Geologist Larry Dick expects great things from Idaho’s Crescent Mine
As everyone knows, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. But as everyone in the mining business knows, you can’t beat a good track record. And when Dr. Lawrence Dick touts the track records of Idaho’s Silver Valley and the team that’s been assembled at the United Mining Group (CNSX:UMG) to develop the Crescent Mine, those in the know will pay close attention. Because Larry Dick’s success in mining exploration is second to none.
Renowned geologist Dr. Dick headed the team that discovered the Collahuasi copper deposit in Chile, the second largest copper producer in the world, as well that country’s Can Can gold deposit. He discovered the Golden Bear gold deposit in British Columbia and the San Jose silver deposit in southern Mexico. The last is particularly significant, as San Jose was in a region considered depleted.
The Crescent Mine, Dr. Dick tells us, “is located in Idaho’s “Silver Valley” which has produced over a billion ounces of silver from about a 10-kilometer long piece of real estate.”
The Crescent Mine was founded at the same time, the late 19th century, as the storied Bunker Hill and Sunshine mines and sits right between them. About 25,000 ounces were taken out of Crescent, compared to almost half a billion from the other two combined.
According to Dr. Dick, “Crescent Mine has never undergone the exploration intensity that the other ones have. And that’s mainly because two had ore in the face the whole time, and that’s where producers were concentrating.” As a result, “We’ve only scratched the surface of the amount of silver that is actually present. What we’re doing now is looking at recent work done at Crescent, which has a 43-101 resource.”
Silver Valley deposits have lain dormant for a generation, due to high costs and low prices. But silver is five times more valuable now than when production ceased, and as Dr. Dick explains, the industry is more efficient. “Mining costs have gone down. It’s not the man-hour costs, it’s the ability and the methodologies employed to extract the silver at a much-higher rate. In the old days, they would bring a few hundred tons up to the surface. Now we’re talking about mining a thousand tons a day.”
Dr. Dick is a Director of United Mining and a technical advisor to the company. He is convinced that UMG’s hometown virtues and vertical integration put it in a unique position to get the best from Crescent Mine. “The principals and most of the people who work for UMG grew up in the Silver Valley. They come from mining families. So they have a very positive support from the local population. They train their own people, with safety of course number one. They manufacture their own mining equipment. They don’t need to contract out labour or machinery. They have an intimate knowledge of all the other people involved in the industry, owners of the other properties, purveyors and suppliers of equipment. So getting things done is relatively easy.”
Furthermore, UMG’s environmental reputation is a big plus, especially in a region historically blighted by poor stewardship. “They have a very good reputation with the state government. They are a significant contractor to the Environmental Protection Agency and have been involved with mine restoration in the Silver Valley for years. They not only mine, they clean up after themselves.”
In Dr. Dick’s expert opinion, “Silver mining in Idaho of these types of deposits is now inherently an extremely profitable activity. We believe that the potential of Crescent is the same as Bunker Hill and Sunshine. These are huge silver deposits, which go down thousands and thousands of feet deep.”