Blackwater is to be connected to the BC Hydro grid, which is powered by hydro-electricity providing it with a sustainable source of low-carbon power, with the potential to produce gold and silver with one of the lowest GHG emissions from an open pit in the world.
The project will be developed in phases as an open pit and carbon-in-pulp processing plant. Initial capital requirements will be C$592 million ($470m) for phase one with a mill capacity of 5.5 million t/y and an annual output of 248,000 oz. of gold. Over the 23-year life of the mine, throughput will be increased to 20 million t/y with two further expansion phases.
The Blackwater gold project has an after-tax net present value (5% discount) of C$2.2 billion ($1.75bn), an internal rate of return of 35%, and a payback period of 2 years.
The deposit is estimated to contain 251 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.04 g/t gold and 8.3 g/t silver for 8.4 million oz. gold and 68 million oz. silver. The inferred estimate is 5.6 million tonnes at 0.79 g/t gold and 26 g/t silver, containing 142,000 oz. gold and 4.6 million oz. silver. These numbers reflect a 0.5 g/t gold cut-off.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)