The management team of a Vancouver-based mining company, First Mining Gold Corp., believes the Hope Brook mine, located 20 kilometers west of Burgeo, could be the source of a gold boon for the area.
Derek Iwanaka, the company’s vice-president of investor relations, says the mineral property was a strong draw.
“When the company first started we were basically just looking for exploration assets that had good resources and had great exploration potential,” Iwanaka explained. “Hope Brook popped on our radar and because N.L. is quite a mine friendly province.”
First Mining Gold Corp. bought the mine from Coastal Gold in 2015. Iwanaka says a big asset was that the mining infrastructure is still intact at the site.
“For example, the power lines are still in place, the open pit is still in place — although it is flooded — the airstrip, there’s a wharf, some of the road is still in place, tailings, so a lot of the infrastructure is still standing there, and from my understanding it would be relatively easy to get permitted,” he said. “Plus the site (is) pretty well understood because we know what the past recoveries were at the project.”
Coastal Gold produced 752,163 ounces of gold between the years 1987-97. Iwanaka says studies indicate there is still a significant amount of gold left to extract there. He says that could translate into hundreds of jobs.
The company has applied to the Department of Environment to build a 58-kilometre road from the Burgeo Highway to the Hope Brook site.
“You would have construction employees for the road, for the infrastructure, the actual plant,” he estimated.
Iwanaka stresses that plans for the project are still in the very early stage.
“If everything went well, permitting would take at least a year, construction at least a year, and we’d have to get funding,” he said. “We would have to get the preliminary economic assessment, the pre-feasibility and the feasibility studies done.”
“That would take us into at least three years if everything went smoothly to get us into production,” Iwanaka continued. “That’s a really rough estimate based on where we are at today. That could be accelerated or decelerated, based on how the studies look.”