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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Canadian mining company reports finding $3 billion gold deposit near Republic

Feb. 6, 2023 Updated Mon., Feb. 6, 2023 at 9:57 p.m.

Mining companies are searching for gold near the town of Republic, Wash.  (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review)
Mining companies are searching for gold near the town of Republic, Wash. (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

A Canadian mining company says it found an estimated $3 billion gold deposit near Republic, Washington, a historic mining community that lost its last working mine about five years ago.

Calibre Mining Corp. reported late last month that it believes property it owns 3 miles northwest of Republic in Ferry County contains 2 million ounces of gold, based on an analysis of recent drilling at its Golden Eagle Project.

Third-party engineers and consultants reviewed the data, giving it “measured” and “indicated” classifications, which are the highest levels of confidence, according to Calibre.

“The first phase of this drill program confirms a robust mineral system with consistent gold grades over broad widths,” CEO Darren Hall said in a statement.

Based in Vancouver, B.C., and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Calibre produced nearly a quarter million ounces of gold last year from mines in Nevada and Nicaragua.

“We are going to be reviewing this data throughout the year, possibly looking at doing additional drill programs,” Calibre senior vice-president Ryan King said in an interview.

Calibre is one of a handful of hopeful companies prospecting in the mountainous area around Republic, which has a rich history of mining. Nearly 4 million ounces of gold have been extracted from the Republic/Eureka Mining District since the late 1800s. The last operating gold mine in the area was Buckhorn Mine, which closed in 2017. That mine, which was operated by Kinross Gold Corp., produced about 1.3 million ounces over its lifetime.

Calibre obtained the Golden Eagle property from Fiore Gold Ltd. a year ago. Assuming a gold price of $1,500 per ounce, the site could contain about $3 billion of resource in the ground, before extraction costs.

King said the company is still early in the exploration process, and more work needs to be done to assess Golden Eagle’s potential.

The site is near other known deposits and infrastructure held by other companies. On its website, Calibre indicates interest in possible collaborations.

If a new mining operation is able to open, it could restore jobs that were lost when previous mines closed.

“Any type of mining success in the county is definitely good for our economy,” said Jeremiah Lofthus, business outreach coordinator for Ferry County Sunrise, an economic development organization. “We are traditionally a mining community, so any mining activity would definitely be helpful.”

Michael Heath, chairman of the Ferry County Commission, said environmental activists and political red tape stand in the way of any major new mining operations. Because of costs associated with mine reclamation, it often makes more economic sense to ship ore from faraway countries.

“I will be absolutely amazed if I see mining in my day,” Heath said. “I’m a little skeptical.”

Heath said he is cautious about talk of mining because it can be a false hope of returning Republic to a boomtown.

“I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but there would need to be some kind of shift,” he said. “It would probably end up helping our economy tremendously.”

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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