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Kettle Mountain Mining Essay

1671 words - 7 pages

Kettle Mountain Mining Inc. V2 (Adapted with permission of CMA Canada) Andre Rousseau Phd (Environmental Studies), a naturalist and resident of the Northwest Territories discovered multiple mineral deposits beginning in the mid 1990’s. Rousseau incorporated Kettle Mountain Mining Inc (KMM) in 1999 with the intent of developing the mineral deposits and pledged that his company will add to the quality of life within the surrounding community. The company remains private. Rousseau says “Going public would mean bowing to the almighty earnings per share and having to answer to the analysts instead of the citizens.” He did, however, recognize that there may be short run trade offs between economic ...view middle of the document...

The cost of transporting personnel and materials between Carlsbad and the closest railway link during the summer months has become prohibitive. Furthermore, the northern isolation of Carlsbad has resulted in a high turnover of production and administrative personnel. The process of extracting the minerals begins with the removal of ore by drilling and blasting the underground ore body. The raw unrefined ore must then be transported to the surface and crushed so that the particles are no greater than 1/60 of a centimetre in diameter. The crushed ore is then ready to enter the refining process. The total cost of mining and crushing the ore amounts to $30.65 per tonne. In order to extract the usable minerals, the crushed ore passes through three processes: amalgamation, electrolysis and purification. In the first stage, called amalgamation, mercury is added to the unrefined ore. The mercury combines with the valuable minerals forming a compound which is drawn off. This compound is then heated causing the mercury to vaporize leaving a compound residue which will yield 30% G2, 60% S2, and 10% P1 by weight (for example: for every 100 grams of residue that exist after amalgamation, 30 grams of G2, 60 grams of S2 and 10 grams of P1 will exist). 10 grams of residue is obtained per tonne of ore placed in the process. The vaporized mercury is condensed and reused the next day. The total cost of the amalgamation process is $ 0.4503 per gram of residue recovered. Each year the company must invest an additional $280,000 to replace mercury lost in the atmosphere due to evaporation during the recovery process. The second process is called electrolysis. In this process, the residue from the amalgamation process is cast into thick slabs which are hung in large vats of acid. When an electric current is passed through the vat, pure G2 (PG2) is transferred to separate plates. When the G2 plates and acid are removed from the vat, S2 is recovered. There is a 10% loss of acid into the
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Kettle Mountain Mining Inc. V2

environment. Replacement cost of the acid averages $100,000 each year. The total cost of the electrolysis process is $ 0.3200 per gram of residue placed in the vat. At this point, the PG2 plates are 99.9% pure and can be sold on world markets. The current market price for PG2 is $ 13.3333 per gram but mine officials are aware that future prices may rise or fall from this level depending on the state of the world economy. During the past three months, the price has ranged from $ 11.5000 to $ 14.0000 per gram. S2 can be sold after electrolysis for $ 0.1533 per gram or it can be further purified. Purification costs are $ 0.0433 per gram of pure S2 (PS2) produced, which can be sold for $ 0.2000 per gram (both the $ 0.1533 and $ 0.2000 prices have remained relatively stable during the past year and management expects no significant changes during the next year). This purification process reduces the volume of the S2 product by 20%. (1 unit of...

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