The world knows 2020 has been a year like no other due to COVID-19 pandemic-related impacts. Through it all, Major Drilling has maintained support and delivered results for longtime partner Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. in Nunavut, Canada.
During the spring and early summer of 2020, Sabina’s projects were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Despite setbacks, results are in with multiple high-grade intercepts reported after operations were cleared to resume in the late summer and fall. Drilling teams continue to adapt and provide high-level performance while overcoming schedule setbacks, procedure changes and other constraints. As winter sets in and drillers head home, planning for the 2021 season is underway.
Stunning northern lights illuminate the Nunavut sky above a Major Drilling rig where teams work through the night for Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
For more than 10 years, the Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. Back River camp is where many Major Drilling teams call home. More than 30 drillers reside here during the typical April to October drilling season.
In the remote Nunavut Territory, drilling teams sustain exploration drilling on Sabina’s Back River Project where Major Drilling is the exclusive drilling contractor, now working into a second decade on the project. During the 2020 drilling season, 32 crew members formed multiple teams to drill around the clock in three locations with an AVD 3000 and two Duralite 1000 surface exploration drills. Teams drilled 8,098 meters in 2020, even with the shortened season. Meters drilled across the decade totals 337,002 (more than 1.1 million feet).
Major Drilling teams work closely with Sabina project management including director of exploration James Maxwell, and project geologists Colin Birnie and Cameron Dorsey. They have experienced how continuity with a trusted drilling contractor helps their work to open a new mining frontier with many opportunities for other projects to come.
The Back River Project is a planned gold mine in the western Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. The project is currently in the advanced exploration and permitting stage. Winter roads connect the sites. Air strips and helicopters support mobilization of drilling equipment and personnel. Major Drilling is essential part of the progress on three properties.
Drill supervisor Marshall Menifee hooks up a long line in preparation for heli-supported drill transport at the Sabina Back River Project.
The largely isolated Territory of Nunavut was formed from a land claims settlement. As a result, the Inuit People are the landowners and the process of environmental assessment and permitting is legislated through the Nunavut Agreement signed in 1993. Mineral resource development is important to Nunavut. Major Drilling and Sabina share values outlined in environmental, social and governance policies that show commitment to bettering this community during its work in the region.
For more than 15 years, Major Drilling has partnered with First Nations and Inuit People on initiatives that drive local economic development and sanction drilling operations. Major Drilling is committed to developing an excellent working relationship with any local First Nations or Inuit community as part of its commitment to environmental, social and governance, or ESG policy. This includes the long association at Sabina’s Back River Project through the Major Kingaunmiut alliance.
In November 2020, Sabina announced engineering work will commence on the Goose Mine at the Back River Gold Project.
“We’re looking forward to expansion and further drilling as we move ahead with Major Drilling and continue bringing our plans into reality at Back River,” McLeod said.
Continuing the exclusive drilling partnership with Sabina is a point of pride for Major Drilling teams led by drill supervisors Marshall Menifee and Andy Perreault.
“It’s very rewarding that we continue to earn the trust of our partner Sabina,” Menifee said. “We’ve come to know their management, geologists and everyone at camp as friends as we help them get great results season after season.”
Remote yet productive drill sites find Major Drilling teams successfully exploring for gold for Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
Major Drilling Area Manager, Kevin Norberg (left) and Kingaunmiut President Sam Kapolak, pose for a photo taken in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. A positive partnership exists among Vancouver, British Colombia-based Sabina Gold & Silver Corp, Kingaunmiut, and Major Drilling.