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i-80 Gold reports third-quarter loss

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Ruby Hill potential

An adjusted loss of $10.7 million was recorded by i-80 Gold Corp. and revenue of $8.2 million in the third quarter, which was also when the company announced an asset swap with Nevada Gold Mines and acquired the Ruby Hill Mine at Eureka.

“Our company has really stepped up on our plan to grow and grow quickly,” said Evan Downie, chief executive officer of the 7-month-old i-80 Gold, in the earnings presentation on Nov. 10, when he also said that the company’s goal is to produce 400,000 ounces of gold per year.

Nevada Gold Mines took over i-80 Gold’s 40% share of the South Arturo operations northwest of Carlin in exchange for the Lone Tree Complex west of Battle Mountain, and i-80 Gold purchased Ruby Hill in a separate deal with Waterton.

“The recently acquired properties will provide near-term production to replace South Arturo,” he said in the company’s Nov. 9 earnings announcement, and in the call he said the company “is producing gold from Ruby Hill today.”

He also said the company hopes to begin full production at its Granite Creek property in Humboldt County in early 2022, and process that ore at NGM’s Sage Mill at Twin Creeks nearby. The swap with NGM included allowing i-80 to use NGM processing facilities until the Lone Tree processing facilities are ready to use.

Lone Tree provides i-80 Gold with an autoclave, flotation circuit, a leach pad for the Buffalo Mountain mining project that is in permitting and was included in the swap, and tailings and waste dump facilities, Downie said.

The company plans to eventually process gold at Lone Tree along Interstate 80 from Granite Creek, Buffalo Mountain, Ruby Hill and McCoy Cove, he said. McCoy Cove south of Battle Mountain is an underground exploration project.

For the third quarter, the company reported gold production of 3,254 ounces from South Arturo, down from 7,095 ounces for its share in the third quarter of last year due to stope sequencing within the mine and disruptions caused by a breakdown at NGM’s Goldstrike mill, according to the earnings report.

The average realized gold price was $1,785 per ounce in the third quarter, down from $1,879 per ounce in the 2020 quarter.

During the quarter ending Sept. 30, i-80 Gold also continued exploration drilling at the Granite Creek site in Humboldt County and reported drilling successfully intersected mineralization in every target area inside and outside the current resource areas.

The company stated that the primary goal of the 2021 drill program is to advance the underground deposit to production and advance permitting and feasibility work on the open pit opportunity at Granite Creek. An open pit is on site from the former Pinson Mine operations.

Underground drilling is focused on delineating sufficient resources for developing a near-term mining plan, the earnings report states, and Downie reported the company has added another mining shift at Granite Creek to prepare for test mining.

The ongoing surface drilling tested near-surface mineralization for metallurgical and geotechnical purposes, open pit and underground definition and expansion and to advance permitting for open pit mining, including on-site heap leaching.

The drilling at Granite Creek and now at Ruby Hill are the company’s “two major drill campaigns,” Downie said.

According to i-80, it is also continuing to work with Orion Mine Finance to complete a financing package of up to $140 million, and Equinox Gold Corp. has committed to a partial exercise of its anti-dilution right by executing an agreement for $10 million in common shares. Equinox acquired Premier Gold earlier this year and spun off i-80 Gold.


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