Baie Verte -
Optimism hung thick in the air at the Baie Verte Mining Conference last week, with the prospect of having three mines fully operational next year just outside of town.
The three major companies currently or soon to be mining near Baie Verte are Anaconda Mining Inc., Rambler Metals and Mining and Tenacity Gold Mining Company Ltd.
Anaconda's Pine Cove project - a gold mine - has been in operation just outside Baie Verte for two years.
"There is a heightened sense of optimism this year," said Kevin Pollard, the Baie Verte-Springdale MHA.
"The industry is rebounding, the mood is upbeat and lots of jobs will be created."
Pollard called mining one of the province's most important industries, employing approximately 4,000 people.
"There will be an improved quality of life in Baie Verte," he said of the upcoming activity.
"It will bring more business opportunities and the future looks bright for Newfoundland and Labrador."
The province has committed $235,000 for a mineral strategy that focuses on increasing exploration, production and further employment opportunities.
Also during the Mining Conference, Rambler Metals and Mining announced plans for its Ming Mine - which primarily produces copper and a minimal amount of gold. Peter Mercer, Rambler's project co-ordinator, said Ming will be back in production by the middle of 2011.
"At the peak of the operation we will have 158 new jobs to be filled, and for every job created, there are about two and a half spinoff jobs," Mercer said.
"A total of $9.75 million will be paid in employees' salaries once the mine is in production."
Ming Mine drilled for 10 years, between 1972 and 1982. But after that, apart from brief periods of operation in 1996 and 1997, it was flooded and closed since it had reached its property boundary.
The company stepped in to revive and drain the mine in mid-2008, and new geological surveys suggest it could be profitable with more drilling in certain areas.
Mercer said Rambler projects Ming Mine could have a seven-year mining life, or even longer with more exploration and drilling.
The company has invested $32.5 million in expansion and evaluation for the Ming Mine and has purchased a processing mill called Nugget Pond in Snook's Arm for $3.5 million.
Meanwhile, Anaconda is expecting to process 16,000 ounces of gold in 2011 at its Pine Cove mine. Estimates by the company put the total amount of gold to be mined from Pine Cove at 200,000 ounces.
"We're on the verge of a very significant operation for years to come," said Alan Cramm, general manager of Anaconda.
Pine Cove is expected to have a 10-year life.
Tenacity Gold Mining Company Ltd. is another player on the Baie Verte mining scene. The St. John's-based company expects to operate two smaller gold mines on the Baie Verte Peninsula, one called Stog'er Tight and the other Deer Cove.
Another highlight of the conference was the presence of Teck Resources Ltd., which has a Duck Pond operation south of Grand Falls-Windsor.
The company was the exclusive provider of the metals used to manufacture the medals for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.
Teck's general manager, Bob Kelly, says most people don't realize how much mining affects their lives.
"People need to understand how important it is," Kelly said.
"I've seen new houses going up in Baie Verte lately and that is because of the mining industry. There are high-paying jobs in this industry that people can be proud of."
The mining conference was held June 11-13 at the Kin Centre.