North Bay Resources Inc. ("North Bay" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that operations at the Ruby Mine are scheduled to resume on April 29, 2013.
As previously announced in a Company press release dated January 3, 2013, the Company had suspended operations for the winter due to heavy snowfall in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where the Ruby Mine is located. The Company believes that until the mine is in full production and better able to allocate manpower and equipment to non-productive snow removal activities during the winter season, it is best to conserve resources and wait until weather conditions improve before resuming operations.
With the onset of spring in the Sierra Nevadas, recent road checks have confirmed that conditions have now improved, and the decision has been made to begin mobilizing for the resumption of operations.
At the time the Company suspended operations for the winter, we reported tremendous progress over the past year in preparing the Ruby Mine for the start of production. Almost one mile of underground tunnel has been completely refurbished with new timber supports, new ventilation duct, and a redesigned transport system. Infrastructure improvements include a new fire suppression system at the Ruby portal, electrical system upgrades at the Ruby Portal and Mill Site in compliance with Cal-OSHA specifications, reinforcement of berms and access roads, and the expansion of the designated tailings area to accommodate at least five to seven years of continuous mining and milling.
As work resumes, we will initially conduct a property-wide inspection and perform any surface maintenance tasks that may be required following the winter layover. Once that is completed, the crew will then resume their underground advance towards the 4900 Vein and the entrance to the Black Channel. As previously described in a Company press release dated July 23, 2012, this section of the tunnel from the Ruby Portal to the 4900 Vein is on the west side of the Melones Fault, the primary controlling structure that defines the Mother Lode System of Northern California. The geological lithology of this western section is characterized by long stretches of serpentinite, which is a brittle rock structure prone to fracturing. To help enhance safe working conditions as well as to ensure that mining operations are not interrupted from falling rock from the serpentinite roof, a great deal of care is being taken to retimber this stretch of tunnel as much as is deemed prudent, and in some areas installing new timbering to further reinforce the roof and ribs of the tunnel. This is a slow and tedious process, and there still remain several hundred feet or so of serpentinite to retimber before reaching the 4900 Vein.
Upon reaching the 4900 vein, we will cross over to the eastern side of the Melones Fault and into the approach to the Black Channel. It is worth noting that much of the gold produced from vein deposits of the Mother Lode has been mined from the eastern side of the Melones Fault, a geological structure that runs through the entire length of the Ruby property. The geological lithology of the eastern side of the Melones Fault is characterized as a slate structure, which has an inherent stability that is more self-supporting, and will not likely require nearly as much timbering. We therefore expect the work to proceed at a faster pace once we reach that section of the tunnel.
The Company will continue to issue progress reports as the Ruby Tunnel Rehab Project moves forward towards completion and the expected start of mining operations this summer.
About The Ruby Gold Project
The Ruby Mine, a/k/a the Ruby Gold Project, is a fully-permitted underground placer and lode mine located near Downieville in Sierra County, California that is known to have produced over 350,000 ounces of gold since the 1850s, and which is considered to be part of the northern extension of the historic Mother Lode system. The Ruby Property covers approximately 1,755 acres, only a small portion of which has been explored to date. The property consists of the subsurface mineral rights of two patented claims totaling approximately 435 acres and 30 unpatented claims containing approximately 1,320 acres. The equipment, fixed assets, and infrastructure in place include a 1,000 yard per day placer wash plant, 50-ton per day quartz mill, 6,000 feet of tracked haulage, and related support equipment needed for underground mining operations. The property also features an excellent system of roads, is accessible via paved highway from Reno or Sacramento, has abundant water and timber available for mining purposes, and has PG&E power available on-site. For further information on the Ruby Mine, please visit the Ruby page on the North Bay website at http://www.northbayresources.com/ruby/.