A project in Nunavut and one in northern BC receive regulatory approval.
In Nunavut, the federal government accepted the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s recommendations — submitted in October 2014 and anchored by 127 terms and conditions — to approve the Meliadine gold mine in the territory’s Kivalliq region. The Meliadine project, about 24 kilometers north of Rankin Inlet, would consist of one underground mine and five open pits, with a network of access roads, including, eventually, a two-lane all-weather road to the nearby Kivalliq community. The mine is expected to operate expected 24 hours a day/365 days a year and to result in the daily extraction of approximately 8,500 tonnes of ore and up to 3.1 million tonnes of ore annually.
The expected capital budget for 2015 is approximately $64 million. Of this total, approximately $21 million is allocated towards underground development (2,500 metres). This development will allow for cost-effective a better understanding of the mineralization and help to optimize potential mining plans. The timing of future capital expenditures on the project beyond 2015 and the determination of whether to build a mine at Meliadine are subject to Board approval, prevailing market conditions, and outcomes of the various potential scenarios being evaluated. If it does go ahead during its construction phase, the project would employ about 1,000 people, and about 750 people after mining operations start up.
In BC, the provincial government has given the nod to Prentium’s Brucejack Project. It is located approximately 65 kilometers north of Stewart in northwestern British Columbia. A feasibility study completed in June 2014 has outlined Proven and Probable mineral reserves in the Valley of the Kings of 6.9 million ounces of gold (13.6 million tonnes grading 15.7 grams per tonne gold). The company envisions average annual production of 504,000 ounces of gold over the first 8 years and 404,000 ounces of gold over the life of mine. Production is expected by mid-2017.
Two very promising projects get the go-ahead from governments. At a time when commodity prices are flat or declining and financing is difficult, these announcements bode well for future investments and job opportunities in these two locations.