By Jaymie White
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
– with files from Rosalyn Roy
ISLE AUX MORTS – Rumours have been circling that Matator Mining would be shuttering or cutting back operations at its Cape Ray gold mining project, but Sam Pazuki, Managing Director and CEO said that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“It’s quite the opposite. Matador Mining has a tremendous opportunity to unlock significant value not only for its shareholders, but also for local communities such as Port Aux Basques and the province,” stated Pazuki via e-mail.
Pazuki said the work, specifically at the Cape Ray Gold Shield, could help alleviate some of the longstanding pressures to move and remain out west by creating more job opportunities within the province and the immediate region.
“The Cape Ray Gold Project currently hosts a mineral resource of 837,000 ounces, which is a good base in which we continue to explore with the aim of growing that resource. As the resource grows and as we continue to advance the permitting process, the likelihood of moving into a development phase and then operating phase increases, although there are no guarantees in this industry,” wrote Pazuki.
The CEO said that the company’s long term plans in the region have not changed.
“We do feel confident in the merits of the project and our prospects to increase our mineral resources to the point that we have an economic project. Once we’re at this stage – and it’s difficult to say when we’ll get there – we will be in a position to expand our workforce and our objective will always be to source employees locally from Newfoundland. Investments such as ours enables that opportunity for many of the Newfoundlanders living abroad, like those who I had a great pleasure of meeting years ago, to return home and be gainfully employed. I will also point out that there is a considerable amount of mineral exploration in Newfoundland at the moment and of the 75+ Toronto Stock Exchange listed companies on the island, only four have a mineral resource including Matador.”
When it comes to socio-economic development, Pazuki said investments like Matador Mining’s are designed to advance projects through their ‘natural lifecycle,’ from exploration and discovery to engineering, development, and operations.
“In doing so, we along with our industry peers, employ technical professionals such as geologists, mining engineers and support staff. The socio-economic benefits are not just employment opportunities, but also local procurement where possible, investments in necessary infrastructure with often an opportunity for the communities to benefit from these projects.”
Pazuki stated that progress is being made.
“As an exploration company, our success is driven by what we are able to discover and the funding to support it. The team has made some significant progress on the existing mineral resource we have and we are now about to progress on what I believe to be one of the largest till sampling programs ever on the island to make new major gold discoveries. We’re excited for the potential opportunity that exists for stakeholders.”
Pazuki clarified that the easy exploration is when mineral bearing structures outcrop and geologists are able to take rock chip samples from the surface, and most of the exploration work in Newfoundland has been around outcrops such as these.
“The more difficult mineral structures to locate are the ones that don’t pop out of the ground and require more work and effort to discover. The layer below the soils before you hit bedrock are glacier tills that have transports hundreds of years ago. Much of our current tenement package is under the cover of tills and we need to sample through that to get to the rock, then send through for analysis to see if there are gold anomalies. Some areas have more till cover than other areas. However, along the Cape Ray Shear, there is about 1 to 5 metres of till, so not so bad.”
One of the primary changes made recently will see Matador Mining expanding further along the shield, not just remaining around Window Glass Hill.
“Last year, the company completed a comprehensive magnetic geophysical survey which highlighted geological structures over a 40-km distance. One area of particular interest illustrated a major structural bend in the Cape Ray Shear. Gold deposits often form where there are major bends in the structure or multiple structures concentrated in one area. This particular area called Malachite exhibited both and toward the end of last year. The team grab hundreds of soil samples over a 60 km2 area to analyze for gold grains (many gold grains are in the soil samples). These results came through a few weeks ago and demonstrated a significant amount of gold grains. This told us that we need to do more work here as it has the potential to host a major gold deposit. The work we will be doing this year will be predominately in the Malachite area with more analysis and identification of areas that we can drill. The exploration work at Window Glass Hill was successful and the gold is still there and not going anywhere.”
In its Spring 2022 Stakeholder Memorandum, Matador Mining issued the following statement:
“Work supporting the provincial and federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is nearing completion with submissions occurring later this year. The milestone will bring Matador one step closer to project approval and understanding the economic viability of a producing gold mine in the area.
“This year’s exploration activities are following up on the successes from 2021 regional surveys. Matador has recently increased its land holdings and exploration footprint to drive new discoveries outside of the current known mineral resources. This year, we will extend our exploration efforts over a greater area spanning the community of Cape Ray continuing to the NE, terminating near the Burgeo Highway. As this is pure regional exploration, our activities will be conducted in remote parts of the of properties.
“In keeping with our exploration permit conditions, on-going rehabilitation and site remediation work will be initiated this year on areas of disturbance where exploration activities will no longer be taking place. This will also include mitigation efforts at all water crossings to enhance bank stability and degradation prevention through trail use or extreme weather events. The area is still part of Matador’s exploration of the region and remediation will be completed when exploration of the area has reached a conclusion.”