With Reed Mine shutting down for good and 777 Mine slated to shut down in 2021, the next step for Hudbay is not immediately clear.
Representatives from the company provided some answers at the closing ceremony held July 25 at Reed Mine.
With the company’s two flagship mines set to close in the next decade – 777 is expected to shut down in 2021, while Lalor is estimated to have a mine life of approximately nine more years – the hunt for northern Manitoba’s next big mine is well underway.
It’s a hunt that Hudbay hopes to be at the forefront of. Hudbay Manitoba business unit vice president Rob Assabgui confirmed that the company plans to invest $15 million into mineral exploration in northern Manitoba over the next year, in hopes of finding the company’s next marquee mine.
“We don’t have our next flagship mine opening up in the near future because we haven’t discovered it yet,” said Assabgui.
“We’ve got two mines in our operations after Reed closes and we’re working hard to find more.”
Assabgui also provided updates for operations near Flin Flon, stating that efforts to extend the lifespan of 777 mine were underway.
“Today, our business plan has the mine closing in 2021, but we’re looking to extend that life with the possibility of adding reserves with remnants. We’re working on that today,” said Assabgui.
Assabgui also confirmed Hudbay is conducting drilling operations near Flin Flon and Snow Lake, including ongoing operations near Centoba Park and at the Pen deposit near Lalor mine. Assabgui even discussed what a potential mine at the Pen deposit could look like.
“It would be like Reed, maybe smaller than Reed, but it would be a ramp access operation, if it were to come to fruition,” he said.
Hudbay is not the only company currently aiming to find the next big mine in northern Manitoba. A number of smaller companies, including Rockcliff, Copper Reef and Far Resources, are also conducting exploration and testing throughout the region.
The activity and funding announcement have encouraged two prominent regional political figures – Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey and Snow Lake mayor Kim Stephen.
“If they found this little mine, there must be more. There has to be exploration to find these mines, and there has to be money to do it. If government makes more cutbacks, then they can’t afford it,” said Stephen.
“It’s never good news when a mine shuts down. Hopefully, the next mine is somewhere in their back pocket, ready to go,” added Lindsey.