i-80 Gold Corp. [IAU-TSX] on Wednesday June 16 said rehabilitation of underground drill bays is complete and underground drilling has commenced at the company’s Granite Creek property in Humbolt County, Nevada.
“Advancing the Granite Creek mine project to producer status is the company’s primary focus for 2021,” said i-80 President Matt Gili. “The large-scale drilling program is designed to increase resources, advance permitting to facilitate open pit mining and prepare for test mining ahead of feasibility studies.”
i-80 Gold is a newly created U.S.-focused gold production and development company that was spun out by Premier Gold Mines after Premier was acquired by Equinox Gold Corp. in an all-stock deal worth $612 million.
i-80 Gold Corp. was set up to hold the South-Arturo and McCoy Cove properties and complete Premier’s previously announced acquisition of the Getchell Project, which has been renamed Granite Creek to avoid confusion with the Getchell open pit located at the nearby Turquoise Ridge mine property. All are located in Nevada.
Equinox holds directly or indirectly 56.04 million common shares of i-80, representing 29.4% of the basic issued and outstanding common shares of the company on a non-diluted basis. It also holds warrants that when exercised would increase its stake in i-80 to 30.3%.
On Wednesday, i-80 Gold shares were up 0.75% or $0.02 to $2.65 on volume of 118,030. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $3.05 and $2.26.
i-80 has said it plans to achieve mid-tier gold producer status. The company said it is beginning to plan for future production growth through the potential addition of phases one and three projects at its South Arturo mine, and by advancing the Granite Creek project through economic studies and then on to development. It is also focused on advanced exploration at the 100%-owned McCoy-Cove property.
The Granite Creek mine project hosts both open-pit and underground resources and is strategically proximal to Nevada Gold Mines’ Twin Creeks and Turquoise Ridge mines at the north end of the Battle Mountain-Eureka trend at its intersection with the Getchell gold belt in Nevada.
The company has launched a 2021 surface and underground drilling program at Granite Creek that is expected to consist of approximately 22,000 metres of drilling.
The primary goal of the 2021 drill program is to advance underground and open-pit opportunities to production. Underground drilling will be focused on delineating sufficient resources for developing a near-term development and mining plan.
Continuing surface drilling will also test near-surface mineralization for metallurgical purposes and open-pit definition to advance permitting for open-pit mining, including heap leach processing on site.