Board approves mineral exploration in Automba, Kalevala townshipsKennecott Exploration Company was back before the Carlton County Board on Tuesday morning, this time seeking conditional use permits to test for precious metals in Automba and Kalevala townships.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Kennecott Exploration Company was back before the Carlton County Board on Tuesday morning, this time seeking conditional use permits to test for precious metals in Automba and Kalevala townships. The board unanimously approved both requests, which will allow the mining company to construct exploratory bore holes on property they lease from landowners in both those townships.
Kennecott, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been conducting mineral exploration in Carlton and Aitkin counties since 2001, primarily in search of areas deemed optimal for significant deposits of nickel and copper.
“One of these times we’re liable to get what we ask for,” commented Commissioner Ted Pihlman, “and end up with an open-pit mine.”
On hand for Tuesday’s meeting was Robert Peter, principal geoscientist for Kennecott’s Canada Exploration based in Vancouver, B.C. Peter explained that when, and if, any significant findings result from the exploratory process, the style of mining operation – open pit or underground – will depend on various technical, environmental and economic factors distinctive to each location.
Peter explained that Automba and Kalevala townships were selected for exploration after airborne magnetic surveys identified an area of unusually magnetic bedrock there.
“This is interesting to us since it may represent the occurrence of the rock type peridotite and the potential for nickel and copper.,” said Peter.
He said work in the two Carlton County townships will commence this week, and the company anticipates drilling one or two holes in each of the two townships.
“Each borehole takes, on average, five to six days to complete with two 12-hour shifts drilling 24 hours a day,” he explained, “so we expect to be finished by the end of the month.
Bore hole drilling uses a drill rig to extract a continuous core of bedrock from holes generally ranging from 1,000-2,000 feet deep. He added that the company makes every effort to conduct drilling in ways that don’t disturb local residents, such as through the use of materials and barriers that physically absorb the sound.
“Residents will certainly see a few vehicles driving in and out of our project sites, and at night may see the lights of the drill rig,” he detailed. “If our work causes concerns or raises questions, we actively encourage any local residents to contact us immediately.”
Peter can be reached at 604-760-1880.