Highbanks Resources is moving forward with its aggregate project that the company said is benefitting from being in the right place at the right time.
The Swamp Point North Aggregate Project, approximately 125 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, has an estimated supply of 72 million tonnes of crushed rock that is the primary ingredient in concrete the company has initial off-take commitments of $22.50 per tonne.
Although the project has been on the books for several years, president and CEO Victor Bryant said he expects 2014 to be a busy year at Swamp Point.
In April, Highbank received permission from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to construct a barge loading dock and ramp at the site and received confirmation the Nisga’a Nation has no conditions for the company’s barges to traverse their traditional territories. The company expects to receive a timber cutting permit by the middle of May and permit for barging operations shortly after. The environmental baseline study has been completed and will form the basis of an application to expand production in the future. The company is now finalizing the mine operating procedures, which are required prior to commencement of operations.
“We anticipate being in commercial production by the end of August, 2014, achieving our annual production rate of 235,000 tonnes by November,” said Bryant.
“It is our intention to employ as many qualified First Nation people as possible in equipment operation and camp logistics. We see this not only as smart business, but also as a symbiotic relationship.”
To prepare for the commencement of operations, Highbank has already secured funding and equipment.
“We have just completed a $2.7 million financing, which is the first tranche of $4 million to bring the property into production,” he said, noting the company also has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the Metlakatla First Nation that will see the nation “participate in the economic benefits” of the project.
“Those funds have been used to purchase two 35-ton trucks, a D-8 bulldozer, a 27 foot boat for personnel and supply transportation, a crusher and a washing plant and much ancillary equipment — basically everything we need to develop the site and start mining our at-surface aggregate.”