Citing a lack of new investment funds, a Niblack Mine representative announced Wednesday that the project is on hold at least until next year.
Graham Neale, project manager for the Canadian firm Heatherdale Resources, which owns Niblack, says about $39 million has been spent on exploring the potential for the mine, and the company remains committed to developing the project. He explained the holdup during a quick update for the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce: “For the last 18-24 months or so, a large part of the investment community is just kind of sitting on their cash, so to speak.”
Neale says the company still needs to conduct some more surface drilling to establish where the different minerals are located. He hopes they can complete that drilling next year, and remains optimistic that actual mining could start within five or six years.
“We’re very committed to the project,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere, we haven’t abandoned it. We’ve just significantly scaled down our operations and crew. Unfortunately, we had to let quite a few staff members go. We’re just doing everything we can to control our operating costs at this point.”
Niblack is a copper, zinc, gold and silver prospect on Prince of Wales Island.