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Back River exploration put on back burner

Sabina delays programs at gold project on COVID-19 concerns North of 60 Mining News – March 20, 2020

Series: COVID-19 coverage | Story 4

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. has deferred it planned drill program at the Back River gold project in Nunavut and has established work-from-home protocols for employees at its corporate office in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"No positive COVID-19 cases have been reported from amongst the company's employee base. However, out of concern for the wellbeing of our employees, contractors, their families, and their communities, the company has elected to implement a work from home policy for its corporate office employees in Vancouver (for which the company has the appropriate IT support) and defer the spring drilling program at Goose until later this year," Sabina penned in a March 17 news release. "We believe that this decision is aligned with and in the best interests of all our stakeholders and reflects Sabina's commitment to operational safety and the safety of our employees."

Goose camp, which is used to support exploration and pre-development activities at Back River, is currently accessible by air only. In deliberating on the best course of action, Sabina determined that it would be difficult to properly isolate and care for an employee or contractor at Goose camp that presented with COVID-19 symptoms. So, out of an abundance of caution, the company has decided to defer the drilling program and de-mobilize the camp staff prior to the start of drilling, which was slated to begin this month.

Additionally, given recent market disruptions largely driven by global impacts of the evolving COVID-19 crisis, Sabina has elected to decelerate its project development activities until the environment becomes more stable and better information becomes available.

"We believe that this is the responsible course of action for Sabina and aligns with our responsibility to our northern stakeholders," said Sabina Gold & Silver President and CEO Bruce McLeod. "We are simply following advice from federal, provincial and territorial health authorities to do our part to flatten the curve of this virus. In addition, in times like these, people need to be with their families."

With C$26.2 million in its treasury going into 2020, Sabina has the cash to carry out its planned 2020 activities. This, along with the current predevelopment stage of its gold mine project in Nunavut, places the company in the enviable position to take precautionary measures.

"Sabina is extremely fortunate in that the Back River project remains well funded and continues to be a stand out development project that demonstrates exceptional economics and opportunity for growth," said McLeod. "Delaying project development activities will not create any issues with existing permits or agreements, as we have a great deal of flexibility on the timeline of future development of the Back River gold project."

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Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 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.


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