Tag Archives: British Columbia

Artemis awards Blackwater gold EPC contract to Sedgman Canada

Artemis Gold Inc says it has made an award for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) scope of works for the processing plant and associated infrastructure at its Blackwater project in British Columbia, Canada, to Sedgman Canada Limited, a CIMIC Group company.

The award amount of approximately C$312 million ($243 million) is consistent with the prescribed budget for the process plant and selected infrastructure scope of works in the 2021 feasibility study.

Sedgman Canada Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Sedgman Pty Limited, a CIMIC Group company. CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) is an engineering-led construction, mining, services and public private partnerships leader working across the lifecycle of assets, infrastructure and resources projects.

The EPC contract is expected to be executed by June 30, 2022, with the contract supported by performance security including bank letters of credit, which will underwrite the financial performance and obligations of the contractor under the contract.

While the parties finalise the definitive EPC contract, in order to maintain the project schedule, an interim services agreement has been agreed which could cover procurement and pricing of long lead equipment and optimisation through refined scope changes, among other aspects.

The project schedule supporting the award to Sedgman includes the following assumptions:

  • Construction mobilisation and major works preparations commence in Fall 2022 with process plant bulk earthworks scheduled to be completed prior to the start of major works;
  • Commissioning activities of the process facility to commence in Q1 (March quarter) 2024; and
  • First gold pour expected in the first half of 2024.

The final EPC contract terms will provide for potential cost adjustments of certain components of construction representing approximately less than 15% of the total contract amount, including the potential for cost adjustments from further quantity definition, Artemis said. Standard adjustments, including currency exchange rates for certain equipment purchases also apply, and further optimisation of the processing plant with final engineering will occur.

Artemis is also considering awarding additional construction packages under an EPC agreement type structure to further enhance the risk management of the total capital expenditure for Blackwater, it said.

When combined with the EPC for the Power Transmission Line announced on August 18, 2021, the percentage of the estimated total capital expenditure for Blackwater under EPC is on track to target circa-60% of the initial Stage 1 development capital of C$645 million in a lump sum EPC type arrangement by the September quarter of 2022.

Stage 1 development should lead to the building of a 6-9 Mt/y operation (6 Mt/y in years 1-4 and 9 Mt/y in year 5) able to produce around 312,000 oz/y of gold.

Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO, said: “The award of the EPC job for the process plant at Blackwater is another significant milestone for Artemis, reflecting a competitive process involving multiple bidders. We are very pleased to be working with a world-class engineering firm in Sedgman. In partnership, we will work to finalise the design and engineering of the Blackwater project in advance of a start of major development activities. Blackwater remains on track for a start of major construction activities following receipt of Mines Act and other permits in Fall 2022 with a first gold pour in H1 2024.”

Metso Outotec to engineer SAF solution for MGX’s silicon project

MGX Minerals Inc has announced the engagement of global mining equipment supplier Metso Outotec for its British Columbia silicon project.

The OEM has been tasked with providing design, equipment and mechanical engineering for the processing of high-grade silica from the company’s wholly-owned Gibraltar silica deposit into silicon metal 3303# grade.

The primary piece of processing equipment related to the agreement is a submerged arc furnace (SAF). This electric arc furnace generates heat up to 1,600°C sufficient to melt the quartzite. The liquid metal is then tapped and poured into bricks and rough crushed into 3-4 in (76-102 mm) pieces for shipment.

Recent metallurgical testing on a 1 t sample from the company’s Gibraltar silica deposit, 95 km northeast of Cranbrook, British Columbia, has indicated that the material is chemically suitable as medium-quality feedstock for metallurgical-grade silicon.

MGX says the demand for silicon metal continues to grow and recent supply chain bottlenecks have limited overall supply, creating an opportunity for the distribution of silicon in Asia from North America.

Kutcho Copper outlines combined open-pit/underground plan for mine

Kutcho Copper Corp has outlined a plan to develop an open pit and underground operation at its copper and zinc project in northern British Columbia, Canada, with the publication of a feasibility study.

