At the Silver Queen site south of Houston, not all that glitters is gold.
But if mineral explorers find what they’re looking for, it may be copper, silver, molybdenum and other metals.
Ellen Clements, president of New Nadina Explorations Ltd, met Houston councillors and Chamber of Commerce members last week to explain the company’s future exploration plans for the Silver Queen site.
Since 2008, New Nadina has spent $4 million exploring Silver Queen for a porphyry—the type of large mineral deposit needed to start a bulk-tonnage mine.
After years of drilling to nothing but veins, last September New Nadina finally found to the porphyry that may be their source.
Still, Clements said, the company has a long ways to go.
“If you look at 4,000 targets, you may get 20 that get to the stage of making a mine,” she said. “We’re still not at that stage, far from it.”
New Nadina is now filing a five-year Notice of Work plan with the B.C. Ministry of Mines.
The next step, Clements said, is expanding the “postage stamp” 200- by 300-metre area where New Nadina last did geophysics studies.
To sign on a larger company capable of developing a mine, Clements said New Nadina would first need to show the porphyry is large enough, with high mineral grades that are close to the surface so the mine could open with a quick payback.
To that end, Clements said New Nadina is hiring a porphyry expert.
The company also plans to winterize the core processing shack at the Silver Queen camp to extend their season.
Based in the small town of Greenwood, B.C., Clements said she feels well at home in Houston, and is happy to do business in town.
“I still laugh at the time I went into the SuperValu, buying $1,000 of groceries a week and people thought the Owen Lake resort had opened again,” she said.
Clements said local businesses regularly go out of their way to help out.
Once, when she needed a part in a hurry, Houston’s Nadina Truck sent it to her via a friend with a logging truck. She met him at the gate and traded him cookies and snacks.
Mayor Holmberg thanked Clements for briefing council on New Nadina’s plans.
“I think a lot of people in Houston aren’t aware how much exploration is going on,” Holmberg said.
“It’s people like you that are driving this economy, and I thank you for that.”
Holmberg asked Clements if, in her experience, the B.C. government has delivered on its promise to better support mining companies on permitting and other issues.
“The quick answer to that is it’s happening, but we’re not there yet,” she said.
“My biggest fear is that come election time next year, we get the wrong government and they undo everything that’s happened in the last three or four years.”
Clements also said investors have been harder to find since the 2008 recession hit, a climate that insiders call the “wall of fear.”
“You really have to have a good property and do a lot of legwork,” she said.