Premier Begins 2 New Projects at South Arturo
The South Arturo Property is a joint venture between Premier (40% ownership) and Barrick Gold Exploration. Barrick is the operator and processes ore from South Arturo primarily at its Goldstrike facility located 5 km to the south.
Construction of the Phase 1 open pit and the El Nino underground mine have been accelerated resulting in some production expected from both operations later in 2018, the company said. Additional work will assess the potential of additional mining opportunities that include a Phase 3 pit and processing of heapleach 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,” said Ewan Downie, president and CEO, Premier Gold Mines. “Work continues on several additional opportunities that could add to reserves and resources and provide for sustained mining operations.”
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% basis, is currently forecast 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 located on the joint venture property. This has the potential to add to future resources and reserves, and subsequent production, at South Arturo.
The El Nino underground deposit is the down-plunge extension of the Phase 2 pit, which was mined in 2016-2017. Ground work, including backfilling of the Phase 2 pit, has been completed and full construction of the El Nino mine will begin in July with capital costs in 2018 estimated at US$7.4 million on a 100% 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.
Work will continue to advance a potential Phase 3 open-pit and additional run-of-mine heap-leach material that would complement material from Phase 1. Drilling to further define and expand mineralization is currently occurring.