Production by early 1988 is what Ian D. Bayer, newly-appointed president and chief executive officer of Corporation Falconbridge Copper (CFC) foresees for the rich zinc orebody at Winston Lake, near Schreiber in northwestern Ontario.
Mr Bayer holds the similar post with Kerr Addison Mines which has now completed the acquisition of approximately 50% of the issued common shares of CFC from Falconbridge Ltd. (N.M. Aug. 8/86).
The Winston Lake deposit, boasting probable and possible reserves of 3.4 million tons grading 1.0% copper, 16% zinc, 0.96 oz silver and 0.03 oz gold per ton has had an on-off history in terms of production decisions. Production go- ahead was first announced in September, 1985, by CFC. A few months later, faced with falling zinc prices and higher smelter charges, the company called the decision off. However when zinc prices started firming up this past summer, the decision was back on.
And it is still on, The Northern Miner learned in an interview with Mr Bayer and John K. Carrington, newly-appointed vice-president operations for CFC. Project schedule month-end
The first order of business is to define a project schedule and that should be completed by month- end, explains Mr Carrington. In the meantime work is progressing on site.
Pouring of concrete for mill foundations and crusher have been completed and the contract has just been let to dismantle Falconbridge’s idle 1,200-1,400-ton plant at Sturgeon Lake and to reassemble it at the new mine site. Whether this job is completed by year-end or by the end of spring 1987 will be known once the final schedule is set, says Mr Carrington. The shell of the surface complex has also been erected. Too, the headframe and hoist house have been completed with a permanent production-sized hoist installed in the shaft, which is now at a depth of 730 m.
Before Kerr arrived on the scene, CFC had spent in the order of $22 million on the Winston Lake project. Mr Bayer estimates that a further $45 million, excluding interest costs, will be needed to bring the deposit into production. Zenmac Zinc holds a 20% working interest option if the deposit is brought to production. Ansil a priority
Also on the priority list for the new team at CFC is underground exploration of the high grade Ansil copper deposit with drill-indicated reserves of 2.3 million tons grading 7% copper 0.50% zinc, 0.7 oz silver and 0.05 oz gold per ton, located near Noranda, Que.
The shaft, now at a depth of 4,100 ft., will stop temporarily at the 4,600-ft level, explains Mr Carrington. An underground development and exploration program will then start from three levels: the 4,000 ft, 4,200 ft and 4,400 ft levels. That work will continue to the fall of 1987 when a final production decision is expected to be made. The shaft would then be completed to its utlimate depth of 5,400 ft with production scheduled to start no earlier than 1989.
In the meantime work starts this month on the sinking of the ventilation shaft. By the fall of 1987, the ventilation shaft should be in excess of 4,000 ft, says Mr Carrington. Agressive exploration policy
The Ansil is the fourth deposit discovered by CFC in its Lake Dufault division, notes Mr Bayer. That and Winston Lake are two of the company’s most recent exploration success stories, he says and stresses that the company’s aggressive exploration policy will not change with the change of management.
New vice-president of exploration at CFC is David H. Watkins. He replaces Michael Knuckey who now holds the similar post at Falconbridge. CFC’s former regional exploration manager based in Vancouver, B.C., Mr Watkins “has been with the company for nine years and is a good man,” says Mr Bayer, adding he had a hand in both the Winston Lake and Ansil discoveries.
Regarding the operating divisions at Opemiska, Lake Dufault and Lac Shortt, Mr Bayer says “it will be business as usual.” Kerr and CFC complementary
“What we’ve acquired,” says Mr Bayer, speaking generally about Kerr’s recent deal with Falconbridge “are interests in zinc, copper and precious metals properties. All are high grade properties and each has an upside.” CFC gives Kerr a mining base, adds Mr Carrington, “but what’s more,” as Mr Bayer points out “is that now we have two financially sound companies which will be making a concerted effort on the exploration side.”
CFC is spending approximately $10.2 million on exploration this year, says Mr Bayer, while Kerr has committed $7 million. He also points out that $3 million from third party sources is going into diamond drilling and exploration at Kerr’s Virginiatown, Ont., gold mine.
Moreover, Kerr and CFC complement one another on the exploration front, Mr Bayer notes. While Kerr is primarily interested in the search for gold deposits, CFC in 1985 directed approximately 40% of the expenditures towards gold and 60% towards polymetallic massive sulphides.
Kerr never made it a secret that it was looking to expand its operations. And as Mr Bayer explains, “there are not many good deals available and you need just the right situation. CFC fit that category.”
The executive management of the company will continue to be carried on from its Toronto offices. (See separate story for new appointments.) Mr Bayer adds that the CFC name will be kept until next spring when a name change will be announced.