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Financing sought by Central Crude to continue work at Moss Lake site.

The northwestern Ontario town of Atikokan is hoping that the Moss Lake property will be one answer to its economic woes in a region where mineral exploration is in a slump.

Although Moss Lake is now inactive, the property in the Shebandowan area near Atikokan has probable and possible gold reserves of 82.2 million tons of ore.

Central Crude has 51-per-cent interest in the property, with an option to earn 60 per cent, as well as options on surrounding properties.

Central Crude, executing an option with Tandem Resources and Storimin Exploration, has spent $4 million on the property and is working on a $2-million financing package to continue work.

Company president Richard Nemis says Central Crude is speculating on the feasibility of an underground ramp gold mine and a low-grade open pit mine for gold, silver and copper located east of the exploration drilling which has been completed to date.

Nemis says Central Crude is presently "concentrating efforts on bringing Eagle River into production," a gold mine site near Wawa.

In the meantime the company is "attempting to complete the purchase of the Moss Lake camp to keep it intact."

The next phase of exploration, included in the $2-million financing package at Moss Lake, will include drilling four holes down between the 1,200- 1,300-foot levels. Nemis says four holes previously drilled to 800 feet indicated substantially better gold values than anything the company drilled before.

"The ore body seems to be getting much richer at the deeper ranges. It appears that we're on top of something, and we want to see it through to its potential," says Nemis.

The 82.2-million-ton gold reserve is grading at .031 ounces of gold per ton of ore.

Moss Lake is situated between Inco Gold's nickel, copper and platinum mine to the east and Noranda's former producing Coldstream copper mine to the west.

Atikokan is waiting anxiously to see what transpires at Moss Lake.

"Obviously we are all rooting for the Moss Lake project," says Bob Michels, Atikokan's economic development officer. "We would be a bedroom community for the mine development. It's the only project that presents long-term prospects for spin-offs and benefits to Atikokan. Exploration and development opportunities are suited to our local workforce. So we welcome any development at Moss Lake."

Michels concedes, however, that the overall picture for exploration in the region is bleak. This view is supported by Maurice Lavigne, the Thunder Bay resident geologist with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

"In the past two consecutive years there has been a drop of almost 50 per cent in exploration. The 1990 to 1991 exploration level will likely see a similar drop. This is the lowest level of exploration I've seen in my career," says Lavigne.

While projects such as Miniska's Fern Elizabeth haved "closed down completely" because of scarce financing, there are some projects still alive in the Atikokan area, according to Lavigne.

SURFACE WORK

For example, Allergheny Mines has conducted some surface work at the site of the old Sapawe Mine. "But the company has not been able to raise the large amount of money required to do further exploration work," says Lavigne.

Seine River Resources is active at two old gold occurrence sites west of Atikokan - the old Dinosaur and Smylie sites along the Seine River. Company geologist Ernie Gallo says geological mapping, airborne and ground geophysics, striping, rock trenching and drilling have all been on-going.

Gallo says the Smylie site originally indicated up to one ounce of gold per ton of mineralization. Three holes drilled by Seine River Resources show two gold-bearing horizons.

"We drilled last winter and expect to continue. This is an on-going program," says Gallo. "We're currently working on financing for the next phase. This is a grassroots exploration project."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mining Report; mining exploration in Moss Lake, Atikokan, Ontario
Author:Costea, Thom
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Words:631
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