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Red Lake developer to release gold mine plan later this year

Rubicon Minerals to reveal Phoenix Gold economic study in third quarter
(Rubicon Minerals photo)

Rubicon Minerals is delaying the release of a new preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its Phoenix Gold Project, near Red Lake, to later in the year.

The Toronto mine developer wants to put more meat on the bone by pushing back the tentative release date from the second quarter to the third quarter in order to incorporate all the data from last year's 35,000-tonne trial mining and bulk sampling program.

Their consultants working on the PEA will incorporate all the projected capital and operating costs, all the latest operating metrics, and the economic forecast for the mine.

In a June 25 news release, the company believes they can bring the shuttered mine project back into commercial production in a relatively short time. The mine project is located in Bateman Township, northeast of town.

So far, more than 14,000 metres of underground development has been completed, including a shaft down to 730 metres. The hoist is operational, the electrical substation is ready to go, and upgrades have been to the 200-person camp, tailings dump and water treatment plant.

Back in the spring, Rubicon released a new mineral estimate for Phoenix, showing a measured and indicated jumped 110 per cent to 589,000 ounces compared to 281,000 ounces posted last year.

On the exploration side, Rubicon has more than 10,000 metres of underground drilling in the books as they continue with an infilling program below the 854-metre level, designed to upgrade their inferred mineral counts to the indicated category.

Rubicon reports the results look good with high-grade mineralization at depth – of greater than 10 metres horizontal widths- that could translate to sizeable production stopes and enhance the overall project economics.

For Rubicon president-CEO George Ogilvie, things seem to be falling into place with robust gold prices, the development milestones reached, the favourable project economics, and the significant upside with their 28,000 hectare property.

“We believe that the new PEA has the potential to show strong economics considering all the new, fully commissioned surface and underground infrastructure already in place. The new PEA will benefit from real, operational data collected during our recent test trial mining and bulk sampling program, where we implemented actual mining techniques that could be utilized under a potential commercial production scenario while using our own processing facility."

The almost-fully developed $770-million mine project was shuttered in 2016 and the company entered creditor protection after the previous management tried to fast-track the deposit into production before there was a full understanding of where the gold was in the notoriously complex geological structure of the Red Lake camp.

More than 330 miners and contractors were laid off, and the management team was sacked before new leadership restructured and refinanced the company to reboot the project and go back to the exploration drawing board.