Aerial view of PotashCorp’s new Picadilly Mine (bottom) and the existing Penobsquis operation (top) | Photo courtesy of Maurice Mazerolle
The value of the province’s mineral production in 2009 was estimated at $1.1 billion compared to $1.4 billion in 2008. The drop is due to reduced
base-metal production following the closure of the Caribou and Restigouche mines, as well as decreasing reserves at Xstrata’s Brunswick Mine. Nevertheless,
ongoing development of mineral and natural gas deposits are cause for optimism.
The largest and most advanced of these projects is PotashCorp’s Picadilly Mine. This mine, anticipated to commence production in 2012, will reach full
production of two million tonnes per year following a three-year ramp-up phase. In the Bathurst Camp, development work on the Halfmile Lake zinc-lead
deposit by Kria Resources Ltd. is expected begin production in 2011 with ore to supply Xstrata’s Brunswick mill. Base metal potential in the Bathurst Camp
has also attracted the interest of Votorantim Metals Canada Inc., which has finalized an option/joint venture agreement with El Niño Ventures Inc. and
Xstrata Zinc Canada. This agreement will see $20 million in exploration expenditures over seven years.
In southern New Brunswick, Adex Mining Inc. has signed an agreement with Great Harvest Canadian Investment Company Ltd. to fund a definitive feasibility
study of the Mount Pleasant Mine. Geodex Minerals Ltd. entered into an agreement with Northcliff Exploration Ltd. on the Sisson Brook W-Mo deposit that
could see production coming as early as 2012.
A recent preliminary economic assessment study outlines a 20-year lifespan for Halfmile Lake Mine, to be supplemented by 11 years of production from the
nearby Stratmat zinc-lead project. Stratabound Minerals Corp. continued drilling on its Captain and Captain North Extension deposits in the Bathurst Camp,
with an additional 3,200-metre drill program currently underway.
SLAM Exploration Ltd. recently acquired the Silverjack property. The high-grade silver-lead-zinc-copper property comprises three claims covering 48
hectares adjacent to the Nash Creek property in northern New Brunswick.
Puma Exploration reported results from two drill holes on the Turgeon copper-zinc VMS deposit in northern New Brunswick. Puma has initiated a deep drilling
program to confirm the extension of mineralization at depth and the continuity of mineralized zones and continued exploration on its adjacent
Blue Note Mining Inc. extended drilling on its Williams Brook property, 90 kilometres west of Bathurst, testing shallow gold mineralization associated with
quartz veins and potassic-altered rhyolite. Castle Resources Inc. began a 3,300-metre infill drilling program on the West Gabbro Zone (WGZ) of the Elmtree
Gold property in northern New Brunswick. Micon International Ltd. completed a preliminary economic assessment on the Elmtree gold project, indicating a
pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 25 per cent using $900 Au/oz and a pre-tax IRR of 63 per cent using $1,100 Au/oz, based on open pit mining of
1.117 million tonnes at an average gold grade of 2.41 g/t Au, with 90% Au recovery and a stripping ratio of 6.3:1.
Geodex updated their NI 43-101-compliant resource estimates for the Sisson Brook W-Mo deposit in west-central New Brunswick. Adex Mining Inc. continues with metallurgical testing on the W-Mo Fire Tower and Sn–In–Zn North Zones, with a development strategy
of on-site production of “marketable” metal products (i.e., indium sponge and zinc metal) instead of bulk metal concentrates.
Continental Nickel Ltd. conducted a 10-hole, 1,356-metre drilling program to follow up on newly identified EM anomalies on the historic St. Stephen nickel
property in southern New Brunswick. Drill holes intersected massive, semi-massive and disseminated sulphides, with notable mineralization at Anomaly G and
the Triple J anomaly.
Rockport Mining Corporation has uncovered significant antimony mineralization during trenching and drilling programs on their Bald Hill property in
southern New Brunswick. At their Main and Parallel zones, they have calculated a combined NI 43-101 potential quantity and grade consisting of 725,000 to
one million tonnes at 4.11% to 5.32% Sb.
Non-metallic minerals and petroleum
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. reported results from an 11-hole, 2,382-metre drilling program (BR09-1 to 11) targeting rare-earth-element (REE)
mineralization on the Benjamin River property in northern New Brunswick.
PetroWorth Resources Inc. signed a letter of intent with Enbridge Gas NB Inc. to construct a 22-kilometre pipeline from the Rosevale natural gas field to
the city of Moncton. They are in the midst of drilling two horizontal gas wells in the Frederick Brook shale on their Rosevale property.
Corridor Resources Inc. entered into an agreement with Apache Canada Ltd. to assess their land holdings in hopes of producing oil and natural gas resources
in southern New Brunswick. Over 18 months, Apache plans to invest at least $25 million to evaluate the commercial potential of natural gas development in
the Frederick Brook shale in the Elgin area and light oil development in the recent Caledonia oil discovery.
Southwestern Resources Canada Ltd. was granted exclusive licences to conduct an exploration program covering over 2.5 million acres to test for the
presence of new hydrocarbon basins in central and southeastern New Brunswick. Over the next three years, Southwestern has committed to spending $47
million, of which more than 80 per cent will be spent on gathering and processing geochemical, gravity, magnetic and seismic data.
By Sean McClenaghan, Kathleen Thorne, and Les Fyffe, Geological Surveys Branch, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources