KSM – additional block cave, Canada – update

Image of Canada flag and perioduc table symbols for copper, gold, silver and molybdenum

14th July 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
KSM – additional block cave.

Northern British Columbia, Canada.

Project Owner/s
Seabridge Gold subsidiary KSM Mining.

Project Description
A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) has demonstrated that KSM has the potential to be a multigenerational, long-life copper-rich mining project with the flexibility to vary metal output.

The 2022 PEA has been undertaken to evaluate the potential future expansion of the KSM mine into the copper-rich Iron Cap and Kerr deposits after the 2022 preliminary feasibility study mine plan was completed.

The 2022 PEA envisages an underground mining operation, starting with the development of an Iron Cap block cave mine and supplemented with a small openpit at Kerr.

Development of the Kerr block cave mine will start when the Iron Cap development tapers off. The Kerr block cave mill feed will start six years after the start of the Iron Cap mill feed.

Mill feed delivery to the process plant will be ramped up to 170 000 t/d by Year 12.

Over the 39-year life-of-mine (LoM), mill feed will be delivered to a flotation concentration mill circuit. The flotation plant will produce a gold/copper/silver concentrate and separate molybdenum concentrate for transport by truck to a nearby seaport at Stewart, in British Columbia.

The project will produce 14.3-billion pounds of copper, 14.3-billion ounces of gold, 68.2-million ounces of silver and 13.8-million pounds of molybdenum from 1.7-billion tonnes of mill feed over the LoM.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
In the base case, the project has a pretax net present value, at a 5% discount rate, of $9.7-billion and an internal rate of return of 24%, with a payback of 4.7 years.

Capital Expenditure
The initial capital cost for the 2022 PEA is estimated at $1.5-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The development of the Iron Cap block cave mine will take four years and that of the Kerr block cave five years.

Latest Developments
KSM has closed the sale of a $150-million secured note to Sprott Resource Streaming and Royalty.

The funds, which equates to about C$200-million, will enable the company to complete the physical works required to achieve the “substantially started” designation from the provincial government. This will ensure continuity of the KSM project’s approved environmental assessment certificate for the life of the project.

The same secured note/royalty structure was used in 2022 to raise $225-million from Sprott Streaming and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to start the programme.

The new funding will enable the firm to complete the switching station and related work required for connecting KSM to BC Hydro's northern transmission line for construction and operation of the mine.

Access to green energy will substantially enhance KSM's sustainability and carbon profile.

“Proceeds from the transaction will also enable us to continue providing significant work for companies owned and managed by our Indigenous partners in the KSM project, an important ESG objective,” chairperson and CEO Rudi Fronk has said.

Key Contracts and Suppliers
Tetra Tech (surface infrastructure, capital estimate, financial analysis, metallurgical testing review, permanent water treatment, mineral process design and operating cost estimation for process, general and administrative expense and site services, and overall report preparation); Wood (mineral resources); WSP Golder (block cave mining); Moose Mountain Technical Services (openpit mining, MTT and rail mill feed conveyance design, tunnel capital costs); WN Brazier Associates Inc (electrical power supply, energy recovery plants); Environmental Resources management (environment and permitting); and Klohn Crippen Berger (design of surface water diversions, diversion tunnels, tailings management facility, water treatment dam and rock storage facility and tunnel geotechnical).

Contact Details for Project Information
Seabridge Gold, tel +1 416 367 9292 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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