by Ewan Downie
Happy New Year all!
Even though 2017 is still in its infancy, it feels like it has been with us a while. We have really been focussed on our plan for this year since late in Q3 last year. Today’s exploration update helps us close the door on what was a very exciting 2016, but hold on to your hats because we are only getting started!
Premier Gold has a long-standing commitment to exploration, a commitment that has resulted in several significant discoveries. This commitment will continue during 2017 where we expect our largest annual exploration budget in company history with no less than US$18.5 million being spent on programs expected to have a direct, near-term impact on future production and on our peer-best development pipeline.
Two items worth emphasizing from today’s release is the scope of the campaign we will undertake at McCoy-Cove and the potential for additional exploration success at our two operating assets, Mercedes and South Arturo. At McCoy Cove, we believe the CSD Gap discovery made earlier in 2016 represents a significant, but underappreciated asset Premier intends on moving forward on aggressively. We believe the discovery has the potential to be a low CAPEX future operation, but by Q3 we will have completed our first economic study on it. In the meantime, we will continue to technically de-risk the project.
At both Mercedes and South Arturo, we are very excited about the potential to extend the life of mining operations. South Arturo is returning to exploration after a year off for mine development and we are hopeful that El Nino, the high grade underground extension of the current open pit mineralization, will successfully transition to operations in the future. At Mercedes, one exploration program that has potential to significantly impact operations relates to our search for additional parallel ore structures that could be accessed from existing underground infrastructure. It’s hard to believe our current flat-hole underground exploration program is the first to be undertaken at the operation. Another low risk, but high reward opportunity!