Having secured the permits it needs to build its gold and silver mine 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George, Artemis Gold is well underway with construction of the Blackwater Gold processing plant.
A project update provided by the Vancouver company on Monday revealed that by the end of February, close to 63 per cent of the detailed engineering for the Blackwater plant had been completed by the contractor, Sedgman Canada Ltd.
More than 90 per cent of the processing equipment needed to build the open-pit mine has been awarded to fabricate key items such as the ball mill, gyratory crusher, apron and reclaim feeders, secondary/tertiary crushers, slurry/solution pumps, holding tanks, vibrating screens and gravity concentrators.
Sedgman has hired 80 full-time employees in its Vancouver office who have been assigned to the Blackwater mine and all of the key positions have been filled. Over the next month, Sedgman employees will finalize site establishment and commence civil works that will lead to the first concrete pours to create the processing plant’s foundation.
The initial phase of mine construction will cost about $645 million. Blackwater intends to process six million tonnes per annum in the first four years of the mine, increasing to nine million tonnes in Year 5 and 12 million tonnes per year in Year 6.
Extraction of the low-grade ore deposits are expected to produce 381,000 ounces of gold annually. The mine has an expected lifespan of 22 years.
Artemis announced March 10 it had received its BC Mines Act permit from the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
The company has signed a participation agreement with two Indigenous nations - Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation and Ulkatcho First Nation – whose traditional territory overlaps the mine site. Artemis also signed an impact benefit agreement with the Nazko First Nation and is continuing discussions with the Carrier Sekani.