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Posts tagged ‘United Silver Corp (USC)’

UMG reports Idaho Bulk Silver Sampling Assays of 1,189.71 g/t over 3.6m

April 6th, 2011

United Mining Group Inc TSX:UMG announced bulk sampling results from the South Vein of its Crescent Silver Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district of Idaho. Highlights include 1,189.71 g/t silver over 3.6 metres (including 4,299.43 g/t over 0.8 metres), 1,272 g/t over 2.1 metres (including 4,998.9 g/t over 0.5 metres), 373.71 g/t over 2.3 metres and 420 g/t over 2.1 metres.

The bulk sample will undergo metallurgical sampling at the local New Jersey Mill where the company has a joint venture expansion program and operating agreement with New Jersey Mining Company. Jersey Mill is targeted for completion by the end of 2011. UMG intends to be in production by Q1 2012.

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by Ted Niles

UMG to spend $9M to accelerate Idaho Silver production

March 25th, 2011

United Mining Group Inc TSX:UMG announced a $9 million mine development program for its Crescent Silver Mine in Idaho to hasten pre-production from the original estimates. Rather than proceed with the construction of the original shaft raise—at a cost of $7 million—UMG has decided to construct a secondary ramp, called the Wilkie Incline, at a cost of $5.9 million, which is expected to be completed by December 2011.

CEO Charles Pitcher commented, “As the company moves toward its goal of bringing the Crescent Silver Mine back into production it is also building its engineering, geological, mining and safety support teams. Our aggressive 2011 exploration program along with the construction of the Wilkie Incline will provide significant operational advantages both in terms of costs and scheduling. By shortening our pre-production mine development program by 3-5 months, the Wilkie Incline is expected to allow the company to commence initial production at the Crescent Silver Mine in the first quarter of 2012, at least one quarter earlier than originally anticipated.”

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Greg Stewart

by Ted Niles

Shine On, Crescent Mine

January 20th, 2011

United Mining Group is Set for Silver Production in Idaho Next Year

By Ted Niles

Silver production in Idaho’s Silver Valley is about to resume. United Mining Group inked a milling deal January 11 with New Jersey Mining Company. “NJMC have an existing mill and the expertise,” President Greg Stewart explains, “but the milling capacity was smaller than what we needed. So we went to them and basically reached an agreement for a commitment where, in exchange for expanding the mill, we would get the milling capacity plus an ownership position in the mill.”

The $2.3-million expansion of milling capacity for UMG’s revitalized Crescent Mine will be extensive—enough to handle 360 tonnes of ore daily. Which means that this will be no mere boutique operation. This is entirely fitting, given the Silver Valley’s fabled past. Situated in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains—now a popular tourist destination—Valley mining goes back to the 1880s. It is the second-largest silver producer in history, with over a billion ounces. The Crescent Mine, which produced 25 million ounces, lies between two other, hugely prolific properties—the Sunshine and Bunker Hill Mines, which produced 489 million ounces combined.

United Mining Group is Set for Silver Production in Idaho Next Year

Director and geologist Larry Dick told in September, “The Crescent Mine has never undergone the exploration intensity that the other ones have… We’ve only scratched the surface of the amount of silver that is actually present.”

It is a common belief among geologists that as much remains of the resource in Silver Valley as has already been extracted. This hypothesis is being acted upon only now because of near-$30-an-ounce silver. Back in the 1990s, when the price fell to as low as $4, mining in the Valley became moribund. But this is a story as old as mining itself. “The whole industry,” President Greg Stewart told the Wall Street Journal December 26, “is like feast or famine.” To which he adds, “But we believe the silver market will remain strong for years to come.”

Other companies that agree include Hecla Mining, US Silver and, most important, billionaire Thomas Kaplan`s Silver Opportunity Partners, which last year bought the Sunshine Mine and its indicated and inferred silver resources of 31.2 million ounces and 231.5 ounces, respectively, for $24 million.

UMG began as Stewart Contracting, an environmental remediation company. So how did it come to play with the big boys by earning an 80% interest in Crescent from SNS Silver? Stewart explained to us in August, “Initially, SNS purchased the Crescent Mine, and they hired us to do rehab on the existing buildings there. Then we started work on underground rehabilitation. SNS spent around $12 million drilling out a reserve. That money had already been spent, so that was money we wouldn’t need to spend to find the reserve.”

We’ve only scratched the surface of the amount of silver that is actually present – Larry Dick

Crescent’s reserve is a NI 43-101 resource estimate of 6.1 million ounces of silver indicated, 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 ounces per ton.

That resource will likely grow. UMG announced December 14 the purchase of 236 hectares contiguous with its land holdings at Crescent—increasing them by roughly 265%—providing the company with considerable future exploration potential. It also closed an $8-million private placement January 7.

