Jien completes takeover of Nunavik nickel mine

No date set for restarting project


A Chinese-Canadian mining partnership has finalized its takeover of the Canadian Royalties’ Nunavik Nickel Mine project, at least on paper.

Jien Canada Mining Ltd. was issued a certificate of arrangement by Industry Canada early last week.

Last fall, Canadian Royalties’ accepted a $192 million offer from the new mining partnership to buy out its nickel project.

A decade ago, the mineral exploration company initiated the Nunavik Nickel Project, eyeing the many metal deposits in the mineral belt west of Kangiqsujuaq and southwest of Salluit.

But the company’s development plan fell apart when the price of metal dropped during 2008’s economic slowdown.

Jien Canada Mining Ltd. soon entered the picture, a joint venture between the Chinese mining giant Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co. and Goldbrook Ventures, a Canadian mining company.

Under the arrangement, Jien Canada acquired all of the company’s outstanding common shares in exchange for $0.80 per share.
Goldbrook now owns 25 per cent of the voting shares of Jien Canada.

There is no official date set for when Jien Canada plans to re-start construction at the mining site, said Brian Grant, president and CEO of Goldbrook Ventures.

The company’s Chinese partners are expected to visit in early February to initiate planning for the future site, he said.

Although Xtrata’s Raglan mine site is located only 20 kilometres away, Jien Canada has yet to enter discussions with its mining neighbour about sharing airport facilities.

When Nunavik Nickel was still under Canadian Royalties ownership, the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission recommended a single airstrip serve both mines.

“We would like to share facilities and infrastructure as much as is possible and practical,” Grant told Nunatsiaq News, “but we haven’t had any discussions at this point.”

Jien Canada also expects to be building its own port facilities adjoining Xstrata’s at Deception Bay.

Jilin Jien is one of China’s largest producers of nickel, copper and cobalt sulphates, while Goldbrook has previously explored of properties around the Raglan area.

Raglan site to expand

Neighbouring nickel miners Xstrata have announced plans to open a new mine located 15 kilometres from its Raglan site in northern Nunavik.

Kikialik is said to contain two million tons of ore at 2.9 per cent nickel.

Although some work has already been done at the Kikialik site, development begins in June 2010 and production is expected to start in 2012, said Xstrata spokesman Francis Beauvais.

Kikialik will replace the current mines 2 and 3 — there are currently four in production – where resources will slowly deplete until 2015. The new mine is estimated to have an eight-year lifespan, Beauvais said.

“This will not add new resources to our production,” he said. “Our goal is to produce 1.3 million tonnes (mill output) for years to come.”

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