ISLE AUX MORTS – In Newfoundland and Labrador, earning a living while remaining in the province hasn’t always been easy. This is why, when large corporations such as Matador Mining offer that opportunity to residents, worries and rumours still surface.
Only two months ago, the Wreckhouse Weekly reported that the rumours surrounding Matador Mining possibly shuttering their operations were just that – rumours – and Sam Pazuki, Managing Director and CEO said it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now it seems a new set of rumours have begun to pop up surrounding Matador Mining having their provincial permits for the Cape Ray Gold Shield lifted and given to someone else.
Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy, and Technology stated that he did not hear any such reports.
“As the Minister responsible for mining, that would be news to me. All I know is, my staff (is) reaching out to Matador today (Aug. 23). They will soon be submitting information on the environmental assessment process, which doesn’t go through my department, but we certainly keep apprised of. So that is not something I have any knowledge of. It has not been communicated to me, so I would be surprised.”
Parsons said there may be some confusion based on what the company is currently doing and that might have triggered the rumours.
“They have moved from the site where they were and they’re going to what they call ‘other green field sites.’ So what it is, they are basically trying to expand the size and scope of the find they have. They have done a significant amount of work where they were, but now they have other areas to look at.”
Parsons said that Matador Mining still has an extensive zone left to explore.
“They’ve got a really sizable area of land that they’ve got the rights to, so what they do is they go and try to expand the size of the find. So, you wouldn’t keep a camp open, keep cooks and others hired there when you may shift operations and move your geologists to other locations because, at the end of the day, it comes down to size and quantity. They’ve got a lot of area and they’ve got to explore that area.”
Parsons said what he has heard so far has been positive.
“I’ve only heard good things about their findings here. I know they did a ton of work over the winter, which was great, and I haven’t had anything communicated to me that there was any issue there. I certainly haven’t heard anything about permits being lifted. That would be news to me.”
Parsons explained that, even though the signage was taken down at the company's site in Isle Aux Morts, that doesn’t mean anything negative about their operations, only that they have shifted their focus away from the Window Glass Hill area.
“They’ve moved from that site to another site to continue their work. That’s not the only piece of land in their portfolio. They’ve only got a certain number of resources, a certain size of resources, so they take that and they move onto the next one. That doesn’t mean they’ve given up on this, but it’s easier for them to raise more capital showing more findings. They’ve gone out and got the mineral rights to a lot of different areas, so what they’re going to do is go and work those areas.”
Parsons said the entire process is not something that is completed quickly.
“The long and short of it is I’m certainly not aware of anything negative. They did good work. They’ve had good findings. Now they move elsewhere to continue work on that. The process itself is long. There’s a long road to moving from exploration right up to an operational mine.”
Matador Mining may be focused on another site for the present time, but that doesn’t mean the Isle Aux Morts site won't be revisited as the company's operations warrant.
In response to email inquiries, Sam Pazuki, Managing Director and CEO of Matador Mining, released the following statement.
“Matador Mining is strongly committed to advancing our business in Newfoundland. We are well positioned with one of the largest tenement packages on the major gold structure that hosts our current resource of 837,000 ounces of gold along with Marathon Gold’s 5.1 million ounces of gold. It’s important to note that last night (Wednesday, Aug. 24), Marathon announced a favourable ruling from the Federal Government in relation to their Environmental Assessment process, which paves the way for them to move into construction. We view this as a major achievement not only for Marathon Gold and its shareholders, but also for the mining industry in Newfoundland and stakeholders in Central Newfoundland.
“I have been at the helm of Matador for nearly four months and my confidence in our business prospects has grown now that I am inside of the tent and see the opportunities that we have for growth. Much of Matador’s focus prior to my appointment had been on exploration drilling in and around our existing resource. Although this program yielded positive results, I felt the need to really go out and test the potential of our tenement package on the multi-million-ounce Cape Ray Shear Zone.
“As a result, I changed the Company’s strategy to more of a grassroots exploration focus and shifted our work to the Malachite Lake area where the Company had previously flown an aero-magnetic survey and completed soil sampling revealing a large area that is oozing gold. We have followed-up with work here during the summer in preparation for exploration drilling, which we expect to commence later in September. We are also laying some groundwork to test other areas on our tenement package.
“What we are looking for is another multi-million-ounce gold deposit, similar to what Marathon Gold has within their portfolio at Valentine Lake. In the world of exploration there are no guarantees. However, we do believe there are more Valentine Lake deposits out there. Malachite could be one of them and what’s interesting about this area is that it is larger than Valentine Lake’s footprint. We have other targets beyond Malachite such as Bunker Hill to the east and Grandy’s to the southwest. We plan on testing these areas as well.
“We have not at all abandoned the areas that were previously the Company’s focus. We will return there in the near future for further work. Frankly, this area is where we have a defined mineral resource. One does not walk away from an area that has almost a million ounces of gold already.
“What I will also add is that the capital markets have been very challenging, and I expect a number of junior companies will find it challenging to raise funds required to continue exploration work. We have just completed a capital raise and have funds to advance on our new strategy, however, we need to be prudent in how we deploy capital given continued uncertainty in the economy and for our industry.
“Finally, I will reiterate our commitment to Newfoundland. We are looking to grow, not shrink and fully expect to grow. The amount of work and rate of work we do and the areas in which we do that work will increase and decrease depending on our ability to fund it.”
Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News