Aug. 9, 2006
BATHURST (CNB) - Caribou Mines today officially announced plans to re-open its mining mission in northern New Brunswick. Blue Note Metals Inc., a newly formed junior-mining company, will take over the operation from Breakwater Resources and East West Caribou Mining Ltd., and begin production in about a year.
Premier Bernard Lord and Natural Resources Minister Keith Ashfield joined company officials in welcoming the new venture to the Bathurst region. The mine will employ 270 workers when it starts production in 2007, and will create $53 million in direct wages over a five-year period.
"With current commodity prices soaring, this is an opportune time to begin plans to get the mine up and running again, and give northern New Brunswick's economy a boost," Lord said. "With the job potential, this announcement is certainly in keeping with our government's Five in Five Initiative goal of becoming Canada's investment province, with the biggest decrease in the unemployment rate in Canada."
China's increasing demand for base metals is one of the main reasons behind a recent climb in value. In 2003, zinc prices hovered at around $0.35 per pound, while the current spot price of zinc is more than $1.50 per pound.
"Blue Note is a mining company that understands the potential of the Bathurst mining camp," Ashfield said. "The reserves in this area should support a mine for about five years, with the potential for another four beyond that."
The Caribou mine is an underground base-metal mine 50 kilometres west of Bathurst on Highway 180, and includes the Restigouche open pit 40 kilometres west of the underground mine. The underground mine began operating in 1970, and was designed to produce zinc, lead and copper at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per day. Low metal prices and difficulties in processing the ore were factors leading to an indefinite shutdown in 1998.
"This is a very exciting development for the Bathurst area," said Blue Note President John Martin. "We firmly believe that, given the expected future of the bright-metals market; the positive performance we are expecting from the mining and processing operations; and the excellent exploration potential in the area, Caribou will be a significant contributor to the northern New Brunswick economy for many years to come."
Blue Note has been successful in raising $75 million toward the venture, which includes the purchase of the Caribou and Restigouche properties as CanZinco's New Brunswick exploration properties. Blue Note also continues to work three exploration properties in the area, which they held prior to the Caribou acquisition.
"The New Brunswick government has been extremely supportive of this project," said Michael Judson, CEO of Blue Note Metals. "We are pleased that this mine re-opening will help the people of Northern New Brunswick, and we look forward to working with them to create wealth for all our stakeholders."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Brent Roy, communications, Natural Resources, 506-453-2614; Glenn Massad, media relations, Blue Note Metals, 514-585-2236.