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Rubicon Minerals eyes feasibility study in 2020 for Red Lake mine project

New mineral estimate to be released on Phoenix Gold project by new year as company rebuilds investor confidence
Rubicon Minerals' Phoenix Gold Project in Red Lake.

An updated mineral estimate from Rubicon Minerals on its Phoenix Gold mine project in Red Lake is due out by either year’s end or early in 2020.

The Toronto mine developer has been running a 13,000-metre infill drilling program to upgrade its inferred gold resources into a higher classification in the measured and indicated categories, above the 750,000-ounce mark, as well as get a better picture of their property’s overall geological structure.

In an Oct.7 news release, Rubicon said it will give them the confidence to go ahead with additional feasibility work at the project, armed with a longer life of mine plan. A preliminary economic assessment of Phoenix Gold posted in August projected a mining life of only 6.2 years.

Work has already started on upgrading the infrastructure on the site including the tailings facility, ammonia treatment and crushing plants. Quotes are being gathered on underground mobile equipment.

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In 2017, Rubicon was forced to go back to the drawing board after committing one of Northern Ontario’s biggest mining blunders.

The mine project was fast-tracked into production in the summer of 2015 without doing the proper technical work to fully understand, what became, a “geologically challenging” environment. 

A revised resource calculation released by Rubicon in January 2016 revealed the gold estimates had shockingly dropped from 3.3 million ounces to just 413,000 ounces.

With the surface buildings, including the headframe and hoist, already up, the company was forced to halt all underground development work during a trial stoping period of its F2 Gold Deposit and let go more than 300 miners and contractors.

The management team was sacked and the company went into creditor protection.

Under president-CEO George Ogilvie, Rubicon has been taking a more methodical, step-by-step approach over the last two years to restore investor confidence.

“We have a strong understanding of where to drill the deposit to give us the drill-density needed to upgrade and add resource blocks in the model, which will build upon the conceptual mine plan that was outlined in our new preliminary economic assessment,” he said in a statement.

Ogilvie is pleased with the continuity of mineralization he’s seeing from drill hole samples. 

“We plan to release the updated mineral resource estimate for the project in late 2019 or early 2020, which could give us the green light towards commencing a full feasibility study in early 2020. In the interim the company will begin some preliminary feasibility work, mostly around costing and planning for additional surface infrastructure."

In October, the company raised $12 million through a private placement offering that will be mostly earmarked for exploration and development spending at Phoenix Gold.