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By Shane Lasley
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Less 2020 Brucejack gold than envisioned

BC mine expected to produce around 325,000 oz gold this year


Last updated 2/14/2020 at 4:57am

Gold pour at Pretium Resources Brucejack Mine Golden Triangle British Columbia

Pretium Resources Inc.

Pretium's Brucejack Mine in northwestern British Columbia poured 354,405 ounces of gold in 2019.

Pretium Resources Inc. Jan. 12 announced that the Brucejack Mine in northwestern British Columbia produced 354,405 ounces of gold last year at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of US$888/oz of gold sold. As a result of these better than expected results, the mine generated US$184.2 million and Pretium was able to lower its debt by US$180.4 million over the course of 2019.

"In 2019, we beat the upper end of our revised gold production guidance and the lower end of our AISC guidance of 350,000 ounces and $900 per ounce of gold sold," said Pretium Resource President and CEO Joseph Ovsenek. "In addition, we substantially exceeded our debt reduction target. Brucejack continues to be consistently profitable and a strong cash generator."

Pretium estimates that Brucejack will produce 325,000 to 365,000 oz of gold this year.

The mill is expected to operate at a rate of 3,800 metric tons per day this year, with average gold grade ranging between 7.6 and 8.5 grams of gold per metric ton and a targeted gold recovery of 97 percent. The midpoint of 2020 gold production guidance is slightly below 2019 actual production.

The company expects its AISC this year to be US$910 to US$1,060/oz. The US$985 midpoint of this range is slightly higher than the 2019 AISC.

The 2020 AISC estimates include costs associated with continued lateral development at a rate of approximately 1,000 meters per month this year. Pretium said this increased development should provide sufficient access to build the stope inventory required to allow mining operations to optimize stope blending and provide alternative stopes for mining if required.

In addition, AISC includes costs associated with a high-density reverse circulation drill program to increase the volume of grade information necessary to enhance mine planning and optimize gold production. This program is scheduled to begin in the second quarter.

The AISC for 2020 also includes approximately US$20 million for a number of one-time sustaining capital expenditures and costs related to growth-oriented expenses.

Pretium expects the 2020 free cash flow to be between $100 million and $170 million at a gold price of $1,450/oz. The company is targeting debt reduction in the range of US$80 million to US$150 million for 2020.

Pretium expects Brucejack gold production to remain in the current range in the coming years.

Early last year, the company had forecast that a new mine plan would result in an estimated annual gold production of around 525,000 oz.

The new significantly lower gold output is primarily a result of a reduction in estimated gold grade.

Pretium expects to disclose a full technical update for the new Brucejack life-of-mine plan by March 31.

Joseph Ovsenek is retiring from president and CEO of the company and the board of directors has begun an external search to fill this position.

Ovsenek has agreed to continue to serve as Pretium's top executive while the search is underway.

"The board offers its deepest thanks to Joe for his critical role in advancing Brucejack to production as a safe and profitable mine," said Pretium Resources Chairman Richard O'Brien. "We are grateful that Joe will assist with the transition process by remaining in place until a new president and CEO is appointed, and on behalf of the entire Pretium team, we wish him well in his next endeavor."

In other management changes, Warwick Board, vice president of geology and chief geologist, has resigned to pursue a new opportunity.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Phone: (907) 726-1095


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