Nicola Mining Inc. [NIM-TSXV] on Thursday became the latest mining company to evacuate operations in British Columbia due to the threat of wildfires.
The company said an evacuation order was issued in the Lower Nicola Valley area near Merritt, B.C., temporarily affecting milling operations at Nicola’s New Craigmont project.
“All workers were safely evacuated from the property, with the exception of a small number of employees necessary to responsibly ensure safety and environmental projection,’’ Nicola said in a press release. “The site is well equipped with water and firefighting equipment and there is currently no risk to the operation’s infrastructure,’’ the company said.
Nicola said it is closely monitoring wildfire conditions and is working with the local community to provide water, if required. Operations will be restarted once the order has been lifted.
The announcement comes just 48 hours after Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE) announced that it was evacuating its Highland Valley copper operations on August 14, 2021. It subsequently provided an update on August 18, 2021, saying that operations had resumed.
Nicola’s key asset is the New Craigmont Project. The 10,000-hectare property is located in the Highland Valley porphyry district and contains the former Craigmont Mine, which produced 34 million tonnes, grading 1.3% copper between 1961 and 1982 from underground and open pit operations. It ranked as one of North America’s highest grade copper mines.
Nicola’s other key asset is the 200-tonne-per day Merritt Mill and tailings facility.
Nicola’s main source of cash flow is processing third party ore at the Merritt mill and tailings facility. The mill is capable of producing free gold concentrate, gold flotation concentrate, and silver concentrate. The large mill building allows scalability for additional flotation tanks and gold screening units.
Nicola recently said it has completed $2 million in upgrades at the $30 million mill, which is permitted to process 200 tonnes per day or up to 70,000 tonnes annually.
The Craigmont mill was constructed with ample room for expansion and is the only site in B.C. that is permitted to accept high-grade gold and silver mill feed from throughout the province.
On Thursday, Nicola shares rose 5.3% or $0.005 to 10 cents. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 25 cents and $0.085.
Nicola recently said it had commenced mill processing to become Canada’s newest gold-silver producer. The company said it will produce a gold and silver concentrate that will be purchased by Ocean Partners UK Ltd., a company that provides global trading services to miners, smelters and refiners. Mill feed is being transported to the site Blue Lagoon Resources Inc.’s [CSE-BLLG, BLAGF-OTCQB, 7BL-FSE] Dome Mountain gold project near Smithers, B.C.
In a July 6, 2021, press release, Blue Lagoon said daily shipments were expected to continue until all 6,000 plus tonnes of material have been removed form the underground mine and processed at the Nicola Mining mill.