Artemis Gold Inc. [ARTG-TSXV] said a blessing ceremony has been performed at its Blackwater Gold Project in central British Columbia. The project is located on the traditional territories of the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation.
“The cultural significance of the blessing ceremony is to clear negative energy and welcome positive energy, preparing the Blackwater site for the start of construction activities with the start of early works expected to commence in September, 2022,’’ Artemis said in a press release. “The ceremony gives thanks to the land for the opportunities and gifts that it has provided.’’
On Thursday, Artemis shares eased 0.84% or $0.04 to $4.74 and now trade in a 52-week range of $7.93 and $3.70.
The Blackwater project is located in central B.C. approximately 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George and 446 kilometres northeast of Vancouver. It is accessible by a major highway and access/service roads.
Artemis bought the Blackwater Project from New Gold Inc. (NGD-TSX, NYSE American) in August, 2020.
The Project schedule maintains an estimated first gold pour date of the first half of 2024, consistent with the updated feasibility study dated September, 2021.
The company has said it plans to develop the project in three stages, a move that would entail targeting a higher-grade zone of near surface mineralization in the southern half of the open pit in the first seven years, supporting a shorter payback period and higher IRR. It said this approach would reduce the initial capital expenditures to $592 million.
The phased approach provides the opportunity to build the Blackwater project into a new 250,000 ounce per year gold operation, growing to more than 400,000 ounces annually with growth financed from free cash flow, the company has said.
“Artemis recognizes that the Blackwater mine site is located within the traditional territories of the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation,’’ said Artemis Chairman and CEO Steven Dean. “The blessing ceremony was performed by the Chiefs, Elders and younger people of the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation,” he said.
“The Artemis team was proud to participate in the blessing ceremony and grateful to the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and the Ulkatcho First Nation for their partnership as we move forward with the development of the Blackwater Project.”
Artemis said an economic study indicates that Blackwater could deliver $2.3 billion in provincial government revenues over the life of the project and provide 825 jobs during the construction and expansion phases.
The study envisages $13.2 billion in added value in B.C. from an operation that is expected to consist of an open pit gold and silver mine that will begin life with a nominal milling rate of 15,000 tonnes per day or 5.5 million tonnes per year.
“The results of the economic impact study confirm what the development of the Blackwater Gold Project will deliver as a new economic engine for central British Columbia and Canada,’’ said Dean. He said the project has the potential to economically contribute to local, provincial and federal levels for more than 25 years.