In the mid-1950s, mineralization was discovered on the Galore Creek property by geologists exploring in the district. In the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, extensive exploration work was carried out by major mining companies, and in 2003 the property was acquired by NOVAGOLD. In 2006, NOVAGOLD completed a feasibility study and environmental assessment (EA) application. EA approvals were received in 2007 from the governments of Canada and British Columbia for a project configuration in which the mine, process plant, tailings and mine rock storage were all located in the Galore Valley.
In May 2007, Teck acquired a 50% interest in the project, which created the Galore Creek Mining Corporation. Procurement, construction and detailed engineering commenced in May-June 2007. In November 2007, development and construction activities were suspended due to higher estimated capital costs and the construction schedule for the project.
In 2008, an optimization study was conducted to assess different project configurations in order to improve the project’s economics. However, the economic downturn of 2008 resulted in the project being placed on care and maintenance.
Since the suspension of project construction, Galore Creek Mining Corporation has met all Environmental Assessment commitments and permit conditions, as well as carried out studies to determine the optimal project configuration.
Natural copper mineralization in the project area
In 2011 and 2012, we carried out a resource and geotechnical drill program to upgrade the classification of inferred mineral resources, which could be included in the mine plan, and to refine the design parameters of the open pit. We also carried out minor safety improvements on the project access road. In late 2011, additional work assessed the implications of a larger mineable resource, and optimized some aspects of the project design. In 2012, exploration drilling was completed east of the Central zone mineralization, and the Legacy zone was discovered.
In 2013, a drilling program was initiated, focusing on assessing the extent of the Legacy mineralization and evaluating its impact on future mine and project design. More than 11,600 meters were drilled, and in-fill and exploration drilling confirmed significant mineralization in areas within and adjacent to the Legacy Zone.
Since then, additional studies have been conducted to assess opportunities to improve the project.
For more information see the Galore Creek Mineral Reserve and Resource Statement.
In July 2018, Newmont Mining Corporation (Newmont) reached agreement to acquire NovaGold’s 50 percent interest in the Galore Creek Mining Corporation. The agreement includes a commitment to complete a prefeasibility study over the next three to four years. Planning for this work is in progress.