Hudbay has additional processing in mind, not mining, with its planned purchase of the long-idle New Britannia gold mine in Snow Lake.
The deal, worth as much as US$17.3 million, is expected to close next week, giving Hudbay a mill, a former mine and dozens of unsurveyed mineral claims.
Rob Winton, vice-president, Manitoba Business Unit for Hudbay, said the transaction adds potential flexibility to processing options at its Lalor mine near Snow Lake.
“The timing of this acquisition works well as the current Lalor mine plans [have] us accessing gold ore in future years,” he said. “Having the capability to maximize gold recovery of these ores is the opportunity this purchase presents.”
The purchase, announced late last week, will give Hudbay two Snow Lake area mills capable of serving Lalor: the Stall Lake concentrator and the New Britannia mill. That raises questions around the company’s previously announced plan to build a new state-of-the-art mill at Lalor.
“We have not finalized the decision on building a new mill at Lalor, but a decision is expected in the near future,” said Winton.
Marc Jackson, a Reminder contributor and publisher of Snow Lake’s newspaper, would be shocked if plans for a new mill proceed.
“I can’t for the life of me see them owning two mills and then building another,” he said.
For some, the bigger surprise out of the announcement is the fact that Hudbay has no plans to reopen the New Britannia mine even though the price of gold is strong and the mine has several more years of life.
While there are no such plans, Winton won’t rule out the possibility.
“Never say never,” he said.
“If there comes a time where mining at New Britannia meets business or strategic needs, this decision could be changed.”
Winton called the pending purchase “a very positive achievement for Hudbay in Manitoba,” one that “further demonstrates our commitment to mining in Manitoba.”
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