Seabridge Gold held a grand opening for their new Main Street office in Smithers as the mining company continues moving ahead with the KSM project — a super-sized gold, copper, silver and molybdenum deposit 65 km northwest of Stewart.
Seabridge held an open house Sept. 15 for their new office above the Warehouse One jeans store. Mining executives, including CEO and company president Rudi Fronk, were on hand to meet people and discuss the KSM mine.
Currently KSM is going through a provincial and federal environmental review process, he said, a task that takes 180 days. In the meantime, they are actively engineering the location.
“It’s a project that is, in our view, going to go ahead,” said Fronk.
As the company’s timeline stands, they expect the two governments will finish their environmental assessments by the spring or summer of 2012.
Constructing the project will mean thousands of jobs, said Fronk, and is expected to take about four years.
Once completed, 500 people will be employed directly by the mine.
“That doesn’t include the other industries that you affect locally,” he said.
As far as the value of the mine goes, the gold deposit is particularly rich. Fronk said it’s the largest gold deposit ever discovered in Canada.
The company estimates that they are sitting on 38.5 million ounces of gold and 10 billion pounds of copper.
Seabridge bought the property from Placer Dome in 2001.
Ten years ago, gold and copper prices were not high enough to make the mine economical, said Fronk. Seabridge got involved when it anticipated higher prices in the future.
Gold is currently trading at over $1,800 an ounce. Copper is at $3.93 a pound as of Friday.
“It’s a world class asset,” he said, noting that the company has spent over $100 million since it started drilling on the property since 2006. The mine will likely operate for 52 years.
Fronk also said that keeping aboriginal interests in mind is crucial for the company. He said the company started consulting with aboriginal groups even before they approached government regulators.