Tag Archives: British Columbia

New Gold heads towards New Afton’s B3 Zone

New Gold is set to soon start ore extraction activities at New Afton’s B3 Zone in British Columbia, Canada, after receiving its Mines Act Permit from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

The gold-copper mine has recently been focused on development of the B3 and C-Zones, which are likely to represent the major production sources over the next decade.

Current production is coming from the B1 and B2 Zones (Lift 1) where there are two panel caves (west and east) in operation. The B3 Cave is 160 m below and immediately to the west of Lift 1. Ore from B3 will be hauled by truck to the existing gyratory crusher, with production continuing until at least late 2024.

The C-Zone block cave zone is around 550 m below Lift 1. Development towards the C-zone is underway with production planned to commence with the first of 143 planned drawbells in the second half of 2023.

On the permit award, Renaud Adams, President & CEO of New Gold, said: “This is a significant milestone for the New Afton Mine. With the receipt of the B3 permit, ore extraction activities will begin this quarter and ramp-up over the year.

“C-Zone development continues to advance with C-Zone extraction expected to begin in the second half of 2023.”

The C-Zone permitting process was initiated during the March quarter of this year with the submission of the pre-application package to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Indigenous groups.

MineSense to expand XRF ore sorting presence at Copper Mountain mine

MineSense Technologies says the use of its ore characterisation and sorting technology is seeing improvements in both the ore from waste recovery and ore dilution at Copper Mountain Mining Corp’s namesake mine in British Columbia, Canada.

Having deployed the company’s ShovelSense solution on two shovels and a wheel loader in 2020, Copper Mountain now has plans to install ShovelSense on the two remaining shovels in 2021, along with the first trial installation of BeltSense to explore additional innovation concepts, Don Strickland, Chief Operating Officer at Copper Mountain Mining Corp, said.

Jeff More, President and CEO of MineSense Technologies, said: “Copper Mountain has been a fantastic partner to work with, initially to support us in our scale-up on hydraulic shovels, and then with rapid commercial deployment once the design was stabilised.

“We are thrilled that they installed three of our ShovelSense Systems in the space of five months in 2020 and will complete installation of their entire shovel fleet in 2021.”

The MineSense hardware and software went through a two-year evaluation process at Copper Mountain prior to the solution going commercial, Copper Mountain stated in a recent technical report.

The ShovelSense system improves orebody visibility bucket by bucket in real time during the loading process, according to the company. Trucks are then automatically diverted to the correct location, increasing value and revenue realised during the mining process. The technology also creates reductions of CO2 emissions per tonne of ore produced, consumption of processing chemicals and reagents, energy and water, while maximising metal recovery.

BeltSense, meanwhile, is used on conveyance at different points of the mine operation. It can be used sequentially and in conjunction with ShovelSense to maximise the ore concentrating impact, taking a first cut at the haul point and second further downstream, MineSense says.

Both systems leverage X-ray Fluorescence sensors to carry out the sorting process.

JDS Energy & Mining to run the PFS numbers at Gold Mountain’s Elk gold project

Gold Mountain Mining has engaged JDS Energy & Mining Inc to complete a prefeasibility study on its Elk gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The PFS was commissioned to reflect the recent advancements the company has made to the project, most notably the signing of both the contract mining agreement – with Nhwelmen-Lake LP – and the ore purchase agreement with New Gold. These key inputs provide Gold Mountain with the near-term cost certainty required to delineate a maiden reserve at the project, the company says.

It is anticipated the PFS will also update the company’s resource estimate at the Siwash North Zone based on the results of its phase one drill program.

JDS will lead the PFS update with support from Knight Piesold Consulting and certain key independent consultants, Gold Mountain said, with the study expected to be completed in the September quarter.

Kevin Smith, Director and CEO of Gold Mountain, said: “We are very pleased to have JDS lead the PFS update. Their proven track record of engineering expertise in building ‘fit for purpose’ projects in Canada’s north will greatly contribute to the Elk gold project.

“Having a reputable group validate our economics, assess the underground potential, and continue to advance the Elk gold project strengthens our upside and ability to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

Gord Doerksen, President of the Engineering Division at JDS, added: “We are happy to be working with Gold Mountain to support near-term production and long-term planning at the Elk gold project. The team has built a strong foundation for JDS to add our extensive operational and permitting experience on a number of quality projects in British Columbia, and we look forward to maximising value together as partners.”

Gold Mountain acquired Bayshore Minerals in September 2020, gaining 100% ownership of the Elk gold project in the Merritt area of British Columbia. A past-producing gold mine, Elk comes with an NI 43-101 resource of 454,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the measured and indicated categories and 95,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the inferred category.

