Complex CU-Deposit Financial feasibility:Arsenic Limits In Concentrates:Bald Mountain
Interesting article on attainability of international concentrate standards on arsenic. Another perhaps insurmountable challenge, and certainly a great limitation on possibilities for, Maine’s Bald Mountain where arsenic levels present problems without solutions in other areas as well eg. tailings deposition & mine water management.
More and more mines are trading in concentrates ( most of chile’s market is in concentrates) which must meet certain standards in % of metals concentrate and absence of other impurities to be saleable .
Here is an example of the penalties ( lost value) for various levels above established global standards.
Arsenic (As) 0.10% $ 5.00/0.1 % ( up to 0.5 % As) $ 11.00/ 0.1 % ( >0.5 % As)
Bismuth (Bi) 200 ppm $ 4.00/ 100 ppm (up to 1200 ppm Bi) $ 6.00/ 100 ppm ( >1200 ppm Bi)
Selenium (Se) 0.05% $ 5.00/0.01 % Se Antimony (Sb) 0.10% $ 4.00/0.1 % Sb
Cadmium (Cd) 200 ppm $ 4.00/100 ppm Cd Lead (Pb) 1% $2.75/0.5 % Pb
1/ Dry Metric Tons
( the first number is the standard(e.g. o.10% for arsenic, then the penalties per metric ton for two ranges of exceedances e.g $5.00 per metric ton for every .1% above ,o.10% up to o,5% and $11/ton per .1% above.5%. With average costs per ton to produce at $20 for copper these penalties are significant.
Coupled with the general outlook for copper and the expected emphasis away from de novo mining toward expansion mining of existing operating mines and re-mining of high-grade wastes at closed and operating mines, the JD Irving owned Bald Mountain in Aroostook County Maine faces serious financial viability problems in relation to other deposits. It certainly is not well positioned ( or geochemically resourced) to attract quality investors or quality miners in the forseeable future even under the super relaxed environmental security standards sought by present mining interests in Maine.
The $1 million+ JD Irving has spent with Jim Mitchell and Tom Doyle on lobbying for relaxed environmental security standards would have been better spent hiring mining economists and other experts to understand the deposit itself and its possible financial and environmental viability viz world copper markets and what drives them.
$1 million in lobbying the Maine legislature is a lot of money for a deposit that is most likely non competitive in the present global climate and market standards for copper.
If UMaine or DEP or Irving et al are interested in the actual potential financial viability of Bald Mountain, I have a long list of brilliantly well qualified mining economists I can refer them to. $1 million spent talking to these guys would go much further and provide better results than lobbying our legislature for the privilege of polluting groundwater under mining areas feeding multiple pristine watersheds.
Wondering whether George Kendrick of Stantec who has been part of he lobbying tab for JD IRVING encouraged them in this direction and if not, why not?
If Irving et al had been looking first to financial viability in todays global marketplace instead of keeping our legislature and some 200+ of us actively engaged NGO’s and citizens chasing our tails over the agenda they chose instead, maybe by now we’d have the most remarkable and well thought out legal framework for metallic mining in the world.
March 8,2015 at Cove Meadow
Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager
Science & Research In The Public Interest
15 Cove Meadow Rd.
Stonington, Maine 04681