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

By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Sabina holds all Back River mine permits

Issued final permit for gold mine; begins 2020 field program


Last updated 9/26/2020 at 2:58pm

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.

With COVID-19 protocols in place, the Goose camp at Back River is now open and the 2020 exploration and other activities at this gold mine project in Nunavut are to begin next week.

Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. June 30 announced it now holds all of the major authorizations to develop and operate a mine at its Back River gold project in Nunavut, Canada.

A 2015 feasibility study details plans for developing a mine 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 annually over an 11.8-year mine life.

This feasibility study is supported by 12.4 million metric tons of reserves averaging 6.3 grams per metric ton gold in three open-pit deposits – Goose Main, Umwelt and Llama – and one underground – Umwelt UG – across a 7,000-meter long area.

The company received the permits in 2018 to develop the mine outlined in the feasibility study and has been steadily de-risking the project as it moves towards a production decision.

On June 25, Sabina received the approval for placing tailings in a proposed storage facility for the mine, the final authorization needed to not only build but operate a gold mine at Back River.

"While we have been permitted for construction and have been shovel ready for some time, this final authorization enables full operations at Back River," said Sabina Gold & Silver President and CEO Bruce McLeod. "This is the culmination of a rigorous process spanning several years and could not have been accomplished without significant engagement with all stakeholders."

The permits received by Sabina are for developing and operating a mine twice as large as the one detailed in the feasibility study, providing the option to produce more gold in less time.

"It is also important to remember, that while the mine plan in our feasibility study is focused on a 3,000-tonne-per-day operation with four mining areas, permitting was advanced on the basis of the previous 6,000-tonne-per-day feasibility at the Goose project providing significant future project flexibility."

In March, Sabina postponed plans for its 2020 exploration program at Back River as a precautionary measure due to COVID-19.

After conferring with territorial government and First Nations leaders, Sabina established COVID-19 protocols and is slated to carry out drilling and underground development at Back River this year.

Slated to get underway in July, the 2020 program is expected to include 6,500 meters of drilling to define and expand a high-grade corridor of gold mineralization identified with the underground portion of the Unwelt deposit.

Hole 19GSE569, drilled last year about 180 meters up-plunge from this Umwelt Vault zone, cut 21.75 meters of 14.97 g/t gold.

In addition to drilling, work will begin on an exploration decline that will allow the company to fully evaluate and further explore the high-grade Umwelt deposit from underground.

Sabina said that if this drilling succeeds in expanding the Umwelt Vault zone it could potentially provide for the earlier release of high-grade ores to the mine plan and positively impact the production profile and economics of a future mine at Goose.

This summer's program will also include the extension of an airstrip to allow heavy lift aircraft, roads and pre-development of pads, and lay down areas at Goose. Sabina also plans to complete detail engineering that will form the basis for an updated capital cost estimate for the Goose gold mine project.

"We continue to work to de-risk and advance the project and look forward to getting back into camp next week," McLeod said on June 30.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 13 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.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095


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