SPRINGDALE, NL - Renewed interest in mining copper in the Springdale area has created hope for an eventual economic boost to the region.
Kapuskasing Gold Corp., an Ontario-based company, acquired eight properties in Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this year. Those acquisitions included the Lady Pond copper/cobalt property near Springdale, and the Sterling Property bordering that area.
The Lady Pond property is 1,625 hectares and covers a number of historic shafts, mine workings and areas of historic drilling, according to the company.
The Sterling Property is 700 hectares and hosts the historic Sterling mine and Twin Pond prospect, with an exploration history dating back to the late 1800s. The property has shown copper results from drilling and evaluations performed during the late 1960s.
Jonathan Armes, president and chief executive officer of Kapuskasing Gold, said he had been searching for projects as a change in focus for his company.
"At one point in time, I think Springdale was the largest copper producer in Canada," Armes told the Nor'Wester. "There are a lot of unknowns - a lot of work with the modern context hasn't been done."
In the 1960s, copper was largely determined not economically viable to mine due to markets and prices; that outlook has changed due to available infrastructure and increases in copper prices, said Armes.
The company has now acquired permits for drilling on the property. Phase 1 - expected to be now underway - will consist of about 1,000 metres of drilling and is expected to take three weeks to complete.
Drilling is expected to confirm historical copper mineralization on the property.
"If the data comes back relatively consistent then we can start to incorporate those historic holes and start building a compliant resource," Armes said.
The property is less than five kilometres from Rambler Mining and Metals' Little Deer and Whalesback copper deposits, and the junior company would hope a company like Rambler would be interested in acquiring this property in the future.
"There are all kinds of opportunities here to centralize a mill even, assuming we can put together a decent size resource that may even be open pitable," said Armes.
While drilling is expected to be completed quickly, he estimates the results won't be known until the new year.
With its proximity to Springdale, the president hopes the future could see an economic boost to the region.
"We are trying to make ourselves a take-over target - that's typically what junior exploration companies do," he said. "With Rambler having a significant presence next door to us, we certainly look at trying to appeal to them."
The property is bordering the Springdale water supply, but Armes ensures provincial government approval came under strict conditions and that the local drilling company - Springdale Forest Products - has experience working within these and similar boundaries.
"You just do things a little more safely and conscientiously than you otherwise would, but we are quite comfortable with how things are operating right now," he said.
Springdale Mayor Dave Edison is also confident the project will be carried out in an environmentally sound manner. He said town staff and council are confident the province has ensured appropriate cautions have been adhered to in granting the approval.
"I as mayor, or any of our councillors, aren't aware of specifics of where and how these drillings take place, so we rely on people in the department to help us with these decisions," Edison said.
If the project progresses to the point a mine is established, the mayor is excited about what that could mean for the area.
"We are obviously very excited to see Kapuskasing come in here, and even the thoughts of a mine down the road is very exciting for a town of our size," he said.