Following three generations of exploration spanning four decades, Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. is moving forward with the development of the Goose gold mine on its Back River project in Nunavut, Canada.
“This is a milestone decision for the company,” Sabina Gold President and CEO Bruce McLeod said in September.
A feasibility study that was updated in 2021 envisions a mine at the Goose deposit that will average roughly 223,000 oz per year.
Over the entire 15 years of mining contemplated in the study, the Goose Mine is slated to process 18.7 million metric tons of ore from the Goose Mine averaging 6 g/t gold. At a recovery rate of 93.4%, this operation is expected to produce a total of 3.34 million oz of gold.
With all the requisite permits in hand and a large portion of the predevelopment site work already complete, Sabina expects to pour first gold at the Goose Mine in 2025.
While advancing development of the first mine at Back River, exploration across the district-scale property has entered into its fourth generation – reserve growth.
Sabina has divided the gold growth strategy at Back River into generations – prospector-driven exploration from 1982 until the mid-1990s, geophysics-driven exploration until 2010, and then mine integration-driven exploration over the past decade.
These 40 years of exploration have outlined 33.45 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources at Back River averaging 5.88 g/t (6.32 million oz) gold; plus 13.79 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 6.44 g/t (2.86 million oz) gold.
One of the primary targets for the next generation of exploration will be to continue tracing the gold mineralization in the four main deposit areas at Goose Mine deeper.
All four of the deposits that come to surface – Llama, Umwelt, Echo, and Goose – remain open at depth.
Umwelt, the largest of these deposits, hosts 13.18 metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 6.89 g/t (2.92 million oz) gold and 3 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 5.99 g/t (575,000 oz) gold.
Roughly 26% of the measured and indicated resources at Umwelt are in the proposed open pit, with the balance in the underground mineable section of the deposit.
Drilling from surface early in 2022 focused on better defining a corridor of high-grade mineralization down-dip from the bottom of the proposed Umwelt open pit.
Highlights from this drilling include:
• 31.9 meters averaging 13.68 g/t gold (lower Umwelt pit).
• 41.5 meters averaging 11.93 g/t gold (Umwelt underground).
• 45.1 meters averaging 12.59 g/t gold (lower Umwelt pit).
• 15.1 meters averaging 21.87 g/t gold (Umwelt underground).
• 20.4 meters averaging 12.64 g/t gold (lower Umwelt pit).
“These results continue to demonstrate the exceptional gold endowment of the Umwelt deposit and its potential for further optimization and growth of high-grade gold zones both within and outside of the current mine design,” said McLeod.
To trace this high-grade gold further down-dip, Sabina has developed a decline that provides a platform for underground exploration at Umwelt. This underground ramp advanced to the first ore access sublevel in September.
As the Goose Mine advances toward production, Sabina is renewing exploration efforts at George, the second most advanced project at Back River.
George, which lies about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Goose, hosts 7.1 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 5.34 g/t (1.2 million oz) gold and 5.4 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 6.12 g/t (1.1 million oz) gold.
Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
The 2022 opening of the 60-person exploration camp at George, for the first time in nearly a decade, marked a significant step in Sabina’s pipeline growth strategy at Back River.
Since the last time George camp was open, Sabina has unraveled the geological signatures and has developed new strategies for exploring the gold-bearing iron formations common to both projects.
“We are eager to apply some of these successful strategies to the prospective geology and existing deposits at George,” said McLeod
Sabina says George offers significant potential as a satellite mine with a suite of over 25 compelling exploration targets. The 2022 program at George focused on better understanding and prioritizing drill targets for new discovery and resource growth at George and across the district-scale Back River property.