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Businessexcellence June 07 62 sure it doesn’t come down around your head. Avalanche control is a major part, from a safety standpoint and a snow management standpoint.” Another challenge that NovaGold had to face last year was a hostile takeover bid from one of its partners, Barrick. “They launched a takeover bid last year in mid-July and it lasted all the way through December, so it occupied a good part of last year,” says Van Nieuwenhuyse. The bid was unsuccessful, and Barrick acquired only about 14 percent of the company, which it later sold. There are issues still to be resolved, however, as Barrick has until November to fulfi l the terms of a back-in agreement at Donlin. “But we don’t expect them to be able to meet the terms of that agreement to enable them to earn the additional 40 percent interest. “That’s what prompted the takeover bid in the fi rst place,” he explains. “They had made a proposal to us, which we accepted, to settle on Donlin and for them to be a partner at Galore. It was a win-win deal because it settled the Donlin issue. We had agreement with Barrick and while they were putting the legal papers together the gold price came off last June and they decided it would be cheaper to buy us. It was an interesting year last year,” he admits, “but as far as I’m concerned it’s ancient history now.” The key message, he concludes, is that NovaGold is successfully making the transition from explorer to producer. “With our Teck Cominco partnership we are well on our way to realizing our objective of becoming a quality North American mid-tier copper/gold producer. These are world class assets. These mine lives are 20 years plus, so we’re going to be around for a long time, building real value for our shareholders.”

US Silver took over an under-performing silver mine in Idaho last year and aggressively ramped up operations. President Mark A. Hartmann tells Keith Regan how that’s positioned the company for the future US Silver July 07 Businessexcellence 63 The Coeur d’Alene district in the panhandle of Idaho has been a mining center since the late-1800s, when gold was discovered in the area. As with the mining industry in general, the fortunes of local mining companies have risen and fallen over the decades since. US Silver Corp. arrived on the scene in mid-2006, buying the assets of the Coeur d’Alene Mines Corporation for $15 million, investing additional capital in rejuvenating mining operations and setting out to restore the productive mining area to its former glory. From the outset, US Silver recognized that the area had more potential than the previous owners had been able to realize, says President Mark A. Hartmann. With four deep mine shafts and two concentrator facilities (one of which was not in operation at the time), the site could be quickly ramped up into greater production, he says. Covering 11,000 acres of land under lease or direct ownership, the area had also not been extensively explored for other potential reserves. The previous ownership had “endured several years of very difficult prices” in the metals market and as a result had not invested in infrastructure or exploration, says Hartmann. “The result was a rapidly depleting ore resource and an infrastructure that was in difficult condition.” US Silver recognized there was plenty of upside as well, however, including the ability to get straight to work mining ore. The previous owners had reached an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that gave the site, once a Superfund cleanup area, a clean bill of health and Silver bullet