June 29, 2016 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - New exploration at New Afton Mine may hint at an extended life for the mine.
Recent exploration at the mine suggests an area considered for mining in 2023 may be larger than previously estimated and can be mined longer than previously estimated.
A feasibility study in February showed an area called C-Zone may be viable for mining once the current area is finished. The feasibility study estimated C-Zone had 25 million tonnes of ore which would provide roughly five years of mine life, but continued exploration shows copper and gold deposits in a larger area than originally planned for, according to a press release.
The results are early and need to be verified but the company sees it as a big positive, social responsibility and environmental manager Scott Davidson says.
“Really, we’re quite excited about it,” he says. "We know there's ore down there, we've done the homework."
The mining company has committed to using its full exploration budget for the mine to try to better understand what lies below.
“To what extent and how much we would find just requires drilling and continued exploration,” Davidson says.
He says the exploration is looking at whether C-Zone can be made bigger.
No decisions on the mine’s future are being made at this time but Davidson says the New Gold board will vote next year on the new area. More complete information from the current exploration drilling is expected at the end of 2016.
If approved, work on C-Zone would start in 2023 and initial estimates suggest it will stay open until around 2029, but with the new discoveries that could be extended.
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