Xstrata on track to open two zinc mines in Sudbury area – by Sebastien Perth (Sudbury Star – May 4, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Xstrata Zinc is on track to reopen two mines in the Sudbury region by 2016 that would employ more than 250 people at its peak.

The Errington-Vermillion mines, which have been closed for decades, are proving to be attractive again with a number of large zinc mines closing around the world. Brad Ryder, of corporate affairs for Xstrata, said there is still work to be done, but if everything goes as it should, construction should start by 2014.

“It’s a $350 million capital project, with 250 direct jobs and more jobs during construction. The mine life, right now we’re looking at between seven and ten year and what we would do is mine the sites sequentially. We’d mine the Errington deposit first and then the Vermillion deposit.”

The Errington mine is the bigger of the two sites, with a six million tonne deposit there, and a three million tonne deposit at the Vermillion site.

“Errington is roughly 5.8 million tonnes ore body with a 4% zinc, 1.4% copper, 1% lead, 50 grams per tonne of silver and 0.7 grams of gold per tonne. We would be looking at a yearly concentrate of around 74,000 tonnes of zinc, 40,000 tonnes of copper, 12,000 tonnes of lead.” Ryder said.

Xstrata started looking for potential zinc mines as it prepared to shut down the Brunswick mine near Bathurst, NB.

“It was just a massive mine, unfortunately the ore body is just depleted, so what we’re looking to do is find new new zinc mines in Canada in part to replace some of the feed coming from the Brunswick mine.” Ryder said.

The Errington deposit was first mined between 1924 and 1928, while the Vermillion site was active between 1951 and 1957. A lot of the exploration work has been done and now Xstrata is going in again to map things with more precision.

“A lot of the drill work has been done, we’ve modeled the data set we had from the old existing mines, so we think we have a pretty good handle on what the deposits look like. Both of the mines would be underground, with ramp access. We would like to have them open by 2016, that’s if everything goes well. We’re still at the stage where we are doing geological work and feasibility studies but we’re hopeful that those will be successful and we’re aiming to start construction by 2014.” Ryder said.

If a few big zinc mines were not at the end of their lives around the world, this project may not have been viable for Xstrata, and it still may get delayed if prices drop too low.

“Prices are changing everyday, we’re hoping they will be good. We’re seeing some zinc mines coming to their end of life, the Brunswick mine being one, there’s a mine in Ireland called Lisheen is closing and there’s another in Australia closing soon. That’s roughly 15% of the world’s zinc production is going to be stopping in the next few years because of those three major mines. So we’re hoping the zinc prices will remain at a place where they will make this project economical.” Ryder said.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/05/03/xstrata-on-track-to-open-two-zinc-mines-in-sudbury-area

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