Canada miner pursues small hydro to power gold mine

Skyline Gold Corp. is pursuing development of several small hydro projects totaling as much as 20 MW in northwestern British Columbia to power its proposed Bronson Slope gold-copper mine.

Skyline Gold announced March 5 it is applying for a provincial water license for a 2.6-MW Bronson Creek hydroelectric project. The company said it started collecting detailed hydrological data on Bronson Creek in advance of a feasibility study to be completed by the end of 2008.

As the mine will require more electricity than the one power plant would produce, Skyline Gold also filed water license applications for other creeks with sufficient generating potential to meet the company’s power needs.

Skyline Gold Chairman Cliff Grandison said power plants with capacities totaling 15 to 20 MW could meet the mine’s requirements. He declined to identify the other creeks, proposed power plants, and individual capacities.

Generation from multiple small hydro plants would enable the mining company to meet its needs for electricity without connecting to the province’s grid. However, if a transmission line is built near the plants, Skyline Gold said it might deliver electricity for sale to B.C. Hydro, and buy back electricity at a lower price for operations.

Skyline Gold’s predecessor, International Skyline Gold, at one time was involved in development of the proposed 195-MW Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project. (HNN 2/26/08) NovaGold acquired that project through the 2006 acquisition of Forrest Kerr’s developer, Coast Mountain Power.

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