Centerra, Premier get EA green light for Ontario gold mine

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The Greenstone Gold Mines Hardrock Project in northern Ontario. Source: Premier Gold Mines Ltd.

Centerra Gold Inc. [CG-TSX; CAGDF-OTC] and Premier Gold Mines Ltd. [PG-TSX; PIRGF-OTC] said Thursday March 28 that the environmental assessment for the Greenstone Gold Mines Hardrock Project in Ontario was approved by the provincial government on March 26, 2019.

Their aim is to develop an open pit mine that could be in production for 14.5 years. According to an October, 2016, technical report, gold production is expected to average 350,000 ounces annually in the first four years with an average head grade of 1.27 g/t gold.

In March, 2015, Centerra and Premier Gold Mines formed an equal partnership for the joint ownership and development of the Greenstone Gold Property (formerly known as the Trans-Canada Property), including the Hardrock Gold Project, which is located in the Geraldton-Beardmore Greenstone Belt, 275 km northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The property consists of four claim groups, Hardrock, Brookbank, Key Lake and Viper, over a distance of 100 km, located along, or close to the Trans-Canada Highway between the towns of Beardmore and Longlac.

The Hardrock claim group contains a deposit that was mined between 1938 and 1970, producing 2.0 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 4.8 g/t.

Under an agreement with Premier, Centerra pledged to invest $185 million to advance the project by completing a mineral resource update and feasibility study. Whatever was left over from that amount was earmarked for construction and development work.

According to the 2016, technical report, the Hardrock deposit contains an indicated resource of 25.1 million tonnes grading 2.29 g/t gold or 1.85 million ounces. On top of that is an inferred resource of 21.7 million tonnes or 3.55 g/t gold or 2.47 million ounces.

On Thursday, Centerra and Premier said their main objective this year is to continue the process of developing and de-risking the project.

With that aim in mind, the joint venture plans to invest $54 million this year for construction permit applications, detailed engineering, 18,000 metres of drilling (targeting areas that will be mined in the first five years of operations, and updating reserves and resources) and to update project economics.

In June, 2018, the Greenstone Partnership signed a definitive agreement with the Long Lake #58 First Nation that outlines provisions for environmental monitoring, employment, training, businesses and contracting opportunities, along with a framework for regulatory permitting that extends not only to the Hardrock open pit, but to all properties within the Greenstone Partnership’s regional portfolio that lie within the traditional territory of the Long Lake #58 First Nation.

The Federal Environmental Assessment was approved on December 13, 2018 by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

On Thursday, Centerra was down 4% or 29 cents to $7.15. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $8.21 and $4.76. Premier Gold Mines was also down 4.8% or $0.08 to $1.57. Premier trades in a 52-week range of $3.07 and $1.39.

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