Mining companies partner on lithium | Spare News

Mining companies partner on lithium | Spare News

BURGEO – From Matador Mining and the Cape Ray Gold Project to Atlantic Minerals Ltd. and the Lower Cove mine on the west coast, the mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has been growing and it appears this trend will continue. A joint venture near Burgeo has uncovered another significant mineral showing – lithium.

Industry, Energy and Technology Secretary Andrew Parsons said there are currently two companies involved in the discovery.

“One of them is Sokoman (Minerals Corp.) and Benton (Resources Inc.). It’s a collaborative piece and they have what’s called the Golden Hope Project. They’re just west of the Burgeo Highway and north of Burgeo, and they’ve actually made an initial discovery and they’re very excited about what they’ve found, but it’s very early days,” Parsons said. “Since that time I have become aware of another company called MLK Gold looking for the same thing in the same area.”

Timothy Froude, President, CEO and Director of Sokoman Minerals Corp. said the companies are equal partners in the project.

“It is a very large property and we staked it in Spring 2021. It covers approximately 750 square kilometers and straddles the Burgeo Highway. It doesn’t entirely depend on Burgeo,” Froude said via phone interview. “It covers a fairly large area of ​​land and it’s going to take us a little time to become familiar with it.”

While the project, which consists of over 3,000 claims, was originally staked for gold with the Hope Brook Mine in the same area, prospectors accidentally discovered lithium.

“We were prospecting for gold when we discovered a series of lithium-bearing veins (the Kraken prospect) approximately 12 km west of the Burgeo Highway, approximately 30 km north of the town of Burgeo. In late 2022, we discovered a dike (named Hydra) 12 km northeast of the Kraken that is highly enriched in cesium, along with significant lithium, rubidium and tantalum.”

Referred to as pegmatite veins, these veins are an igneous rock type that contains significant amounts of obscure minerals such as lithium, cesium, and tantalum.

“We advanced to the next level and set up a camp. There is a camp there now but we don’t occupy the camp because winter is a difficult time to explore down there with the windy conditions and white outs. It’s not very safe, so field work down there will probably resume in April. The snow won’t be gone yet, but the days are getting longer and it’s getting warmer.”

These minerals are a critical aspect of the greener economy that the country and province are currently focusing on.

“It’s still very early. Ultimately, mining is a boom and bust industry and is very dependent on factors beyond our control such as the price of the raw material and it depends on demand. But right now, these are minerals that are in high demand for what they call the ‘green economy,'” Parsons said.

Although the resources themselves are not renewable, they have a significant impact on the economy.

“When you’re talking about a non-renewable resource, you have to make sure you’re getting the best possible value for it, because once you’ve taken it, it’s gone,” Parsons explained. “Not unlike oil production. The thing is, it has value. It’s a resource that belongs to the people and it’s those resources that pay for our social systems that we rely heavily on, our health care system, education, all these other things that we have to rely on and it has to be paid for for somehow. Resources are what are paid for.”

As with any large company, environmental impact is always a concern.

“Everything they do still goes through an environmental process, just like any other natural resource development, so there’s nothing that has been brought to my attention that is different from any other extraction or natural resource process,” Parsons said. “If you want to do anything in this province, you have to go through an environmental application process and there are different stages depending on what you want to do. Given the need for lithium as a critical mineral, I think you’re going to see more of it, not just in Newfoundland and Labrador but around the world.”

Froude said the project is still considered a grassroots project and is a low impact exploration.

To date, there have been no formal indigenous consultations, but both companies employ indigenous workers, including Benton Resources, of which Steve Stares, President and CEO, is a Qalipu member.

“Yes, there will be local ground disturbances for camp and drilling facilities, but we are forging and infilling sites that we believe have little potential going forward. We also work under a set of guidelines and requirements that are mandated each year in our work permits, which must be renewed each year,” Froude said. “We do nothing unchecked.”

The project, which is actually two separate entities – the gold project and the lithium project (and other critical minerals) – will remain under the same roof and the hope is in multiple strike areas.

“We already have two prospects that are 12km apart (Kraken and Hydra), so the potential for others is high,” Froude said.

Currently the existing camp consists of 10 people but there is much indirect and contract work contributing to the required manpower which would no doubt increase as and when a mine is set up.

“We are still a long way from a mine, many years even. The results of this year’s work will, to a large extent, provide us with the information we need to determine whether or not the project has a chance,” said Froude.

The project will also carry a hefty budget.

“We are budgeting between $3 million and $5 million for the project this year, almost all of which will go to workers and companies based in the Netherlands. That includes businesses in Burgeo, Springdale, Clarenville, Stephenville, with employees from across the island.”

Froud said they shop locally whenever possible, which means significant benefits for the surrounding communities.

“We also have a joint venture project with Benton just north of the tiny village of Gray River where we’ve been drilling for gold there for a couple of years and I think we’re family down there now,” Froude said.

“We’ve grown into this place, even buying a turkey for every household in Gray River for the last two Christmases just to lighten the load. Anything we can do to help and right now I’m trying to scrape together some money because we’ve received a request from the principal of the school in Gray River to help build the playground for the children who are there to prepare . Therefore we will donate and help as much as we can. We try to help and will continue to do so. It is part of our corporate responsibility as a good corporate citizen.”

Although the company itself is primarily a gold company, Froude said it is also an exploration company.

“We don’t throw anything away that we don’t look for. It’s part of my mission and mandate as CEO to evaluate all possible commodities first for the benefit of the local community and second for the shareholders, so I’m really excited,” said Froude. “I’ve worked in this type of rock before, way back up in Ontario, and I’ve never looked at Newfoundland as a go-to place for things like this, but Newfoundland is obviously full of surprises. We’re one of the busiest gold exploration districts in the country right now, and there’s a lot more gold out there than people realize I think. We’re also trying to prove to the world that Newfoundland and Labrador is a prime destination, not just for copper, zinc, iron ore and nickel, but for things like lithium and cesium, which I’m still learning about.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *