Is Millertown Literally a Goldmine? Our 2017 Mineral Shipments Forecasted at 3.7 Billion

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A recently released provincial survey is touting the potential for new discoveries of gold and other minerals in central Newfoundland.

The study’s findings are based on 1028 routine till soil samples, and the samples have been analyzed and checked for acceptable accuracy and precision. Eighty-one mineral occurrences were found within the study area, including gold, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc.

The study area extends from Millertown Junction in the south, to Springdale in the north, and from the community of South Brook in the east to Route 420 in the west.

The news broke right before this weekend’s Mineral Resources Review at the Delta St. John’s (a four-day conference and trade show that is the largest of its kind in Atlantic Canada). This wasn’t a coincidence. Last year alone, information from these Geological Surveys resulted in nearly 21,000 staked claims.

“The Geological Survey provides a wealth of information to stimulate mineral exploration in our province,” says Siobhan Coady, Minister of Natural Resources, “just like the intense staking activity, likely driven by gold, here in Newfoundland and Labrador last year, which resulted in 21,000 claims being staked.”

She says exploration leads to the development of our mining industry, which employs 5,000 people, and is forecast to ship $3.7 billion in minerals this year. This reflects a 29% increase from the 2016 estimated gross value, and is primarily the result of an increase in the value of iron-ore shipments.

Barbara Sheppard, the mayor of Millertown, is thrilled about the idea of more mining activity in Millertown. “Millertown has noted a significant increase in mineral exploration this year, no doubt, related to the claim staking from last year. This has had a very positive effect on the local economy in terms of employment, accommodations, building rentals, and construction of core boxes by the local mill.”

Marathon Gold, Canadian Zinc, and Antler Gold are doing extensive drilling programs in the Millertown area these days. “As long as the drills are turning,” Sheppard says, “the potential is there to find enough gold, copper, or zinc to start another active mine in the area. Millertown is still reaping the benefits of having had an active mine in the area, Teck Duck Pond, so the excitement right now to see the drills turning again is contagious in our region.” 

The Teck Duck Pond mine closed down in June of 2015, after 8 years of producing copper and zinc. At its peak, the mine employed over 350 people. Rehabilitation of the mine site has started and will be completed by 2018, followed by a period of environmental monitoring.

According to the provincial government’s “Mining in Newfoundland & Labrador 2017” report, the gross value of mineral shipments and mining employment have remained strong despite lower commodity prices. The report confidently predicts, “the mining industry will continue to provide significant financial and employment contributions to the provincial economy.”

As for gold mining in the province, our government is quite literally invested in it. Anaconda Mining operates the Point Rousse Project on the Baie Verte Peninsula. In June 2017, Anaconda received $2 million in funding from ACOA and TCII in support of an innovative approach to mining narrow vein deposits of gold.

$520,000 of that $2 Million came from the Provincial GeoEXPLORE program, and was a non-repayable grant, which will help to establish a research and development project that will, according to a press release, “prototype and optimize a new technology that can mine steeply dipping narrow gold veins [in a cost-effective manner].”

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Chad Pelley

Chad Pelley is an author, songwriter, and journalist who wrote for publications like the Globe & Mail and The Telegraph-Journal before founding The Overcast. Now he spends 25 hours a day keeping up with his email, and has no time to be his former self.

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