The gold mining, exploration and development company has subcontracted expertise of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canada, to support the research project.
While many gold deposits can be effectively mined using current mining technology, there are numerous deposits that despite high grades, present unique challenges with traditional mining methods because of their narrow-vein geometry.
There are numerous mineralised veins such as this within Newfoundland and Labrador. One example is the Romeo and Juliet prospect at Anaconda’s Point Rousse project, near Baie Verte, where the company has an operating mill. Romeo and Juliet is a steeply dipping, gold-bearing quartz vein ranging in size from approximately 0.5m to several metres wide; it carries significant gold grades and could represent a potential source for gold ore with the right technology. In order to facilitate the mining of this and other similar deposits, the intent of the research project is to develop a mining technology to allow for the economic extraction from mineralised narrow veins.
Allan Cramm, VP technology and innovation at Anaconda Mining, explained: “This narrow-vein research and development project fits with Anaconda’s objectives of optimising mineral resources and maintaining sustainable employment at the Point Rousse project in the Baie Verte region. Anaconda has narrow vein-hosted gold mineralisation within our property boundaries. We hope to leverage our culture of innovation, and the expertise at Memorial University to ultimately adapt and create technology that will position this province as global leaders in narrow-vein mining.”
On June 16, federal and provincial representatives announced financial support for the project. Seamus O’Regan, member of parliament for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced more than C$1.5 million (US$1.13 million) for the project through the Atlantic Innovation Fund. Cathy Bennett, provincial minister of finance, on behalf of the Christopher Mitchelmore, provincial minister of tourism, culture, industry and innovation, announced a provincial government investment of more than $520,000 for the initiative through the Research & Development Corporation through the GeoEXPLORE programme.
Federal and provincial funding will offset the technical and financial risks of developing and optimising a narrow-vein mining system for use in steeply dipping narrow gold veins. If successfully developed, this technology has the potential to be used for similar mineral properties owned by Anaconda and other gold deposits throughout Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country.