Kidd Operations has confirmed it is investing a lot of time and effort to try to find a way to extend the life of the massive underground Glencore Kidd copper-zinc mining complex in Timmins.
Mark Furlotte, Kidd Operations general manager, responded to Northern Ontario Business and Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal to reveal the company has set up exploration drilling to target mineral zones deeper than three kilometres.
Furlotte's comments follow the recent Big Event Mining Expo held in Timmins where the chief topic of conversation was what the future might hold for the Kidd Operations deep mine and how the company is planning to extend the life of the mine beyond the expected shutdown in 2022.
The mine is 25 kilometres north of Timmins on Highway 655.
"Kidd is investing significant time and efforts into this exploration project to see if we can extend the mine life. But as everyone in the mining industry knows, defining an extension of a mine requires significant time and drilling metres, so we don't expect an answer anytime soon."
The plan to extend the mine life was considered by some to be the worst kept secret in Timmins. Even newly elected Timmins Mayor George Pirie commented in January that the city was hoping for some positive news.
"We do not know whether or not Glencore will be able to extend the life of the Kidd Creek Mine. We know if they are not successful the community stands to lose over $100 million in annual payroll and over $50 million in annual goods and services spend by 2022," said Pirie in his inaugural state-of-the-city speech.
As it stands now, the official word is that the mine is still slated to close in 2022, based on the premise that the mine is so deep it is not economical to recover the ore from deeper than 10,000 feet.
The Kidd Mine is currently the deepest base metal mine in the world, with active mining taking place at 9,600 feet, and the shaft bottom is currently at 9,889 feet, more than three kilometres deep.
That information was confirmed by Kidd Mine operations manager Ryan Roberts, speaking at the Big Event gala dinner in early June.
Once owned by Texas Gulf Sulphur, exploration drilling at the Kidd site began in November 1963 with the deposit being revealed in April 1964.
Kidd was first put into production as an open pit in 1966 with an estimate of producing 25 million tonnes of ore.
The most recent figures indicate the mine has produced far beyond that with more than 150 million tonnes of copper and...