Barrick increases stake in Midas Gold

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: ABX) is taking part in a bought deal offering by Midas Gold (TSX: MAX; US-OTC: MDRPF) to maintain its pro rata interest in the junior exploration and development company with a gold project in central Idaho.

Midas Gold is offering 33.2 million common shares at 60¢ per share for proceeds of $19.9 million, which will be used to advance a feasibility study and permitting at its Stibnite gold project in the state’s Stibnite-Yellow Pine district.

Barrick’s $4.4 million acquisition of 7.27 million common shares in the latest offering brings its ownership stake in Midas up to 19.9% from its previous 19.6%.

A prefeasibility study completed in 2014 assessed the potential for rehabilitating Stibnite, an existing brownfields site, including the removal and reprocessing of historic gold-silver-antimony tailings, as well as mining the Yellow Pine, Hangar Flats and West End gold-silver-antimony deposits.

Midas Gold’s president and CEO Stephen Quin at Stibnite. Credit: Midas Gold.

Midas Gold’s president and CEO Stephen Quin at Stibnite. Credit: Midas Gold.

The study envisions producing gold and silver dore and an antimony concentrate on-site, 161 km northeast of Boise, 61 km east of McCall and 16 km east of Yellow Pine.

The project would require extensive remediation of the site, which was mined extensively for more than 80 years.

Gold, silver, antimony, tungsten and mercury mineralized materials were mined in the area starting in the late 1920s, leaving behind many open pits, underground workings, large-scale waste rock dumps, heap leach pads, spent heap leach ore piles, tailings depositories, a mill site, three town sites, and an airstrip, some of which still exist today.

Milling antimony-tungsten and gold sulphides stopped in 1952, due to low metal prices after the Korean War, but mercury operations continued on the Cinnabar claims until 1963.

Exploration resumed in 1974, and between 1982 and 1987, open-pit mining and heap leaching occurred at various intervals, depending on the season. Midas started exploration there in 2009.

Work at the project would include restoration of fish passage during and after operations, the removal of historic waste rock to an engineered storage facility, repair of the Blowout Creek channel (a source of significant sedimentation), the reforestation of impacted areas, and other work, such as stream channel repair.

MWH Global environmental scientists Willow Campbell (left) and Erica Bishop conduct a macroinvertebrate survey at Midas Gold's Stibnite gold project in Idaho. Credit: Midas Gold

MWH Global environmental scientists Willow Campbell (left) and Erica Bishop conduct a macroinvertebrate survey at Midas Gold’s Stibnite gold project in Idaho. Credit: Midas Gold.

“The ecosystem at the Stibnite gold project is in need of healing,” the company explains on its website. “Our plan is as much about restoring the site as it is about mining it … Fish haven’t been able to swim past the historic Yellow Pine pit since 1938, almost no topsoil can be found in the area today due to extensive erosion, and high amounts of sediment are running into the waterways, degrading water quality and fish habitat. Our plan will address these impacts – and we’ve designed the project so a lot of restoration work will occur early on.”

Midas started exploration at Stibnite in 2009. The project currently has 105 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.66 grams gold per tonne, 2.53 grams silver per tonne and 0.09% antimony, for 5.6 million contained oz. gold, 8.54 million oz. silver and 203.84 million lb. antimony. Inferred resources add 23 million tonnes grading 1.29 grams gold, 2.04 grams silver and 0.04% antimony, for 959,000 oz. gold, 1.52 million oz. silver and 20.52 million lb. antimony.

All of the deposits are open for expansion.

There is no antimony being mined in the U.S., currently, and the country depends on its supply from China, Bolivia and Russia. Antimony, a strategic mineral, is used in the defense, aerospace and energy industries.

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