Trevali plans to reopen New Brunswick's Caribou zinc mine but with 150 fewer staff

·2 min read

CALGARY — Trevali Mining Corp. says it plans to reopen its Caribou Mine near Bathurst, N.B., after idling it 10 months ago amid poor zinc prices, but will operate it with a workforce of about 250, down from about 400 employees and contractors before it was closed.

The Vancouver-based miner says it expects to return to mining in early February, with first payable zinc production expected by the end of March.

Chief financial officer Brendan Creaney says zinc prices have rebounded from about 82 cents US per pound when mine production stopped to the current level between US$1.20 and US$1.30 and Trevali has contracted about 80 per cent of Caribou's volumes for two years to remove price risk.

The company says it has brought in Redpath Mining Inc. as an underground mining contractor and its expertise and supply of larger equipment is expected to allow production to resume at cash flow positive costs of between 84 and 90 cents cents per pound of zinc by 2022.

It hopes to produce up to 65 million pounds of payable zinc, 23 million pounds of lead and 650,000 ounces of silver in 2021. Zinc output is expected to rise to as much as 77 million pounds in 2022.

It plans capital spending at the mine of $9 million this year and $2 million next year.

"Our initial two-year plan includes several enhancements which are designed to improve the mine's economics, including the involvement of a contracted mining operator and the entry into fixed-pricing arrangements for a significant portion of the mine's forecasted production," said Trevali CEO Ricus Grimbeek.

"Looking ahead, we will continue to study the potential to extend our initial mine plan, as well as explore further potential in the Bathurst mining camp."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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The Canadian Press