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Anaconda moving 3.5M tonnes of waste rock offshore and creating jobs

Anaconda Mining is teaming up with Memorial University to develop, prototype and optimize a new excavation system to access narrow vein type deposits. Funding from both the federal and provincial governments to assist the project were announced on Friday.
Anaconda Mining is teaming up with Memorial University to develop, prototype and optimize a new excavation system to access narrow vein type deposits. Funding from both the federal and provincial governments to assist the project were announced on Friday.

Gold mining, in many ways, is very much like finding a needle in a haystack.

Only in this case, the needle is a precious mineral and the hay is millions of tonnes of waste rock.

At Anaconda Mining’s Point Rousse Project open-pit mine near Baie Verte, depending on the area being mined, a tonne of rock yields anywhere from two to four ounces of gold.

The leftover rock, which doesn’t contain enough gold to extract at an economic level, is considered waste and is piled up in dumps around the mining site, waiting to be remediated.

But what if the waste rock didn’t have to stay on site?

Last fall, in partnership with Shore Line Aggregates, a subsidiary of the contract miner Guy. J. Bailey, and Phoenix Bulk Carrier, Anaconda started a venture that will see nearly 30 per cent of all its waste rock — 3.5 million tonnes — sent to South Carolina where it’s being used in a state infrastructure project.

Only in this case, the needle is a precious mineral and the hay is millions of tonnes of waste rock.

At Anaconda Mining’s Point Rousse Project open-pit mine near Baie Verte, depending on the area being mined, a tonne of rock yields anywhere from two to four ounces of gold.

The leftover rock, which doesn’t contain enough gold to extract at an economic level, is considered waste and is piled up in dumps around the mining site, waiting to be remediated.

But what if the waste rock didn’t have to stay on site?

Last fall, in partnership with Shore Line Aggregates, a subsidiary of the contract miner Guy. J. Bailey, and Phoenix Bulk Carrier, Anaconda started a venture that will see nearly 30 per cent of all its waste rock — 3.5 million tonnes — sent to South Carolina where it’s being used in a state infrastructure project.

In addition to reducing the mine’s environmental footprint and and creating $2 million in revenue, Anaconda’s aggregates venture is also creating 70 new jobs in the Baie Verte region.

"We took a cost centre and made it into a profit centre,” explains Anaconda president & CEO Dustin Angelo.
“We’re focused on executing on this contract but I think we certainly have thoughts and plans to be able to ship out the rest of it in some other contract.”
What makes the project even more appealing is that the waste rock isn’t being shipped by truck.
“There’s an economic issue there and a community-relations issue where the amount of rock we’re moving and necessary for this particular part of the project, the amount of tractor-trailers you’d have to move through communities would be very disruptive to the local area,” he says, estimating that it would take 100,000 truck loads to move the product by road.

“Bringing it by water eliminates that issue. We’re doing 60,000 tonnes at a time in the ships that are delivering the product.”

Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown says the project is fantastic for the company and the surrounding area in terms of its environmental benefits.

“If their waste rock wasn’t being shipped out and modified for shipping then they’d had to store that somewhere on site. It would be sort of an eyesore to the surrounding area,” suggests Brown.

Aside from the aggregates venture reducing the project’s environmental footprint and creating $2 million in revenue for Anaconda, it’s also adding 70 jobs to the company’s operations.

Brown says there’s already close to 400 jobs attached to mining in the area, and that doesn’t include the spinoff employment through suppliers and contractors.
“The Shoreline Aggregates is certainly a big lift and it’s tremendous because we’re having to import tradespeople from outside the area to do these jobs,” says Brown. “The contract they have now hopefully will extend and they’ll get more contracts and that’s something that will grow this area.”

Angelo says the venture is a great use of the company’s port facility in nearby South Brook for export, but they hope to be able to start importing ore from other gold mining projects down the road and refine them at the Pine Cove Mill.

There are places in Atlantic Canada where the resource exists, but not in such a quantity that it makes sense to build another mill. By bringing in the ore, they can make those projects economically viable and that’s good news for everyone.
“Our goal is to feed the mill as much possible, so where the ore sources are to a certain extent doesn’t really matter as long we can continue to feed the mill and do it profitably, and if we can do that the mill continues running and that means the operations keeps running and the people stay around.”

 

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: kennoliver79

The vessels being used to ship the aggregate rock can carry 60,000 tonnes of rock per shipment. If the waste rock had to go via the road, it would take 100,000 truckloads.

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