A firm’s focus can change substantially during its life. Ressources Appalaches is preparing for such an evolution, as it moves from an exploration firm to a full production company on its Dufferin Mine project, Chief Administrative Officer Steve Hebert says.
The Rimouski, Québec-based company started operations in 1994, “exploring in the Appalachian range for gold and other precious metals,” Hebert explains. But, in 2008, it found the Dufferin property, a previously explored gold mine located in rural Nova Scotia, 150 kilometers northeast of Halifax.
Ressources Appalaches has performed drill core sampling on the property from 2008 to 2010, and it appears to have substantial reserves, Hebert says. When judging the reserves, “You need to have six grams per ton,” he says. “Some of our core samples are coming in well above 13 or 14 grams per ton.”
Ressources Appalaches is awaiting its second transfer of funding on the project. “[It] will take us into production in the coming months,” Hebert predicts.
While the firm currently employs 21 employees, it will add more when the financing arrives. “We’re going to boost [our staff] to 60 to 70 people.”
Resources Appalaches will pull 20,000 to 25,000 ounces during the first year, he predicts. “We’re going to be ramping that up to 40 to 50 thousand ounces by year two,” he adds.
Electrical power and other existing infrastructure ensures Ressources Appalaches will save money on the Dufferin project.
“There is a full mill, and we’re refurbishing that whole mill right now,” Hebert says.
The amount of savings helps make the project more feasible, Hebert says. “Most mines cost $40 million to $50 million to start up,” he says. “We’re doing this whole project with $10 million.”
Ressources Appalaches has worked closely with locals in Nova Scotia, Hebert says. Most of the company’s current staff is comprised of Nova Scotians. Additionally, “Any time we go to procure anything, we look to feed the economy,” he says.
The company also is working with Nova Scotia Business Inc., a business development agency “to see what deals they can give us,” he says, explaining that it aims to find income tax rebates. “Most of the time, it’s 7 to 10 percent as long as we hire locally.”
Local reaction to the project also has been strong, Hebert says. “[It will be] the first significant gold producer in Nova Scotia for quite some time,” he says. “People are quite excited.”
Getting Things Done
Hebert joined Ressources Appalaches 18 months ago. When the company started developing Dufferin, President, CEO and Director Alain Hupé and Executive Vice President and COO Jean-Claude Morel approached Hebert personally. “They wanted somebody that knew the area and could get things done which had strong administrative management expertise,” Hebert recalls.
Although his background is in project management, Hebert has not encountered any challenges because of his inexperience in the mining industry. “Steve’s experience is a complement to the Dufferin team, which holds senior mining experience at the operator, management and executive levels, as well as in geology and substantial rock mechanic expertise,” President and CEO Alain Hupé says.
While Dufferin is expected to last five years, Ressources Appalaches may develop more projects in Nova Scotia, Hebert predicts. “We have five other mineral claim properties in and around Dufferin,” he says. “We’re doing some exploration on those sites as we speak.”