AuRico Metals reports that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has issued a positive Decision Statement and that the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has granted an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the company’s wholly-owned Kemess Underground Project.
Chris Richter, President and CEO of AuRico: “These positive decisions are the culmination of a comprehensive process which began in 2014, and I would like to thank the many people who worked tirelessly to achieve this successful outcome. We would not be where we are today if it were not for the hard work of the AuRico Metals team and our consultants, along with the extensive efforts and close cooperation from our First Nations partners, the EAO, and CEAA. The Tsay Keh Dene, Kwadacha, and Takla Lake First Nations, collectively Tse Keh Nay, provided letters of support to Federal and Provincial Ministers for Environmental Assessment approval and we are proud to have their support.
“The Kemess Underground Project presents an attractive development opportunity given its strong economics – supported by existing infrastructure, large scale, good jurisdiction, and advanced stage. Today’s environmental approval represents a significant milestone for the project, and we are excited about the opportunity to continue to advance the project to the benefit of all stakeholders.”
The EAO managed the Environmental Assessment for the Kemess project in a Substituted Process on behalf of British Columbia and CEAA, the latter of which is on behalf of the Federal Government of Canada. The Project will require a number of additional normal course licenses and permits which are expected to be received early in 2018.
The Kemess Underground Project is a large gold-copper development project located in north-central British Columbia. The Kemess South open pit mine operated successfully between 1998 and 2011 and produced approximately 3 Moz of gold and 750 Mlb of copper. Production ceased when the open pit was depleted.
The Kemess Underground deposit is located about 6 km north of the existing Kemess South processing plant. Additional existing infrastructure includes a camp, powerline, all-weather air-strip, access road, as well as other surface facilities including an administrative building, workshop and warehouse. In total, there is approximately C$1 billion worth of existing infrastructure in place.
AuRico published a feasibility study for the Kemess Underground Project in March 2016 that contemplates the development of a low-cost panel caving operation with an initial 12-year mine life. Ore would be transported by conveyor to the existing processing facilities, with concentrate transported to a wholly-owned concentrate load-out facility located in Mackenzie, British Columbia.
The study demonstrates that Kemess Underground is a robust project benefiting from extensive existing infrastructure. The feasibility study anticipates total life of mine production of 2.6 Moz gold-equivalent (consisting of 1.4 Moz of gold, 573 Mlb of copper and 4.5 Moz of silver). Gold-equivalent production for the first five years is expected to average 238,000 oz/y and 207,000 oz/y over the life of mine, with a low All-In Sustaining Cost of $682/oz over the first five years and $718/oz over the life of mine. Total up-front capital expenditure for the project is estimated at $452 million with a payback period estimated at 3.3 years.
The company also has a 100% interest in the Kemess East deposit, located 1km east of Kemess Underground. In January, 2017, the Company released an updated resource estimate for Kemess East outlining Indicated Resources of 113.1 Mt grading 0.38% Cu and 0.46 g/t Au and Inferred Resources of 63.8 Mt grading 0.34% Cu and 0.31 g/t Au. The resource includes a higher grade core estimated to contain Indicated Resources of 67.2 Mt grading 0.43% Cu and 0.60 g/t Au as well as Inferred Resources of 15.2 Mt grading 0.41% Cu and 0.51 g/t Au. The Kemess East deposit remains open to the south, north and west.
AuRico’s royalty portfolio includes a 1.5% NSR royalty on the Young-Davidson gold mine and a 2% NSR royalty on the Fosterville mine, as well as a portfolio of additional producing and pre-production royalty assets located in North America and Australia.