Galleon Gold eyes Timmins for major mining project

·4 min read

Toronto-based Galleon Gold Corp. is aiming to make a big impact on the area’s future at their West Cache Gold Project, which has potential for both underground and open pit mining.

On Wednesday morning, David Russell, the company’s president, chief executive officer and chairman, was the guest speaker for the latest edition of “The State of Mining” series hosted by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting was conducted over video conferencing app Zoom due to restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 40 virtual attendees participated.

Russell has more than three decades of mining industry experience and was the founder of the former Apollo Gold Corporation. Apollo later became Brigus Gold and then merged with Primero Mining, then First Majestic Silver. Of note, Apollo Gold developed the Black Fox Mine near Matheson from 2002 to 2010.

The West Cache Gold Project is located approximately 13 kilometres west of Timmins. Galleon is currently continuing work on a 15,000-metre drilling program. One rig is on the property now, with another to be added within a few weeks. Local company NPLH is handling the drilling.

The early metallurgical studies are promising according to Russell.

Timmins-based Blue Heron Environmental has been hired to do a baseline study on the property.

“They'll develop the mine closure plan, the development plans, the bulk sampling plans,” said Russell.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the area's First Nations communities (Wabun, Mattagami, and Flying Post).

Russell acknowledged there is lots of work to do.

“We've got to drill it. We've got to model it. We need to do a P.E.A. - a Preliminary Economic Assessment.”

That P.E.A. is expected to be completed and released by March or early April.

“Now what does that do for us? It tells you really, on your first step, how many economic ounces would you have? What are the next steps to driving ramps down? Stripping pits? What are the capital costs? It will tell us a lot of things we need to know,” said Russell.

The West Cache Gold Project is a good size at approximately 3,550 hectares. It is intersected by Highway 101. There is approximately four kilometres of strike. A strike is a length of a vein or rock formation measured on a horizontal surface.

Galleon can be classified as an “up and comer”, as Russell said about a year ago, the company's share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange was about a half a penny. Today, it’s up to about 12½ cents a share.

He said the company has about $9.3 million in the bank for the next phases of development, but acknowledged that of course that won't be enough to complete the project. The company is seeking additional investors.

The drilling program will determine what exactly happens next for the company, and Russell said it’s a project that will be in the developmental stages for years to come, but there is big potential.

“What we’ve got to offer is employment into the future. I think it will be a solid base for a mine for probably, we’ll say, 15, 20, 25 years to come.”

“We’ve got a proven experience management team, and we’ve got high grade gold here.”

After the PEA results are released, the next steps for Galleon will be to define the permitting, the ramp system going underground, setting up the stopes and bulk sampling.

“The permits may be issued as early as 12 months from right now,” said Russell.

The bulk sampling, ramp system and stoping work projects to continue through 2023.

“That’s usually a full 15- to 18-month project.”

The company is targeting major construction on the mine between 2024 and 2025.

“What I’m hoping for is by 2026 we're in full-speed operation — that would be both open pit and underground.”

A shaft will be required eventually, but that wouldn't be for an estimated six or seven years.

“This has all the earmarks of a 1,500- to 2,000-tonne a day operation.

When asked what the peak potential of employment could be at the mine, Russell said, “I would say in a full mining operation, you’re going to have 150 to 200 people there.”

Russell was also asked if any alterations or temporary closures of Highway 101 would be required in order to facilitate the open pit. He replied “absolutely not.”

He said they would likely open up an office in Timmins at some point in the next year or so.

Andrew Autio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Press