Meanwhile, work continues on the mine itself. “We’re putting a new decline into the ore body,” Stewart reports, referring to the Countess Portal. “We’re also doing rehab in the lower sections of the mine, with the eventual goal of connecting those two parts and establishing our secondary escape and access. We’re getting ready to start doing the tie-in between the two points.” And UMG is doing the preparatory work for bulk sampling, which Stewart says “should begin sometime early this year.”

What else does UMG have in store for 2011? According to Stewart, “Our plan is just to continue to develop the project’s infrastructure. Get everything ready. Our goal is to get into production for first quarter 2012.”

WSJ features United Mining Group

December 29th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reported December 26 that the surge in the price of silver—up 74% in 2010—is explained by an unexpected increase in investor demand. “This is a story almost entirely about investment,” commented senior metals strategist Stephen Briggs of BNP Paribas. Investors have turned to silver and other commodities in large part due to concern over the threat of inflation. Silver enjoys privileged standing with investors for its being both a precious metal and an industrial commodity.

United Mining Group UMG:CA—which holds an 80% interest in Idaho’s Crescent Silver Mine—has benefitted considerably from the surge. The mine was closed twelve years ago when the price of silver was in the $5 range. Now pushing $30, the Crescent is more than viable. President Greg Stewart observed, “The whole industry is like feast or famine.” The mine is expected to begin production in 2012, with an output of approximately 1 million ounces.

UMG Moves Ahead at Crescent Mine

September 13th, 2010

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.

The Fertile Crescent

September 4th, 2010

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.”

United Mining Group's Crescent Mine

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.”

The Price is Right: A rising silver market suggests rich takings from the Crescent Mine

August 25th, 2010

Interview with Greg Stewart, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of United Mining Group

The Coeur d’Alene Mountains are world-renowned for their beauty. Tourists flock to its beaches and trails every summer and to its ski runs every winter. Long before northern Idaho became famous as an Alpine playground, it was famous for the wealth taken from its hills. Since prospecting began in the 1880s, the Silver Valley has yielded over one billion ounces of the white metal, making it the second-greatest source in history.

Today, with silver trading around $18.50, northern Idaho stands on the brink of a new silver age.

By 1991, when silver was trading at $3.90 an ounce, the Valley was thought to be almost played out. Mining had become uneconomic, and the area had been subjected to profound environmental degradation. Today, with silver trading around $18.50, northern Idaho stands on the brink of a new silver age. And Greg Stewart, whose company controls the Crescent Mine, is looking forward to a future rich in takings but also environmentally responsible.

Stewart, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the United Mining Group (UMG), was born and bred in the Valley. The 44-year-old got his start in reclamation. He founded Stewart Contracting in 1992. “Because this is such a rich mining area, the area suffered from what you might call the sins of fathers.” Stewart explains. “The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality does the sampling and testing, and we go forward with the actual construction. We remove soils out of the contaminated areas and replace them with clean soil.”

Stewart Contracting evolved into United Mining Services, which recently began trading as a public company as the United Mining Group (CNSX:UMG): “In 2006, we started branching out into other areas. We acquired a fabrication company and an underground mining company, and we still do our environmental construction work.”

Stewart calls UMG “a one-stop shop.” He explains, “Right now we have a pretty good-sized crew working for U.S. Silver, doing underground mining, doing the actual drift work, raise mining, the whole spectrum. We repair and rebuild mining equipment and actually manufacture parts for that equipment.”

As befits his history, Stewart first got involved with the historic Crescent site on the environmental side. “Initially, SNS Silver purchased the Crescent Mine, and they hired us to do rehab on the existing buildings there. Then we started work on underground rehabilitation.”

What persuaded Stewart to move from contracting to ownership? Two reasons. First, “SNS spent around $12 million drilling out a reserve. Originally the lower workings of the Crescent had been flooded for some time. Their idea was that this vein extended out from the existing workings, so they launched a drill program up there proving up about a 10-million ounce reserve. That money had already been spent, so that was money we wouldn’t need to spend to find the reserve.”

We have the Sunshine Mine on one side and Bunker Hill on the other. We’re sandwiched between the two. It’s just sitting there waiting, basically

The second reason? Location, location, location. “If you look at each side of us, you have the Sunshine Mine on one side and Bunker Hill on the other. We’re sandwiched between the two. It’s just sitting there waiting, basically. To the west of us, Bunker Hill mine has produced 161 million ounces. To the east of us, practically a stone’s throw away, is Sunshine, and it’s produced 328 million ounces. Crescent in the past has produced 25 million ounces. Out of those three, it’s definitely the one that’s had the least amount of exploration with the most potential.”

What’s more, “One of the things that sets us apart from other exploration companies is that we’re close to production, about a year away. Plus we’ve got the backbone of our services company which generated a profit about $3 million a year, which certainly helps.”

Given the geography and the history, Greg Stewart thinks Crescent’s upside could be huge. He concludes, “It’s not out of the question to say there could be 100 million ounces there.”

crescent silver mine