Manitoba HudBay’s] Lalor mine stealing thunder of other site – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – August 23, 2012)

There’s no doubt the big story in mining in Manitoba these days is HudBay’s Lalor project near Snow Lake. Weighing in at about $700 million, the zinc/copper/gold mine is shaking up the economic landscape in the region.

But just down the road and almost below the radar, HudBay is also in the process of building another new mine in northern Manitoba at Reed Lake in the Grass River Provincial Park, about 110 kilometres east of Flin Flon at Reed Lake, about 100 metres off Highway 39.

It’s the first time in the modern history of mining in Manitoba dating back to the 1930s when two new mines are under construction at the same time in Manitoba. And were it not for the scale and size of Lalor, the Reed Lake copper mine — which is going to cost about $70 million — would be much bigger news.

A joint venture with the exploration company VMS Ventures (HudBay owns 70 per cent and VMS has 30 per cent), the mine came to fruition at almost lightning speed compared to the typical timelines for such an enterprise.

The location of the deposit — so close to the highway and so close to HudBay processing plants in Flin Flon — means there is virtually no surface infrastructure required at Reed Lake.

Blasting and trenching began this summer and bulk extraction is expected by the third quarter of next year.

John Roozendaal, VMS’s Brandon-based president, can’t say enough about how good it’s been working with HudBay since the joint venture was formed in 2010.

“A deposit like ours by itself may not go ahead it if was just us because it’s really not big enough to justify a new mill, not to mention that we don’t have the expertise on the mining side,” Roozendaal said. “We’re so impressed with the calibre of HudBay’s people and they are taking it very seriously even though it is a small deposit.”

Last week, HudBay celebrated its 85th year in operation in northern Manitoba. They clearly know how to make money mining in the region.

As “small” as the Reed Lake deposit may be, one industry official said when it’s in production, it could mean as much as $100 million per year on HudBay’s bottom line.

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