Canadian gold company Artemis has outlined compelling economics for its Blackwater gold project, in British Columbia, in a newly published feasibility study, which expanded Phase 1 throughput and accelerated the Phase 2 expansion.
Phase 1 will now have a throughput of six-million tonnes a year, up from 5.5-million tonnes a year in the 2020 prefeasibility study, increasing gold production, while maintaining an average grade of 1.62 g/t over the first five years of operations.
The Phase 2 expansion to 12-million tonnes a year is accelerated, with full throughput achieved in year six.
In the first five years, the higher initial throughput and accelerated expansion supports a 29% increase in average yearly gold production of 321 000 oz/y.
The Phase 3 expansion to 20-million tonnes a year is achieved in year 11. In the first 10 years of operations, Blackwater will produce 351 000 oz/y of gold.
“By installing a larger capacity crushing circuit with a primary gyratory crusher up front, the Phase 2 expansion has been streamlined with the addition of major items such as an upgradable conveyor, an additional ball mill and additional tanks, which supports the ultimate expansion to 20-million tonnes a year in two mineral processing trains, down from three in the 2020 PFS, improving economies of scale.” Says Artemis chairperson and CEO Steven Dean.
He adds that the feasibility study has a more constrained cost estimate accuracy, better mitigates project risk, reflects current costs, and reflects an investment in electrification of the process plant in Phase 1 to reduce the project’s carbon footprint.
The study outlines an initial capital cost estimate of C$645-million for Phase 1, expansion capital of C$347-million for Phase 2 and expansion capital of C$374-million for Phase 3.
Sustaining capital over the life-of-mine is estimated at C$831-million, while closure costs are estimated at C$175-million.
The study yielded an aftertax net present value of C$2.15-billion and an aftertax internal rate of return of 32%.
Artemis continues to target a construction start date of the second quarter of 2022, which puts the project on track to develop into a new tier-one gold operation in the first quarter of 2024.