Brighter and Shinier Future for Asbestos?

25 01 2011

The town of Asbestos that is. I told you about the town’s struggle to revive its asbestos industry this summer when an Australian TV show sought to brand it as a lovely touristic destination. The provincial government is considering providing a guarantee for a CAD $58 million loan to a joint venture (Balcorp LTD) wishing to restart the Jeffrey asbestos mine as underground operations. Physicians, unions, foreign delegations and a lone MP have vehemently opposed this project which could lead to 200,000 tonnes of asbestos being exported to Asia per year. Amid this ruckus, exploration activities in the region are ongoing and, if fruitful, could substitute asbestos by gold.

Bowmore Exploration (TSX-V: BOW) is undertaking exploration activities on a 700 square km area in South-East Québec as part of its St-Victor project. A portion of this area is located only 20 km away from the town of Asbestos and exploration activities have shown discoveries of higher concentrations of gold than usual in that area. Bowmore’s St-Victor project is based on a very large low-grade sediment-hosted gold deposit similarly to Kinross Paracatu mine in Brazil or even Osisko’s Canadian Malartic Project. In fact, Osisko (TSX: OSK) has a 39% stake in Bowmore Exploration. The discovery of higher gold concentration in a small area of Bowmore’s leases has even encouraged Diamond Discoveries International to expand its caribou project by acquiring more mining claims in the region. This company is exploring for gold, chromite and PGMs.

Due to its mining background, the region is prêt-à-miner as miners have access to a network of paved roads and local private trails. Local resources include abundant electricity, water supply, work force and the mining facilities in the cities of Asbestos and Thetford Mines. Neighbouring communities are reportedly favourable to those projects – a rare occurrence since most extractive projects (shale gas, uranium and asbestos) have faced strong opposition from citizens in the past year.

Other junior miners active in the region include Nevado Resources whose Nicolet copper and gold properties are located within 30 km of Thetford Mines. Amseco Exploration could also be involved in the region, yet the firm’s web site is not all that clear.

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