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Vol. 12, No. 8 Week of February 25, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

MINING NEWS: One Yukon project enough for Pacifica

Company to divide its assets, focusing on development of Selwyn and creating new junior that will explore in various jurisdictions

Sarah Hurst

For Mining News

Following a positive preliminary assessment report for its Selwyn zinc-lead project in eastern Yukon, Vancouver-based Pacifica Resources announced that it planned to split into two new companies. If shareholders approve the reorganization, Pacifica’s other exploration properties will be transferred to a company called Savant Exploration, while Pacifica will focus on Selwyn and rename itself Selwyn Resources.

This reorganization is similar to the one in December 2004 which created Pacifica and Yukon Zinc out of Expatriate Resources. Yukon Zinc has been developing the Wolverine project, and Harlan Meade is president and CEO of both Pacifica and Yukon Zinc. Pacifica intends to complete its plan of arrangement and distribute the majority of the Savant shares to its shareholders in June 2007. Exploration of Pacifica’s properties in California, Nunavut, Ontario and Chile has been hampered by the allocation of most spending to Selwyn, the company said in a release Jan. 29.

Selwyn consolidation of properties

Selwyn is a consolidation of various properties into a single major project covering 196 square kilometers. These include the Howard’s Pass properties that Pacifica acquired from Placer Dome and Cygnus Mines in 2005. The preliminary assessment considers the development of a series of open pit operations mining 20,000 metric tons per day of zinc-lead mineralization to feed a standard flotation mill producing zinc and lead concentrates.

Current access to the Selwyn project site is by air or winter road. Pacifica proposes constructing a new 100-mile road following the Pelly River to meet the Robert Campbell Highway approximately 50 miles south of Ross River. The port at Stewart could be upgraded to provide the concentrate shipping capacity, but Skagway will also be considered. A coal-fired power plant for the mine has been assumed in the preliminary assessment, with coal to be supplied by the concentrate haulage fleet. Approximately 30 to 35 megawatts of power is required and the cost is estimated at C$0.114 per kilowatt hour.

Permitting pegged at four years

The permitting process for Selwyn is expected to take about four years. Yukon Zinc already has a socioeconomic participation agreement with the Kaska Nation for its Wolverine project and a similar approach for completing an agreement with the Kaska and other First Nations is planned for Selwyn. The capital cost of the mine is estimated at C$685 million and the mine life would be 12.7 years.

Pacifica plans to spend C$25 million on exploration at Selwyn in 2007, including at least 40,000 meters of diamond drilling and extensive environmental and engineering studies. The drilling plan has two prime objectives: in-fill drilling to upgrade resources in the open pits targeted for initial development, and determining the extent and continuity of high-grade mineralization in the various zones over the 21 kilometers separating the XY and Anniv Central zones. Drilling of these deeper targets has the potential to define resources that would support early development of a bulk tonnage underground mine, complementing the open pit production, Pacifica said in a release Feb. 6.



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