TMAC enters final review process for two new Nunavut gold mines
Company eyes startups in 2019
TMAC Resources Inc. said Thursday that it has passed another milestone on the company’s journey towards expanding its Hope Bay mining operations in western Nunavut with production at the Madrid and Boston deposits.
The Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Water Board accepted the final environmental impact statement and water licence applications for Hope Bay’s expansion on Jan. 17.
That means a coordinated review of TMAC’s proposal for development and mining at the Madrid and Boston gold deposits will now get underway—with final hearings on the project slated to take place May 8 to May 12 in Cambridge Bay,
In a release, TMAC said it looks forward to working with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kitikmeot communities and government departments during the NIRB and NWB reviews.
TMAC said it hopes that process will lead to new project certificates and water licences in 2018 and 2019.
“2018 is setting up to be an exciting year as we commence the work necessary to bring our next two mines into production,” said Terry MacGibbon, TMAC’s executive chairman in the release from the company, whose Doris North mine south of Cambridge Bay on the mainland started production last May.
Last December, the NIRB received TMAC’s final environmental impact statement submission for its “Phase 2 Hope Bay Belt” project proposal, whose draft environmental impact statement was submitted to regulators a year ago.
It calls for the development of three underground mines located south of Doris North at properties called Madrid North and South and Boston, east of Bathurst Inlet and about 153 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay on the mainland.
The Hope Bay Phase 2 would see the production of about 160,000 ounces of gold each year at the new gold mines until at least 2032, with construction starting as early as 2019.
Right now, the company estimates the area holds 3.2 million ounces of proven and probable gold resources and 4.5 million ounces at a lesser degree of certainty.
In the first year of construction, the company would employ 70 people and up to 300 by the third year of construction. During operations, the company would employ about 800 people.
TMAC has already signed an impact and benefits agreement with the KIA, with the project sitting mostly on Inuit-owned land controlled by the KIA and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., which could expect to receive about $400 million in royalties, mineral taxes and other payments.
In hiring, TMAC said it would give top priority to Inuit job candidates, especially people from communities in the Kitikmeot region.
At the same time, some contracts would be open only to Kitikmeot businesses, TMAC has said.
The plan is to have mine sites connected to each other, and to Doris North and to a marine shipping area at Roberts Bay by a 90-km all-weather road system.
The company then wants to truck ore concentrate to Doris North so that gold can be extracted from it at the Doris North mill, although processing plants at Doris, Madrid North and Boston will produce that ore concentrate.
TMAC also plans to expand the existing 500-metre gravel airstrip at Boston to accommodate jets and bigger propeller driven planes, including Hercules aircraft.
But the project is located in an area that’s just on the northern edge of the ranges used by the Bathurst and Ahiak caribou herds—so the impact of the proposed mines on these herds is likely to be brought up during the hearings.
TMAC acquired the Hope Bay property in early 2013 from its previous owner, Newmont Mining Corp., after Newmont walked away from Hope Bay in 2012.
TMAC then sought and received project certificate amendments for its mine at Doris North.
TMAC Resources Inc is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company was privately owned until it went public in July 2015.