Anaconda Mining granted approval to fill Pine Cove pit with tailings
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.