A previous preliminary economic assessment contemplated an operating able to mine 50,000 oz/y by year four.

Newcrest looks to new FMS, haul truck trays for Red Chris improvements

With gold and copper production dropping and costs increasing, the Red Chris mine, in British Columbia, Canada, is set for a number of improvement initiatives, according to 70% owner Newcrest Mining.

In the company’s September quarter results, Newcrest said Red Chris gold and copper production came in at 12,636 oz and 7,050 t, respectively, during the three-month period. This was down from the 15,440 oz of gold and 8,401 t of copper registered in the June 2020 quarter.

Newcrest said the circa-3,000 oz drop in gold output reflected a higher proportion of lower-grade stockpile material being fed to the mill due to unseasonal rainfall hitting the availability of higher grade ex-pit material.

This lower-grade mill feed adversely impacted recovery rates, partially offset by a 13% increase in mill throughput following process control improvements and a higher proportion of stockpiled material with “characteristics that enabled increased processing rates”, it said.

Red Chris’ all-in sustaining cost of $2,621/oz in the September quarter were significantly up on the $1,536/oz seen in the previous quarter. This was driven by increased sustaining capital expenditure, higher operating costs due to “seasonal benefits allowing increased activities to be scheduled”, together with the impact of a strengthening Canadian dollar against the US dollar and lower copper sales volume, it said. These factors were only partially offset by the benefit of a higher realised copper price.

With one quarter of Newcrest’s 2021 financial year down, the company said it is planning to put in place a number of additional improvements across the site. Included in this is a new fleet management system, the replacement of the conventional Cat 793 truck trays with “high-performance trays” to realise payload benefits, and several throughput and recovery-related projects.

The company has 45,000-55,000 oz of gold and 25,000-30,000 t of copper production slated for Red Chris in its 2021 financial year.

Upon announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in the asset in 2019, Newcrest Managing Director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said there was potential to turn the Red Chris orebody into a Tier 1 operation.

It also outlined a two-stage plan to deliver value from the $806.5 million acquisition. This included applying its “Edge transformation approach” to the existing Red Chris open-pit mine and processing plant, and potentially leveraging industry leading mining methods and technology such as block caving, coarse ore flotation and ore sorting.

BQE Water hits Selen-IX milestone at Kemess gold project

BQE Water says it has successfully completed the commissioning and performance test of the first industrial scale plant using its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management.

The installation at the Kemess property in northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold has, since late August 2020, operated continuously. It has treated 65 litres/s (5,600 cu.m/d) of mine-influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than two parts per billion, BQE Water said.

Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in the Spring of 2021, BQE Water says.

Selen-IX was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove ‘selenate’ form of selenium from mine-influenced waters employing a physico-chemical, instead of biological, method of treatment.

As the Kemess mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below two parts per billion, BQE Water said. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings.

“This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced,” the company said.

Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold, said: “We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the performance test, which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”

Centerra Gold is looking to re-establish the former operating Kemess site into an underground mine and processing facility, able to operate over a 12-year mine life, according to a 2016 feasibility study.

Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar operation honoured at BC Mine Reclamation Awards

Taseko Mines’s Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation has been awarded the prestigious Jake McDonald Annual Award for Metal Mine Reclamation from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR).

TRCR’s annual BC Mine Reclamation Awards, which recognises outstanding achievement in mine reclamation in British Columbia, was held on September 23, 2020.

The aim of Gibraltar’s reclamation research program is continual improvement by identifying and introducing leading-edge ideas within the field of environmental science in mine reclamation, it says. With this goal in mind, projects at Gibraltar include:

  • Sampling of salmon from the Fraser River in partnerships with the Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council to provide information to local Indigenous communities regarding the safety of consuming salmon captured at traditional fishing sites;
  • Studying and using innovative technologies to determine how reclamation activities promote the development and recovery of biological communities; and
  • Supporting BCIT, SFU, and Mitacs master’s students in a trial research program to expedite the development of soil microbial crust, specifically at the tailings storage facility.

Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said: “The Jake McDonald Award is the top mine reclamation award in British Columbia, a province that has a large mining industry. This achievement reflects the hard work of many talented people and we are honoured to have been chosen as this year’s recipient. The award adds to our track record of achievement which includes other recognition awards for employee safety and community service.”

Russell Hallbauer, CEO and Director of Taseko, added: “Gibraltar has been operating for nearly 50 years, generating opportunity for people and economic benefit for communities in the Cariboo. The efforts of our Gibraltar employees continue to be rewarded by achievements like this high-profile award. It is gratifying to see their talent and ingenuity being recognised at the highest levels. Gibraltar is proof of mining sustainability in action.

