Golden Band Resources

Developing the La Ronge Gold Belt

It was a year ago that IRJ first spoke with Golden Band Resources, to find out about the company’s impressive suite of projects on the La Ronge gold belt. La Ronge has a significant history in Saskatchewan, catching the attention of miners in the late 1900s, and becoming a primary focus of gold exploration for Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s resources sector is booming—both mining and oil and gas activities have brought significant growth to the province, and today, the province boasts more than 200 known gold occurrences. Golden Band Resources is lucky enough to hold a significant portion of the very prolific La Ronge area, first getting their hands on La Ronge lands in 1994. Things have been going well ever since.

Golden Band is the province’s leading gold explorer, and has taken this leadership position through acquisitions of more than 750 square acres in Saskatchewan. Gary Haywood, current COO for Golden Band gave us an update on the company’s strategic focus, upcoming milestones, and challenges as the new decade unfolds.
Focused on La Ronge

Though through the recession many mining companies chose to diversify, perhaps branching out onto other properties, doing M&A activities, or expanding resources, Golden Band says that they’re still committed to the La Ronge properties. “Currently, we haven’t found any new gold deposits and we’re continuing to work on the ones we have in our portfolio,” Haywood says. “The main property we have been working on is the Bingo gold deposit. We’ve been doing some underground exploration that started up earlier in February, and that’s been our main focus for this year.”

On June 22, Golden Band Resources reported that partial gold assays had been received for the current underground exploration program on the Bingo deposit, and showed that they contain intervals of bonanza-grade gold values. Haywood said in the company press release that the assay results confirmed the company’s estimates on resource and reserves. “There is no doubt that we have a deposit that will provide high-grade ore feed for our Jolu mill. Once we have received all of the assay data we will update our resource model and reserves classification. We now have 8,500 tonnes of high-grade material stockpiled at Bingo and are ready to move this project into the pre-production phase. We are on schedule to commence production operations in the fourth quarter of 2010,” he added.

The focus, for the time being, will be on Bingo while Golden Band aims to get the project into pre-production phase—all good news for the company’s strategic plans.
Strategic development

The last time IRJ spoke with Golden Band, the company was talking about new developments and positive growth—citing exploration as a key driver for business. Just this April, Golden Band stayed true to its goals, reporting the completion of a National Instrument (“NI”) 43-101 compliant resource for the 100 per cent-owned historical Corner Lake gold deposit, located in the La Ronge region. Corner Lake is one example of the company’s diverse focus, as they continue on “advanced exploration opportunities and build up mineral inventory for development planning purposes.” This is the first public information released for Corner Lake, and represents another premiere opportunity for Golden Band.

According to company reports: “The Corner Lake gold deposit is estimated to contain an Inferred Mineral Resource of 184,400 tonnes grading 8.07 g/t Au (47,900 ounces) at a cut-off grade of 5 g/t Au…Although a resource of this magnitude would not support a stand-alone development project, Golden Band will consider using material from the Corner Lake deposit to supplement resources from surrounding deposits using a centralized mill and mining scenario.”
Despite the tenure Golden Band has in the La Ronge region, it’s clear that there’s no reason to go off site just yet—with plenty more proven resources awaiting Golden Band’s discovery.

Social license

Like any socially committed Canadian mining company, Golden Band is on top of their social and environmental responsibilities—considering both to be second nature.

The company’s commitment to local communities includes signing the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with the Lac La Ronge First Nations band. The company says it does in fact work exclusively on the band’s land, so they stay as involved as possible in planning for projects. Golden Band has established a business relationship with the band’s economic agency, and will leverage positive relationships going forward. “We have to make sure that we are communicating with them what our intentions are,” Haywood explains, “and we put a fair amount of work into communicating with them opportunities for business development, project jobs and training opportunities.”

The company does thorough one-on-one meetings with First Nations representatives, and also does presentations and question and answer sessions. “They’re always invited to talk to us directly as well. A lot of the locals will phone up and just ask what is going on, and how do they find out about jobs and business opportunities and that sort of thing. It’s an ongoing process,” he continues.

Haywood says that the company has very important relationships with other stakeholders as well—including government. And building on those partnerships is all part of earning and keeping the social license to mine. “We identified early on that there are particular stakeholders in this project who we need to foster relationships with, the first one being the provincial government. We’ve put a lot of work into encouraging their understanding of how we are going about our business. We believe we’ve had a very, very good relationship with the provincial government on many levels, and we tend to keep up fairly regular communication with them just to let them know where we’re at,” Haywood assures.

“We tend to communicate with them on many matters: from permitting to lease agreements, to fresh clearing permits or water permits. It’s important that they understand what we’re trying to achieve and what sort of timelines we are under.”

Looking ahead

With positive community relationships and strategic government partnerships, Golden Band certainly has an exciting year to look forward to. Haywood mentions the bright outlook for Saskatchewan’s north, and what development has done for the region. “A lot of people like to see development going on in the north, as it is underdeveloped,” he explains. “We are putting in grid power to our site that is coming off one of the major hydroelectric lines. Some of the positives that have spun off there, is that there are a number of businesses alongside Highway 102 that have now inquired about how they can draw power off that line.” Golden Band has an agreement for power supply, that they’ve waived the “exclusive right” to, so that the general public is able to access power.

“It makes good community sense to do those things from a small business end. Generally, I think people see the value in resource development, in that it does bring jobs money into communities through supply and contracts. There is a lot of spin-off from a resource development project and, as a mining operation, there is spin-off in so many ways for other businesses, whether it’s fuel, catering, all those sorts of things. It’s a multi-supply operation that is required,” he adds.

Overall, Golden Band has no plans to slow down, their perseverance evident through all of their projects. Although Haywood admits the company does have a fairly small operation running, there are a lot of moving parts that require significant attention from the management team. And of course, who could forget the ground-level staff—those who are tasked with running the day-to-day.

“You do need the right people on board. We have a really good management team in place at Golden Band but we also have a really good, dedicated and strong staff, people who have been with the company anywhere from three to six years” Haywood beams, “they have a lot of knowledge about the company and the projects, so when people come in, that knowledge can be handed down.”

“I think what really makes this business a success is having that element of sustainability within our team.”

Whether looking at Golden Band’s future from a team sustainability perspective or right to the core of their business—their sustainable development in La Ronge, Golden Band certainly has a bright future.