The results of the study highlight an 11-year mine life with metal production of 533 Mlb (241,765 t) of copper, 841 Mlb of zinc, 10.6 Moz of silver and 129,700 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $1.80/lb ($3,969/t) of copper equivalent. It came with an initial capital cost of C$483 million ($388 million).

The Main deposit at Kutcho is designed to be mined primarily as a conventional shovel and truck open-pit operation, with a deeper remnant mined by underground longitudinal longhole open stoping (LLHOS) with cemented rock fill (CRF). The underground Esso deposit is also designed to be mined using LLHOS with CRF.

A total of 17.3 Mt is planned to be mined over an 11-year mine life, with 14.5 Mt coming from the open pit and 2.8 Mt from the underground mines. A steady-state crusher production rate of 4,500 t/d is expected be achieved by the end of the first year of operations.

After primary crushing at an average steady state rate of 4,500 t/d, an ore sorter using an X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor would remove low-grade and waste material from the feed to the SAG and ball mills, followed by conventional flotation, regrind and dewatering circuits. Approximately 3,900 t/d of ore would report to the milling and flotation circuit after ore sorting. The XRT plan follows testing of Kutcho samples at TOMRA Sorting Mining facilities.

The project design includes an extensive progressive reclamation program, including the backfilling of the open pit and water treatment during operations and for the closure period.

The company also plans to use liquified natural gas for power generation as opposed to diesel, which will significantly reduce the generation of greenhouse gases and reducing the potential for fuel spills. This would see four 2.5 MW LNG generators plus one on standby used, with a 2 MW diesel generator providing occasional plant start-up assistance.

Vince Sorace, President & CEO of Kutcho Copper, said: “The feasibility study represents a major milestone for Kutcho Copper as we continue to advance the high-grade Kutcho copper-zinc project towards a development decision. The significant redesign and engineering of the project delivers a mine plan that is a predominantly open-pit mining operation with the concurrent development of two underground mines. The mine plan has resulted in a technically robust and capital efficient project with a minimised footprint.

“The results of the feasibility study highlight the attractive economics of the Kutcho project which are resilient at lower metal prices, very attractive at base case prices and exhibit significant leverage to rising prices as reflected in spot metal prices with a C$931 million after-tax NPV (7% discount) and a 41% internal rate of return. We believe that the results of the feasibility study mean that Kutcho Copper is now one of the most undervalued copper investment opportunities in North America.”

TOMRA XRT ore sorting test work delivers the goods at Kutcho’s copper-zinc project

Higher head grades and recoveries, a reduction in run-of-mine material reporting to the milling and flotation circuit, a smaller tailings management facility, and lower power and water demand are just some of the benefits to have come out of ore sorting test work at Kutcho Copper’s copper-zinc project in British Columbia, Canada.

Recent bulk sample test work was conducted to determine the effectiveness of using ore sorting technology from TOMRA Sorting Mining to improve the processed grade and reduce the mill feed tonnage of mineral resources at the project.

ABH Engineering Inc and TOMRA were commissioned to undertake this work to establish the amenability of Kutcho’s Main and Esso deposits to ore sorting using an X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor. Two phases of test work, including a representative 0.75 t bulk sample derived from drill core, were undertaken at TOMRA Sorting Mining in Germany under the supervision of ABH Engineering.

“The ore sorting process helps concentrate the metals of commercial interest from the Kutcho deposit, which are principally associated with high density sulphide minerals,” Kutcho explained. “Rocks are individually scanned, and low grade (low density) waste material is selectively diverted away from downstream processing using compressed air jets. Preliminary test work on the sensitivity of the ore to a XRF sensor was also undertaken.”

