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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Niblack Project wins excellence award

Exploration team earns recognition for exceeding expectations of state regulators with complex, underground program in Southeast


Last updated 11/30/2008 at Noon

The Niblack Mining Project on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska and its developers have won the 2007-2008 Alaska Commissioner's Award of Project Excellence.

Dick Mylius, director of the Mining, Land and Water Division of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, presented the award to Niblack's President and CEO Paddy Nicol and Vice President of Exploration Darwin Green at the Alaska Miners Association 2008 annual convention in early November. The honor recognized the recipients' outstanding achievements in conducting a complex advanced exploration program at the Niblack Project in Southeast Alaska.

Young execs set out to do it right

Nicol and Green, both young executives running a newly formed junior exploration company, had their reputations to consider. Green said the Niblack team went the extra mile to ensure Niblack Mining performed exploration and development activities expected at the project.

Rick Fredericksen, Mining Section Chief of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, noticed. "From the very beginning (the Niblack team) set out to try to do it right. From our perspective, they had the right attitude going in; they were very easy to work with, and it was very clear that they wanted to do the best possible job they could and not cut any corners," Fredericksen observed.

Niblack permitting challenges

The Niblack project involved a number of significant challenges related to the permitting and conduct of a program involving underground development and drilling, complex waste segregation and handling, water management and disposal, marine dock construction, habitat protection, and community outreach. The award recipients were recognized for their diligence, perseverance, and determination to do it right.

Green said the nature of the underground exploration and the rock encountered at Niblack created a complex permitting process for the exploration project.

Handling of the rock removed while driving the main access tunnel at Niblack was one situation that set the project apart from standard above-ground exploration. Green said the company had a lab on site to test the rock as it was blasted. Characteristics of the rock removed while driving the tunnel, determined how it was handled.

Niblack Mining needed permits to not only explore the area but also to operate a self-contained floating crew camp on a barge just offshore at Prince of Wales Island. DNR acted as the lead agency for permits from various federal and state agencies, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Niblack Mining's proposal to operate the temporary floating camp also underwent a consistency review with the Alaska Coastal Management Program.

The Vancouver, B.C.-based junior worked closely with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to streamline the process for obtaining state and federal permits for the project.

Fredericksen told Mining News that Niblack Mining Co. and its leadership exceeded expectations in meeting the challenges presented in moving the project forward to the advanced exploration stage.

Nicol and Green move on

Having merged recently with Niblack Mining, Committee Bay Resources Ltd. will advance the project toward development.

"The presentation of the Commissioner's Special Recognition Award to the Niblack Project attests to the quality of the asset and the significant amount of work completed to date with respect to the project's development," said Committee Bay CEO and President John Williamson. "Furthermore, this underpins Committee Bay's ongoing commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and sustainable development at Niblack."

Nicol and Green have both moved on since the merger with Committee Bay. Darwin Green recently joined Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. as vice president of exploration. Constantine is exploring the Palmer Project near Haines. Paddy Nicol continues to work closely with Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp.


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