Golden Arrow could be next area gold producer.
By Frank Giorno
The Timmins-Matheson mining area could soon have a new gold mine. Victoria Gold Mines East Timmins Limited, a privately owned gold mining company based in Timmins, Ontario. Its Golden Arrow Mine, which is presently operating as an advanced exploration project, will be developed into a 500-tonne per day open pit mine. The ore from the open pit is currently transported to a nearby milling facility owned by St Andrew Goldfields.
Production is intended to begin in October 2015, but that will depend on obtaining the appropriate permits from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
“The Golden Arrow Mine is being developed by 100 % private funding,” said Victoria president David Larche. “Right now we are diamond drilling during our advanced bulk sampling phase in an effort to prove up more reserves,” he added.
Larche and his company have been working the Golden Arrow Mine site since 2010 through a joint venture agreement with Murgor Resources that has since lapsed. The deposit was previously mined in 1981-82 by Pamour Mines and today Victoria Gold Mines has 100% ownership.
What is being proposed at the Golden Arrow is an open pit mine using an optimized pit shell with inclined surface road access. The grade of gold is approximately 2 gram/tonne and the current economics are based on a price of US$1,200 gold and a 92 % recovery rate.
Victoria Gold held an open house for residents of Black River-Matheson in September at the local curling rink to view plans for developing the Golden Arrow Mine located approximately 10 km southeast of Matheson.
The property is in Ontario’s Kirkland Lake Mining District.
Information provided at the open house shows that the potential for gold extraction in the proposed open pit is an indicated 350,000 tonnes at a grade of 1.90 grams/per tonne and an inferred 285,000 tonnes. The overall total of indicated and inferred resources total 635,000 tonnes at a grade of 1.92 grams per tonne of gold. Larche told a keenly interested gathering at the Matheson Curling Rink that the key to being profitable was keeping its costs down.
He intends to do this by selling waste rock from the crushing process as aggregate for use in roadbuilding and other construction projects. Over the life of the mine an estimated 1,920,000 tonnes of waste rock will be produced at a 3 to 1 ratio of waste rock to ore. The aggregate is attractive because it will be sold at below market prices. “Our waste is clean and suitable for use as aggregate,” Larche said. “We crushed up to 25,000 tonnes and have sold it.
In the future we are looking to expand our aggregate markets. The other aspect for keeping costs down is that it has purchased its own heavy mining equipment including loader, crusher and trucks.
The Golden Arrow Mine historically has been producing gold for previous owners since the 1930s when a shaft was sunk and development occurred at the 250 and 400 foot levels. In the 1980s Pamour Mines operated an open pit mine.
Under Larche, the mine has been at the advanced exploration stage since 2014-2015 and has mined 87,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 2.4 gpt to date.
Moving forward Larche said the Golden Arrow Mine operation will create 100 combined jobs.
Larche said the Golden Arrow Mine can be profitable even at today’s price of gold because of the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar. He said the mine can be profitable even at $900 per ounce gold.
“The daily cost of operating the proposed mine is $20,000 per day,” Larche said. The life of the mine is scheduled for three and half years but it can be extended, depending on a number of variables including the price of gold, operating costs and the results of exploration currently being undertaken on the property.
“If we find additional gold, mining could continue 10 to 15 years longer.” Larche said.
The vision for the Golden Arrow Mine is to become an efficient small gold producer.
In the meantime Victoria Gold Mines has an Impact Benefit Agreement with Wahgoshig First Nation and a Memorandum of Understanding with Matachewan First Nation, along with letters of support.
Victoria also has to deal with impacts of the mine such as water quality monitoring efforts which are being assessed by Bednarz Environmental as well as local residents’ concern over blasting at the open pit site.
Local MP Charlie Angus joined the open house and was given a briefing of what Golden Arrow is proposing. Angus commented: “This opens up new opportunities, particularly in the Black River Matheson area for jobs and economic activity.” Angus was particularly impressed with the attention given by the mine owner to environmental impacts and working with First Nations.