The bulk sample tests conducted on a production-scale XRT ore sorter indicate that approximately 17% of the ROM material will be <12.5 mm in size and would therefore bypass the ore sorter and report directly to the milling and flotation circuit. Of the >12.5 mm feed, some 15% of the material reporting to the ore sorter was detected by the XRT sensors as being low grade or waste and will be rejected by the ore sorter, thereby reducing run-of-mine material reporting to the milling and flotation circuit by 13%. The overall recovery of metal (copper, zinc, silver and gold) reporting to the ore sorter is in the order of 99% (ie less than 1% of the metals of interest will be rejected by the ore sorter), Kutcho said.

Pre-sorting of the run-of-mine material by the ore sorter has the potential to reduce milling and flotation operating costs corresponding with the 13% rejection of low-grade material, it says. The commensurate increase in the head grade of the ore reporting to the flotation circuit has the potential to also result in improved metallurgical recoveries in the flotation circuit.

Additionally, it is anticipated that potential savings in capital and operating costs related to the smaller milling and flotation circuit will offset the costs associated with the ore sorter, according to the company. Savings will also be achieved by a reduction in the size of the tailings management facility. The optimally sized ore sorter reject waste material could be used as cemented rock backfill in the underground mines at both the Main and Esso deposits, resulting in further potential cost savings, Kutcho said.

Environmental benefits accruing to the project because of the introduction of ore sorting technology include a lower power and water demand, and a smaller tailings management facility, the company concluded.

Earlier this month, Kutcho said in a feasibility study progress report that it was considering open-pit mining for the majority of the Main deposit at Kutcho, allowing the company to capitalise on the high-grade, near-surface mineralisation, resulting in lower operating costs than underground mining. The remainder of the Main deposit and all the Esso deposit will continue to be evaluated assuming underground extraction by longitudinal longhole open stoping, it said.

The ore sorting test work was also being incorporated into the feasibility study design.

New Gold heads towards New Afton’s B3 Zone

New Gold is set to soon start ore extraction activities at New Afton’s B3 Zone in British Columbia, Canada, after receiving its Mines Act Permit from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

The gold-copper mine has recently been focused on development of the B3 and C-Zones, which are likely to represent the major production sources over the next decade.

Current production is coming from the B1 and B2 Zones (Lift 1) where there are two panel caves (west and east) in operation. The B3 Cave is 160 m below and immediately to the west of Lift 1. Ore from B3 will be hauled by truck to the existing gyratory crusher, with production continuing until at least late 2024.

The C-Zone block cave zone is around 550 m below Lift 1. Development towards the C-zone is underway with production planned to commence with the first of 143 planned drawbells in the second half of 2023.

On the permit award, Renaud Adams, President & CEO of New Gold, said: “This is a significant milestone for the New Afton Mine. With the receipt of the B3 permit, ore extraction activities will begin this quarter and ramp-up over the year.

“C-Zone development continues to advance with C-Zone extraction expected to begin in the second half of 2023.”

The C-Zone permitting process was initiated during the March quarter of this year with the submission of the pre-application package to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Indigenous groups.

MineSense to expand XRF ore sorting presence at Copper Mountain mine

MineSense Technologies says the use of its ore characterisation and sorting technology is seeing improvements in both the ore from waste recovery and ore dilution at Copper Mountain Mining Corp’s namesake mine in British Columbia, Canada.

Having deployed the company’s ShovelSense solution on two shovels and a wheel loader in 2020, Copper Mountain now has plans to install ShovelSense on the two remaining shovels in 2021, along with the first trial installation of BeltSense to explore additional innovation concepts, Don Strickland, Chief Operating Officer at Copper Mountain Mining Corp, said.

Jeff More, President and CEO of MineSense Technologies, said: “Copper Mountain has been a fantastic partner to work with, initially to support us in our scale-up on hydraulic shovels, and then with rapid commercial deployment once the design was stabilised.

“We are thrilled that they installed three of our ShovelSense Systems in the space of five months in 2020 and will complete installation of their entire shovel fleet in 2021.”

The MineSense hardware and software went through a two-year evaluation process at Copper Mountain prior to the solution going commercial, Copper Mountain stated in a recent technical report.

