Mining open houses held
Rainy River Resources, who has been exploring and developing the Rainy River Gold Project in Chapple Township, held it’s first open house in Fort Frances on Thursday at Confederation College.
“I’m very happy with the turnout,” Kyle Stanfield, the company’s vice-president of environment and sustainability.
The open house featured large posters with information about all aspects of the mine development process. And Rainy River Resources staff were on hand to answer questions people had.
Similarly, Stanfield indicated an open house held July 30 in the Township of Chapple was also a success.
“We had just over 50 people and lots of good feedback,” he expressed, citing the “Mining Matters” program, offered by educators from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, was also running at the same time.
“So adults could go over and learn a little about minerals and rocks and geology,” he voiced. “I think the adult session was quite good.”
The “Mining Matters” program continued the next day with the youth session.
“We had 14 youth between the ages of nine-14 and lots of young girls, which is great to see because we need more women in the mining industry,” Stanfield noted. “We have to help women to see the opportunities in mining.”
He indicated one of the activities the youth participated in was building some head frame structures and mining structures with straws and then seeing how they performed when lifting a load.
“It was really pretty competitive,” he chuckled. “They had three teams, one team was all girls and the other teams were all boys. They really had a lot of fun. They were quizzed on different rocks, different minerals, what constitutes a mineral.
“They were really answering those questions and were very excited,” he continued. “I asked them who here wants to be a geologist, or a miner, or to learn more about engineering and everyone had their hands up. It was cool to see that.”
On the third day of the program, a total of 40, including some youth, went on a tour of the exploration site.
“Our geologists presented the geologic model on a screen and showed them what it looks like underground based on our drilling over the years,” Stanfield explained. “They really got a good feel for what it’s like to develop a project.”
He said he spent some time with the participants answering questions.
“There was excitement about the jobs,” he voiced. “But there is the feeling that, ‘Why can’t this happen sooner?’
“But there is a process we have to follow and it’s coming to a conclusion in the next 12 months with the environmental assessment hopefully being approved by the ministers in the spring of next year federally and provincially,” added Standfield.
“I think it’s a helpful process to have some educators come up and help us explain the industry and why the industry is relevant,” he noted.
Despite New Gold acquiring Rainy River, since the process is close to completion, Stanfield stressed that nothing about the project itself will change.
“It means the project happens,” he emphasized. “Because no company is going to invest $350 million and not develop it to see a return for the investors. They want to see a return and they see the value of the project.
“We are far ahead of most projects in Canada that are out there for acquisition, so it is a friendly acquisition,” he added. “It brings certainty to the development of the project.”
And while Osisko recently announced that due to the falling price of gold, it has placed an impairment on the Hammond Reef project, which is an accounting term that has essential removed the value of the Hammond Reef Project from Osisko’s assets.
“[Our] project certainly has very robust economics,” he noted. “We are a project with very good grade. Our underground grades are about 4.5 grams per tonne, which is very good.
“Our gold grades are about double what Hammond Reef’s would have been,” he continued. “The economics are much better. We don’t have water bodies that we have to manage around, other than some creeks . . . The return on the project is very good.
“So while it is still a lower grade deposit, it still represents extremely good value and good return,” he voiced. “And we are still economic well below $1,000 an ounce or even below $900 an ounce.”
Meanwhile, Stanfield indicated the company has been working to try to minimize the footprint, trying to make it a compact site.
“We went through that process over the last 18 months of really optimizing the site,” he explained. “Part of that was making sure we had a very robust project economically because a lot of major mining projects have blown their budget and have lost credibility.
“So we went through a process of rigourous engineering redesign and we actually reduced the overall footprint of the site by about a third, 33 percent,” he remarked. “I think that is a significant outcome because originally we had a much bigger environmental footprint. So now our footprint has shrunk a third from where it was a year ago.
“I’m really pleased with that,” he added. “We know that mining takes a footprint and people are concerned about that, but I think they will see that we have taken big strides in optimizing that footprint and making sure that it’s as compact as possible and brings the best return and most certainty, without blowing a budget.”
Stanfield encourages local residents to take an interest in the Rainy River Gold Project by visiting the website and viewing the video that is there.
“It really tells the story and shows what it is going to look like during operations, as well as the closure, what our objectives are, and what the tenets of our development strategy are, respecting the culture and diversity of the district,” he expressed, inviting people to stop by the office in Emo and to feel free to tell government people what you think about the project.
“We need all the support we can get to make sure this project happens on time,” he noted.
The draft Environmental Assessment is also out for a 30-day review, which will end on Aug. 19.
Copies of the nearly 8,000 page document are available at the local library, the Chapple Municipal office, and the Rainy River Resources office in Emo.
After the review is complete, the company will be finalizing the Environmental Assessment in October for submission as a final document to the government agencies.
“I can’t believe we’re in these final stretches,” Stanfield enthused. “We’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I think we’re done what we need to do.
“There’s still more to do, but we’re going to continue to follow through with it,” he remarked.