Third gold strike at Haile Gold Mine; more jobs expected | Business
KERSHAW, SC (WBTV) - For the third time in four months, gold has been found at what was once a nearly-defunct gold mine in Kershaw.
Romarco Minerals, the company which purchased the Haile Gold Mine in 2007, says nearly 40 additional meters of gold were found at the mine.
Jim Arnold, Senior Vice-President and COO of Romarco Minerals, tells WBTV the gold discovery was in a different location than the first two discoveries.
"I think we’re getting ready to come into Haile's most exciting time right now," said Arnold.
In late April, more than 60 meters were found, and nearly 90 meters were discovered several weeks later in June.
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Benjamin Haile first discovered gold in Kershaw in 1827 panning in a nearby creek. Afterwards the area was mined on and off for years.
During the 1990s, miners thought they had removed the last of the gold at the mine, but the new owners said prior gold-digging operations barely scratched the surface.
"We've gone into those areas where those old timers were. We found the stuff that was near the surface, drilled down through that and we found gold underneath," said Arnold
The location where the new gold has been found was once mined and thought to be ‘dried up.’
Arnold says the crews continued drilling deeper to see if there was any new gold when they made the new discovery.
"It's big, it's one of the more significant discoveries we've seen in our business in the last 10 years," Diane Garrett, President and CEO of Romarco Minerals, said in an interview with WBTV in April.
Officials believe there are about 4 million ounces of gold in the ground. With gold prices more than $1,100 an ounce, these new finds could translate into much-needed jobs for the local economy.
The new gold find means more new jobs will be coming to the area, but officials haven’t commented on exactly how many jobs will actually be created.
Nearly 800 new jobs will come to the mine in the summer of 2011 when the company breaks ground on a new mill to mine the gold.
"If we end up expanding the ore body enough, what we'll do is expand the mine and add more jobs," said Arnold.
At least 500 people will be needed to construct the mill. It will take an additional 250 people to run the mill once it is operational, plus, more than 40 new contractors.
That's what Kershaw resident Henry McQueen likes to hear. He's been unemployed for more than a year.
"I've been trying to find work around this area," said McQueen. "There's just not a whole lot out there."
McQueen has already stopped by the mine office to fill out an application.
Garrett says it will cost an estimated $300 million to dig and process the gold ore.
Arnold says that since the new gold find is in a new hole, additional workers will be needed.
"Long term jobs, and longer all the time every time we keep hitting holes," said Arnold.
If everything stays on schedule, company officials say the Haile Gold Mine operation would pour its first gold brick as soon as 2013.
Once the mine is up and running at full capacity, Garrett predicts it could be in operation for up to 25 years and generate about $30 million in revenue for the county, annually.
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