“We would specifically like to acknowledge the local Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council Fisheries Department for their partnership and traditional knowledge in the annual Fraser River salmon sampling program. As well as a thank you to the Xatśūll First Nations reclamation crew, whose participation has contributed to the success of Gibraltar’s reclamation program.”

Xatśūll First Nations Chief, Sheri Sellars, said: “I am proud of the work Xatśūll First Nation community members have done in partnership with Taseko-Gibraltar. The fish sampling program and the reclamation work have been award-winning successes. Our members have also benefitted from employment opportunities and educational initiatives which stem from our relationship with Gibraltar.”

Taseko, the 75% owner of Gibraltar, restarted the operation in 2004. It is the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada and the largest employer in the Cariboo region, according to the company.

Copper Mountain ups cleaner circuit efficiency, capacity with new flotation reactors

Copper Mountain Mining says it has successfully installed and commissioned the direct flotation reactors (DFRs) at its Copper Mountain mine, on schedule and on budget.

The installation represents the first stage of the mill expansion project at the operation in British Columbia, Canada, which will bring plant capacity to 45,000 t/d, from 40,000 t/d.

The installation of the Woodgrove DFRs increases the efficiency and the capacity of the current cleaner circuit, which is expected to increase the copper concentrate grade from about 25% to 28%, resulting in lower concentrate transportation, smelting and refining costs, Copper Mountain said.

Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain’s President and CEO, said: “The DFRs have been commissioned and turned over to operations. This is a testament to the great work of our operating and projects team. The DFRs are a low capital, high return project and we are already seeing improved concentrate grades.”

The next stage for the mill expansion project is the installation of the third ball mill, according to Clausen.

“We have the ability to rapidly restart this stage as we have maintained long-lead time expenditures and we also have the flexibility to accelerate the project as necessary,” he said. “With the installation of the third ball mill, we expect production to increase by 15-18% as a result of higher throughput and improved recoveries.”

The Copper Mountain mine, a conventional open pit, truck and shovel operation, is owned 75% by Copper Mountain and 25% by Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

It currently produces, on average, some 90 MIb (40,823 t) of copper equivalent annually, which is expected to increase to 120 MIb/y with the plant expansion.

Skeena Resources signs up Ausenco, SRK and AGP for Eskay Creek PFS

Skeena Resources is to commence a prefeasibility study (PFS) on its Eskay Creek gold-silver project in the Golden Triangle of northwest British Columbia, Canada.

The goal of the PFS is to de-risk Eskay Creek, while developing an appropriate execution strategy to ensure fast-tracked development towards commercial production, Skeena says.

Given the success of the team that developed the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Eskay Creek, Skeena says it will once again partner with Ausenco Engineering Canada, SRK Consulting, and AGP Mining Consultants to complete the PFS. The target completion date for the PFS is summer 2021.

This PEA envisaged a high-grade open-pit mine producing a life of mine average of 236,000 oz/y of gold and 5.81 Moz of at all-in sustaining costs (including by products) of $615/oz gold recovered. It would involve a 6,850 t/d mill and flotation plant producing a saleable concentrate.

Shane Williams, Skeena’s new Chief Operating Officer, said: “I am very excited to be joining the Skeena team at this transitional stage in the company’s history. The PFS is the next step in the evolution of Eskay Creek as we move this high-grade, open-pit project towards development and through to commercial production.”

A key work program as part of the development of the PFS will be an extensive infill drilling program to convert a large portion of the inferred resources into the measured and indicated category and following completion of the PFS, declare maiden reserves for Eskay Creek, Skeena said.

The company said: “Following the completion of the Eskay Creek PEA in 2019, several areas were identified that could be optimised and enhanced with further work. This includes optimising the metallurgy and the concentrate quality and to better optimise the flowsheet.

“Another focus area will be to gain a better understanding of the geotechnical characteristics in the open pit, which will allow for further pit optimisation studies. Preparations and planning for these work programs are ongoing.”

Subject to the agreement with Barrick, upon exercise of the option to acquire a 100%-interest in Eskay Creek, the company will enter the permitting process for the expanded Eskay Creek project, it said.

Skeena has already begun the environmental studies that are required for permitting and has initiated community engagement and consultation with Indigenous Nations.

Ascot Resources considers SAMS mining method after releasing positive feasibility study

The feasibility study on Ascot Resources Ltd’s Premier and Red Mountain gold projects in the Golden Triangle of British Columbia, Canada, has shown off some compelling economics, as well as indicate potential future upside using an emerging mining method called the shallow angle mining system (SAMS).

