i-80 Gold Corp was formed in March 2021 and has engaged in several transactions and swaps in the past year, and as 2022 begins the company has announced its plans for building a comprehensive Nevada mining complex.
The Reno-based company is in the process of developing multiple mining operations with the goal of ultimately producing more than 500,000 ounces of gold annually.
This would be about 10% of all the gold produced in Nevada. The past couple of years, a total of a little under 5 million ounces of gold has been produced in Nevada, with all the mines in the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture producing over 3 million ounces.
In 2021 i-80 Gold closed financings which the company said have given it a strong balance sheet, with nearly $200 million in cash and cash equivalents.
i-80 Gold was born as a spinoff when Equinox Gold Corp. acquired Premier Gold Mines in early 2021.
In the middle of the year Nevada Gold Mines and i-80 Gold struck a deal that gave NGM full ownership of the South Arturo Mine and gave i-80 Gold the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain properties. Also, i-80 Gold acquired the Ruby Hill Mine from Waterton Global Resources Management.
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The Getchell Project site, which i-80 Gold acquired in April 2021 from affiliates of Waterton, has been renamed Granite Creek.
i-80 Gold said that with the acquisition of the Lone Tree processing complex the company will have the ability to process all types of gold mineralization, including refractory gold bearing mineralization. Until the Lone Tree processing complex is up and running, i-80 Gold has interim processing agreements with NGM which provide i-80 with the flexibility to process material from any of its three planned underground operations.
“Processing of refractory mineralization remains one of the biggest barriers to entry in Nevada, and i-80 is currently one of only three companies with this capability,” the company said.
The fully permitted Granite Creek underground mine, which is south of NGM’s Turquoise Ridge and Twin Creeks mines, is the company’s most advanced project. Initial rehabilitation of the underground workings was completed in 2021. Additional levels are now being constructed and multiple levels are being prepared for mining. A surface and underground drill program is underway and has shown positive results.
The company said the Ruby Hill property west of Eureka is host to multiple gold, silver and base metal deposits that collectively comprise one of Nevada’s largest mineral endowments.
According to i-80 Gold, the Cove deposit on the McCoy-Cove property is one of North America’s highest grade gold deposits, with grades in excess of 10 grams of gold per metric ton.
To execute its “Hub and Spoke” development plan, i-80 intends to construct four new mining operations over the next three years; complete multiple large-scale drill programs; advance permitting; build a tier-one exploration, development and mining operations team; and restart the Lone Tree autoclave.
Lone Tree, in the Battle Mountain Trend, will be the “hub” of i-80’s operations as the central processing facility, operations office, assay lab and warehouse for all sites. Mineralization from Granite Creek, Ruby Hill, and McCoy-Cove will feed the Lone Tree autoclave, once restarted, and mineralization from the Buffalo Mountain (and Brooks) open pit will be processed at the Lone Tree heap leach facility.
The Lone Tree infrastructure is on Interstate 80 and is about a mile south of a rail line.
“With a strong balance sheet, we are concentrated on achieving our goal of becoming one of Nevada’s largest gold producers”, said Ewan Downie, chief executive officer of i-80 Gold. “2021 was a highly successful first year for i-80 where we closed multiple strategic acquisitions that position i-80 as one of the largest holders of gold and silver resources in the state.”
“Executing our aggressive growth platform is the key focus for 2022 and management is in the process of building a tier-one management team with a track record of operational excellence in Nevada”, said Matt Gili, president and chief operating officer of i-80 Gold. “We are targeting peer-best production growth through the development of our portfolio of permitted, road accessible deposits.”