An aggressive test hole-drilling program had Northern Dynasty Mines busy during 2005, and assay results from four holes appear to show significant deposits in the East Zone, an area to the east of the original Pebble deposit.
Drilling is expected to continue through 2006.
In a recent press release, Ronald W. Thiessen, president of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., the Canadian parent company of Northern Dynasty Mines, said the bid process on a contract for follow-up drilling was complete and a four-rig, deep-drilling program meant to fully delineate the new discovery will start in March.
The company said it would release an initial estimate of the resources in the East Zone later this year.
NDM officials had expected to complete a mine feasibility study and begin applying for state and federal permits to launch the mine building project by mid-2006. However, those plans are being revised to incorporate the newly discovered deposits to the east Thiessen said.
Completion of the feasibility study has been delayed until the East Zone is drilled and delineated and the impact of an expanded mine assessed, he said.
Company officials have suggested that a tunnel mine to access the East Zone deposit may be added to the open-pit copper-molybdenum-gold mine already well into the planning stages.
The mining company may not be ready to apply for permits until 2007.
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