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Artemis looking to pour gold by the end of the year

Artemis Gold Inc. has provided an update on construction progress at the Blackwater Mine in central British Columbia. The project remains fully funded, within the guidance for initial capital expenditure, and on schedule for first gold pour in late 2024.

At March 31, overall construction was approximately 73 per cent complete, and approximately C$523 million of the guided initial capital expenditure of C$730 to C$750 million had been spent. By the end of the first quarter, the company had entered into contractual commitments for C$682 million (or 93 per cent of the lower end of the guided initial capital expenditure). The majority of uncommitted expenditures relate to owners’ cost and earthworks associated with mining pre-strip and construction of the tailings storage facility and other civil structures.

“We have an exceptional team managing the development of the Blackwater Mine,” said Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO of Artemis Gold. “Execution is critical in all projects, and managing the day-to-day challenges that arise in building a mine of this scale and complexity is key to being successful. We have an experienced group of people who are first class problem solvers, ensuring we advance toward operational readiness and remain on track for first gold pour in H2 2024.

“The remainder of 2024 will be transformational for Artemis Gold as we progress the Blackwater Mine, a tier one asset in a tier one jurisdiction, into production.”

Construction Update 

Mild weather conditions in Q1 2024 provided good, early access to infrastructure areas at the Blackwater Mine. Construction of major site water management facilities, including the water management pond, the central diversion system and the Davidson Creek diversion, have been completed. Work on the tailings storage facility dam is progressing well. Initial material placement has been successfully achieved, including tying into the surrounding topography, providing for optimal productivity moving into summer.

Total major works hours worked up to March 31, 2024 surpassed 1.7 million hours with a zero LTIFR[i] and an AIFR[ii] of 87.68.

Process Plant

At the end of March 2024, the Sedgman EPC contract work on the processing plant was approximately 84% complete overall, with engineering, design and procurement essentially complete.

Process plant construction continues to progress well, particularly within steel erection and conveyor installation. Installation of mechanical equipment within the secondary and tertiary crushing circuits, as well as the screening station, was completed during the quarter. Notable achievements throughout the period included the installation of the ball mill, intensive leach reactor and the regeneration kiln, while installation of the gravity concentrator has commenced. All major tanks have been completed, including pre-leach, carbon-in-leach, and elution, and hydrotesting is underway.

Concrete work is nearing completion with most of the major pours now completed including the primary crusher run-of-mine slab, crusher vault and ore stockpile reclaim tunnel. Erection of the reagents and mill buildings are in progress with cladding works planned to commence in April.

Electrical and instrumentation activities are scaling up, with the installation of the main electrical room in the crushing circuit area now complete.

Transmission Line

During Q1 2024 the transmission line right-of-way clearing was completed. Construction contracts were awarded, and contractors mobilized to the region. Laydown areas and camp facilities have been established and civil foundation work and structure erection commenced. All electrical conductors have been delivered to site. Poles and hardware deliveries are in progress and sequenced to support the construction schedule.

The line is being built in two parts, north and south of the Nechako River. The length of the northern section is approximately 50km and the southern section approximately 80km.

Upgrades to the BC Hydro Glenannan substation are progressing to plan. Commissioning planning with BC Hydro is advancing as planned.

Work associated with Blackwater’s 25kV power distribution network has progressed according to plan with engineering at an issued-for-construction (IFC) level, procurement complete, and most materials on site. Pole foundations are 65% completed and pole erection has commenced.

Heavy Equipment

Assembly and commissioning of the owner’s mining fleet continues to advance. Two 400-tonne hydraulic backhoe excavators, six 240-tonne rigid frame haul trucks and two large mining front-end loaders are fully assembled. The remainder of the fleet to support initial operations is on site and nearing completion. Additional units will be added to the fleet as operations ramp up.


The Company maintained its workforce of 320 employees in Q1 2024 and the ratios of the workforce have remained consistent, approximately:

–        20% of the team are women

–        30% identify as Indigenous

–        50% are from the local region, and;

–        80% are B.C. residents.

The total Blackwater Mine workforce, including staff and contractors, surpassed 600 at the end of March.

Operational Readiness

Recruitment for the Blackwater Mine operations team commenced this quarter with the first hires starting in early Q2 2024.

A laboratory contract has been signed and all mill reagents have been tendered, with plans to finalize the contracts in Q2 2024.

Procurement for commissioning, operations and critical spares was completed, and the operational readiness planning commenced during the quarter.


During Q1 2024, the Company completed an additional draw of $130 million under the project loan facility, bringing the total drawn to $280 million, along with approximately C$5 million in cumulative capitalized interest at March 31, 2024.

At March 31, 2024, Artemis Gold had estimated remaining Phase 1 capital expenditures of C$207 to C$227 million. At the same date, the committed sources of funding totalled C$295 million, comprising:

  • cash and cash equivalents of C$155 million;
  • remaining drawdowns from the project loan facility of C$100 million (including approximately C$20 million of capitalized interest remaining available), and
  • a cost overrun facility of C$40 million.

In addition, the company had 23.2 million warrants outstanding which are exercisable at C$1.08 per warrant before August 27, 2024, for anticipated proceeds of C$25 million.

Artemis Gold President and COO Jeremy Langford commented: “Looking ahead to Q2 2024, we expect to complete the construction and commissioning of the initial phase of the mining fleet, advance the tailings storage facility main dam wall, and move to the completion of the construction activity in the processing facility. At the end of Q1 2024, we remain on track for first gold pour in H2 2024.”

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