By Kevin Michael Grace
Greg Stewart has had a busy summer. And what captivates the President and CEO of United Mining Group is that the recent activity of his company points toward the achievement of a historic objective: the reopening of the Crescent Mine, located in Idaho’s Silver Valley.
United Mining Group began trading on the TSX September 9, under the symbol UMG. President and CEO Greg Stewart commented, “Since becoming a public issuer four months ago, we have now graduated to the premier resource exchange in the world. This is a major boost for the Company and a significant benefit to our shareholders.”
In July, UMG appointed Charles Pitcher, former President and CEO of Western Canadian Coal Corp, as an independent director. Stewart comments, “He’s got over 40 years of experience as a mining engineer. He’s been there and done that, and he brings that expertise to the table, helping us with strategic planning.”
Also this summer, UMG began work on another lucrative contract with the State of Idaho to provide environmental remediation in the Silver Valley. The previous four-year contract produced $22 million in revenues. “Past mining and smelting practices were not as careful as they are now,” Stewart says, “so in consequence some of the [local residential] properties became contaminated. Usually we remove about 12 inches of soil off the properties and replace it with uncontaminated soil. We’ve remediated well in excess of a thousand residences over the years.”
But the biggest UMG news is its work rehabilitating the Crescent Mine’s Hooper tunnel and the construction of a new portal into the Countess claim. The portal will ramp 800 feet to the Alhambra Vein and then drive another 1,400 feet to the South Vein by early 2011.
After the Hooper tunnel rehabilitation is completed, it will be extended another 1,100 feet from the existing workings. “Now that we have removed the overburden and stabilized the hillside at the new portal site, we are advancing into the hillside with our new ramp. We know the Alhambra and the South Vein are there, but we are excited to see what else we may find once we are down there and start developing that portion of the mine.”
The Crescent Mine, which produced 25 million ounces of silver, lies between the Sunshine Mine, which produced 328 million ounces, and Bunker Hill, which produced 161 million. Crescent has NI 43-101 indicated resources of 6.1 million ounces of silver, consisting of 324,000 tons grading 18.7 ounces per ton and 4.1 million ounces inferred, consisting of 211,000 tons grading 19.5 opt.
UMG is in the process of earning 80% of the mine from SNS Silver. Stewart concludes, “We think our positioning is great. Things are looking bright.”
Crescent Mine chief geologist Lisa Hardy comments on the recent exploration, “It’s a little bit unusual for the district to have identified a resource so close to the surface that was overlooked by the old timers.” For Lisa, the new resource on the South Vein suggests there is a lot of other potential out there that has been overlooked.