Kidd tries deep mine drilling to extend life – by Ron Grech (Daily Press – March 10, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – With Kidd Mine set to wind down by 2021, the company has been testing some long-held theories about the configuration of the ore body in hopes of extending the mine life.

“We drilled a 1.4 kilometre horizontal hole from 7,900 feet below surface,” said Tom Semadeni, general manager of Kidd Operations. They drilled two holes at the level, and to Semadeni’s knowledge, those were the “longest holes at these depths in the world.”

Semadeni, who provided Timmins city council with an update of its operations this week, said they conducted the drilling to test a theory which “has been around for many years, that the Kidd ore body goes way down and then at some point might curl back up again. We don’t see it at surface, we don’t see it part-way down from surface but we thought we would put in some wildcat holes at depth to test the theory.”

Zinc and copper are the key minerals extracted from the Kidd Mine, though the operation does produce a fair share of silver as well.

“We didn’t hit any significant mineralization but we did run some geophysical instruments and geochemical analysis down through the hole, and we’re analyzing that now,” said Semadeni. “We didn’t find the next motherlode but we will do some more analysis and if it makes sense, we’ll drill another hole.

“But it is a very expensive proposition and we won’t be doing this forever. It’s kind of, I’d say, the last chance at testing some long-held theories because we want to make sure we walk away from here, we’re comfortable we fully extracted the resource.”

In his presentation to council, Semadeni spoke at length about Kidd’s ability to extend the life of the mine by a few years by reducing costs and subsequently making the extraction of lower-grade ore at the mine more economical.

He noted that in 2011, it was expected the mine would wind down operations by 2018.

By using technology such as remote controlled scoop trams to help reduce costs, Semadeni said, “we were able to bring some more lower-grade material that had previously been uneconomic … and we made it economic by mining it smarter and reducing our cost structure. So we were able to increase the production profile” and extend the mine life to 2021.

Semadeni said on a corporate level, the Kidd Mine has been recognized as a model in safety.

“Glencore is a very large organization, in fact we are the largest producers of zinc in the world and Kidd has one of the better safety records. So I was asked to put together a safety workshop for all of the zinc operations throughout the world.

“We put together a weeklong workshop and hands-on event where we spent a couple of days in Toronto where we went through the theory of safety and some of the things we’re working on in terms of a program. Then we brought that large group of people … to come and see hands-on where the rubber hits the road, how we do safety at Kidd.”

There were Glencore Zinc international senior mine operators and executives from across Canada as well as from Australia, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Peru, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Bolivia, Spain and Switzerland in Timmins for this workshop.

“We had a number of translators there to help facilitate the process. But I think the real feather in Canada’s and Ontario’s and Timmins’ cap was we were asked to help out.”

Kidd Mine and metallurgical site employs 900 workers including contractors. Of those 900 people, about 750 of them work at the mine site.

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