THUNDER BAY – Mining – Premier Gold has awarded contracts to complete two independent Preliminary Economic Assessments (PEA’s) for the Company’s Hardrock and Brookbank Projects to Stantec Inc. (Stantec). Stantec provides professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics for infrastructure and facilities projects.
Stantec’s North Bay-based mining team will lead the work with processing support for these studies provided by BBA of Montreal, a consulting engineering firm. These separate studies are the first phase of economic evaluation for the two most advanced projects on the Trans-Canada Property, with a goal of validating suggested positive economics of each deposit as a stand alone entity. Premier chose to re-award the studies in order to align its own strong development team with Stantec, a firm that has performed well with the team in the past.
Recently completed scoping work suggests that the Hardrock and Brookbank Deposits are amenable to both open pit and underground mining methods at different mining rates. The PEA will optimize the initial results of this study and work is underway in an effort to advance each PEA toward completion, expected in Q3-2013. Assuming favourable outcomes, work will then immediately commence on Pre-Feasibility Studies with a goal of delivering Feasibility Studies in H2-2014.
The recent resource updates for the Trans-Canada Property suggest the potential for both open pit and underground mining operations at the two deposits located some 75 kilometres apart. Ongoing delineation drilling at Hardrock will continue to target inferred resources within the optimized pit, in addition to testing previously undrilled areas having potential to be included in the near surface resource at a later date.
It should be noted that while the Hardrock Deposit (open pit portion) resource was limited to a depth of 200 metres (as reported in a press release on December 19th, 2012 titled, “Premier Gold Releases Trans-Canada Property Resource Estimates On Four Deposits), the Hardrock PEA will not be similarly restricted. Scoping work completed by Premier’s development team suggests that resources earlier reported as “underground style” could potentially have higher economic returns if included within an optimized pit. If this is the case, this could have the impact of increasing the portion of the deposit that is included in an optimized pit. Table 1 provides a summary of the resource estimates reported on December 19th, 2012.
The Trans-Canada Project is host to several past-producing mines which collectively produced more than 4 million ounces of gold from depths primarily within 600 metres of surface between 1938 and 1968. The Trans-Canada Property is host to mineral resource estimates on multiple deposits that was completed by Micon International Limited late in 2012. Premier has been active exploring the eastern portion of the Beardmore – Geraldton Greenstone Belt since late 2007, and in a period of 5 years has reported mineral resource updates on three occasions and completed some 500,000 metres of diamond drilling.
The Trans-Canada Project benefits from development advantages with the Trans-Canada Highway, Trans-Canada Pipeline, and major power lines running through, or in close proximity to, the Project sites. Significant services and a skilled labour pool exist with several communities located in close proximity.
Table 1 2012 Mineral Resource Estimate of the Trans-Canada Property