North of 60 Mining News - The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

First overland deliveries to Back River

 

Last updated 5/17/2019 at 5:15am

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.

This winter ice road provides a means of delivering the large equipment, such as this Caterpillar dozer, needed to carry out predevelopment activities at the Goose Mine project on Sabina's Back River gold property in Nunavut.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. May 6 reported the delivery of equipment and supplies across the first winter ice road connecting a newly developed port facility on Bathurst Inlet to the company's Back River gold mine project in Nunavut.

A 2015 feasibility study details plans for developing three deposits at Goose, one of seven properties that make up Sabina's larger Back River project. Ore from these deposits would feed a 3,000-metric-ton-per-day mill forecast to produce an average of 198,100 ounces of gold per year over an 11.8-year mine.

The ability to access Back River via barge to the Bathurst Inlet port and then a roughly 170-kilometer- (105 miles) long ice road provides more efficient delivery of the equipment, fuel and supplies needed to support predevelopment activities at the Goose Mine site and exploration on the property.

Construction of the ice road began in mid-February and was completed in late April. Transportation of equipment staged at the port facility to the Goose property is currently underway. The heavy and critical loads are now completed with additional loads continuing until the WIR is closed on or about May 15th.

Although a route was engineered and selected before work on the road got underway, there were several changes to the final route based on the field conditions encountered during construction.

The feasibility study envisions constructing the ice road from both the Goose and port camps. Due to the limited number of loads to be transported this season, however, this first ice road was constructed only from the port to the Goose project site, which more than doubled the construction timeline.

Adjustments made during this initial construction, including equipment selection, logistics support and final route alignment, is expected to improve future construction and operations of the Goose Mine winter access road in future years.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.

A Snow Cat knocks down berms to prevent drifts from forming across the inaugural ice road connecting a port on Bathurst Inlet to the Back River gold property.

"While this first-time constructing was challenging, we have learned valuable lessons in how to better construct and improve the WIR (winter ice road) for future years," said Sabina Gold President and CEO Bruce McLeod. "It was important to have built this road prior to making a production decision as it enables us to evaluate execution plans, optimize the process and provide additional certainty that it can be built and operated once a construction decision has been made."

Materials transported over the ice road this winter include construction equipment; steel and supplies for bulk fuel tanks; and supplies for earthwork activities at the proposed Goose Mine site.

Additional construction equipment, fuel and supplies are expected to be delivered to the Bathurst Port this summer.

Delivery of equipment and supplies, along with the on-site predevelopment activities are designed to provide greater certainty on capital expenditure (CAPEX) components of the gold mine at Back River and de-risk critical logistical elements of the project – creating value and improving the project readiness for when the time is right to make a production decision.

–SHANE LASLEY

 

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