Spanish Mountain Gold undergoes environmental assessments

In 2011 Spanish Mountain Gold spent $1.2 million in Williams Lake and surrounding areas.

In 2011 Spanish Mountain Gold spent $1.2 million in Williams Lake and surrounding areas, says company president and chief executive officer Brian Groves.

If the company’s proposed advanced stage bulk tonnage gold project goes through, there would be the need for local companies to provide for 30,000 cubic metres of concrete, 6,000 tons of steel, and 6,000 square metres of pre-engineered buildings.

“There’d be 300 positions over the project’s projected mine life, which is projected to be 10 to 14 years, for millwrights, assay/environment labourers, mine management, operations and maintenance, process plant management, operations and maintenance,” Groves told city council during a presentation at the committee of the whole meeting last Tuesday.

Located east of Likely, and 15 kilomtres west of Mount Polley, the project site sits on the north flank of Spanish Mountain.

It would take up two kilometres of the company’s main property.

It is now undergoing two levels of government environmental assessments.

Presently the camp is shutdown for a “well-deserved” break and road repair has been done on the 1300 Road.

“As you can imagine, we were hauling heavy drills during thaw and the frost came out and made quite a mess so we had to repair it because we are cognizant of the fact that with the long weekend coming people want to go to Spanish Lake. I was out there today and saw they’ve done a fine job of repairing it,” Groves said.

Flagging concerns, Groves explained there is no plan to cut off the 1300 Road if the project goes through.

Instead the plan looks at a diversion that will come close to Spanish Creek, and no one will be denied access.

“We are also proposing a setback in the design to move the open pit back another 75 to 100 metres from Spanish Creek to avoid complications.”

Based on a report prepared in late 101, the tailings facility will be land-based.

“It’s designed to be a zero-discharge facility,” Groves said of the tailings facility. “We have a conceptual plan in mind that doesn’t require relocating the tailings.”

On May 15, the company announced gold extraction test results for the Phoenix Zone of the project that are promising, although Groves said the company is in the very early days of its understanding about the findings.

“Four drill holes revealed very significant grades, comparable to the main zone,” Groves said, adding if Phoenix does not materialize the anticipated mine life will be remain at the 10 to 14 year level.

Spanish Mountain Gold would have a refinery on site where 200,000 ounces of gold bars will be produced a year or 400 ounces a week.

From the mine they will be transported to major refineries in Ontario.

There will be some lower grade silver production,but not a significant cash contributing amount

Spanish Mountain Gold has $10 million in its treasury and anticipates $500 million in capital costs if the project goes ahead.

“Raising that money will be a combination of debt and equity. We’ve already been approached by traditional lenders, many of the European banks, and some Australian banks are inquiring. The project of this size is not a billion-dollar super project,” Groves said.

The hope is to commence production in late 2015.

Marissa Nobauer of Catana Consulting said the company has hired consultants to do a socio-economic study of the mine’s impact on the region.

Mayor Kerry Cook applauded the company for signing agreements with the Williams Lake Indian Band and Xat’sull (Soda Creek).

Groves said the company is also working with the BC Aboriginal Mining Training Association which he said currently has 1,000 people pre-screened available throughout the province.

Housing and work schedules are details yet to be ironed out, but those discussions are also taking place between the company and local First Nations.