Company investigating mining project in the Cowichan Valley


A company is hoping to undertake a mining project on Mount Sicker in the Cowichan Valley.

Sasquatch Resources is trying to determine if it’s economically feasible to mine metals from the tailings of four former mines that closed decades ago.

The company says if it goes ahead, it would clean up the environmental mess that was left behind.

“We just love the idea of this project,” said Peter Smith, CEO of Sasquatch Resources Corp. “The waste rock has a lot of gold, silver, copper and zinc in it, and we think it could very well be economic, but we also love the idea of cleaning this up.”

Most of the mining happened between 1895 and 1905, and the most recent mine closed in 1946.

Despite the decades, nothing has grown on the piles of tailings, but what has changed is mining methods. What was once considered waste rock has, with improved mining techniques, become more valuable.

“Back in the day, the recovery rates were really horrible. They had initially eight percent copper cutoff rates, which is now something that you can actually mine,” said Justin Deveault, a director with Sasquatch Resources Corp.

“They were using methods you could never get away with today. Damaging to the environment, creating a lot of waste, and there was really no reclamation component required back then either, so they would do their mining and then literally pick up their stuff and move on,” said Smith

For the past couple of years, the company has been taking samples and exploring the sites around Mount Sicker to determine whether this project is valuable enough to take on. The next set of results is expected in a couple of weeks.

They’ll investigate if they can process the waste rock on-site or potentially take it to the Myra Falls mill. Trafigura suddenly closed the Myra Falls mine on central Vancouver Island in late December.

“Do the processing at Myra Falls, and that might be a big win for everybody. In fact, it could put a bunch of people back to work that were recently laid off up there,” said Smith.

But taking a step back, Sasquatch Resources still needs to determine the project’s viability. It’s still early days for a project like this.

“Next step is to actually get a Mine’s Act permit, and to get a Mine’s Act permit, you have to go through various steps. You have to do environmental studies. You’ve got to do consultations with First Nations,” said Deveault.

There are many hoops yet to jump through for what the company says would be a five or six-year project, which is small in the world of mining, but the company says it would be a huge win for the Cowichan Valley environment and create jobs as well.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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