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July 24, 1998
(Executive Council)

Government to partner with Burin Minerals in St. Lawrence

Premier Brian Tobin announced today that government has committed to provide funding assistance for the construction of a $10 million deep water port facility at St. Lawrence as part of a $48.5 million project to reactivate the St. Lawrence Fluorspar Mine. Government will make its investment based upon positive feedback from feasibility studies and the securing of approximately $38.5 million in private capital by Burin Minerals. Under the plan, Burin Minerals will invest that money in upgrading, renovations and general improvements to the facility. This investment is expected to create an average of 200 new jobs in the long term with a temporary peak of 300 jobs for the St. Lawrence area.

Premier Tobin said: "This project represents a significant economic boost for the St. Lawrence area. With a growing market for fluorspar, there is presently no production of fluorspar in Canada or the United States and the product from St. Lawrence is of superior quality to competitors. If the feasibility studies return positive feedback and the project proceeds, the reactivated St. Lawrence Fluorspar Mine and newly constructed deep water port facility can be a new generator of economic activity for people in this area."

Burin Minerals proposes to reactivate the St. Lawrence Fluorspar Mine and Milling operation to produce 180,000 tonnes of acidgrade fluorspar annually for North American and European markets. Subject to further drilling and feasibility studies, the project could proceed to development in 1999 and full production in 2001.

Gordon Stollery, chairman of the board of the parent company Burin Fluorspar Limited, said: "This commitment by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will enable us to proceed with plans to secure the $2.5 million necessary to begin a drilling program to confirm the quantity and quality of fluorspar resources. This will be followed by a full scale independent feasibility study addressing technical issues such as verification of the reserves, expected mill recovery and confirmation of the adequacy of the milling facilities which is necessary for us to obtain private sector financing. The drilling program will begin in September and we look forward to the commencement and assessment of this detailed information that could lead to construction and mine development next year."

Government will build a deep water port facility at a cost of approximately $10 million and lease the facility to Burin Minerals. "Prior to government's investment, the company has to secure the approximately $38.5 million it requires to move ahead with the project," said Premier Tobin.

Judy Foote, Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and Member of the House of Assembly for the area, said that the project would mean positive news for people of the area. She said: "The jobs that will result from this project will ensure a future not only for the residents of St. Lawrence but for surrounding communities as well for a very long time."

"Early indications are positive for the reopening of the fluorspar mine. Government sees two strategic advantages in investing in this project. The first is that the quality of the fluorspar at St. Lawrence exceeds industry standards. The second is that there is presently very little production of high quality fluorspar in the main consuming markets of the United States and Europe," says Charles Furey, Minister of Mines and Energy.

Premier Tobin added that the people of the province can be assured that the previous occupational health and safety concerns at the mine will be adequately addressed by Burin Minerals. He said: "We are confident that when development and production begins the proper ventilation and safety procedures will be put in place to prevent any repeat of the health and safety issues related to previous mining in St. Lawrence." The company and union are in agreement that these issues will be addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned prior to any mine production.


Heidi Bonnell
Premier's Office
(709) 729-3564

Tara Laing
Mines and Energy
(709) 729-4890

John Doody
Industry, Trade and Technology
(709) 729-0050

1998 07 24                          10:15 a.m.

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