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Cold proves costly to crush at Clavos Mine

Weather hampers Sage Gold’s bulk sampling program in Timmins
Sage Gold Clavos Project

The deep freeze slowed Sage Gold’s progress on its bulk sampling program at its Clavos mine project in Timmins.

In a Jan. 5 news release, the Toronto mine developer reported they’ve experienced numerous mechanical failures with surface crushing because of the severe cold weather that’s limited moving mineralized material to the mill.

The company is grinding through its bulk sampling program with three mill runs already in the books between October and December. So far, it’s yielded 790 ounces of gold. A fourth mill run is coming up sometime in January.

To keep stoppages to a minimum, the crushing contractor has begun stockpiling material at the mine and the mill site.

The material heading 10 kilometres down the road to the Stock Mill is being classified as lower grade pre-stope development rock, along with rock left behind by the mine’s former operator. Stope mining of the higher grade stuff hasn’t started yet.

Sage picked up the former St. Andrew Goldfields mine in late 2016. Clavos is 32 kilometres northeast of Timmins and is fully permitted. Sage aims to start commercial production by the second quarter of 2018.

The company said the weather-related problems from the surface crushing has proved costly and they’re looking to source more working capital as well as being on the prowl for financing to buy new equipment.

There are further delays with Hydro One hooking up the site to the power grid.

In the meantime, underground drilling and blasting continue as they work toward developing a pre-feasibility study with a new mineral resource and reserve estimate.

An old preliminary economic assessment from 2013 had Clavos producing more than 145,000 ounces over seven years.

With 90 per cent of the mine dewatered, the company believes the deeper they go the grade thickness will improve.

According to their model, the thickest intersections are below the 200-metre level. Old records indicate the previous operator constructed mine stopes down to the 285-metre level but didn’t extract much material.