Following consultation with Yukon First Nations, both the territorial and federal governments have given the greenlight for Newmont’s (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT) Coffee gold project to proceed, as per Yukon Environmental Socioeconomic Assessment Board’s (YESAB) recommendations.
“The decision to approve the Coffee gold project provides much-needed certainty about the future of the project and the development of this strategic asset,” Mark Rodgers, regional senior VP of Newmont North America, said in a statement.
“We are very pleased to reach a decision that will allow the Coffee gold project to move forward,” said Yukon Premier Sandy Silver. “This is another example of the effectiveness of the Yukon’s environmental and social-economic assessment process that continues to uphold responsible development in the territory. The Coffee gold project will provide significant employment opportunities for many Yukoners and contribute to the territory’s growing economy.”
The Coffee project is a proposed open pit and heap leach gold mine located in west-central Yukon, approximately 100 kilometres east of Beaver Creek and 130 kilometres south of Dawson. It comprises four open pits (Latte, Double Double, Supremo and Kona) and one permanent waste rock storage facility.
The project is expected to have a construction period of 30 months, followed by a 10-year operation phase and an 11-year closure phase. Overall, the project’s activities will span for about 24 years.
During the peak of construction, the proposed project is estimated to provide nearly 700 jobs for Yukon residents, according to the YESAB’s screening report.
Over the project’s lifecycle, up to 9 million tonnes of ore will be extracted on an annual basis. The ore will be mined by conventional shovel-and-truck methods and crushed and placed onto a heap leach facility. Gold will be extracted by leach solution.
Probable mineral reserves for the project currently stand at 46.4 million grading 1.45 g/t gold, containing 2.15 million oz. of gold. Heap leach metallurgical studies indicate 86% life-of-mine gold recoveries.
Measured and indicated resources are estimated at 55.5 million tonnes averaging 1.2 g/t gold, for 2.14 million oz. of gold. Another 6.8 million tonnes grading 1.07 g/t for 230,000 oz. gold are inferred.
The Coffee deposit was added to the Newmont portfolio through its merger with Goldcorp, which acquired the project as part of its Kaminak Gold takeover in 2016.
Construction of the Coffee project remains subject to various regulatory proceedings. Newmont will also need obtain a quartz mining licence as well as water licence.