Cue the famous Ennio Morricone song from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – only, move the setting a bit eastward, because the Municipality of the District of Guysborough [MODG] is experiencing the ecstasy of gold.
Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but what isn’t an embellishment is that the MODG, is moving forward in the process of opening a new mine that could bring in a great deal of work to the small Eastern Shore community of Goldboro.
The project, the work of Anaconda Mining, is expected to create approximately 300 to 400 jobs during construction and about 200 permanent full-time production jobs.
Anaconda has been busy drilling in the Goldboro area, taking samples to see what they’re working with.
“They’ve been doing extensive work in the area, and expanding upon that,” Pitts said to media after the regular Jan. 16 council meeting in Guysborough.“What I can tell is that the test results from their drilling are phenomenal.”
Pitts described core samples from that drilling as containing “unbelievable” amounts of gold.
“You can actually see the gold, and you don’t need a magnifying glass,” Pitts said. “It’s visible to the naked eye.”
Although sampling is a long way from mining proper, Pitts said work could being as soon as next winter.
Pitts alluded to a community liaison committee meeting which “went over in the area very positively,” with Anaconda “making big strides” with the surrounding community.
“They have a plan going forward, and they will be filing a plan in the late spring,” Pitts said.
Pitts noted the company is moving into a stage that is more drilling-heavy, having finished other work like de-watering.
“From what I’ve been told, it’s looking like it will be shovel-in-the-ground next winter. There will be a lot to take place before that,” Pitts said.
The mine will likely be a combination of an underground project, along with an open-pit component.
“It’s probably going to be a combination of the two,” Pitts said.
Lynn Hammond, vice president of public relations for Anaconda Mining, said the company is conducting a bulk sample for the project.
“What that means is we take 10,000 tons of ore and process it, and then that gives us a variety of information about the deposit, about the ore and how the ore should be processed,” Hammond said.
Drilling, Hammond noted, is also taking place at the Goldboro site.
“There are two types of drilling going on, explorational drilling and in-fill drilling,” Hammond said. “Explorational drilling means looking potentially at the direction of the deposit.”
“We have drilling information but doing additional drilling helps us give greater confidence the resource is there.”
Hammond explained that once the exploratory drilling is done, in-fill drilling is done to create greater confidence in the presence of a resource in a particular area.
Relating to Warden Pitts’ remarks on the presence of visible gold in drill samples, Hammond said, “visible gold is always a good indicator, but it’s not the only indicator.”
Hammond noted assay results are a much more reliable measure of the amount of gold in a particular area, because they find an actual measurement of gold, over a certain number of meters.
“For example, here in Newfoundland, we’ve been mining for almost 10 years, and we almost never see any visible gold. I think there has only been one time it’s been seen since I’ve been at Anaconda,” Hammond said.
Although the outlook is good for Anaconda opening the mine in Goldboro, the company has some ‘Is’ to dot and ‘Ts’ cross.
The project is in the midst of a permitting process, Hammond said, adding Anaconda hopes to start construction of the mine in 2020.
Also ongoing is the necessary testing work to provide the provincial government with environmental assessment data.
In Sept. 19, 2018, the Government of Nova Scotia issued Anaconda a notice telling them the environmental assessment wasn’t adequate.
“A review of the information indicates that to better understand the potential for adverse effects or significant environment effects a focus report is required,” read the notice issued by Margaret Miller, who serves as Minister of the Environment.
Hammond noted Anaconda has not filed anything since the previous environmental assessment but stressed that it is an ongoing matter.
Part of the reason it is that way is that some of the information Anaconda needs has to be collected at certain times.
“Ultimately, these studies all have to be done, and some have to be done at certain times of year,” Hammond said. “There are certain things that need to be done in the winter and spring, so they take some time to complete.”
Anaconda performed a preliminary economic assessment about a year ago. Hammond noted that was just the first step.
Some facts about the mine
According to information form Anaconda Mining, the Goldboro Project will entail the following benefits the MODG.
• Create 478 jobs during its construction phase.
• Create 2,382 jobs over the course of the life of the project.
• Anaconda will spend almost $385 million on goods and services. Of that spending, 90 per cent will be in Nova Scotia.
• Household income will increase by nearly $175 million in the MODG.
• The project will lead to employment of up to 180 workers a year.
• Tax revenues to Nova Scotia will be $36.3 million.