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First Mining eyes gold production in the northwest

Vancouver mineral holding company becomes project developer

First Mining Finance is changing gears from accumulating gold properties in northwestern Ontario to toward figuring out how to put them into production.

After acquiring 25 properties across North America and Mexico over the last two years, the Vancouver junior miner announced its adopting a new strategy, changing its name to First Mining Gold, and has named former North American Palladium CFO Jeff Swinoga as CEO.

Swinoga succeeds Chris Osterman who’s the new COO in charge of project development. Company president Patrick Donnelly stays on in his current role.

Swinoga has 25 years of experience in mining finance, project development, and construction.

He’s worked for Torex Gold Resources, HudBay Minerals, Barrick Gold and during his four-year stay with North American Palladium, Swinoga oversaw the financing to construct the Offset Zone expansion at the Lac des Iles Mine, northwest of Thunder Bay.

“His people-focused leadership style and industry expertise will be key for the next stages of First Mining’s development as we move our flagship assets towards production,” said First Mining chairman Keith Neumeyer in a news release.

“With the company planning to aggressively advance its attractive portfolio of gold properties, Chris (Osterman) can now focus his efforts solely on advancing our projects.”

Four of the five cornerstone gold projects in First Mining’s portfolio are located in northwestern Ontario with Springpole, Goldlund, Cameron and Pickle Crow.

“During my 25 years as a mining executive I have learned that great companies are built upon quality assets and exceptional talent which is why I was drawn to First Mining,” said Swinoga in a statement.

“I look forward to building value for our shareholders with First Mining's attractive flagship assets in mining friendly jurisdictions, a highly competent team, and a board of directors that is committed to advancing these excellent projects towards production."

This year’s efforts will be focused on permitting and developing its Springpole Gold Project, 110-kilometres northeast of Red Lake.

The company received good news last September from a preliminary economic assessment that indicated Springpole has potential as an open-pit gold and silver mine with a 12-year life.

Exploration its other properties will continue with the company budgeting a minimum of $5 million, including for a 7,000 metres in-fill and exploration drill program at its Goldlund Gold Project, southwest of Sioux Lookout where they continue to add ounces to a potential open-pit mine.

First Mining Gold Corp shares began trading on the TSX on Jan. 11. The “FF” ticket symbol remains the same.