Sayward mine jobs sit on bureaucrat’s desk

The community of Sayward is excited about the jobs and economic boost that could come with the re-opening of the Orcan Mine

The community of Sayward is excited about the jobs and economic boost that could come with the re-opening of the Orcan Mine, but a permit application to re-start the iron ore pit is languishing on a bureaucrat’s desk.

Canadian Nexus Ventures Project Manager Wendy Johannson says the project should be a slam dunk “especially considering what the B.C. government has been doing to promote mining on northern Vancouver Island.”

“We are hopeful that a small mine licence will be granted in the near future and we are working closely with the ministries of mines and environment to comply with the requirements necessary to receive these permits. We have a very good working relationship with all of these individuals and agencies and are grateful for their support.”

Efforts to re-open the mine, also known as the Iron Ross Mine, started seven years ago. Former mine owner Joe Shearer became frustrated with the pace of permitting and sold to Nexus 15 months ago. “Permitting is dysfunctional,” Shearer tells the Mirror. The mine ceased operation in the mid 1960s. The pending permit would allow Nexus to process 70,000 tonnes of magnetite annually.

Sayward Mayor John MacDonald says: “We are looking forward to working with these people. Re-opening the mine could mean up to 25 jobs and that means good economic development and people buying homes. Our community has had a lot of problems with resources drying up. We’re trying to market Sayward as a seniors-friendly community and this could augment those efforts.”

Johannson says the company is “very pleased with the relationships we’ve formed with the community of Sayward, Campbell River and First Nations.”

Nexus has scheduled an open house meeting at the Heritage Hall Monday Dec. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. “Our open house will provide additional information to the community as it relates to the small mines permit and the positive impact it will have on the area. We will also be meeting with Mayor Walter Jakeway Monday afternoon at Campbell River City Hall.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas who asked not to be identified says: “The approval process for a small mine permit now called Iron Ross near Sayward is underway. The permit is currently with the Ministry of Environment for effluent review. Someone from the ministry will be at the open house.”