Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guysborough County facility would be used to ship crushed stone to U.S.

A junior mining company in Halifax is considering whether to build a new marine terminal in Guysborough County aimed at providing building aggregate for the recovering United States construction industry. If the project goes ahead, Erdene Resource Development Corp. would build a terminal in Black Point to export crushed stone from quarries in the area to the U.S. eastern seaboard. “The project is moving through the environmental assessment process and is still in the early stages of feasibility,” Erdene president and CEO Peter Akerley said Tuesday. It will be at least a year before the company has all the information to make a decision on whether to go ahead, he said. Erdene is also contemplating a corporate reorganization in the hope of boosting its stock price, which hit 45 cents on the TSX on Tuesday, down three cents from Monday. The exploration company is reviewing several options, including spinning off its promising Mongolian gold prospects, to give investors what Akerley calls a “clear investment proposition” in the hope of putting some bounce in its stock price. “Investors don’t go into a junior mining exploration looking to buy a basket of goods,” Akerley said. “They want a specific commodity focus.” As a result, Erdene is contemplating putting its Mongolian gold assets into a separate company, the shares of which would be divided out to Erdene shareholders, who would end up with stock in both entities. Erdene has been exploring for copper, gold and molybdenum in prospects in southwestern Mongolia near the Chinese border since 2009. In December, Erdene raised $2.2 million through a private equity placement with Mongolian investors for exploratory drilling on its Mongolian properties. If the reorganization under consideration came to pass, the parent company would then hold all of the company’s North American assets. Erdene owns a 138-hectare property in central Georgia that has just started mining, processing and selling aggregate for the U.S. construction industry. But it’s more important assets would be closer to home. Erdene holds a 25 per cent stake in Xstrata Coal Canada Ltd.’s plan to develop the Donkin coal field in Cape Breton. Mining giant Xstrata is planning a $300-million, 2.75-million-tonne-per-year coking coal operation at the Donkin site, assuming environmental watchdogs give it the go-ahead. The Black Point operation would also likely stay with the parent company.

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