My Take on Snow Lake – Aug. 9, 2019

Summer mining news wrap-up

This week’s column cobbles together a raft of local mining announcements, which have accumulated over the last month or so.

Firstly, earlier in July, BacTech Resources announced that the company had signed a letter of intent with GMR Inc. to license BacTech’s proprietary bioleach technology as part of an effort to develop a viable metallurgical solution to process a government owned stockpile of a-bearing material at Snow Lake. The company further announced that it would collaborate with Dundee Sustainable Technologies (DST) as a technology partner in developing a potential solution for problems encountered in their December 2011 proposal to remediate the stockpile. 

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Those problems were: a dramatic drop in the price of gold at the time, prohibitive costs in bring the iron to arsenic ratio to a proper processing level, limestone suitable to be used in the process wasn’t available in the quantity required locally.

“Our return to Snow Lake is predicated on Dundee Sustainable Technologies providing a solution to the unstable arsenic product we generated in our earlier work that killed the project,” said Ross Orr, CEO of BacTech. “The stockpile has a deficiency in iron, leading an unstable ferric arsenate product after bioleaching. By passing this unstable material to be vitrified the arsenic can be safely disposed. We look forward to re-engaging in the Snow Lake project.”

The second announcement came from Rockcliff Metals Corporation and is very good news indeed. On Aug. 1 Rockcliff announced that a 100,000 metre drill program will commence in August and continue non-stop to December of 2020.  

“We look forward to the start of the largest drill program in Rockcliff’s history,” said Rockcliff’s President and CEO Alistair Ross.  “The objectives of this very large drill program are to expand existing resources at several of our deposits, assist in advancing several of our key projects through the pre-feasibility phase, as well as to explore for significant new grass roots discoveries on our very prospective land position. The success of the drill program will be an integral part of Rockcliff’s growth strategy as we work to transition the company into Manitoba’s next mining company.”

Initial drilling will commence on the Company’s Rail and Bur properties, followed by drilling on its Talbot and Tower properties located south of Snow Lake. A minimum of five drills will be deployed in August to carry out this phase of the drill program. This phase of the drill program will total approximately 50,000 metres and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.  Between the start of drilling next month and the end of 2020, drilling is also planned on numerous grass roots targets and at least eight other properties currently held by the Company that are known to host VMS mineralization.

CYR Drilling International Ltd. from Winnipeg, Manitoba and Westcore Drilling Limited from Snow Lake, Manitoba were awarded drilling contracts by the Company.

Also on Aug.1, but with news of an unfavourable variety, Hudbay Minerals Inc. announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued a ruling in the lawsuits challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s issuance of the Final Record of Decision (FROD) for the company’s Rosemont project in Arizona. 

The Court ruled to vacate and remand the FROD such that Rosemont cannot proceed with construction at this time. The company believes that the Court misinterpreted federal mining laws and Forest Service regulations as they apply to Rosemont and will appeal the Court’s decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“We are extremely disappointed with the Court’s decision,” said Peter Kukielski, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. “We strongly believe that the project conforms to federal laws and regulations that have been in place for decades. We will be appealing the decision as we evaluate next steps for the Rosemont Project.”

Finally, Snow Lake Resources has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tanco Mining Corporation of Canada to fast track their Thompson Brothers Lithium Project.

Under this MOU, Tanco Mining and Snow Lake Resources will work collaboratively to explore all possible collaborations, with the view of delivering economic benefits to both parties. The agreement identifies a range of initiatives that may be pursued, including investigating processing of the Thompson Brothers material utilizing the Tanco infrastructure and Tanco supporting financing options for project infrastructure. In addition, other means will be investigated to maximize local employment with added economic benefits for the Town of Snow Lake, Winnipeg and environs, which headquarter each operation.

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