Potential Extension of Baie Verte Peninsula Mine Operation Made Possible Through Investment in Innovative Technology

ST. JOHN'S, NL, Sept. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - The Research & Development Corporation (RDC) announced today an investment of $750,000 in support of a demonstration plant at Rambler Metals' Ming Copper-Gold mine in Baie Verte. This demonstration technology has the potential to significantly extend the life of the Ming Mine beyond the current six years. The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister Responsible for RDC, made the announcement today at the Geo Centre. 

"Research and development is integral to the growth of Newfoundland and Labrador's mining industry. This investment marks a positive step in increasing the potential for new resource development and a commitment to economic growth in the province. RDC's continued investment will help provide new R&D infrastructure to facilitate new and better ways to access and develop our resources in a responsible manner."
- The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Business and Regional Development and Minister Responsible for the Research & Development Corporation

The total value of the project is $3.8 million, with Rambler Metals providing the balance of funding. The project is aimed at reducing operating costs while processing previously unusable material, potentially making up to 18.2-million-tonnes of copper ore viable.

"Mines in rural communities, such as the Ming Copper Mine in Baie Verte, play an important role in securing economic and employment opportunities for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Strategic investments in the mining sector, such as the one announced today, represent a further investment by the Provincial Government in the mining industry. Our government maintains strong support of the industry through long-term investment in geoscience and the Mineral Incentive Program."
- The Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Industry

Rambler Metals' bench-scale testing has proven positive, and the company will now work to increase testing to a full scale demonstration project.

"This new application of technology has tremendous potential. The possibility of adding years to the life of the mine has immense implications on the prospective long-term economic benefit to the region, and on the mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador."
- Glenn Janes, Chief Executive Officer, Research & Development Corporation

If the demonstration plant is successful and operating parameters are optimized, the company may introduce this technology into its mining operations at the Ming Mine in order to access the Lower Footwall Zone (LFZ), an area that currently is not included in its mine plan. Additional information on the technology's use in mining can be found in the backgrounder below.

"The pre-concentrate produced from the demonstration plant, approximately 200 metric tonnes per day, will be processed in addition to the existing planned production presented in the fiscal guidance.  A new two stage crushing unit has been purchased which will provide various feed sizes for the plant, and will be incorporated into the existing operation with an aim to further increase mill throughput.  A full review of the possible increases in production will be evaluated following the completion of the project."
- Norman Williams, President and CEO of Rambler Metals and Mining

RDC is a provincial Crown Corporation responsible for improving Newfoundland and Labrador's research and development performance. RDC works with research and development stakeholders including business, academia and government agencies to make strategic investments in people, R&D opportunities, and infrastructure. Additional information on RDC can be found at: www.rdc.org.

Rambler Metals is a mining and development company that brought its first mine into commercial production in 2012. The group has a 100 per cent ownership in the Ming Copper-Gold Mine, a fully operational base and precious metals processing facility and year round bulk storage and shipping facility, all of which are located on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

QUICK FACTS

  • RDC is investing $750,000 in support of a new demonstration plant for Rambler Metals and Mining in Baie Verte. If proven successful, the technology has the potential to significantly extend the life of the Ming Copper-Gold Mine.
  • The $3.8-million project is aimed at reducing operating costs, potentially allowing all or a portion of the 18.2-million-tonnes of the copper resource to be moved into a mineable reserve.


BACKGROUNDER
Dense Media Separation Technology Supports Baie Verte Mine Growth

Since 2005, Rambler Metals has been working towards development of the Lower Footwall Zone (LFZ) deposit, which has a measured and indicated resource estimate of 18.2 million tonnes at 1.43 per cent copper. Due to the depth of the deposit and the lower copper grade, the economic viability of the project is partly dependent on the mining and processing methods to be used. In order to reduce the capital and operating costs associated with development of the LFZ, Rambler, through a RDC Proof of Concept (POC) project, has been investigating pre-concentration techniques.

In Rambler Metals' first joint project with RDC, under the POC Program, bench-scale Dense Media Separation (DMS) testing was conducted to address the challenge of mining copper from the Lower Footwall Zone (LFZ). Although DMS is used in the mining industry for separating minerals like diamond and chromite from the hosting waste rocks, it has seldom been used to separate copper minerals, nor has it been used in an underground mining setting.

Under the proposed pre-concentrating demonstration project, Rambler Metals will implement an on-site demonstration-scale DMS plant test to scale-up the POC-developed process and prove the technology for industrial-scale application in the LFZ. The results will potentially serve as the basis for the first underground installation of this pre-concentration technology on a copper sulphide deposit.

The ultimate goal of the DMS technology is to be able to profitably develop the LFZ. At an estimated 18.2 million tonnes containing 1.43 per cent copper, this ore body represents sufficient reserves to significantly extend the life of the mine beyond the current six years. 

SOURCE: Research & Development Corporation

For further information: Jennifer Tulk, Director of Communications, Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, 709-729-4570, 728-4104, jennifertulk@gov.nl.ca; Chris Flanagan, Director of Marketing and Communications, Research & Development Corporation, 709-758-1021, 691-1009, chrisflanagan@rdc.org; Diana Quinton, Director of Communications, Department of Natural Resources, 709-729-5282, 631-8155, dianaquinton@gov.nl.ca; Peter Mercer, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Rambler Metals & Mining Plc, 709-800-1929, +44 (0) 20 8652-2700

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