BISHOP’S FALLS, N.L. – A mining exploration company is hoping to strike gold in central Newfoundland.
Sokoman Iron Corp. is preparing to drill for gold at a site near Bishop’s Falls, roughly a kilometre off the Bay d’Espoir highway.
“We’re going to be drilling upwards of 2,000 metres,” said interim CEO of Tim Froude of the project, titled Moosehead. “Probably 10 to 15 holes, to further expand on the gold values that were accounted in the past, and hopefully move on from there.”
The site was discovered in the late 1980s by a company that was eventually consumed by a larger corporation. Local prospectors found the original boulders contained significant amounts of gold, and drilling occurred from 1998 to 2004. The property then sat dormant until 2017 when Froude said the site was revived by Altius Minerals, another Newfoundland and Labrador mining exploration company.
“We approached them, because we were looking for a good gold project,” said Froude. “Late last fall we entered into negotiations, and about a month or so ago we managed to tie up the deal.”
A total of 111 diamond drill holes have been completed on the property since its discovery, but only one of them has reached a vertical depth of over 200 metres. Froude expects drilling on Moosehead to begin by early June at the latest.
“It’s a very strict process where you have to get a third party to basically evaluate all of the work that’s been done and the work that we’ll do,” he said.
Froude pointed out that just because there’s gold in the ground, it doesn’t mean that it can be mined successfully.
“There’s lots of cases in Newfoundland even where there’s significant amounts of gold in places, but it’s either at too low a grade or too randomly dispersed that you can’t put your finger on it,” he said.
Froude said worldwide, anywhere from three to seven grams of gold is needed per ton of rock to make the drilling worthwhile.
“Our job is to expand on the known mineralization that’s there,” said Froude. “This project isn’t unique, but it’s certainly a project by Newfoundland standards that has some very high gold grades.”
Work will be carried out by local contractors, and the first round of drilling will likely cost between $200,000 and $300,000. The findings would then be assessed at a lab in Springdale.
“Moosehead is one of the highest-grade gold occurrences in the province,” Froude added.
Grand Falls-Windsor town manager Jeff Saunders said mining projects are always good for the region.
“It’s jobs, spin offs, supplies and materials,” said Saunders. “Those kinds of activities are great for central Newfoundland.”
Saunders noted exploration is the first stage, but big money is spent when a project turns into a mine.
“Depending on the size, there could be a lot of jobs,” Saunders said of mining operations. “Something like that could be great for this area again.”