Drilling at western Nunavut gold property going “very well,” says Sabina

Report follows Elgin Mining’s move to reign back activity at Lupin


This map shows the location of Sabina Gold and Silver's Back River project. (FILE IMAGE)

This map shows the location of Sabina Gold and Silver’s Back River project. (FILE IMAGE)

Faced with up-and-down gold prices and the news that another Nunavut gold miner is shutting down its camp, Sabina Gold and Silver Corp decided to share some good news April 30: drilling at its Back River gold project in western Nunavut is “going very well.”

“We are off to a good start with some impressive results,” said Rob Pease, Sabina’s president and chief executive officer, in an April 30 news release.

The news release from Sabina came a day after Elgin Mining Inc. said that “in light of the current market turbulence and weakening of the price of gold,” the company was shutting down the Lupin camp on the Nunavut-Northwest Territories border, cutting $5.3 million in spending on the gold mine project and reducing or eliminating its exploration programs.

Sabina said plans for 2013 still include the completion of a pre-feasibility study for the Back River project and filing a draft environmental impact statement by the end of the year.

“We believe in the long-term outlook of our assets and our sector and will keep working to create shareholder value despite a challenging market sentiment,” Pease said, referring to the nosedive in the price of gold, which fell nine per cent on April 15 to its lowest level in two years.

This has diminished the overall value of the company: shares in Sabina reached a high of $3.55 per share last autumn — but the share price now stands at $1.20.

Sabina, aiming for a 2016 start-up, said at the 2013 Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit that it plans to spend more than $60 million in 2013 on Back River, which includes eight mineral deposits in areas referred to as the its Goose and George properties.

The Back River gold mine, which would take two years to build, operate for 10 to 15 years, and then take five years to close down, would hire 1,600 workers during the construction phase and 900 during the mine’s operations.

The project, which would produce 300,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold a year, would also include open-pit and underground mines.

And it would also need a port infrastructure and roads, like the Bathurst port and road, which Sabina has promoted with Xstrata Zinc.

In its news release, Sabina said a number of camp improvement projects are currently underway at Back River.

A quarry has been established near the Goose camp along with a mobile crushing plant to provide crushed rock and gravel for the construction of an all-weather airstrip at the camp site.

Sabina said it intends to keep visiting communities in the Kitikmeot region throughout 2013.

And the company has launched a new trilingual website “to support its goal of working closely with the Kitikmeot residents, communities and stakeholders,” which lists developments in the project and job opportunities.

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