Artemis tables B.C. gold mine update

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Artemis Gold Inc.  [ARTG-TSXV] has released an update on activities related to the development of its Blackwater Gold Project in central British Columbia.

When it released the results of a pre-feasibility study in August, 2020, Artemis said the study was based on a revised approach that would involve developing the project in three stages. It said this would involve 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,” said Artemis Chairman and CEO Steven Dean.

The 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.

Meanwhile, the company said early works construction at Blackwater remains targeted to start in the second quarter of 2022. The aim is to prepare the project site in order to accommodate the start of major works construction activities.

Artemis said it expects to award the engineering procurement and construction contract to the successful bidder for the process plant by the end of April 2022.

The company also said it is now targeting receipt of the BC Mines Act Permit in the Fall of 2022, with major construction to commence shortly after.

“Artemis remains focused on a disciplined approach to development of the Blackwater project,’’ said Artemis Chairman and CEO Steven Dean. “The early works program allows us to establish training and protocols, complete clearing and grubbing and bulk earthworks for the proposed process plant footprint,’’ he said.

Artemis said an economic study  indicates that the Blackwater Gold project in 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 also 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.

On March 30, 2022, Artemis shares closed at $7.39 and now trade in a 52-week range of $7.93 and $4.86.

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