After More than A Century, This Mining Region Still Has Plenty Of Golden Opportunities
(Kitco News) - More than one century after gold was first discovered, the Val d’Or, Abitibi-Témiscamingue region remains one of the top gold mining jurisdictions in the world; and, according to mining analysts and mining executives, that is unlikely to change anytime soon.
The region’s potential was on display in full force Thursday at the Red Cloud Klondike Strike Mining Conference in Montreal, Canada. Chad Williams, president and CEO of Red Cloud, said that the conference highlights some of the best investment opportunities currently in the exploration sector. He added that it is no coincidence that most of these companies have their operations in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.
“It has been and will continue to be the world’s best region for mineral production,” he said in an exclusive interview with Kitco News.
Since the early 1930s, the Northern Quebec region has produced more than 26 million ounces of gold and Williams said that the activity throughout the area demonstrates that there is still massive potential.
“Can we find another world class deposit in the region? Most definitely yes, especially if you have the right people and access to the latest technology,” he said.
Williams isn’t the only one that sees potential in the region. Mining analysts at CIBC recently completed a mine tour of some of the biggest project’s including the massive Canadian Malartic Mine -- a joint venture between Agnico Eagle Mines and Yamana Gold -- as well as IAMGold’s Westwood Mine. Bottom line, the analyst said that the Abitibi region is “heating up.”
“It is palpable that activity is accelerating with operating mines expanding and new prospects coming online,” the analysts said in its recent report.
“No doubt the region is favorable for mine development with stable permitting/tax regimes and low energy costs combined with a wealth of services nearby. To that end, we do see potential for increased activity putting upward pressure on costs in the not-to-distant future, however, we think investors will remain engaged in news flow from the camp as we see further potential for consolidation through the region," they concluded.
The region’s junior miners recently received a major confidence boost last month after Eldorado Gold agreed to acquire the junior explorer Integra Gold, which was exploring untapped potential in its Sigma-Lamaque project, the site of the Canada’s largest mine.
In its history, the Lamaque mine produced more than 4.5 million ounces of gold.
“Attention is growing in the area,” said Mario Bouchard, President of Radison Mining Resources, one of the companies at the Montreal mining conference. “A new major coming into the area is going to be good for all junior companies,” he said.
Pascal Hamelin, president of Metanor, a junior gold producer in the region, said that he is excited with all the activity he is seeing in the region. The company is actively exploring two of its properties to eventually boost its gold production.
He said that the company is on target to produce about 33,500 ounces of gold this year and their goal is to eventually get 50,000 ounces annually.
He explained that while they are exploring their projects, he wouldn’t rule out buying other projects that show the right potential of strong resources.
“When it comes time to look for new feeds, I don’t think we will have to look very far,” he said. “The potential for us is unlimited.”
Eric Owens, president and CEO of Alexandria Minerals, noted in his presentation that the company has projects in Manitoba, Ontario and central Quebec. However, the company is putting all its resources into developing its Cadillac Break Property, which is the eastern end of the Val d’Or gold belt.
“Abitibi is one of the world’s most lucrative gold districts in the world and is also one of the most active,” he said.