The C$1.25-billion Hardrock gold project, which miners Premier and Centera Gold jointly own, has achieved a “significant” permitting milestone, taking the long-life project one step closer to realisation.
Toronto-listed Premier announced on Thursday that the joint venture (JV), Greenstone Gold Mines (GGM), had received Federal Cabinet approval of the Schedule 2 amendment as published in Canada Gazette on June 10.
The completion of the amendment to Schedule 2 of the metal and diamond mining effluent regulations was completed according to a streamlined regulatory process that few other mines have achieved and reduced the approval timeline by ten months.
Premier executive chairperson John Begeman described the approval as a culmination of six years of effort, which included extensive field work, assessments and consultation with the Indigenous communities, local communities and federal/provincial agencies.
He also highlighted that Hardrock was a “cornerstone” project for Premier, which last year unsuccessfully tried to buy Centerra’s stake in GGM for $205-million.
Premier sees Hardrock as one of the most significant large-scale, near permitted, mine development opportunities in North America.
A 2016 feasibility study outlines plans for a mine producing 356 000 oz/y of gold for the first four full years of production, entailing 38-million tonnes milled with an average head grade of 1.27 g/t gold.
Prepared by consulting engineering firm G Mining Services, the feasibility study calculated an after-tax net present value, at a 5% discount rate, of C$709-million, and an after-tax 14.4% project internal rate of return on a pre-finance basis.
According to the study, the project is expected to process 141.7-million tonnes at an average grade of 1.02 g/t gold, producing 4.2-million ounces of recovered gold at an average all-in sustaining cost of $780/oz sold over a fourteen-and-a-half-year mine life.