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Premier Gold Mines nabs wastewater permit for Geraldton mine project

Open-pit mine could operate for 15 years, provide jobs for 450
Premier Gold MacLeod-Cockshutt headframe
The MacLeod-Cockshutt Mine headframe on Highway 11, south of Geraldton, on the site for the Hardrock open-pit mine gold project (Premier Gold photo)

Premier Gold Mines has received a federal wastewater permit for its open-pit gold mine project near Geraldton.

The Thunder Bay miner and mineral explorer called receiving approval of a Schedule 2 amendment of the Metal and Diamod Mining Effluent Regulations a significant environmental permitting milestone for its Hardrock mine project.

The Hardrock project is a proposed open-pit gold mine with an on-site processing mill and mine tailings facility, located immediately south of the community and 275 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

The mine closure plan was approved by the province in January, another key regulatory hurdle. The company is hopeful of obtaining all of its remaining permits this year.

The development will result in the diversion of Highway 11 around the pit and diverting some water bodies south of the deposit.

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In a July 9 news release, Premier said the permit application was done through a streamlined process few mine project which reduced approval timelines by 10 months.

Greenstone Gold Mines was deemed eligible for this process, the company said, due to the "quality and depth" of its regulatory and First Nations engagement, and the support from area stakeholders.

“This is a very significant milestone for the project and the culmination of six years of effort which included extensive field work, assessments and consultation with the Indigenous communities, local communities and federal/provincial agencies," said Premier's executive chairman John Begeman in a statement.

“This approval represents a major environmental permitting milestone that is required in order for this long life, cornerstone project to become a reality.”

The property contains a measured and indicated resource of 7.1 million ounces of gold for a projected mine life of 15 years. 

It's on the site of the former MacLeod-Mosher mine site where multiple gold mines operated between the 1930s and 1970s. The area was rehabilitated in the late 1990s.

The Hardrock project is run under the banner of Greenstone Gold Mines, a contentious 50/50 joint venture between Premier and Centerra Gold.

The mine and mill stands to create employment for 450, a big economic booster for that part of northwestern Ontario, but when construction could conceivably start remains unclear.

Premier made an unsuccessful attempt earlier this year to break off its joint venture with Centerra Gold to bring in another development partner.

Premier is a gold miner and exploration company with operations and properties in northwestern Ontario, Nevada and Mexico.