Thursday, January 17, 2008

Goldcorp looking to reopen the Mac!

With the price of gold trading higher than $900 US an ounce, The Timmins Times has learned that Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) is looking to revitalize underground operations at the McIntyre Gold Mine in Schumacher. The mine has not been active since the early 1990s.
Dave Bucar, Goldcorp’s Strategic Development Manager told the Watchful Eye group this week that PGM plans to begin drilling “within the next week” to find a new gold zone at the old McIntyre Mine.
“The plan is to get four or five drills up and running on our projects by next week as soon as we can get enough ice on the lake. We will be drilling an underground target of the McIntyre Mine underneath Pearl Lake,” said Bucar.
“We’re looking at the McIntyre Mine at depth up to about 1100 feet from surface,” he said.
“There’s always been talk about a potential orebody in there, and the McIntyre just ran out of time and the costs were too high in the 1960s or 70s when they were looking at it. So given the market that we’re in today, the underground mine just may be an opportunity.”
Bucar says he wants the public to be aware that the presence of new drilling activity along the north side of Pearl Lake and the old McIntyre Property has nothing to do with the pre-feasibility study for the Hollinger Mine project.
“I want to make sure people don’t think we’re going to have an open pit all the way to Pearl Lake,” Bucar said.
Bucar says having viable underground operations is part of the company’s long-term plans for the city.
“The key for us moving forward into the future is to find a second underground mine. Right now we run our Hoyle Pond Mine, which has a long life ahead of it. The Dome underground is back on, and we probably have a few more years to mine there, but we’re looking for the next underground mine as much as we’re looking for an open pit,” he said.
When asked if it would mean sinking a new shaft or using the existing No. 11 McIntyre headframe, Bucar said it’s too early to be specific.
“It’s pretty early on. It’s a geologic target at this point,” he said.
“There’s only been very preliminary thoughts about how one would get to it. It could be a ramp access from way in the back. It would likely have very little affect on the area in terms of surface disturbance. Again, its just an exploration target right now.”
With respect to a timeline, Bucar explained that “it takes years” to develop and bring a mine back into operation, but he said the company considers it a good target.
Goldcorp appears to be following the old adage that the best place to look for new gold mines is in the shadow of old headframes.
“There was a lot of mining along the north shore (of Pearl Lake), there was stuff further to the south and below,” said Bucar.
“This target is in the porphyry rock, a different rock unit. They just never mined it. There’s some ground condition issues I believe, there’s a lot of challenges but I think with today’s technology it makes it a little bit easier,” he said.
“The increased gold price may help. As long as you have a decent high grade underground, it’s more cost effective compared to open pit mining. It’s a lot less labour and fuel intensive.”
Earlier this week, gold was trading at more than $900 US an ounce, an all-time record high.

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