The Bonanza Ledge mine expansion near Wells has received provincial permit approval.
Alex Callahan, Spokesperson for Osisko Development, says the permit approval will allow the company to continue to mine at Bonanza Ledge phase two, while it continues to work on the environmental review process for the Cariboo Gold Project.
Callahan says it fluctuates, but there about 240 people are working at Barkerville Gold Mines right now.
“There are people working mining, there are people who are in the mill, there are people working in exploration and doing technical modelling of the cores that get drilled, people working on permitting, there is administration, there is maintenance, all sorts of people that make sure the mine continues to run and operate and looks after the staff.”
Callahan says the number will grow once the Cariboo Gold Project is up and running.
“459 jobs are expected for the Cariboo Gold Project. The mining operation will take place at the underground mine site in Wells, and the milling of the ore takes place at the QR site. These are good jobs. The average wage is around 73 thousand dollars. And we’re estimating that it will create about five billion dollars to British Columbians over the course of the mine life.”
Callahan says the existing Bonanza Ledge project is expected to last for another 18 months or so, while the new underground mine has a life expectancy of around 16 years.
He says they hope to be through the environmental review process in the next year.
“The Cariboo Gold Project right now, we’ve submitted a significant amount of paperwork to the technical advisory committees. We’re working through the comments that have come in from the public, and we’re working towards a certificate for the project in Q-3 of 2022, so sort of summer into fall of 2022.”
Callahan says the pre-construction, construction phase of the new mine would be about three years, and then the operational years would go from 2024 to 2040 with remediation after that.
He says the workforce during construction is expected to be around 273.
In the meantime, Callahan says the expansion of Bonanza Ledge phase two and the permitting of the Cariboo Gold Project is also going to allow Osisko to continue to make investments in the community.
“Earlier this year we were very pleased that we could help our neighbours in the tourism sector, particularly at historic Barkerville, with support in what was a challenging year because of COVID. We take these sort of investments in the community very seriously, and we look forward to continue to invest in the community throughout the life of the project.”