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Sabina gets early start at Back River

 

Last updated 3/23/2018 at 5:57am

Back River gold mine project in Nunavut Territory

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.

A Herc 737 prepares to land on an ice runway near the Goose Camp at Sabina's Back River gold project in Nunavut.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. March 13 reported results from an "exceptional" 2017 and said it is looking forward to finalizing the permitting for Back River and completing pre-development work at the gold mine project in Nunavut.

In December, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada accepted a recommendation by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) to advance Back River gold to the regulatory and licensing phases.

"2017 was an exceptional year for Sabina," said Sabina President and CEO Bruce McLeod. "The receipt of a positive NIRB recommendation and concurring Minister's decision result in the receipt of our project certificate for Back River in December last year. This marks the end of the environmental assessment phase and five years of rigorous review. We have now submitted or are in the process of submitting our other license and work authorization applications to move the project forward."

In conjunction with the issuance of the project certificate, Zhaojin International Mining Co. agreed to purchase 24.93 million shares of Sabina at a price of C$2.65 per share for a total investment of roughly C$66.1 million. Zhaojin International now owns roughly 9.9 percent of Sabina's issued and outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis.

The permitting and financial milestones, along with a successful drill program last year, has put Sabina in a position to rapidly advance Back River toward production.

"All of these events were major catalysts for the company in 2017 and set us up to continue to advance the project in 2018," said McLeod.

Sabina has outlined several goals it hopes to achieve in 2018:

• completion of the permitting process and receipt of both Type A and B water licenses;

• completion of detailed engineering required for development of the project execution plan;

• begin pre-development infrastructure activities, earthworks and construction of the marine laydown;

• procurement of key infrastructure and equipment; and

• completion of a targeted exploration program.

The company March 14 announced that it has received the Type B water license, which is key to accomplishing several of its other 2018 goals.

"The issuance of the Type B license is critical to the work planned at site this year and we are pleased to have received it in a timely fashion," said McLeod.

The issuance of this license permits Sabina to complete pre-construction infrastructure works, including preparing the marine laydown area to receive necessary fuel, equipment, and supplies to the Back River project; and pre-development earthworks to establish all weather roads between the deposits, camp sites, tailings storage facility and mill site.

Despite the 13 months of permitting delays, Sabina said these project development activities could enable the Back River to achieve first gold production by the first quarter of 2021.

According to a 2015 feasibility study, the 3,000-metric-ton-per-day mine operation being considered for Back River would average 198,100 ounces of gold per year over an 11.8-year mine life at a cost of US$534 per ounce.

In addition to predevelopment activities, Sabina plans to carry out a 25,000-meter exploration drilling program – 6,000 meters during the spring program and 19,000 meters during the summer – along with mapping, sampling and geophysics at Back River.

This work is designed to expand and optimize existing resources and advance and delineate exploration targets towards the discovery of new mineralization that has the potential to favorably impact project economics.

"Camps are open, and we have commenced pre-construction infrastructure works and exploration programs at site," said McLeod. "We look forward to reporting on our accomplishments as we move through 2018."

–SHANE LASLEY

 

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