Vancouver – Miramar Mining (MAE-T) has suffered another setback on planned development of the Doris North gold deposit at its wholly owned Hope Bay project, located about 65 km east of Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut.
The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) issued its hearing report for the proposed Doris North gold mine, recommending that the project not proceed based on its current application. NIRB has forwarded its recommendation to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND).
Miramar was told by NIRB that they would welcome and review another application containing additional information.
This setback comes on the heels of NIRB’s earlier decision (May 2004) to delay public hearings by about one month due to the unavailability of participants. That postponement caused Miramar to announce a delay in the planned start of Doris North by about one year, until mid-2006, due to the impact on planned shipping schedules as well as construction and equipment contracts.
The NIRB public hearings, held in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, concluded that an informed assessment of environmental impact and related issues could not be ascertained, based on the level of information provided by the company. Deficiencies addressed included: consideration of alternative tailings impoundment, wildlife monitoring, water quality and management strategies, and socio-economic impact assessment.
Miramar states that they have already started addressing many of these issues and are optimistic in its ability to meet NIRB requirements. The impact on the Doris North Production schedule is currently being assessed by the company.
The company’s Doris North project is expected to become the first new gold mine developed in Nunavut since the Territory was created in 1999.
Gold mineralization at the Doris deposit is of typical Archean greenstone style, occurring in quartz vein systems within folded meta-volcanics. Doris North is a close to surface zone of high-grade gold bearing quartz veins, folded to create an anticlinal-hinge structure. The Doris deposit contains a measured and indicated resource of 763,000 tonnes grading 23.9 grams gold per tonne, plus additional inferred resources of 1.7 million tonnes of 14.7 grams gold.
As of the latest figures, Miramar reports 152 million shares outstanding. Investors sold off the issue on the announcement of NIRB’s negative recommendation, down over 23% or about 35, at presstime, to the $1.13 per share level on high volume of almost 4 million shares. The stock is now at a near 20-month low.