Golden Phoenix buys drilling rig

Golden Phoenix Minerals, a mining company headquartered in Sparks, has taken out an insurance policy to make sure it can complete its exploration plans:

The company acquired its own drilling rig.

Golden Phoenix said it signed a five-year lease with Atlas Copco for the rig, and expects to take delivery off the manufacturer's assembly line in February. Terms of the lease weren't disclosed.

The decision to buy a rig and establish a drilling department came after Golden Phoenix executives had difficulty finding drilling contractors with crews and equipment available to conduct exploration on the company's properties in Nevada.

The rig leased by the company can drill holes up to 2,000 feet deep and will include equipment that allows it to drill at a 45-degree angle off vertical.

Don Prahl, the company's chief operating officer, said the move also makes sense because the Golden Phoenix management team includes several people with significant experience in drilling.

The company's drilling operation will be overseen by Jason Layton, who previously oversaw the mill at a molybdenum mine operated by Golden Phoenix north of Winnemucca.Even with the purchase of the new rig, Prahl said Golden Phoenix may need to contract for additional drilling services because it has an aggressive exploration plan for 2008.


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