TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX-V-listed project developer Avanti Mining said it had started construction of its C$812-million Kitsault molybdenum mine, a significant past-producing mine, located in northern British Columbia.
Avanti said subsequent to receiving its amended Mines Act permit earlier this month, it had collected an ‘Occupant Licence to Cut’ from the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and other secondary construction-related approvals, allowing it to start camp construction activities.
“This is a significant milestone for the Kitsault molybdenum project and marks the completion of a very important aspect of Avanti's permitting efforts,” Avanti COO Jeff Lowe said.
The Kitsault project received a provincial environmental assessment certificate in March 2013 and a federal environmental assessment decision was expected “in the near future”.
Kennecott and Amax previously operated the Kitsault project, which produced steel-alloying molybdenum used to significantly increase the strength and durability of steel products. Between 1969 and 1982, the mine intermittently produced more than 30-million pounds of molybdenum.
Avanta believed that when the mine was closed in 1982, owing to low prices, about 95% of its then-calculated reserves still remained in the ground.
According to an April technical report, the project currently holds total proven and probable reserves of 231.1-million tonnes, grading 0.082% molybdenum, for 420.3-million pounds of molybdenum, as well as 39.2-milion ounces of silver.
Kitsault is rated one of the top five primary molybdenum development projects in the world and is located close to existing infrastructure consisting of an electricity grid, with ocean and road access. The mine is expected to produce 45 500 t/d of high-strength-alloy-making molybdenum during its 14-year mine life.
Since 2011, three new significant mines had started operations in British Columbia, including Copper Mountain, Newgold’s New Afton mine and Thompson Creek’s Mt Milligan mine, creating more than 1 200 new jobs.
Three more mines were expected to start operation this year, including Banks Island Gold’s Yellow Giant, Imperial Metals’ Red Chris mine and Anglo American’s Roman mine, which together would add another 815 new jobs.
Further, the province had permitted four more mines, including Barkerville Gold Mines’ Bonanza Ledge, Huldra Silver’s Treasure Mountain, Teck Resources’ Quintette coal mine and now Kitsault.