Premier Gold Mines Ltd. [PG-TSX, PIRGF-OTC] on Monday said it has achieved a key milestone by declaring commercial production at its El Nino mine on the South Arturo project in Nevada.
Premier holds a 40% interest in the South Arturo project, which is located on the prolific Carlin Trend in Elko County, Nevada. South Arturo is a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX, NYSE], which owns the remaining 60%.
South Arturo produced 20,980 ounces of gold and 12,649 ounces of silver in 2018 from stockpiled material. Future production is expected to come from two additional developments underway at the property, including the Phase 1 open pit and El Nino underground mine.
The El Nino mine is a high-grade underground deposit situated down plunge of the Phase 2 pit, where mining was concluded in 2017. It was developed on time and on budget. The first dore bar was poured on September 26, 2019.
Pre-stripping of the Phase 1 open pit project (the second mine being constructed at South Arturo) is ongoing with a target of production in the second half of 2020. Work is also continuing to optimize heap leach material with a potential future decision to proceed with development of a heap leach facility on the property.
Meanwhile, Premier said commercial production at El Nino was achieved two months ahead of schedule. The company has said it expects it will recover between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of gold from the El Nino development this year.
Also on Monday, Premier reported positive results from infill and step-out drilling from El Nino. Highlights include 24.4 metres at 20.6 g/t gold and 50.3 metres at 6.36 g/t gold. Results of step out drilling point to the possibility of future mine intensions and increased throughput. The company is also completing geotechnical drilling for the proposed Phase 3 Open Pit.
The company’s shares advanced on the news, rising 1.02% or $0.02 to $1.97. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $1.39 and $2.55.
Premier Gold is a gold producer and exploration and development company with multiple projects in Ontario, Nevada and Mexico.
They include the Mercedes mine in Sonora Mexico, which produced 68,719 ounces of gold and 309,165 ounces of silver in 2018. The portfolio includes development opportunities at McCoy-Cove in Nevada, and Hardrock in Ontario.
Premier’s Cove Property, which is located in the Battle Mountain trend in northern Nevada, hosts one of the highest-grade undeveloped gold deposits in Nevada.
As of March 31, 2018, Cove was estimated to host 342,000 ounces of indicated gold resources, 900,000 ounces of silver. On top of that is an inferred resource of 1.32 million ounces of gold and 2.45 million ounces of silver.
Premier Gold recently sold a package of net smelter return royalties to Franco-Nevada Corp. [FNV-TSX,NYSE] for US$6 million. The package consisted of a 2% net smelter return royalty on the PQ North Property, adjoining the Musselwhite mine in northwestern Ontario, and a 1.5% NSR on the Rain/Emigrant and Saddle properties, which are located in Nevada.