Ascot Resources has reported robust results from a feasibility study of its Premier and Red Mountain gold projects near Stewart, British Columbia. The study outlines a low-capital restart plan for the previously mined properties, with ore produced by underground mining of four deposits — Silver Coin, Big Missouri, and Premier on the Premier property and Red Mountain on the Red Mountain property.
Mining will be sequenced over an eight-year period to initially produce 1.1 million ounces (oz) of gold and 3 million oz of silver. The existing Premier mill will be refurbished to process 2,500 metric tons per day (mt/d).
Red Mountain is located approximately 23 kilometers (km) southeast of the existing Premier mill.
Initial capital expenditures to develop the projects are estimated at C$147 million, including a 9% contingency and 22% indirect costs. The base case for the feasibility study considers mining of proven and probable reserves totaling 6.2 million mt at an average grade of 5.9 grams per metric ton (g/mt) gold and 19.7 g/mt silver. Life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs are estimated at $769/oz of payable gold produced.
Ascot President and CEO Derek White said, “Completion of this feasibility study marks an important milestone for Ascot in the progression of restarting these projects. The current strong gold price environment, robust projected economics, and quick payback create an attractive opportunity to build our mines …
“Management believes that future underground drilling will help to improve conversion of some of the remaining inferred resources and improve annual production rates. Next steps will be focused on advancing this exceptional gold project with all our stakeholders, while continuing to grow our mineral resources and reserves to enhance value through further drilling and delivering a number of identified opportunities.”
Mining will begin on the Silver Coin and Big Missouri deposits, followed by the Red Mountain deposit in year three and then the Premier deposit. Access for production in the four operations will be through both new and existing adits, utilizing a combination of new ramp development and refurbishment of existing underground infrastructure.
This sequencing will allow mobile mining equipment and some fixed assets (electrical and ventilation) to be remobilized and reused at different deposits as dictated by mine schedules.
The feasibility study assumes a lease-to-own cost for the mobile mining equipment, which primarily consists of two scissor lifts, three jumbo drills, five haul trucks, five load-haul-dump machines, 15 ventilation fans, and several other smaller supporting pieces of equipment.
Mining methods will largely consist of long-hole stoping for most of the ore, with limited use of inclined undercut long-hole, room-and-pillar, and cut-and-fill mining in specific shallow or flat-lying stopes. Ore will be trucked to the processing facility, and mining waste will be used underground as a combination of rockfill and cemented rockfill.
The existing processing facility will be refurbished within a construction period of approximately 40 weeks. The plant will utilize conventional crushing, grinding, and gravity circuits followed by a standard carbon-in-leach process to produce doré bars.
The original Premier underground mine opened in 1918 and produced 2 million oz of gold and 45 million oz of silver prior to its closure in 1952.