Vice-president says there’s extra potential in Ming Mine
Rambler Mines in Baie Verte says it is hoping that by tapping into more mining opportunities in the region it can extend the life of its operation.
Rambler Metals and Mining’s Nugget Crown Pillar. — Photo courtesy of Rambler Metals and Mining
Peter Mercer, vice-president of Rambler Metals and Mining, gave an update on the company’s operations at a provincial mining conference in Baie Verte during the weekend.
Talking about the Ming Mine operation near Ming’s Bight and its interests in properties near Springdale and King’s Point, Mercer said Rambler is focused primarily on extending the life of its operation by exploring an area that is key to its success.
“Right now, we’re focusing our efforts on mining the lower footwall zone in our Ming Mine,” Mercer said.
“If we’re successful in creating a viable operation there, then that will greatly increase the life of the mine.”
Mercer said if commodity prices stay strong, current operations could continue another five years. However, that could be doubled or tripled if the same prices apply to the lower footwall zone.
“In terms of priorities for us right now, we’re really looking to get some value out of the footwall zone. There’s a tremendous resource down there,” Mercer said after his presentation.
Right now the footwall zone isn’t included in Rambler’s mine plan, which means it isn’t part of the overall economics and life of the mine.
The hope, though, is through a process known as dense media separation (DMS) the company will be able to make it a central part of its operations.
“We’ve been working on this now for a couple of years and have done extensive testing,” Mercer said. “Now we have to get the economics working — we know how much it’s going to cost, but we need to get it implemented into our operation to be able to justify it on a larger scale.”
Rambler’s plan is to install new equipment underground in the mine that will be able to process the product coming out of the ground, rather than trucking it to the company’s processing facility in Nugget Pond.
The economics aren’t there to justify the extra cost of trucking, so it has to look at other options, Mercer said.
“If this doesn’t work, then we move on to something else,” he said. “But the important thing is to always have a Plan B.”
Rambler also has interests in the former Hammerdown mine near King’s Point and the Little Deer deposit near St. Patrick’s. However, he said, those operations are still being explored and will likely be a few years from development because the the company is focusing its interests elsewhere for now.
“In the case of Little Deer, we’ve entered into a partnership with Thundermin Resources,” he said. “That project likely isn’t a stand-alone mine. However, perhaps we can look at something like barging the ore over to Nugget Pond or trucking it if the grade is high enough.”
Mercer says the same goes for the Hammerdown property, in the fact that it’s still a few years out and will likely have to be supported somehow by their current operations.
“Right now our focus is on the lower footwall zone, because obviously we own 100 per cent of that,” he said. “Where everything else goes, we’ll have to wait and see.”
The mining conference at Baie Verte drew several industry representatives as well as officials from the province’s Natural Resources Dept. Minister Derek Dalley was guest speaker at the opening dinner Friday.
Dalley said despite a bit of a downturn in the industry “there are still great things happening in the province in relation to mining.”