Artemis contemplates accelerating Blackwater Phase 2

31st January 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

With Phase 1 of the Blackwater project crossing the halfway mark, TSX-V-listed Artemis Gold is considering bringing forward the Phase 2 expansion of the mine in central British Columbia.

The company is studying the benefits of advancing the expansion earlier than contemplated and will announce the results of the study later this quarter.

According to the 2021 feasibility study, Phase 1, which is currently under construction, entails a six-million-tonne-a-year initial throughput. In Phase 2, this will increase to nine-million tonnes a year in the fifth year, ramping up to 12-million tonnes a year in the sixth year.

Phase 3 will boost throughput to up to 20-million tonnes a year.

Currently, the project is 59% complete and about C$389-million of the guided initial capital expenditure (capex) of C$730-million to C$750-million has been spent.

Artemis reports the lag between the spend and percentage of completion is as planned and consistent with a typical project S-curve.

By the end of the fourth quarter, the company had entered into contractual commitments for C$615-million, or 84%, of the lower end of the guided initial capex.

“We remain focused on a disciplined approach to development and remain on track for the first gold pour in H2 2024,” says Artemis chairperson and CEO Steven Dean.

The company’s staffing numbers surpassed 320 employees in the fourth quarter 2023. About 50% of the development team is from the local region and over 80% are British Columbia residents. The total workforce at the Blackwater mine, including staff and contractors, surpassed 550 towards the end of December.