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The Cape Ray gold project north of Port aux Basques shows promise as a potential gold mine. Photo courtesy of Matador Mining.
The Cape Ray gold project north of Port aux Basques shows promise as a potential gold mine. Photo courtesy of Matador Mining. - Contributed

Matador Mining hires experiences director to oversee Cape Ray project

PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. — The lure of gold has always piqued the imagination of human beings and right now there is a buzz developing in Newfoundland and Labrador in general and the Port aux Basques area specifically.

Matador Mining is currently on the ground north of Port aux Basques conducting exploration to design a drilling program the company hopes will confirm the economic viability of its Cape Ray project.

Port aux Basques mayor John Spencer is excited about the project. He said the town is already seeing the spinoff benefits from the activity.

“Any economic development within our area is tremendous,” he said.

“I know (Matador is) planning on ramping things up and I know there are local people that are working. I know one friend of mine who was down there all last summer working and for him and his family, it’s been tremendous.

“We are seeing the short-term benefits and we’re hoping that this thing ramps up to the point that there’s going to be some long-term jobs.”

Spencer recognizes turning a gold strike into an economic resource is a long process and a low percentage play, but the Cape Ray project is showing some very positive signs.

On July 4, the Australia-based company, finished the acquisition of the 200 kilometre-long property that runs south of and roughly parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway just north of Port aux Basques.

“Matador considers Newfoundland to be an extremely attractive, mining-friendly and historically overlooked mineral exploration jurisdiction, that is currently ranked 11th in the global Fraser Institute investment attractiveness index,” Matador said in a press release.

The company cites the provincial government’s assistance as a factor in moving forward with the property. According to the company, based on historical sample testing, one zone is estimated to contain up to 500,000 ounces of gold.

“The Junior Exploration Assistance Program aims to grow the mineral inventory of the province through the discovery of new mineral districts, occurrences, prospects and deposits,” Siobhan Coady, minister of natural resources, told the Gulf News.

“Our government is confident in the future of mining in Newfoundland and Labrador and is working to support its development.”

Matador also noted nearby infrastructure — the towns and harbours of Port aux Basques and St. Andrews and the Trans-Canada Highway being the most obvious — and the much-further-along Marathon Gold Valentine Lake project as positive factors.

“Our neighbours on the Cape Ray shear in Marathon have illustrated the outcomes of such a working environment with the significant development progress shown at the (more than three million ounce) Valentine Lake project,” the release stated.

Marathon CEO Phil Walford said that company would be transitioning this year from exploration to mine development at Valentine Lake, which is on the same geological feature as the Cape Ray property.

Another promising development is Matador’s hiring of Paul Criddle as managing director July 2.

Criddle was formerly the chief operating officer of Roxgola, a Canadian company that operates a hugely successful gold mine in Burkina Fask. Scott Patrizi, the company’s executive director, says Criddle has a track record that Matador finds exciting.

“We are delighted to have Paul on the board of Matador to lead the development of the Cape Ray Gold Project,” Patrizi said. “Paul’s recent experience having been based in Toronto, Canada, as well as his mine development and operational experience is important in ensuring that the Cape Ray Gold Project is developed and funded successfully.”

Investor confidence also appears to be good. Despite warnings as recently as November of last year that Matador’s viability was questionable, on the strength of the project, the company was able to raise the $5.25 million it needed to complete the purchase of the Cape Ray property by selling stock at 25 cents per share. The stock price was 31 cents at press time.

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