Golden Band Resources: Scratching the surface of Canada’s newest mining hotspots
Golden Band Resources (GBN:TSX.V) is perhaps one of Canada’s biggest mining stars in a little known but highly prospective gold region in Saskatchewan.
GBN has brought the spotlight back on the La Ronge gold belt in Northern Saskatchewan when in January 2011, it poured its first gold bar and started commercial production on April 1.
These achievements were the result of many years of strategic planning. In 2007, Gary Haywood was brought on board as COO and tasked with transforming the exploration company into a junior gold producing company.
“When I started the company had very high expectations of getting this gold mine into production, that was my single focus for this company, to bring the La Ronge gold belt back into production after a hiatus of a number of years,” says Haywood.
By now, the global economic events of 2008 are well documented, but through that period GBN “survived through a recession and some pretty lean and mean times. Despite that, we have achieved what we wanted to do and now we have ourselves into a position where we can build this company into a long term producer. That has always been the goal; getting the company to the point where it is a junior producer and start putting the La Ronge gold belt on the map as far as Canadian mining camps go.”
Of course, Haywood realizes this is a very fortuitous time to be in gold production, with the price of gold setting new records almost daily, and closing in the high $1,700s. Under these circumstances, the La Ronge gold belt and GBN are garnering attention from its peers.
“It’s a good place to be and in my mind it is underexplored,” Haywood said. “When people hear about gold in Saskatchewan, people don’t tend to believe it, but gold mining has been around in Saskatchewan almost dating back 100 years. When we look at the La Ronge gold belt we see a huge potential here.”
As the major player in the La Ronge gold belt, since GBN started production there has been a mini staking rush in the gold belt that has gone relatively unnoticed in the Canadian mining circles. “I like to think we are the driving force behind that,” Haywood said.
GBN’s position in the region claims over 765 square kilometres of claims with 12 known gold deposits and four former producing mines. Now that production has begun at the Roy Lloyd Mine (Bingo Deposit), it will be followed initially by the EP and Komis properties, while development of the underground infrastructure at the Roy Lloyd Mine is continuing and on schedule.
“Production from these deposits will feed our centrally located and 100 per cent owned Jolu mill,” says the company website. “We have our provincial environmental permits in place, and we have an established infrastructure including a 400 tonne-per-day mill, year-round road access, and access to grid power. Construction of the grid power line and the above ground tailings facility are now complete.”
“We believe there is excellent potential for finding a larger gold deposit,” Haywood said. That has been a focus of GBN, continuing exploration now that gold production is up and running. “We can start looking at going back to our grassroots, to where the company started in terms of exploration and put some of the focus back on finding new deposits that may prove to be additional ore sources for us in the future.”
With initial gold production underway at 45,000 ounces in its first year, GBN is now working to expand this production profile from its Komis and EP deposits this year. “We have an open pit doing a bulk sample near Jolu Mill right now, and we have an open pit mine planned for the EP project. We have a lot of projects coming up that we want to put into production that will give us the required tonnage to push the mill production up to 700 tonnes a day from the current 400 and should push our gold production profile from 45,000 ounces/year up to 65,000 ounces a year.”
With 2011 a banner year for the company, expectations are high for the future for GBN and this gold belt. With plans to go grow even further from its well established roots, GBN will pursue more exploration in the region. “We believe in the belt. Over the long term this easily could be a ten- year project, possibly 15,” said Haywood.
GBN has only scratched the surface on the La Ronge gold belt and is set up to be one of Saskatchewan’s largest gold producers.