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Goldcorp meets two First Nations to advance Borden Lake Mine Project

Details of the meeting still have not emerged despite repeated calls by TimminsToday to Goldcorp

Goldcorp, the largest gold miner in Ontario's Northeast and a major world gold producing company, held a private meeting Thursday with the chiefs and band councils of the Chapleau Cree and Brunswick House First Nations to explain its applications to the Ontario and federal governments for  permits to proceed to advance exploration stage.

Details of the meeting still have not emerged despite repeated calls by TimminsToday to Goldcorp Media Relations section in Vancouver and to the Band Offices of Chapleau Cree and Brunswick House First Nations.

Prior to the meeting, Donna Byce, manager of Corporate and Social Responsibility for Goldcorp’s Borden Lake Project, indicated it would be inappropriate to discuss the project prior to Goldcorp's meeting with the chiefs and band councils.

“We are not prepared to discuss this at this moment,” Byce told us on Thursday.

However, the importance of the project to Chapleau Cree First Nations is abundantly clear by the multiple references to the Borden Lake Project in the band’s Five Year Economic Development Plan.


The Chapleau Cree Economic Development Plan looks to the Borden Lake project to help solve some pressing issues facing the band:

“The nation does not experience consistent population growth and has an aging demographic. This is due to the lack of infrastructure and available housing loan system for new construction on-reserve, limited availability of suitable and affordable living within the Town of Chapleau, and an equally limited growth of economy and new job development.”

The executive summary of the economic plan sees both the opportunities and challenges created by Goldcorp’s Borden Lake project:

“That being said, there is an opportunity on the horizon for Goldcorp Inc. to establish a mining operation within the vicinity, resulting in increasing demands on both the Town of Chapleau and subsequently the community of Chapleau Cree First Nation. Correspondingly, with equal demand comes equal opportunity, and the Nation continues to work on its historic healing and community issues together with planning to address the possibility of new growth, the challenge of bringing some of its members back to the community and the economic development demands that this entails. “

A similar economic plan or statement concerning the Borden Lake Project did not appear on the Brunswick House First Nations website.

However, the Brunswick House First Nation website did post Goldcorp’s PowerPoint presentation of the proposed Borden Mine Project.

Goldcorp’s presentation to First Nations can be seen by clicking here.

According to Goldcorp’s website the Borden Mine property was purchased by Goldcorp in January 2015 from Probe Mines.

For details, please click here.

It’s located near Chapleau in Ontario and is approximately 160 kilometers west of Goldcorp's Porcupine mining operations in Timmins.

According to the description on their website the Borden Mine project has the potential to further enhance the long-term operations of Goldcorp’s Porcupine complex. 

A pre-feasibility study is being conducted to establish the benefits of a combined Borden-Porcupine operation and will be completed during the first quarter of 2017.

The advanced exploration permit is expected to be received by late 2016. 

Goldcorp says it will be able to construct a ramp into the deposit and to extract 30,000 tonnes of bulk sample.

The ramp will also provide an underground platform for exploration drilling to determine the depth and lateral extent of the deposit which still has not been determined in fact though studies indicate a great potential.  

In a news release by Goldcorp released January 19, 2015 the company reported that the total value of the deal was $526 million to buy Toronto’s Probe Mines Ltd. and one the most promising new gold discoveries in northern Ontario.

The friendly takeover gives Goldcorp control of Borden gold project in Chapleau, Ontario, 160 kilometres west of Goldcorp’s century-old Porcupine mine in Timmins.

The property at Borden Lake consists of 70 kilometers of adjoining claims in a core district for Goldcorp. The Borden Lake project has  a reported  underground indicated resources of 1.6 million ounces of gold (9.3Mt @ 5.39g/t) and inferred resources of 0.4 million ounces of gold (3Mt @ 4.37g/t) at a 2.5g/t gold cut-off grade. The deposit remains open along strike and at depth.

"This transaction is consistent with Goldcorp's longstanding strategy of securing growth opportunities in and around our existing districts with a focus on low-cost, high-quality gold production," said Chuck Jeannes, who was then Goldcorp's President and CEO.  Jeannes resigned in April, 2016 after the annual meeting and was replaced by David Garafalo formerly of HudBay Minerals.

"Borden is a high-quality deposit that is mineable through conventional underground mining methods. Goldcorp is uniquely suited to add Borden to its asset portfolio due to its proximity to our Porcupine operation, which includes the large milling facility at the Dome complex. 

“Transporting ore to Porcupine would significantly reduce capital costs and permitting requirements compared to a stand-alone development,” Jeannes noted at the time of the purchase of the Borden Property, “while delivering higher-grade gold production to Porcupine within a relatively short development period.” 

The progression to the advance exploration also means that Goldcorp is close to replacing the capacity recently lost when it announced the closure of its 100-year Dome Underground mine in South Porcupine.

In January, 2016 Goldcorp announced its intention to close the 100 year plus Dome Underground mine by mid-2016. At the time the anticipated job loss was to be 115 employees and 76 contractors.

The move to the advance exploration stage and the subsequent coming into production of Borden Mine would more than make up for the Dome Underground Mine closure job loss and also be of benefit to the Chapleau Cree First Nation and Brunswick House First Nation as well as the Town of Chapleau.

The intention to proceed to advance exploration is good news for mining in Northeastern Ontario as earlier in the year Goldcorp announced the closure of the historic Dome Underground Mine which had been in operation for over 100 years. The last day of operation at the Dome Underground is expected to be June 30, 2016.

On June 17, 2016 in a news releases issued by Goldcorp and Reliant Gold, it was further announced that Goldcorp would purchase Reliant Gold’s 49 percent  interest in the Borden Project giving Goldcorp an overwhelming control of the project.

Frank Giorno

About the Author: Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers.
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