SMG mine construction could start in 2013

Spanish Mountain Gold is making the rounds, meeting with community stakeholders and First Nations groups as it moves its mine near Likely closer to fruition.

Spanish Mountain Gold is making the rounds, meeting with community stakeholders and First Nations groups as it moves its mine near Likely closer to fruition.

On Tuesday night, company representatives met with Williams Lake City council.

Company chief operating officer Ron Halas told council the mine could be operational by January 2014.

This week, said Halas, the company would submit environmental assessment paperwork to the federal and provincial governments. SMG anticipates the mine could produce more than 200,000 ounces of gold per year with a mine life of 10 years.

Halas estimated the mine, when in operation, will be one kilometre in length and 400 metres deep. Halas further said the company expects to outlay $240 million in capital expenditures throughout the 18 months the mine is being built.

In the construction phase, which could begin in 2013, approximately 600 temporary jobs may be created and when operational the mine could create approximately 284 jobs.

The property’s future, he pointed out, depends both on the global price of gold and the political climate.

“As long as gold prices are good the project is great,” he said.

The company and the Williams Lake Indian Band recently signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the First Nations involvement in all aspects of the mine’s development. Spanish Mountain Gold says an MOU with Xat’sull First Nation remains outstanding; however, it is hopeful one will be reached.

Council praised the company for its collaborative approach.

“Some of us could learn a lesson from what you did,” said Coun. Surinderpal Rathor.

“It’s excellent. I am really happy.”

Mayor Kerry Cook told Halas that she had heard positive feedback from First Nations regarding the work of SMG.

The company has four exploration properties — two near Prince George and one near 100 Mile House.