Aussie company has big plans for pit mine, but no guarantees

Aussie company has big plans for pit mine, but no guarantees

MOOSE RIVER GOLD MINES – Wally Bucknell seems oblivious to the blackflies gnawing at his left ear.

It could be that the affable Aussie has more pressing matters on his mind than the loss of a little blood.

After all, to get his company’s proposed Moose River gold mine open by 2008, he has to complete a economic and technical feasibility study, obtain all regulatory and environmental permits, as well as negotiate sales agreements with more than 30 local land owners.

And then there’s the little matter of raising the $50 million to do it all.

“Once we’ve got all those boxes ticked – and there’s no guarantees that we will – then we would hope to be pouring gold late next year or early ’08,” he said during a recent interview at the site.

The company is Atlantic Gold NL, an Australian-listed exploration company formerly known as Diamond Ventures NL.

One of the company’s directors first heard about Moose River Gold Mines in 2002 during a Natural Resources presentation on gold potential in Nova Scotia.

“We looked at the (government’s information) and figured that if this was in Western Australia this would have been in the bank 10 or 15 years ago,” Bucknell said.

Atlantic Gold acquired a controlling interest in the site – which the company has dubbed the Touquoy Gold Project – three years ago.

It is estimated the site contains more than 654,000 ounces of gold, worth more than $330 million at today’s prices.

Atlantic Gold wants to build an open-pit mine – 600 metres long, 300 metres across and 150 metres deep – with an on-site gold treatment plant. It would produce about 90,000 ounces gold annually over the mine’s seven-year life span.

Seven years doesn’t sound like a long time, but Bucknell said once the mine is built, other deposits nearby would likely be brought in production.

“You get the cash flow to explore for more.”

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