Pretium Resources announced on September 9 that its board of directors has approved a production decision for its Brucejack gold project in northern British Columbia. The decision was made following receipt of all of the major regulatory permits required to begin Brucejack development work.

British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines has issued a Mines Act Permit approving Pretium’s mine plan and reclamation program. The Mines Act Permit allows for construction of a 2,700-mt/d doré and flotation plant, development of an underground mine, and associated facilities and other infrastructure.

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment has issued an Environmental Management Act permit for the project that governs effluent discharge during construction and operation.

Based on the results of a June 2014 feasibility study, Brucejack is expected to produce an average of 504,000 oz/y of gold over the first eight years of operation and 404,000 oz/y of gold over an 18-year mine life. Brucejack’s Valley of the Kings deposit hosts proven and probable reserves totaling 6.9 million oz of gold in 13.6 million mt grading 15.7 g/mt gold.

Pretium is targeting a start of commercial production at Brucejack in 2017. An underground mine will be based on long-hole stoping and cemented paste backfill. Stopes will be mined using a combination of longitudinal and transverse mining, depending on zone width and orientation. Cemented paste tailings will be prepared in a paste plant on surface near the mill and then pumped underground for distribution to the stopes.

The feasibility study estimates project capital cost, including contingencies, at $746.9 million. Average operating costs are estimated at C$163.05/mt milled over the life of the mine.

Pretium also reported that an underground infill drill program is in progress on the Valley of the Kings deposit. Stope definition drilling is under way from two underground drill bays, and results continue to confirm the style and grade distribution of the gold mineralization in the area currently being tested, including intersections of high-grade and visible gold.

Pretium has closed a $540 million construction financing package with the Orion Mine Finance Group and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. The agreement provides for immediate access to $340 million and will fund a substantial portion of the costs to develop the Brucejack project. The financing is comprised of a credit facility for $350 million, a $150 million prepayment under a callable gold and silver stream agreement, and a private placement.