Precious metal prices drive northwest mining activity – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 12, 2019)

Soaring gold and platinum prices continue to build the economic case for mine development activity in northwestern Ontario and for a global player to make its entry into the region.

With gold hovering between $1,500 and $1,520 per ounce this fall and palladium surging to $1,800 per ounce in early November, John Mason, project manager of mining services for the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) expects to see more interest in precious and base metal properties in the region.

The big news in September was the acquisition of North American Palladium (NAP) by South African base metal heavyweight Impala Platinum Holdings in a $1-billion share and cash deal. Shareholder approval could come by early December.

NAP’s main asset is the Lac des Iles Mine, 90 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, with the company committed to spending more than $20 million on exploration to expand its reserves at the mine site and its Sunday Lake property.

While it’s unclear if new ownership will bring in its own preferred suppliers, NAP recently issued comfort letters to area companies assuring them it was business as usual. Mining has been a huge boon to Thunder Bay’s business community with more than 400 companies filling a number of roles in the mining supply chain.

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