The ShovelSense system improves orebody visibility bucket by bucket in real time during the loading process, according to the company. Trucks are then automatically diverted to the correct location, increasing value and revenue realised during the mining process. The technology also creates reductions of CO2 emissions per tonne of ore produced, consumption of processing chemicals and reagents, energy and water, while maximising metal recovery.

BeltSense, meanwhile, is used on conveyance at different points of the mine operation. It can be used sequentially and in conjunction with ShovelSense to maximise the ore concentrating impact, taking a first cut at the haul point and second further downstream, MineSense says.

Both systems leverage X-ray Fluorescence sensors to carry out the sorting process.

JDS Energy & Mining to run the PFS numbers at Gold Mountain’s Elk gold project

Gold Mountain Mining has engaged JDS Energy & Mining Inc to complete a prefeasibility study on its Elk gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The PFS was commissioned to reflect the recent advancements the company has made to the project, most notably the signing of both the contract mining agreement – with Nhwelmen-Lake LP – and the ore purchase agreement with New Gold. These key inputs provide Gold Mountain with the near-term cost certainty required to delineate a maiden reserve at the project, the company says.

It is anticipated the PFS will also update the company’s resource estimate at the Siwash North Zone based on the results of its phase one drill program.

JDS will lead the PFS update with support from Knight Piesold Consulting and certain key independent consultants, Gold Mountain said, with the study expected to be completed in the September quarter.

Kevin Smith, Director and CEO of Gold Mountain, said: “We are very pleased to have JDS lead the PFS update. Their proven track record of engineering expertise in building ‘fit for purpose’ projects in Canada’s north will greatly contribute to the Elk gold project.

“Having a reputable group validate our economics, assess the underground potential, and continue to advance the Elk gold project strengthens our upside and ability to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

Gord Doerksen, President of the Engineering Division at JDS, added: “We are happy to be working with Gold Mountain to support near-term production and long-term planning at the Elk gold project. The team has built a strong foundation for JDS to add our extensive operational and permitting experience on a number of quality projects in British Columbia, and we look forward to maximising value together as partners.”

Gold Mountain acquired Bayshore Minerals in September 2020, gaining 100% ownership of the Elk gold project in the Merritt area of British Columbia. A past-producing gold mine, Elk comes with an NI 43-101 resource of 454,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the measured and indicated categories and 95,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the inferred category.

A previous preliminary economic assessment contemplated an operating able to mine 50,000 oz/y by year four.

Newcrest looks to new FMS, haul truck trays for Red Chris improvements

With gold and copper production dropping and costs increasing, the Red Chris mine, in British Columbia, Canada, is set for a number of improvement initiatives, according to 70% owner Newcrest Mining.

In the company’s September quarter results, Newcrest said Red Chris gold and copper production came in at 12,636 oz and 7,050 t, respectively, during the three-month period. This was down from the 15,440 oz of gold and 8,401 t of copper registered in the June 2020 quarter.

Newcrest said the circa-3,000 oz drop in gold output reflected a higher proportion of lower-grade stockpile material being fed to the mill due to unseasonal rainfall hitting the availability of higher grade ex-pit material.

This lower-grade mill feed adversely impacted recovery rates, partially offset by a 13% increase in mill throughput following process control improvements and a higher proportion of stockpiled material with “characteristics that enabled increased processing rates”, it said.

Red Chris’ all-in sustaining cost of $2,621/oz in the September quarter were significantly up on the $1,536/oz seen in the previous quarter. This was driven by increased sustaining capital expenditure, higher operating costs due to “seasonal benefits allowing increased activities to be scheduled”, together with the impact of a strengthening Canadian dollar against the US dollar and lower copper sales volume, it said. These factors were only partially offset by the benefit of a higher realised copper price.