SAMS, similar to Alimak mining, according to Ascot, is a new technology system focused on the mechanisation of ore extraction developed by Quebec-based Minrail. The system cropped up in the “value enhancement opportunities” section of Ascot’s study.

Ahead of that, the study, led by Sacre-Davey Engineering Inc, showed off some encouraging results.

Using a base case of $1,400/oz gold, $17/oz silver and a C$ to US$ exchange rate of 0.76, Premier and Red Mountain could provide a post-tax net present value (5% discount) of C$341 million ($242 million) based on initial capital expenditure of C$147 million. Life of mine (eight years) payable production came out as 1.1 Moz of gold and 3 Moz of silver with peak annual production of 180,000 oz of gold-equivalent.

The study’s mine plan generally used a combination of three mining methods: longhole (64%), inclined undercut longhole (14%) and room & pillar (12%). Minor amounts of cut and fill (2%) and development ore (8%) were also included to extract the mineral reserves of 6.2 Mt at 5.9 g/t Au and 19.7 g/t Ag.

The company assumed a “lease to own cost” for the mobile mining equipment, which primarily consisted of two scissor lifts, three jumbo drills, five haul trucks, five LHDs, 15 ventilation fans, and several other smaller supporting pieces of equipment.

Benefitting from an existing processing facility at the Premier gold project, the study envisaged using a SAG and ball milling flowsheet followed by the refurbished carbon-in-leach circuit. Over the mine life, the plant will operate 365 d/y to produce gold doré with an overall plant availability of 92% and an average throughput of 2,500 t/d, according to Ascot. In the latter part of year three, ore from the Red Mountain project will be introduced to the existing mill facility, it said.

While the economics and technical elements of the feasibility study stacked up, the company also laid out some potential “value enhancement opportunities” beyond the scope of the study.

This is where SAMS and Minrail came in.

Ascot said there was potential for reducing mining dilution and development by undertaking further studies and testing of SAMS.

“SAMS is similar to Alimak mining but at a low angle, with a central drive and long holes drilling laterally, offering the potential to significantly reduce dilution, operating costs and mine capital development costs,” Ascot said.

According to the company, the method is currently being tested by Minrail at Eldorado Gold’s Lamaque mine in Val D’or, Quebec.

A press release from Minrail posted around a year ago said Lamaque had ordered a “group of mining equipment” to undertake underground test work using SAMS at the operation.

“After an extensive review of all currently available underground mining methods and available technologies that are suited to narrow, shallow dipping deposits, Eldorado has perceived the great potential of Minrail’s technology to complement its mine development plans using SAMS, which incorporates critical mining innovations focused on safety, productivity and flexibility,” Minrail said in the statement.

The resource model at Lamaque encompasses several shallow dipping lenses that are believed to be amenable to using SAMS, Minrail added.

This test work was due to take place last year, according to the release.

Yet, in January, the Quebec government announced it would provide a C$150,000 grant to Minrail to complete a prototype SAMS system that would be installed at Lamaque.

Teck examines solar power options with acquisition of SunMine energy facility in BC

Teck Resources says it has purchased the SunMine solar energy facility in Kimberley, British Columbia, from the City of Kimberley.

SunMine, located on fully reclaimed land at Teck’s former Sullivan Mine site, is a 1.05 MW solar facility that has been operational since 2015. It is the first grid-connected solar facility in the province and the first built on a reclaimed mine site. It also has potential for future expansion, according to Teck.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said: “Our involvement with SunMine is part of our commitment to taking action on climate change, advancing renewable energy development, and supporting the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

“SunMine will help us gain first-hand experience with solar power generation as we advance the use of solar power at other operations.”

Teck has been involved with SunMine from its beginning, having provided the land and site infrastructure for development of the solar facility. Teck’s former Sullivan mine was a major producer of zinc, lead and silver, operating for nearly 100 years before closing in 2001, and close to 1,100 ha of the former mining area has since been reclaimed.

Development of SunMine aligns with Teck’s approach to working with stakeholders to develop post-mining land uses, from wildlife habitat to economic diversification, the company said.

Since 2011, Teck has implemented projects and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its operations by 289,000 t – the equivalent to taking over 88,000 combustion engine cars off the road, according to Teck – and 81% of Teck’s total electricity consumption is from renewable energy sources.

The sale amount is around C$2 million ($1.53 million), equal to the City of Kimberley’s outstanding debt obligation for SunMine, Teck said.