The East Kemptville Tin Mine as it appeared in the late 1980s.
Fred A. Hatfield photo
YARMOUTH -The CEO of Avalon Rare Metals, a mineral development company based in Toronto, says new drilling results from the former East Kemptville Tin Mine site are encouraging.
The company holds an access agreement for the Yarmouth County site and began exploratory drilling earlier this summer in an effort to confirm remaining resources of tin, copper and zinc.
The drilling, carried out over the summer, tested seven areas within the mine site and found that significant amounts of metals remain within the rocks left behind after the site was closed down.
“It confirmed what we believed was there,” said Don Bubar, Avalon CEO. “There were no real surprises for us.”
Besides the base metals the company expected to find, the new drill results also found relatively high levels of indium at the site, something which Bubar says could be a rewarding byproduct should mining begin again at the site.
The tin mine, formerly operated by Rio Algom, opened in the mid 1980s and closed in 1992 after tin prices collapsed to levels reaching well below $3 (US) per pound.
The mine closure saw more than 200 people in Yarmouth and Shelburne counties lose their jobs.
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There has been sporadic interest in the site over the years as metal prices have climbed. This year, the price of tin has largely remained around or over $10 (US) per pound.
The next phase of the program, a preliminary economic assessment to determine the viability of restarting a mining operation at the site, is underway and could be completed by the end of the year.
In June, Avalon officials also met with members of the Tusket River Environmental Protection Association in connection with the renewed exploration program.
TREPA Executive Director John Sollows said his organization is not opposed to mineral exploration in the area.
More than 20 years after its closure, the former mine site is still the subject of reclamation efforts.
The former open pit is now a man-made lake, which drains into a complex series of settling ponds. The water is treated with lime before it eventually finds its way back into the East Kemptville watershed.