With one quarter of Newcrest’s 2021 financial year down, the company said it is planning to put in place a number of additional improvements across the site. Included in this is a new fleet management system, the replacement of the conventional Cat 793 truck trays with “high-performance trays” to realise payload benefits, and several throughput and recovery-related projects.

The company has 45,000-55,000 oz of gold and 25,000-30,000 t of copper production slated for Red Chris in its 2021 financial year.

Upon announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in the asset in 2019, Newcrest Managing Director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said there was potential to turn the Red Chris orebody into a Tier 1 operation.

It also outlined a two-stage plan to deliver value from the $806.5 million acquisition. This included applying its “Edge transformation approach” to the existing Red Chris open-pit mine and processing plant, and potentially leveraging industry leading mining methods and technology such as block caving, coarse ore flotation and ore sorting.

BQE Water hits Selen-IX milestone at Kemess gold project

BQE Water says it has successfully completed the commissioning and performance test of the first industrial scale plant using its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management.

The installation at the Kemess property in northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold has, since late August 2020, operated continuously. It has treated 65 litres/s (5,600 cu.m/d) of mine-influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than two parts per billion, BQE Water said.

Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in the Spring of 2021, BQE Water says.

Selen-IX was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove ‘selenate’ form of selenium from mine-influenced waters employing a physico-chemical, instead of biological, method of treatment.

As the Kemess mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below two parts per billion, BQE Water said. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings.

“This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced,” the company said.

Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold, said: “We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the performance test, which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”

Centerra Gold is looking to re-establish the former operating Kemess site into an underground mine and processing facility, able to operate over a 12-year mine life, according to a 2016 feasibility study.

Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar operation honoured at BC Mine Reclamation Awards

Taseko Mines’s Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation has been awarded the prestigious Jake McDonald Annual Award for Metal Mine Reclamation from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR).

TRCR’s annual BC Mine Reclamation Awards, which recognises outstanding achievement in mine reclamation in British Columbia, was held on September 23, 2020.

The aim of Gibraltar’s reclamation research program is continual improvement by identifying and introducing leading-edge ideas within the field of environmental science in mine reclamation, it says. With this goal in mind, projects at Gibraltar include:

  • Sampling of salmon from the Fraser River in partnerships with the Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council to provide information to local Indigenous communities regarding the safety of consuming salmon captured at traditional fishing sites;
  • Studying and using innovative technologies to determine how reclamation activities promote the development and recovery of biological communities; and
  • Supporting BCIT, SFU, and Mitacs master’s students in a trial research program to expedite the development of soil microbial crust, specifically at the tailings storage facility.

Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko, said: “The Jake McDonald Award is the top mine reclamation award in British Columbia, a province that has a large mining industry. This achievement reflects the hard work of many talented people and we are honoured to have been chosen as this year’s recipient. The award adds to our track record of achievement which includes other recognition awards for employee safety and community service.”

Russell Hallbauer, CEO and Director of Taseko, added: “Gibraltar has been operating for nearly 50 years, generating opportunity for people and economic benefit for communities in the Cariboo. The efforts of our Gibraltar employees continue to be rewarded by achievements like this high-profile award. It is gratifying to see their talent and ingenuity being recognised at the highest levels. Gibraltar is proof of mining sustainability in action.

“We would specifically like to acknowledge the local Xatśūll First Nations and the North Shuswap Tribal Council Fisheries Department for their partnership and traditional knowledge in the annual Fraser River salmon sampling program. As well as a thank you to the Xatśūll First Nations reclamation crew, whose participation has contributed to the success of Gibraltar’s reclamation program.”

Xatśūll First Nations Chief, Sheri Sellars, said: “I am proud of the work Xatśūll First Nation community members have done in partnership with Taseko-Gibraltar. The fish sampling program and the reclamation work have been award-winning successes. Our members have also benefitted from employment opportunities and educational initiatives which stem from our relationship with Gibraltar.”

Taseko, the 75% owner of Gibraltar, restarted the operation in 2004. It is the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada and the largest employer in the Cariboo region, according to the company.