St. Andrew Goldfield Ltd. announced Oct. 10 that it is temporarily suspending production at the Nixon Fork Gold Mine northeast of McGrath.
The news came on the heels of Jacques Perron, 46, joining the Ontario-based mining company as president and CEO. Perron, a 25-year Canadian mining veteran who has held key management positions at IAMGOLD Corp., Cambior Inc., Noranda Inc. and Placer Dome Inc., visited Nixon Fork shortly after taking the job at St. Andrew.
Steve Borell, executive director of the Alaska Miners Association, met Perron on his visit to Alaska. He said Perron is an experienced mining engineer and will steer Nixon Fork in the right direction.
St Andrew said it suspended production to further define the geometry of the gold mineralization of the upper portion of the Crystal deposit. The company said it has encountered production issues because the geometry of the mineralized zone is much different from what was anticipated.
Nixon Fork officials had estimated that the mine contained about 180,000 metric tons of proven and probable reserves, which amounted to about 130,000 ounces of gold. In the second quarter of 2007, Nixon Fork processed 7,433 metric tons of ore with a head grade of 16.0 grams per metric ton of gold.
St. Andrew stopped production at the mill to perform modifications to the mill circuit in mid-August. These modifications also will be suspended to give the company time to further define the reserves.
Exploration of other areas anticipatedSt. Andrew plans to do surface and underground drilling at other areas of interest uncovered during previous drilling, in particular the Mystery, J5A, Southern Cross and Whalen zones, which have potential to expand the resources at Nixon Fork, company officials said.
St. Andrew is also looking at a “grassroots” exploration program for the summer of 2008. The company will focus on other areas on the Nixon Fork property where gold mineralization is known, and possible acquisition and exploration on neighboring properties.