This is a story about past, present and future in a mineral-rich corner of the North American continent. High-grade gold mines like Snip and Eskay Creek helped give northwestern British Columbia its Golden Triangle moniker. If those two operations are symbolic of the region’s rich past, Red Chris holds a strong claim on the present.
The Imperial Metals (III-T) mine is the latest to go into production. This year Imperial expects to pull out more than 90 million pounds of copper and more than 60,000 ounces of gold from Red Chris, a large copper-gold porphyry deposit.
Red Chris feeds into the government funded Northwest Transmission Line, a 344-km 287-kilovolt power line completed in 2014 at a cost of more than $700 million. Imperial Metals built a 93-km extension to the new power line to feed Red Chris. So the infrastructure push — the power line, roads and new Hydro projects — in the Golden Triangle is a major reason for present-day optimism about revitalization.
The Golden Triangle’s future?
Bob Quartermain, CEO of Pretium Resources (PVG-T), stands on the cusp of a new golden age in the storied Canadian mining jurisdiction.
Pretium’s Brucejack high-grade underground gold mine is taking shape in rugged mountains 65 kilometres north of Stewart, near the Alaska panhandle. Production at the fully funded mine is pegged for the third quarter of next year.
Pretium is building the mine’s foundation and April is a critical month, as Quartermain and Pretium march towards a goal of commercial production. Construction of the mill buildings starts this month and the skeleton of Pretium’s transmission line will also begin to take shape.
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