Barite Mud Services Inc (BMS) of Buchans, NL is proposing to re-start the Buchans Development Corp (BDC) owned barite operation. The company plans to recover base metals and extract and concentrate barite from the tailings pond of the former Asarco smelter. Approximately 40-50,000 tonnes will be removed per season (May-October) to yield 10,000 tonnes of barite for the offshore drilling industry. The operation is expected to start once environmental approvals have been received and continue for a minimum of 15 years. BMS, a private company, estimates that an investment of about CDN$2.5 million is required to refurbish the processing facility and to sustain operations/working capital into the 2015 production season. The company notes that in addition to producing barite, the project will improve the environment by removing nearly all sulfide metal materials from the main tailings ponds. Past operators at Buchans have just returned the remaining sulfides back into the ponds. Asarco operated the barite plant in 1982 and 1984. After that, the plant was dormant until United Bolero Corp attempted reactivation in 1998. In 2004, Atlantic Barite Ltd bought out United Bolero and operated the plant seasonally through 2009. However, in late 2009 it was discovered that the dam of tailings pond 1 was showing signs of weakness and potential failure. The provincial government repaired the dam, but Atlantic Barite decided not to restart the operation. Since that time, BDC has led local initiatives to reactivate the plant. Fireside Minerals Ltd of Red Deer, AB is currently producing about 25,000 tonnes/year of barite at its mine in Fireside, BC. The company no longer has its plant at Watson Lake in the Yukon. Rather, the company is operating two roller mills at the mine site that are producing around 10 tonnes/hour with an automated packaging facility. Double Crown Resources Inc of Henderson, NV has signed a formal contract granting the company exclusive rights to all barite ore from the Bilojom II mine in Guatemala. The company is now in negotiations to commence shipments via the Guatemalan deep-water port of Santo Tomas de Castilla. Initially, the barite will be shipped directly to customers who have their own processing facilities. At a later point, the shipments will be directed to New Orleans, LA where Double Crown has leased a processing plant that it anticipates will be operational in 2015. Antonio B Castillo, Double Crowns COO, said, Through our managements market research over the past year we became aware that Bilojom II was a greatly prized source of high grade barite with some of the best testing ore that actually exceeds current API standards.
Volume 28 issue 11