Mineral development continues in Newfoundland and Labrador
Information sourced from the Department of Mines and Energy, Natural Resources, of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador produces more than a
dozen mineral commodities ranging from aggregates used in road construction
to iron used in structural steel, limestone used in agriculture, nickel used to
produce stainless steel, granite used in counter tops, and copper wire for use in
electrical generation and distribution.
Since 2004 there has been an increase of about 490 per cent in the value
of the province’s mineral shipments with the 2007 forecast at
approximately $3.97 billion, up from $673 million in 2004. This increase is
due to opening of the Voisey’s Bay and Duck Pond mines and a broad based
increase in prices and local production of copper, zinc, nickel and iron ore
over this time period.
Direct employment in the Newfoundland and Labrador mining industry is
projected to be 3,795 person years in 2007, an increase of 115 over the 2006
level. The level of exploration investment in the province has increased
dramatically as well. In 2006, about $101 million was spent in the province on
mineral exploration and deposit appraisal; this total was expected to increase
to $160 million in 2007.
Mining and development
Anaconda Mining Inc. (previously named Anaconda Gold) is developing the
Pine Cove Gold deposit outside Baie Verte. During 2005, in an effort to reduce
the capital cost, Anaconda redesigned its mine plan from a 1,000 tonne per day
operation to a 350 to 500 tonne per day operation. This reduction in mill
throughput would also extend the mine life from 6 to 15 years. The Pine Cove
gold deposit hosts probable reserves of 2,332,676 tonnes grading 2.76 grams
per tonne of gold for 207,000 ounces of gold. Inferred resources total 66,700
tonnes grading 2.43 grams per tonne of gold for 5,200 ounces of gold.
Groundbreaking at the site took place early in July, with plans for a fourth
quarter start to mining operations at the site.
In 2006, Atlantic Barite Limited reactivated the Buchans barite plant, which
operated in the 1980s to produce barite from the tailings of the former base
metal mine. The plant has the capacity to produce approximately 15,000 to
20,000 tonnes of barite per year, with an expected mine life of up to 20 years.
Located at Lower Cove on the Port au Port Peninsula, Atlantic Minerals
Limited operates limestone and dolomite quarries, a modern two million
tonnes per year processing plant and deepwater ship loading facilities. Total
shipments of limestone and dolomite from Lower Cove are forecast to increase
from about 1.6 million tonnes in 2006 to 1.8 million tonnes in 2007.
The Duck Pond mine is located approximately 30 kilometres south of the
former Buchans mine in central Newfoundland. The deposit has proven
reserves of 4.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 3.3% copper, 5.7% zinc, 59
grams per tonne silver and 0.9 grams per tonne of gold. Production started in
January 2007. The mine is expected to produce approximately 41 million
pounds of copper, 76 million pounds of zinc,
574,000 ounces of silver and 5,000 ounces of
gold annually over the eight-year mine life.
Annual employment at the mine is anticipated to
average 192 people.
Located near Glenwood, the Beaver Brook
antimony mine was opened by Roycefield
Resources Ltd. in 1997. The mine operated for
several months before increased low-cost
production from China caused a significant drop
in the price of antimony, forcing Roycefield to
close the mine in early 1998. Antimony prices have recovered substantially and
the current owner, Beaver Brook Antimony Mines Inc., plans to reopen the mine
later in 2007. Dewatering of the underground workings was completed in
August, and underground site rehabilitation is ongoing.
Continental Stone Limited (CSL) intends to establish a granite quarry north
of Belloram on the province’s south coast. The project has successfully
completed a provincial environmental assessment and is currently undergoing
a federal environmental review.
Crew Gold Canada Ltd. acquired the Nugget Pond processing facility on the
Baie Verte Peninsula from New Island Resources in October 2006. The company
saw this as a long-term solution to processing ore from their Nalunaq Gold
Mine in south-western Greenland, which it operates through its subsidiary
company, Nalunaq Gold Mines. Ore shipments began in February, and in April
the company re-commissioned the Nugget Pond mill and poured the first gold
bar from Nalunaq ore. Shipments are arriving through a temporary port facility
at Goodyear’s Cove until a site for a permanent facility is chosen.
The Hutton Beaches are located in an uninhabited area about 360
kilometres north of Nain. Freeport Resources Inc.’s Hutton Beaches project
consists of several high-grade heavy mineral sand beaches, composed largely
of garnet. Freeport has assembled a technical team to assist with marketing,
product development, pilot plant design, transportation and site logistics as
well as environmental and site monitoring. Efforts by the technical team will
form the foundation of a full scale feasibility study on the project.
