Prior to Sept. 16, Hudbay Minerals had opened a total of 26 mines in the province of Manitoba; staying true to that prolific nature, the company opened two more on this historic afternoon. A mere two hours after they cut the ribbon on the massive Lalor Project, Hudbay and VMS officials had the scissors out and were doing it all over again 80 kilometres down the road at the Reed Mine!
As the snow swirled outside, close to 100 people gathered in the welcome warmth of Reed’s surface shop to break bread, and toast the province’s newest mine.
As he did previously in the day, Hudbay Manitoba business unit vice-president Rob Winton very capably acted as emcee and after smudging the gathering place with sage and sweetgrass, Opaskwayak Cree Nation elder Nathan McGillivary once again delivered wise words and a welcome prayer.
To bring any mine to production involves a long list of those who were key through a variety of stages. Thanking them is no small feat, but acknowledging their contributions is certainly one of the ways this is accomplished. Mr. Winton did this in thanking Steve West (now retired) head of the environment department, as well as environmental lawyer Sheryl Rosenberg for their tireless work on the environmental licensing and in putting the Reed Mine on the map. He praised them for the high standards that had been set and met at the site. Steve Polegato was also commended for bringing the mine in on time and budget.
Manitoba Minister of Mineral Resources Dave Chomiak was then called forward to speak. Chomiak also touched on the environmental aspect of the Reed Project. Stating how conscious Hudbay, VMS, and their partners were in developing the mine. “Just to put a modern point on it,” said Chomiak. “When they set up their satellite (dish) and aimed it to try and make it functional, they only clipped branches of trees in order to preserve the trees and preserve the environment around this site and at the same time provide for modern convenience and modern communication. That’s an example of forward thinking and of stewardship in the fullest sense of the word.” The minister said he was ecstatic to announce the opening of two new mines in a single day and he congratulated VMS and Hudbay for their work.
VMS’s president John Roozendaal spoke next and commented on what a journey Reed had been for both VMS and him personally. He recalled how seven years ago, minus one day (Sept. 17, 2007), VMS announced the discovery of the mineralization that led to the Reed Mine. Speaking about the project’s environmental, safety, and fiscal records, as well as its timeline, Roozendaal stated, “This Reed Mine exemplifies why mining is important in Canada and why we are some of the best miners in the world.”
Hudbay’s CEO David Garofalo was the afternoon’s final speaker. He thanked folks for attending, stating that he wouldn’t repeat what he had said at Lalor earlier that morning. “I will say this about Reed though,” he noted. “There are two things that Hudbay has historically done very well. One is to feed the industrial complex that we have here on a very capital efficient basis. Reed may be a small mine, but it is a real gem and it is going to generate great returns for our shareholders. The other thing is; I think it is a testament to the fact that we are partners of choice for juniors. We’ve had a superb relationship with VMS to bring this project forward, and that’s a pattern that we’ve followed time and again.”
With that, the shop door opened and a truck, loaded with ore, pulled up. Officials from Hudbay and VMS, as well as Chomiak, quickly walked out into the falling snow to cut a ribbon officially opening the Reed Copper Project and capping an historic day in Northern Manitoba.