A new underground decline being proposed for the Kenville Mine west of the city won’t affect domestic wells in the region, a consultant report has concluded.
Ecoscape Environmental Consultants Ltd had been contracted by Ximen Mining Corp. — which owns the Kenville Mine and other mineral rights in the area — to undertake a hydro-geologic assessment of the 1,200-metre decline proposal (and extraction of a 10,000-tonne bulk sample).
Even with 113 domestic wells using the aquifer it was found that there was only a 13.6 per cent demand on the annual recharge of the aquifer, the consultant found.
“The proposed portal at Kenville Gold Mine would have a negligible effect on groundwater supply in the aquifer,” noted a release from the company on its website (https://www.ximenminingcorp.com/project/kenville-gold-mine/).
A request for comment on the report and the mine by TND to Ximen was not returned.
In addition, it was noted that there was not a connection between the aquifer and Eagle Creek.
There was some question on how the hydraulic connectivity between the existing aquifer and the proposed decline passing through it would fare.
The company must still gain approval for a permit for the development of the underground decline to access the area west and south of the historic mine, where a series of gold-quartz vein intercepts were drilled between 2009 and 2012.
“Ximen believes this area is a continuation of the gold deposit that was mined historically,” noted a company release.
Permitting is expected to be completed within the next eight weeks, with the intent to extract a bulk sample this year from the site and then be “positioned toward continuous production.”
The aquifer underneath the Kenville Mine is identified as aquifer 511 IIB by the Water Resource Atlas, which is a fractured crystalline bedrock aquifer and not likely connected to surface water sources.
Ecoscape’s report showed the top of bedrock for the aquifer a minimum of 30 metres below Eagle Creek, and that Eagle Creek is perched above this aquifer and separated from it “by unsaturated, low-permeability bedrock.
“Ecoscape concluded that it is quite unlikely that groundwater from Aquifer 511 upwells through the bedrock and overlying glacial till into Eagle Creek near the proposed site,” noted a Ximen release. “As such, the bedrock aquifer is not likely hydraulically connected to Eagle Creek.”
With the depth of the aquifer and the low permeability of the bedrock, the springs and drainages are fed by groundwater in the area.
“The proposed decline is away from nearby wells and will intercept groundwater at a distance greater than 520 metres from the nearest well,” read the consultant’s report, noting the negligible effect on downslope water users.
Three years ago Ximen acquired all of the former producing Kenville Gold Mine crown granted mineral claims and the surface rights, along with all existing permits, infrastructure and equipment.
“Past drill programs give evidence of the extension of the high‐grade vein structures to substantially higher quantities of gold on the adjacent claims,” read a release from the company on its website, pertaining to the Kenville site.
“Ximen is confident that the current trend likely extends throughout the area, with over half the property unexplored.”
With the limits of the reserve now to be explored, the estimated life expectancy of the mine is over 20 years. The bulk sample will be processed off site.
Already the 257 Level portal has been restored, while surface buildings and roads have been rehabilitated as well, with the portal site for the decline being stripped.
In addition to the work, a transformer for hydropower supply was installed with all pertinent underground mining equipment included — a new mine compressor, a three-yard scoop tram, 13-tonne rock truck, long-tom drills and fans have been acquired.
“Water and waste rock quality surveys were completed, showing that the mine drainage water is high quality and the waste rock is non-acid generating.”
The mine is located eight kilometres west of the city and was previously called the Granite-Poorman Mine.
In all, there are 15 Crown-granted mineral claims and three mineral claims on the mining property (567 hectares), as well as surface rights to four of the Crown grants.
After the Kenville mine was purchased Ximen was able to buy and option several additional holdings around the Kenville mine, including the Star property, for a total of 20,062 hectares that includes Kenville.
“The acquired areas cover numerous historic mines and mineral occurrences and have had extensive historical exploration and small-scale mine production,” noted a release on the Ximen website.
Source: Ximen website
Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily