South Arturo Exceeded Expectations In 2020
THUNDER BAY, ON - Ewan Downie, Chief Executive Officer of Premier Gold Mines Limited, said, "While 2020 was a challenging year, we are extremely pleased with this strong finish. South Arturo exceeded expectations in 2020 with a winning track record of performance versus plan, and our operations team at Mercedes have defined higher grade resources and executed a revised higher-margin mine plan that has the mine poised for continued success."
Solid production from the Mercedes mine, as a result of the modified mine plan developed during the COVID–19 related care and maintenance period in the second quarter, highlighted strong overall performance in the quarter. Production from the El Nino deposit at South Arturo continued to perform very well in the fourth quarter, leading to 2020 production significantly above the original annual budget.
Following the successful turnaround of the Mercedes Mine in the prior reporting period, fourth quarter production was well in line with the revised higher margin operating plan. The production results continue to validate the work carried out earlier in the year designed to reduce dilution and though put, create better operational flexibility, improve productivity, and grade, and reduce costs. New geological modeling, resource estimates and reconciliation processes of the models to the mined production greatly improved the operation's planning and forecasting and will focus on higher grade resources that are currently being defined.
South Arturo Mine, Nevada
Underground operations on the El Nino deposit at the South Arturo Joint Venture, operated by Barrick Gold through its subsidiary Nevada Gold Mines, had another exceptional year with production exceeding budget by over 30%. The strong performance was driven by higher production rates that averaged 694 tonnes per day processed.
In 2020, drill programs were completed at El Nino, with initial results suggesting the potential to expand underground resources and extend the mine life. Drilling into the upper portion of the planned Phase 1 and Phase 3 deposits to assess heap leach economics in advance of a potential mining decision was also conducted. Phase 3 is under evaluation to determine the economics of an open pit versus an underground operation. A revised mineral resource/reserve estimate for all of the deposits that comprise the South Arturo Joint Venture is planned following receipt of all assays from the 2020 drill program.