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Matheson-area gold deposits show 24 years of mine life

Moneta Gold posts economic base case for large open-pit and underground operation
Moneta Porcupines Mines photo (core shack)
(Company photo)

A Toronto mine builder is introducing the next gold mine for the Timmins camp.

Moneta Gold is putting a 24-year mine life on its Tower Gold Project, located near Matheson, after releasing a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on Sept. 7.

In its news release, the company said Tower Gold offers a low-cost operation with “strong economics” that should be provide opportunities for area First Nations and other local stakeholders.

A PEA is an important first-pass economic step to assess a mineral project's potential viability. Once posted, mining companies generally move on to more detailed steps of technical evaluation by way of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies.

Situated 100 kilometres east of Timmins, Tower Gold is a potential district-scale mining complex. Moneta possesses seven gold deposits spread over a 12-kilometre stretch with resources down to depths of more than a kilometre (1,100 metres).

The company wants to tackle these deposits using both open pit and underground mining methods to recover an estimated 4.6-million ounces of gold over the life of mine.

Average annual gold production will be 261,014 ounces through the first 11 years of production. Average mill head gold grade is projected at 1.28 grams per tonne gold through that first decade.

The project is easily reachable. Highway 101 runs through the northern portion of the property.

It’ll cost $517 million to build the mine, including a processing plant, on-site roads, power line and substation, tailings storage for mine waste rock, buildings, and a site water management system. Once in operation, the price tag is $886 million over its mine life.

The development’s costs are based on a gold price of US$1,600 an ounce.

Mining will occur in two separate places on the property.

Golden Highway, which has Highway 11 running through it, consists of four deposits: Westaway, Southwest, 55, Windjammer.

Garrison, which is south of the highway, consists of three deposits: Garrcon, 903, Jonpol.

In May, Moneta posted a new mineral resource estimate for Tower, showing 4.46-million ounces of indicated gold in the ground and 8.29-million ounces in the inferred categories.

Indicated and inferred resources have to do with the degree of confidence in a mineral resource with indicated being of higher confidence and inferred being lower.

Moneta’s consultants are recommending Tower Gold be advanced to the prefeasibility stage. In the release, Moneta gave no date when that particular study will start.

The consultants also recommend getting started on an environmental impact study and to continue exploration on the company’s large 27,000-hectare property to fully assess its gold potential. Moneta recently raised more than $15 million in flow-through share money to do that.

In a statement, Moneta president-CEO Gary O'Connor was pleased with what he read in the PEA.

“This PEA confirms the potential for a robust gold project with compelling project economics and represents an important interim update on the progress of our work program at Tower Gold. In 2022, we will continue to focus on in-fill and definition drilling to better define resources and improve the economics of the resource through increasing grades and lowering strip ratios, while also identifying new targets."