Galen Gypsum started mining its Coal Brook gypsum deposit in the St.
George’s Bay area in 1999.Galen has shut down its mining operation as a result
of Lafarge’s decision on July 10,2007,to close the Corner Brook plant.The future
of the Coal Brook mine will depend on Galen’s ability to develop export markets
for its gypsum and whether or not a new owner can be found for the wallboard
plant at Corner Brook.
Hi-Point Industries (1991) Ltd. is a peat moss processing company and is the
original producer of the oil absorbent “Oclansorb.”The company has developed
its Island Pond peat bog near the Gander Bay highway for the production of
Hurley Slate Works Company Incorporated ships roofing slate to
international markets and flagstone to local markets. The company’s slate
quarry is located at Nut Cove in Smith Sound, Trinity Bay.
The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) commenced producing iron ore
from its Carol Lake (Labrador West) project in 1962. Annual mine production
at the open pit operation is in the 35 to 38 million tonne range at an average
grade of approximately 40% total iron. Annual production capacity is 17
million tonnes of concentrate of which approximately 13 million tonnes are
pelletized. IOC’s shipment forecast for 2007 was revised down from 17.6
million tonnes to 13.8 million tonnes; this reflects the impact of the strike at
the minesite which lasted approximately two months. A $60 million capital
expenditure was approved to expand production capacity, increasing
concentrate production capacity to 18.4 million tonnes by mid-2008, and a
feasibility study will assess further expansion to 21 million tonnes annual
capacity. IOC also mines its own dolomite for making fluxed pellets in
Labrador West; 2007 shipments are forecasted to be 146,000 tonnes. The
company plans to commence mining the Plateau dolomite quarry, estimated
to produce 200,000 tonnes per year over the 20 year mine life, in late 2007
or early 2008.
TUC, a subsidiary of the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation, has been
quarrying anorthosite (Labradorite) at Ten Mile Bay near Nain since 1992.
Production for 2007 is anticipated to total about 1,000 cubic metres, an
increase of 80 per cent from the 2006 level.
Newfoundland Pyrophyllite operates the pyrophyllite mine in Manuels,
Conception Bay as a subsidiary company of Trinity Resources and Energy Ltd.
With known reserves, the processing facility at Manuels can dry grind and air
classify various grades of pyrophyllite powder which is used as industrial filler
in paints and ceramics.
Peat Resources Limited holds exploration licenses on over 130,000
hectares of peat lands in several areas of Newfoundland. Initial resource
evaluation of peat lands in the Stephenville–St. George’s area has defined
over 40 million cubic metres of fuel-grade peat. Field work is ongoing on
other high-priority peat lands in central Newfoundland. Peat Resources is
building a small-scale production facility in Stephenville. When fully
operational in early 2008, the facility will produce peat fuel pellets for
combustion trials in power generation and industrial applications in both
Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Shabogamo Mining and Exploration Limited started mining its Roy’s Knob
silica deposit near Labrador City in October 1999. Shipments in 2007 are
forecasted to be 63,000 tonnes.
In 2005, Central Holdings Inc. purchased several mining leases formerly
held by International Granite. The leases overlay black gabbro deposits in the
Mount Peyton area of central Newfoundland. The purchase included a stone-processing
plant located at Jumpers Brook, near Bishop’s Falls. The operating
company, Terra Nova Granite Inc., currently supplies its plant with stone from
inventory. Terra Nova Granite is focusing on the production of monuments,
countertops and architectural landscaping products for domestic markets.
Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company Ltd. began mining the Ovoid nickel, copper
and cobalt deposit during September 2005 and continues to do so today.VBNC
has committed to constructing a commercial nickel processing plant at Long
Harbour. The first option is a hydromet plant, however, if this does not prove
technically or economically feasible, a matte plant will be constructed. The
plant will have a capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of finished nickel annually
as well as associated copper and cobalt products. VBNC is currently working on
the feasibility study for the plant and is expected to release the Environmental
Impact Statement soon. The company has stated that its goal is to make a
decision and inform government by June 2008. Construction of the plant will
occur between 2009 to 2011.
Wabush Mines commenced mining iron ore from the Scully Mine in
Labrador in 1965 and currently operates a mine and concentrating plant at
Wabush and a pellet plant and shipping facilities in Point Noire, Quebec. In
2007,Wabush Mines is forecasting shipments of approximately five million
tonnes of product and will employ a workforce at the Scully Mine of