Midway Gold held the first of planned quarterly meetings open to the public to update the community on its major projects going forward. Midway Gold held meetings in Eureka and Ely on its Pan Mine Project and Gold Rock Projects, updating them on timelines, estimated employment, etc. Vice President and General Manager of Nevada Operations Michael Protani spoke during the presentation.
“This next quarter is fairly important,” Protani said. “There’s a lot of good things happening with respect to permitting, with respect to financing the projects and starting the mine. So, there’s a lot of excitement at Midway Gold.”
The Pan Mine Project, located about 60 miles west of Ely, is a gold mine expected to receive a record of decision from the Bureau of Land Management in December of this year. Construction is expected to begin in early 2014 with commercial production beginning by the end of 2014. Environmentally speaking, the groundwater is roughly 300 feet below the bottom of the mine’s lowest pit, no surface water and no direct impacts to endangered or threatened species and will have 3,204 acres of disturbance.
“It’s a small mine in comparison,” Protani said. “If you compare it to Robinson, it’s probably a tenth of the size….It’s a great little mine for a small mining company to start with.”
The mine requires approximately $100 million investment to build. Midway Gold expects around 160 employees during the construction of the mine and around 150 jobs required for the operation of the mine. Construction is expected to take six to nine months to complete. Protani said he expects most of the employees to be hired from the area. As far as housing employees, Protani said plans are in the works, though final details will depend on the makeup of new hires.
“What I do know is we’re going to do the right thing,” Protani said. “As that develops, we’re going to be ready to despond.”
Pan’s mine life is currently nine years, but Protani said they expect it to lengthen to 13 years provided the results from further exploration comes back as expected.
“There’s still a lot of room for upside,” Protani said. “There’s still a lot of drilling to do and we expect (the mine life) to go up to 13 years if everything comes back like we expect it to.”
The financial benefits to the county include $1.2 million in property taxes per year, $12.1 million in payroll estimated per year, $18.1 million in net proceeds tax at $1,200/ounce of gold and $70 million total construction cost estimated.
While the Pan Mine project is nearing the end of its permitting phase, the Gold Rock project still has a ways to go. The project, which Midway estimates will have a 10-year mine life, is expected to start production in 2016 if permitting goes as planned, Protani said.
Several city and county representatives were in attendance at the meeting including Ely City Mayor Jon Hickman, County Commissioners John Lampros, Laurie Carson and Richard Howe and White Pine County Community and Economic Director Jim Garza. Lampros said Midway had the full support of the County Commission during the meeting. Commissioner Carson asked about SJR 15, which would remove the separate tax rate on mining. Investor Relations Analyst Jaime Wells said Midway is monitoring developments closely and is heavily involved at a political level.
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled to occur in January or February of 2014. And as Midway Gold draws closer to beginning construction on the Pan Mine project, Protani said it signals the start of big things for the company.
“The Pan Mine is really the start of what we’re about,” Protani said. “We’re here to do the right thing and do this mine the right way.”