Rambler focused on expanding mine life

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Rudy Norman
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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.”

Organizations: Ming Mine, Thundermin Resources, Natural Resources Dept.

Geographic location: Baie Verte, Springdale

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  • Paul Brake
    June 12, 2014 - 09:07

    Newfoundland needs all the business it can get. With the global economy still not recovered we need to remain a "have" province so that we can lead the way in Canada towards prosperity. Economies are like eco-systems. Just as you cannot walk up to an apple tree and create an apple on it, so too you cannot create a job. We have to allow the jobs to grow naturally by freeing up all barriers to trade and jobs. Payroll taxes for example punish employers for hiring people. Does that make sense? Get rid of it. And the problem with all government intervention is that government's invariably sacrifice one area to prop up another. Would you take the topsoil and water from a healthy tree and pile it up on the roots of a dead stump hoping for apples? Then why would you coerce tribute (taxes, payroll taxes etc) from healthy businesses to create subsidies for ailing ones? Foolishness. And time and again, both with our provincial governments, and with interference from Ottawa, we have seen Newfoundland business being kneecapped. Look at the fisheries, look at the seal hunt. They would both thrive if it weren't for Federal and foreign interference. And we cannot get apples from a fence post. We need to stop government intervention in business and let the economy grow naturally, and organically, and prosperity and jobs will bloom. A perfect example is going on in Ontario. The Liberal government there gave $414 Million to a dying company called MaRS to prop it up. Now that isn't enough to keep it running, that is just so it won't fall into the dirt. Let it fall! Its resources will go back into the economy and feed viable business. And where did the government get the $417 Million? They got it by taxing the snot out of other companies, businesses that were healthy. Healthy businesses took a $417 Million hit so that a sick and lifeless, bloated corpse of a business, owned by friends of the government, could gasp one more dying breath. Rambler mines is an example. Let's remove barriers to trade so that companies like this can grow, so that jobs can blossom, and so prosperity can abound. That is the Newfoundland I envision. That is the Libertarian way.