Company bullish on former Buchans mine site

Sue Hickey
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Demand for metals fuels exploration activity

Buchans Minerals Corp. thinks there’s life in the old copper mine yet.

The company is hoping to secure $3 million to explore the possibility of open-pit mining at its Lundberg and Engine House properties near the old mine sites.

Buchans once had some of the highest-grade copper in the world, but mining company Asarco pulled out in the mid-1980s when the resource was exhausted.

Paul Moore, vice-president of exploration with Buchans Minerals Corporation, feels there’s still potential there.

“In 1984, (Asarco) mined out all the high-grade ore they could find,” he explained. “What we’ve been focusing on the past three or four years now has been lower-grade material that’s been close to surface. They weren’t really set up to mine those kinds of grades, and metal prices have certainly come up since then.”

The price of copper on the world metal markets today — US$4.63 per pound — makes the prospect more attractive.

“The $3 million is for further work,” Moore said. “When metal prices are up and markets seem to be responding well, it’s a good time to go back and put more money in the treasury to do work for the next few years.”

Buchans Minerals is conducting an economic assessment to see how much it would cost to get a mine set up and built.

The demand for base metals can be traced, at least in part, to China.

“The Chinese demand is a whole new demand, and it’s basically sucking up all the metals,” Moore said.

He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the company’s exploration activities.

“There will be a mine again someday in Buchans, and we’re certainly working towards that goal.”

The Advertiser

Organizations: Asarco, Buchans Minerals, Lundberg and Engine House

Geographic location: Buchans, China

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Recent comments

  • Domino chaulk
    March 13, 2011 - 11:02

    re Gerald Bursey Gerald .This is about all of Newfoundland not just Buchans.Our powers to be really don't care about our environment unless they are pushed by those who elect them.We should never overlook our environment no matter what short term benfit they may bring.Hope there are not too many who think like you in Newfoundland.IAlso grew up in Buchans and would not like to see open pit mining for any reason.

  • Mary March Debacle
    March 01, 2011 - 12:35

    Gerald, I can say that from what I have gathered, Canstar would not be mining by open pit but by underground. However whatever the mining method, the governments are very strict these days in maintaining a clean environment and any operation would have to adhere to strict regulations. That said my issue and that of many-----the government has dragged it's feet for going on "eleven" years at the expense of tax payers dollars on a dispute that has no basis. It also must be noted that this is largely a matter of dispute between the Department of Natural Resources, as represented by the Claims Recorders Office and Vinland Resources. On October 23/09 the Mineral Rights Adjudication Board "unanimously" rejected Vinlands appeal, the third rejection to date. Yet the dispute continues with nuisance appeals. Every single day this frivilous dispute continues, even more tax dollars are wasted. The Mary March property is located in rural Newfoundland, 20 km NE of and within the same geological group that host the "former" producing Buchans mine, discovery holes drilled by Phelps Dodge in 1999 and 2000 produced some of the highest grade base and precious metal intersections ever achieved in the area outside the Buchans mine. Contrary to what has been touted, legal representative in the case have emphatically stated that a legislative fix could end this dispute immediately. This would stop this colossal waste to tax dollars and start the process of job creation and employment opportunities in an area that really needs this.

  • Gerald Bursey
    February 28, 2011 - 10:37

    Mary March, I think your issue is with that very dispute you're talking about and not with whether or not the open pit goes ahead in Buchans. Its too bad that both sides of that dispute would rather spend millions and continue to waste time than see it further explored and possibly developed.

