Overview: Shakespeare Mine Project
Wellgreen Platinum’s 100%-owned Shakespeare Ni-Cu-PGM mine project is a former producing open pit mine located in the Sudbury mine district of Ontario, Canada. The mine was intermittently in production between 2008 and 2012 as a direct shipping operation, using contract mining and with ore trucked to a third-party concentrator. All permits to operate the project as an open pit mine and to construct a 4,500 tpd processing facility with tailings storage onsite remain in good standing.
In February 2012, operations at the Shakespeare mine were suspended due to low metal prices. Since that time, the mine has been on care and maintenance pending the Company’s high level review of the opportunities for cost reduction as a direct shipping operation and improved metals prices. In addition, based on the 2006 feasibility study, the Company is assessing installation / construction of a site mineral processing facility and tailings pond which would further reduce overall operating costs for a sustainable operation at current metals prices. Studies currently being carried out by Roscoe Postle & Associates and SNC Lavalin appear to be confirming that the assumptions and conclusions in the 2006 feasibility study on the Shakespeare project continue to be a reasonable assessment of the project’s viability.
- Former producing open-pit mine as a direct shipping operation (Q1 2012)
- On care & maintenance with permits in good standing for mining and construction / installation of an on-site mill
- Review of prior OPEX (mining, transport and toll milling) as a direct shipping operation
- Assessing construction / installation of permitted mill facility based on feasibility study
- Average annual production of 25, 000 oz. PGMs+Au, 8M lbs. Ni and 10M lbs. Cu over life of mine plan based on feasibility study
- Ontario is a mining-friendly jurisdiction: ranked in the top 20 globally by the Fraser Institute with excellent availability of skilled workers and contractors
- Impacts and Benefits Agreement (“IBA”) signed with Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nations
Wellgreen Platinum has been evaluating unit operating cost saving initiatives that, coupled with stronger metals prices, may enable the future restart and sustainable operation of the Shakespeare mine as a direct shipping operation. This review has been focused on opportunities to reduce operating costs in three key areas: toll milling/smelting contracts, reduction in ore haulage transport costs using a shorter route proposed by the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nations, and the refinement of the mine plan/site operations.
As noted above, Wellgreen Platinum has all the necessary permits regarding the installation of a 4,500 tpd mineral processing facility and associated tailings storage at the site and is evaluating this approach. Such a scenario could enable the Company to eliminate extended haulage expenditures and greatly decrease mineral processing fees, and possibly treatment/refining charges. A site mill could also provide toll milling of production from other third-party-deposits in the area.
*Mineral reserve numbers are in probable category. Mr. Terrence Hennessey, P.Geo, of Micon is the qualified person for the mineral resource estimate. Mr. Eugene Puritch, P.Eng. of P&E Engineering is the qualified person for the mineral reserve estimate. Mr. Ian Ward, P.Eng. of Micon is the qualified person for the study titled “An Updated Mineral Resource Estimate and Feasibility Study Summary on the Shakespeare Deposit, Shakespeare Property, Near Espanola Ontario” by Micon dated January 2006.
Permits and Agreements
The Shakespeare mine project has all permits required to operate as a direct ship mine, as well as to construct a mineral processing facility and tailings storage on site. These include a Permit to Take Water, Certificate of Approval for noise and air emissions, and a Certificate of Approval for the Shakespeare Mine and Mill co-disposal facility and sedimentation pond for water treatment. The Company has also received acceptance of a certified Closure Plan for the Shakespeare Mine and Mill Project from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (“MNDM”). In addition, Ursa Major received a permit from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) for the operation of a gravel pit located approximately 3 km north of the Shakespeare mine project.
In August 2009, an Impacts and Benefits Agreement (“IBA”) was signed with Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nations (“Sagamok”). This IBA remains in effect with Wellgreen Platinum.
151,910 tonnes of ore grading 0.314% nickel, 0.368% copper, 0.019% cobalt, 0.348 g/t platinum, 0.389 g/t palladium, 0.203 g/t gold and 2.164 g/t silver, was produced at Shakespeare and delivered to Glencore Xstrata’s Strathcona Mill in 2011 (fiscal year that ended January 31, 2012). 2010 Shakespeare production (9 months) to the Strathcona Mill was 166,913 tonnes of ore grading 0.357% nickel, 0.407% copper, 0.025% cobalt, and 0.989 g/t PGMs+gold.
The table below shows the approximate contained metals in the delivered ore. The contained metals were then subject to mill, treatment and refining recoveries, and treatment and refining deductions.