GOLDBORO: Dustin Angelo is hoping to dig up some history of his own in Guysborough County.

The president of Anaconda Mining is proposing a $93-million high-grade, advanced exploration and development project for Goldboro. The Goldboro Gold Project recently received its permit for a 10,000-tonne bulk sample of stone, which later this fall will be shipped to Anaconda’s processing facility in Newfoundland. Anaconda has submitted their environmental assessment registration documents with the Department of Environment and work has already begun to start collecting the sample.

“We’re actually on site right now, preparing the site for extraction,” Angelo said. “We’ll start the extraction process a month from now, and it will go sometime into November.”

The project would see Anaconda employ 150-200 people. The 10,000-tonne sample will be used to verify the company’s model and allow for further exploration of the land.

“It’s used for a lot of things, we’re testing our mining methods, the ore will be tested for biological properties, we’re getting a feel for the underground so we’ll be able to see the geology in the ground, and we’ll be able to see how well the whole underground mining process works,” Angelo said.

Last March, Anaconda – via a share swap worth roughly $12-million – took over Orex Exploration and became owner of their property and claims. They added their own drilling program to fill the gaps from the previous decades’ expansive work.

“This deposit actually has old infrastructure. In the turn of the century in the 1800s to 1900s it was mined underground, so it has a bit of history.”

The gold that Angelo is chasing is associated with the quartz veins that are found within the deposit itself, which is known as disseminated gold. It’s not the same gold that was chased by the first prospectors like John McNaughton in Goldboro during the late 1800s. McNaughton would have been looking for the visible chunks of gold found in the quartz.

“The gold is distributed throughout that rock, what we’ve got is more coarse gold, like visible gold where you can see it in the quartz. The quartz act like veins throughout the host rock,” Angelo said. “When I say disseminated – it’s distributed widely, so rather than it being coarse, it’s more fine.”

In Anaconda’s case, they have both types of gold deposits and Angelo said they’re seeing a lot of their gold is in fact sitting in these quartz veins.

“To do the extraction you need to be more precise, you’re really trying to isolate the veins where the gold is, as you’re taking small quantities. So you’re being almost surgical.”

Their proposal establishes during the first three years they will operate as an open pit. Daily operations would see 575-tonnes of rock being blasted, dug up, ground, and then run through a gravity circuit and flotation circuit to remove all waste to create and refine a gold-bearing concentrate. Because gold has a different density than the host rock itself, it’ll separate just by using gravity. The gold comes out one end and all the waste and whatever didn’t come out, that material will be put through a floatation circuit, Angelo said.

“It’s not this simple, but all the coarse gold should come out through gravity and what’s left over is the disseminated gold throughout the house rock,” he said. “We use chemicals to basically separate the waste at that point from the gold, and essentially what the chemicals create are these bubbles and the gold attaches to the bubbles, and all the waste falls to the bottom.”

Five to seven trucks per week would transport the concentrate via the Trans Canada and Newfoundland ferry to Anaconda’s Pine Cove facility to remove the gold. After the first three years of operating as an open pit, Anaconda proposes to continue as an underground mine.

“Because of the characteristics we have, we’re going to do some open pit,” Angelo said. “When it becomes uneconomic because it’s too deep, we’ll move underground and become more surgical.”

With work underway to consult local First Nations, Angelo said Anaconda will now jump right into a feasibility study which will begin in September and will be completed by the summer of next year.

“That’s when you really dig into detail into the mining process, the construction, the operating costs and that’s where we’ll fine-tune all that. This bulk sample is key information that we’ll be using in the feasibility study.”