con­sid­ers to be a great place to dump mine tail­ings be­cause the walls of the pit are made of non-per­me­able rock, mean­ing it can quickly and eas­ily be con­verted into a tail­ings stor­age fa­cil­ity. Last week, the com­pany an­nounced the New­found­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources agreed.

The pro­vin­cial govern­ment depart­ment has given the nod to an amend­ment to the com­pany’s plans for the site, al­low­ing it to dump seven mil­lion tonnes of tail­ings into that hole.

“The ad­di­tion of the in-pit tail­ings fa­cil­ity strength­ens our in­fra­struc­ture at the Point Rousse project and for­ti­fies our plat­form to sup­port our growth ini­tia­tives in At­lantic Canada,” said Dustin An­gelo, Ana­conda Min­ing’s pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, in a state­ment. “At our cur­rent rate of min­eral pro­cess­ing, the pit pro­vides tail­ings stor­age ca­pac­ity of ap­prox­i­mately 15 years. A long life, in-pit tail­ings stor­age fa­cil­ity is the per­fect com­ple­ment to our 1,300-tonne-per­day mill and deep-wa­ter port.”

Based on the com­pany’s es­ti­mates of the cost of tail­ing stor­age fa­cil­i­ties, it looks like the com­pany can ex­pect to save be­tween $35 mil­lion-$70 mil­lion by us­ing the Pine Cove pit for tail­ings.

“We will mine that out and stock­pile any ore we don’t process and start us­ing it for tail­ings in Jan­uary 2018,” said Hammond.

In ad­di­tion to its Stog’er Tight de­posit, Ana­conda Min­ing also has its Ar­gyle min­eral re­source about 4.5 kilo­me­tres away and is look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of de­vel­op­ing its Gold­boro gold de­posit in Nova Sco­tia’s Guys­bor­ough County.

The pre­lim­i­nary eco­nomic as­sess­ment study for the com­pany’s Gold­boro prop­erty is ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of the year. Early in­di­ca­tors sug­gest the Nova Sco­tia prop­erty has ore that is al­most four times as rich in gold as the stuff be­ing mined at the Pine Cove pit, said Robert Du­four, the com­pany’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, in an in­ter­view in late Au­gust.

“We’ve got­ten the high­est grade of gold ore they’ve ever seen,” said Du­four. “What we can do with Gold­boro is pretty ex­cit­ing.”

The ju­nior miner, whose stock is traded on the Toronto Stock Ex­change un­der the ANX ticker, has a mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion of $28.6 mil­lion. Thurs­day, its stock closed at 7.5 cents.


A pic­ture of the Ana­conda Min­ing op­er­a­tion near Ming’s Bight on the Baie Verte Penin­sula.

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