AuRico Metals reported that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has issued a positive decision statement and that the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has granted an Environmental Assessment Certificate for its Kemess underground project. The project still requires a number of additional licenses and permits, which are expected to be granted in early 2018.

“These positive decisions are the culmination of a comprehensive process that began in 2014,” said Chris Richter, president and CEO of AuRico. “Today’s environmental approval represents a significant milestone for the project, and we are excited about the opportunity to continue to advance the project to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

He acknowledged and thanked AuRico Metals team and its consultants, along with the extensive efforts and close cooperation from the company’s First Nations partners, the EAO and CEAA.

The Kemess underground project is a large gold-copper development project located in north-central British Columbia. The Kemess South open-pit mine operated successfully between 1998 and 2011 and produced approximately 3 million ounces (oz) of gold and 750 million lb of copper. Production ceased when the open pit was depleted.

The Kemess underground deposit is located approximately 6 kilometers north of the existing Kemess South processing plant. The Kemess underground feasibility study completed in March 2016 contemplates the development of a low-cost panel caving operation with an initial 12-year mine life. Ore would be transported by conveyor to the existing processing facilities, with concentrate transported to a wholly owned concentrate load-out facility located in Mackenzie, British Columbia.

The $452 million project is expected to produce 1.4 million oz of gold, 573 million lb of copper and 4.5 million oz of silver over the course of its mine life.