Development programs under way at Premier Gold Mines’ South Arturo Property located in the Carlin Trend of Nevada, USA, are progressing well with the construction of the Phase 1 open pit and the El Nino underground mine. Mineralized material is also being stockpiled for future processing, the company said.

The South Arturo Property is a joint venture between Premier (40%) and Barrick Gold Exploration. Barrick is the operator and processes ore from South Arturo primarily at their Goldstrike facility located approximately 5 kilometers to the south.

Construction of the Phase 1 open pit and the El Nino underground mine has started with initial gold production from operations planned in late 2019. Mining production from the El Nino mine is expected to ramp up in the fourth quarter of 2019. Heap-leach material from the Phase 1 open pit is now being stockpiled for potential future processing. The prefeasibility level engineering design for the heap-leach option is planned to start in early 2019.

“Multiple new mine developments are being advanced, including detailed engineering work aimed at moving the heap-leach project into the South Arturo mine plan,” said Ewan Downie, president and CEO of Premier. “Additional opportunities continue to be advanced that are expected to add to future reserves and/or resources in an effort to extend mining operations well into the future.”

More than 1.5 million tons of material has been stripped at the Phase 1 open pit. Run-of-mine heap-leach material from Phase 1 is being stockpiled for potential processing at a facility that will be located on the joint venture property. If the heap-leach option is approved, construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in 2020.

Drilling in 2018 has been focused on expanding near-pit mineralization and testing the nearby East Dee target that has the potential to represent an additional mining opportunity on the property. Initial assays from this program are expected to be released prior to year-end.

The El Nino underground deposit is the down-plunge extension of the Phase 2 pit that was mined in 2016-2017. Both portals are now collared and some high-grade material located proximal to the pit highwall has now been mined and stockpiled. Mining continues to be advanced such that gold production is expected in late 2019. Following development of the upper ore zones, underground exploration will be initiated to identify additional mineralization, which remains open at depth and locally along strike.