Trevali Mining announced an agreement in mid-May 2012 to acquire Maple Minerals Corp., a private company that owns the currently inactive, 3,000-mt/d Caribou mine and mill in the Bathurst mining camp of northern New Brunswick. The milling operation includes a metallurgical and geochemical laboratory and a permitted tailings treatment facility. Trevali paid for the purchase with Trevali shares valued at about C$23.8 million.
The Caribou mine and mill operated for approximately 13 months prior to going into receivership in 2008 due to depressed commodity prices. Trevali will use the mill to process ore from its nearby Halfmile underground zinc-lead-silver-copper-gold mine, which started up in January 2012 and which has ramped up to a mining rate of 2,000 mt/d. Halfmile ore is currently being processed at Xstrata’s Brunswick 12 mill, but that operation is scheduled for closure in 2013.
Trevali also is developing the Stratmat deposit, a satellite deposit to Halfmile, and will process Stratmat ore at the Caribou mill. Due to the superior quality of the Halfmile-Stratmat mineralization (coarse with good metallurgical characteristics), modeling of the Caribou mill grinding circuit indicates that it can be readily modified to produce saleable zinc, lead and copper concentrates.
Trevali also anticipates the Caribou mine can be brought back into production. A historic, non-NI 43-101 resource for one near-surface zone suggests that it could contain 2.5 million mt at 0.89% copper, 3.2% zinc, 1% lead, and 40 g/mt silver; however, Trevali cautions that this estimate is historicalin nature and that more work is required to define an NI 43-101 resource. Trevali also believes the Caribou deposit contains good-to-excellent exploration potential.
Trevali notes that acquisition of the Caribou mill provides very significant financial, technical, de-risk and timing benefits as opposed to permitting and building a new, stand-alone Halfmile-Stratmat mill.