Canadian Arrow Mines
If you live in Sudbury, you’ll make a mining and exploration connection eventually. For Kim Tyler, President of Canadian Arrow Mines, the connection was made when he was 18 years old, working at a mine to pay his way through school. Over 25 years later, Tyler still has a passion for geology which he puts to use every day.
Founded in 1938, Canadian Arrow Mines has a long history of carrying out the highest standards of technical, environmental and social practices in Canada. In fact, two of the former company presidents were also presidents of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), an association representing the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry.
Located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canadian Arrow Mines is a junior base metals exploration, development and mining company. Its primary focus is developing nickel, copper and cobalt deposits. When asked about why they work with nickel and copper, Tyler explains that they are metals that go beyond flatware and kitchen sinks.
“People are aware of nickel and copper as commodities, but they don’t always realize the extent of where they’re used,” Tyler says. “About 70 per cent of the world’s nickel is used in stainless steel, a product found in jet engines, hybrid cars and, perhaps most commonly, infrastructure.”
In fact, nickel is used in so many infrastructural applications that it has become a topic of excitement for Canadian Arrow Mines.
“The infrastructural rebuilds outlined in economic stimulus packages around the world will require a lot of stainless steel,” Tyler explains. “I also foresee a lot of growth in countries like China and Brazil. These places have an emerging, industrious middle class with the desire to build. And yes, we’re in the middle of economic crisis, but in the long-term, I see the growth as a great thing for our industry.”
The Kenbridge Project
Right now, the company’s main priority is the Kenbridge Project, a nickel-copper sulphide deposit containing over 44,000 tonnes of nickel. The company’s plans for Kenbridge include advancing the project though to feasibility and exploring the deposit at a greater depth. Unlike other junior exploration companies, Canadian Arrow Mines plans to bring its project into production and build a mining company out of it, instead of merely setting it up and then selling it. Kenbridge is located 70 south-east of Kenora, Ontario. Originally, it was a project discovered in the 1930s and then bought by Falconbridge (now Xstrata Nickel) in 1952. After roughly 150 million dollars-worth of work, including the 2000-foot shaft, the price of nickel fell in 1957 and the project was put on hold. No one returned to it until 2005, when Falconbridge decided to sell it.
Canadian Arrow Mines picked up the project in 2006, spending $9.5 million to bring it up to current standards. From discovery to production, it typically takes about 10 to 15 years to build a mine. But since the majority of the work was already done, Arrow came out ahead.
The best thing about the Kenbridge project is the low cost operation. After completing a preliminary economic assessment, Canadian Arrow Mines estimates that mining nickel will cost $3.47 (USD) per pound—compared to the world average of $7 per pound. Tyler expresses that if all goes according to plan, the project has potential to earn a pre-tax $253 million net present value. Kenbridge might not be a huge deposit, but it’s a nice size for a small team who can work quickly to bring it into production. Speaking of the team, Canadian Arrow Mines is made up of five people: Tyler and four other industry experts. Combined, the group has all the skills it needs to develop, build and operate a mine.
Corporate Social Responsibility
To the company, the Kenbridge project is great from a technical standpoint because the team can keep those issues under control. But in areas that are beyond their control, such as government regulations and socio-economic issues, they try to be proactive. First Nations approval, for instance, remains very important to the company. As they began developing the Kenbridge project, Canadian Arrow Mines was sure to include First Nations people in their community discussions. One of the first things they did before starting the project was draft a First Nations policy as a way to show partnership, sincerity and respect.
“In our mind, it doesn’t matter what you’re building, you should always go and talk to the local community,” says Tyler. “You should tell them your plans, listen to their concerns, and work with them to build a relationship.”
“First Nations people signed treaties, giving them legal rights,” Tyler continues. “And we want to respect those rights. Resource management is a strong focus in the local community. There’s a tradition there. Metals are another resource over which we need to be good stewards. Legally and morally, it’s the right thing to do.”
A bright future
Canadian Arrow Mines has a lot to look forward to. By 2010, they hope to complete feasibility at Kenbridge. Beyond that, there’s more to be done within the Kenbridge area—at least 13 more nickel/copper deposits to be explored. “Even if there’s another project out there that’s equivalent to half of Kenbridge, then we can extend the life of the project by having a central milling facility where we process the ores from other sites,” Tyler concludes.
“We’re in a good spot. If all goes according to plan, we will be producing nickel and copper concentrates when the world demand will be hard to keep up with.”