Baie Verte gold mine a rare sparkle during economic turmoil
The operator of the only gold mine in Atlantic Canada says the shine is still on, despite recent hits to the oil industry and Canadian dollar.
"We're generating about $20 to $25 million a year in revenue," said Dustin Angelo, CEO of Anaconda Gold, which operates from Baie Verte in central Newfoundland.
The mine has 65 employees, with another 25 working full-time with contractors.
With gold now selling at about $1,500 Cdn an ounce, Angelo said the future looks bright.
"In the last five-and-a-half years since I've been onboard, we've grown the project. We've added some people and we've created sustainable employment for the area," he told the St. John's Morning Show on Thursday.
"With oil going down, and the U.S. dollar getting stronger, you know foreign currencies are getting weaker, so we've seen an increase in the price of our gold in Canadian dollars," he said.
"It is traditionally a safe haven currency. When you've got economic turmoil, political turmoil, typically you see people turning towards it."
Angelo, 41, is a certified accountant who moved to Newfoundland and Labrador from the United States.
He's relatively young for a CEO, and so are his workers.
"The average age of our workforce is under 40. I mentioned 65 employees, we have about 20 of those who are in their 20s and actually seven of those 20 are in supervisory roles and engineering roles."
The mining operation at Pine Cove pit in Baie Verte has about two-and-a-half years left, he said, so Anaconda is looking into the potential of a nearby deposit called Stog 'er Tight.
"Right now we've got an exploration program going on. Our goal is to extend the life of the project over 10 years," said Angelo.
"And that's just the near-term. We believe there's a lot more gold on the peninsula and we just need time and resources to go find it all, but we think it's a pretty promising area."
As for environmental concerns, he said the company does use cyanide to separate gold from waste products at the mine but said its tailings facility complies with all regulations.
"A lot of our employees live in the local area so we've got a particular concern about keeping the environment safe and the water drinkable," he said.
Anaconda is also giving back to the community. It's donated $100,000 to local groups for an ice rink and swimming lessons, and will give another $50,000 to Hope Air, a charity which pays for hospital patients from rural areas to travel to St. John's.