OMA member profile: Rubicon’s Phoenix Gold Project [Red Lake] — new mines from old sites (5)

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

For Ontario Mining Association member Rubicon Minerals Corporation, like the reference of its name to Roman history, there is no turning back as it advances its Phoenix Gold Project in Red Lake towards adding to the 26 million ounces produced in this historic gold area.  Rubicon acquired control of the property in 2002 and it has a bullion production target of the first quarter of 2014.

“This is an interesting and exciting project, which has a history,” said John McDonald, Mine Manager.  “It is not often that you can jump relatively quickly from advanced exploration, to mine development and potential production in a short time period.”

Rubicon inherited some infrastructure from what was known as the old McFinley Mine site, which never really was a gold producer.  Claims were first staked on this property in 1922 and initial underground exploration took place in 1956.  From 1982 to 1989, further exploration was carried out, a shaft was built, three underground levels were developed in the mine, a 150-ton-per-day mill and tailings compound were built and bulk sampling was done on a satellite target, which lies approximately 500 metres away from the eventual discovery.The headframe has been extended by 50 feet in height, the shaft deepened to 430 metres, a production scale hoist has been installed, grid power connected on site and new drifts established. Currently, there are three exploration drill sites on the property, two on land and one on a barge in the lake. 

“The existing facilities provided us with an opportunity to do exploration drilling from the existing underground mine levels,” said Terry Bursey, Manager Regional Exploration and Community Relations.  Capital expenditures on the property as outlined in the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) area estimated at $214 million.

Current plans see the shaft extended to a depth of 610 metres and the delivery of milling equipment is expected in July of 2013.  Exploration activity is expanding the mineral resources on site.  Current plans under the PEA foresee a mine life of 12 years with an annual production rate of about 180,000 ounces of gold. 

“There are 31 Rubicon employees on site and about an equal number of contractors,” said Mr. McDonald.  “We are fully permitted and we are mobilizing the contractor workforce and at production, the mine would have about 200 employees. We have large regional land holdings with potential and Rubicon plans on being here for a long time.”

“We want to support the local community where we live,” said Ms. Bursey.  “When we can hire locally, we do hire locally as long as the skills are there.”  She added that Rubicon has an exploration agreement with the Lac Seul First Nation and is consulting with the Wabauskang First Nation and the Metis Nation of Ontario. 

Rubicon Minerals, which has its head office located in Vancouver, is a gold exploration company.  It is focusing its resources on its 100%-owned Phoenix Gold Project in the Red Lake area.  To reflect back a couple of millennia, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his legions in northeastern Italy in 49 BC, “the die was cast” and the Roman Empire sprang to life creating a foundation of modern European culture. 
 
The population of the Red Lake area, which is in the Central Time Zone, in northwestern Ontario is about 5,200.  It is comprised of the communities of Red Lake, Balmertown, Cochenour, McKenzie Island and Madsen.

Further information on the company can be found at www.rubiconminerals.com. This article is the seventeenth in a series of profiles of OMA member companies and their contributions to the vitality of Ontario’s society and economy.

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