International zinc producer MMG Ltd. is forging ahead with plans to build two base metal mines in Nunavut at its Izok Corridor project. A feasibility study is underway.
MMG’s major shareholder is China Minmetals Corporation (CMC), with 72% ownership. It is one of China’s major multinational state-owned enterprises. CMC is a diversified company with businesses in metals trading, ferrous and non-ferrous metals production, finance, real estate and logistics.
MMG hopes to have production started at the Izok Corridor project — comprising the Izok and High Lake deposits — started by late 2018 since global production of zinc is forecast to decline over the next few years. If given the green light, Izok could be producing 50,000 tonnes of copper and 180,000 tonnes of zinc per year. Izok Lake is a significant deposit with a Mineral Resource of 14.8 million tonnes at 12.8% zinc and 2.5% copper.
The project is expected to employ about 710 people during the operational phase, with 400 people on site at any one time due to the fly in/fly out rotational schedule. The average on-site work force during construction is expected to be about 670 people.
The Izok Corridor Project is expected to produce high grade zinc, some copper and minor amounts of lead concentrate for approximately 12 years.
Operations and logistics
The project comprises four parts:
1. Open pit and underground mines at the Izok and High Lake mine sites;
2. A processing plant at the Izok mine site producing concentrate from the Izok and High Lake deposits;
3. A port at Grays Bay on the Coronation Gulf;
4. A 347 km all-season road linking all the sites
The project is planned to include camps, storage areas, maintenance warehouses, fuel tanks, tailings facilities (at Izok mine only), waste rock piles, airstrips, a quarry site and local access roads. In addition, the construction phase will require commissioning of two temporary winter roads (Grays Bay-High Lake and Izok Lake-Lupin or Jericho), as well as temporary construction camps and quarries.
The graphic shows demand for alumina, not zinc, but the story and the data pattern are much the same. China has come from nowhere in the last 25 years to consume 40% of the world’s alumina, and zinc and lead and copper…. The interesting thing is the tie to urbanization. The increasingly urbanized China demands more metals for cars, appliances, buildings, etc. The north is feeling the impact… zinc mines in Nunavut and Yukon. The trend suggests continued high demand for these commodities.