Premier Gold, Barrick reach key milestone

The South Arturo gold mine on the Carlin Trend, Elko County, Nevada, a joint venture between Premier Gold Mines and Barrick Gold. Source: Premier Gold Mines Ltd.

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Premier Gold Mines Ltd. [PG-TSX, PIRGF-OTC] on Friday September 27 said processing of ore has commenced from the underground El Nino mine at the South Arturo operation in Nevada.

Premier holds a 40% interest in the South Arturo Project, which is located on the prolific Carlin Trend in Elko County. South Arturo is a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX; GOLD-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 with ore now being processed ahead of schedule. As the first doré bar was poured on September 26, 2019, production is expected to ramp up during the second half of 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 expects it will recover between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of gold from the El Nino development this year.

Premier’s proportionate share of development capital at South Arturo in 2019 (excluding proceeds from pre-commercial production gold sales) is budgeted at US$39 million.

The company’s shares advanced on the news, rising 0.51% or $0.01 to $1.98. 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, located in the Battle Mountain trend of northern Nevada, hosts one of the highest-grade undeveloped gold deposits in the state.

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.

Approximately 3.4 million ounces of gold and 110 million ounces of silver were produced between 1986 and 2006 from this property. It is one of a number of active or past-producing mines located along the Battle Mountain-Eureka Trend, a highly prospective gold district in north-central Nevada.

A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) was completed for the Cove Helen-Gap deposits in the first half of 2018, including designs for underground exploration development and drilling, preliminary engineering, dewatering, environmental baseline studies, and a life of mine plan.

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.

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