THUNDER BAY, Ontario — Premier Gold Mines Ltd. has commenced construction of an open pit and underground mine at the South Arturo Property on the Carlin Trend. The progress could mean production from both operations later in 2018, the company announced in late June.
The South Arturo Property is a joint venture between Premier, with 40 percent ownership, and Barrick Gold Corp.’s wholly‑owned subsidiary of Barrick Gold Exploration Inc. Barrick is the operator and processes ore from South Arturo primarily at its nearby Goldstrike facility.
Construction of the Phase 1 open pit and the El Nino underground mine have been accelerated. Additional work will assess the potential of additional mining opportunities that include a Phase 3 pit and processing of heap leach material from all pits.
“With new mine developments being advanced ahead of schedule at South Arturo, the stage is set for a solid operational future at this strategic property”, stated Ewan Downie, president and CEO. “Work continues on several additional opportunities that could add to reserves and resources and provide for sustained mining operations.”
Phase 1 Open Pit Project
Development of the Phase 1 open pit has begun and will be one of the first open pit mines operated by Barrick that will include autonomous mining equipment.
This new technology could provide an opportunity for reduced mining costs and improved safety. Mine development capital in 2018 for Phase 1, on a 100 percent basis, is forecasted for $17 million and $90 million for the entire project.
The run-of-mine material from Phase 1 will be stockpiled, pending a decision on whether to proceed with a processing facility on the joint venture property. This has the potential to add to future resources and reserves, and subsequent production, at South Arturo.
El Niño Underground Project
The El Nino underground deposit is the down-plunge extension of the Phase 2 pit which was mined in 2016-17. Groundwork including backfilling of the Phase 2 pit has been completed, and full construction of the El Nino mine will begin in July 2018 with capital costs in 2018 estimated at $7.4 million on a 100 percent basis and $36.4 million for the entire project. Following development of the upper ore zones, underground exploration will be initiated to identify additional mineralization, which remains open at depth and locally along strike.