The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Mining Explorers 2016: Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. is endeavoring to evolve from a successful mining explorer to a mid-tier gold producer by developing its Back River gold project in western Nunavut.

The company completed two feasibility studies for the Back River project in 2015.

The first, published in May, demonstrated that a 6,000-metric-ton-per-day operation returned compelling economics but requires significant initial capital.

As a result, a second feasibility study was undertaken to investigate starting with a 3,000-metric-ton-per-day mine focused on Goose, one of the properties that comprise the larger Back River project.

At a gold price of US$1,150 per ounce, the smaller operation would average 198,100 ounces of gold per year over an 11.8-year mine life at a cost of US$534 per oz. Sabina submitted an environmental impact statement for this less capital-intensive project to the Nunavut Impact Review Board late in 2015.

While waiting on the NIRB determination, the company carried out spring exploration program that tested three targets on the Goose property - Convergence, Kogoyok and Hivogani.

The discovery hole at Convergence, 16GSE500, cut 3.7 meters averaging 3.84 grams per metric ton gold. A total of four holes were drilled at Convergence.

Another 10 holes were drilled at Kogoyok, a prospect discovered in 2015. Highlights from 2016 drilling include 2.3 meters of 2.62 g/t gold in hole 16GSE492 and 1.9 meters of 2.37 g/t gold in 16GSE494.

The best intercept of two holes drilled at Hivogani was one meter of 2.68 g/t gold in hole 16GSE509.

While all three targets are in very early stages of exploration, Sabina is encouraged by the discovery of new gold zones in proximity to deposits slated for development.

The company, however, was dealt a setback when the NIRB delivered a report to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs that recommends against advancing the Back River project to the permitting phase until more information is provided to address uncertainties regarding effects, predictions and mitigation measures, particularly with respect to caribou and climate change.

Sabina contends the review board's report does not fully consider local support for Back River gold or fully recognize the socio-economic benefits offered by Back River; and it reaches conclusions that are not consistent with the evidence submitted by experts on monitoring and mitigation measures.

Sabina said it is confident that it can address the concerns raised in the NIRB report.

In addition to Back River, Sabina owns a significant silver royalty on Hackett River, a silver-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide project about 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Back River; Wishbone, a group of claims that blanket a prospective extension of the Hackett River greenstone belt; and three gold properties in Ontario.



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