  • Mary March Debacle
    February 25, 2011 - 12:56

    Gerald I appreciate your common sense response. From what I understand the Minister Shawn Skinner says a provincial mining strategy intends to ensure that mineral resources are developed in an environmentally responsible manner, while supporting exploration and development opportunities. That said let's not forget that a redundant "property dispute" over the highly prospective Mary March property just next door has hindered significant job creation, employment opportunities and social benefits for "over" 10 years. Can you imagine taking over 10 years to resolve a property dispute and still no resolution? This has cost the province and especially central Newfoundland plenty and it behooves me as to why residents put up with this. IN EVERY OTHER CANADIAN PROVINCE, LEGISLATION HAS PASSED A LAW THAT IN EFFECTS SAYS, WHOEVER IS THE REGISTERED OWNER IN THE MINERAL LANDS REGISTRY IS THE "ABSOLUTE" OWNER. PERIOD. Why isn't this the case for this Mary March property? Why have tens of thousands of tax dollars in legal fees been wasted on a property dispute that has been proven time and time and time again to have no basis. The fact is, a simple legislative fix would stop this dispute in it's tracks and put Newfoundland on the same playing field as the rest of Canada. What's the hold up? Frankly the residents of central Newfoundland deserve better and deserve an answer. Contact the Minister of Natural Resources Shawn Skinner ( and "former" Minister of Natural Resources, Premier Kathy Dunderdale ( and ask why this dispute has not been resolved. To be told that this is "before" the courts is unacceptable after 10 years of this nonsense, this amounts to nothing more than government rhetoric. Whether this dispute is before the courts or not has "no bearing" on the fact that the government has the absolute "authority" to pass legislation and stop this nonsense dispute. Isn't it time the "best interests" of central Newfoundland take priority?

  • Gerald Bursey
    February 24, 2011 - 19:28

    Times have changed and so have the practices of mining, processing and waste/tailings management. I grew up a few hundred feet from the 'mucky ditch' where tailings flowed freely for many of the early years of the mine, and not too far away from the tailings ponds that were used in later years. Obviously the environmental concerns should be held in high regard, but you also must take into consideration the possible economic and social benefits of a project like this for the area where many people are very proud to call home and would like to continue to call home for years to come. There's a big picture when you're talking about a project of this magnitude and often times some parts of that picture get overlooked with too much focus on the environmental issues. With all the Government regulations, assessments, policies and procedures for the environment, i'm sure that if Buchans Minerals are successful and the open pit mine goes ahead, that it will be what's best for the people Buchans. I support it 100%, and I know that there are many more who do.

  • Twenty km's away
    February 23, 2011 - 13:48

    More than a decade ago discovery holes drilled on the Mary March property by Phelps Dodge, produced some of the "highest grade" base and precious metal intersections ever achieved in the area outside the formerly producing Buchans mine. This Mary March property is located just 20 km away. In 2000 Vinland Resources attempted to claim jump/overstake the claims, but the staking was rejected by the Mining Recorder. Since this time appeal after appeal after appeal have hindered the development of this property, essentially putting this property in limbo.This dispute is now in it's eleventh year and still we wait for a resolution. It's absolutely clear and unambiguous that the present government has the power and authority to end this frivilous dispute. In every single other province in Canada this can't come up, "because" legislation has passed law that in effect says, whoever is the registered owner in the Mineral lands registry is the absolute owner. Period. A very simple "legislative fix" would stop these endless, nuisance appeals. Fact is, that in over 10 years Vinland has not put forward "any" conclusive evidence that this property was open for staking. Can someone explain why the government continues to waste tens of thousands of tax dollars in legal fees on this dispute? Can someone explain why the province of Newfoundland doesn't appear to protect claim holder's rights and why it would take over a decade to resolve a "property" dispute? Is the system "broken" or just inefficient and unprofessional?

  • Concerned Newfie
    February 23, 2011 - 12:19

    You're right there Brad fill her up and who cares the government is saying, are they? I agree with you, yet we can't even have a camper trailer is a pithole with a little cesspool for yo know what (sxxt), without being booted out. Its an envirnomental issue you know. It's time for the government to get real. All of our rights are gradually being taken away.

    • Domino chaulk
      February 24, 2011 - 08:42

      0pen pit mines is very bad for our environment.I lived in Buchans when grey Slime flowed thru the town and spilled into red Indian lake.Wildlife had to have been effected and there were no fish in one side of the lake.This development should insure saftey for the envirment before it is ever considered.IT will destroy a lot of landscape.Asarco got away with too much for years in BUchans and this should never happen again .Mr,Moore should know there will be people against this and I will be one of them.

  • Brad
    February 22, 2011 - 10:34

    So what ponds will we give away to this company to kill with their poisonous tailings? Oh yeah that's right they already have a dead pond to dump in, but what about when that one is filled up? Mining and the work associated are good when done correctly, but the archaic methods the government allows companies to use in this province only means more scars to the environment, and more uncurable diseases for the people. But that's ok in some people's minds as long as they get a job.

  • SameOldSameOld
    February 22, 2011 - 08:42

    Funny - always a good news story when looking for capital (e.g. money) but always a poor story when negotiating benefits agreements (e.g."we can't do this mine unless you give us a subsidy or $5,000,000 worth of NFLD land and waters").