Mr. Daniel Wilton reports
FIRST MINING ANNOUNCES WORK PROGRAMS TO ADVANCE CANADIAN GOLD PROJECTS
First Mining Gold Corp. has commenced work programs to advance its Canadian gold asset portfolio. The company's Springpole and Goldlund projects in Ontario are the primary focus, with most of the financing dedicated to the advancement of these two strategic assets.
Daniel W. Wilton, First Mining's chief executive officer, stated: "On the back of our upsized equity financing, we are excited to commence our work program to advance our portfolio of high-quality Canadian gold assets. The primary focus is to advance and derisk our Springpole and Goldlund gold projects, both located in Northwestern Ontario, a very well-known and prolific mining district. We believe an updated PEA at Springpole will provide the market with a better understanding of this strategic asset's value potential and annual production capability under an optimized flowsheet as a result of our successful metallurgical studies. Goldlund will be advanced via further drilling, as we continue to work towards unlocking this large district's potential. We are excited to showcase the significant value that exists within our strategic portfolio of high-quality assets."
At Springpole, the goal in 2019 is to update the current preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and continue to advance permitting. The updated PEA will reflect updated metal recoveries, capital cost and operating cost estimates from the revised process flowsheet, incorporating flotation and fine grinding as described in First Mining's Feb. 19, 2019, press release. First Mining believes that incorporating the increased recoveries will further position the project as a Tier 1 asset among gold development projects in Canada.
At Goldlund, the focus in 2019 is to follow up on the successful 2018 regional drill program by continuing stepout drilling at the Miller prospect and to continue to define the broader regional potential of the project. An initial 3,000-metre stepout drill program at Miller is planned to commence this month. Further drilling in 2019 along the 50-kilometre strike length of the geological structures will be determined after this initial stepout phase.
Regarding First Mining's broader gold asset portfolio, including the Pickle Crow, Hope Brook and Cameron projects, the priority is to complete low-spend, incremental work to continue to derisk these assets, including baseline environmental studies, internal scoping studies and potential reconnaissance mapping and exploration work.
Springpole gold project (Ontario, Canada)
The near-term priority at Springpole is to complete an updated PEA that incorporates the most recent metallurgical work that was completed on the project during 2018 and 2019. The positive interim metallurgical test results, announced on Feb. 19, 2019, indicate the potential for a significant increase in recoveries for both gold and silver. Total recoveries achieved through flotation followed by separate cyanide leaching of both concentrate and flotation tails were 90.6 per cent for gold and 95.1 per cent for silver (compared with 80 per cent for gold and 85 per cent for silver in the 2017 Springpole PEA). The revised PEA will also incorporate updated capital and operating cost estimates to reflect this updated flowsheet.
The continuing priority at Springpole is to continue to advance the project through the provincial and federal environmental assessment (EA) processes. The goal is to prepare a synchronized environmental impact statement (EIS) that meets the federal and provincial requirements.
The federal EA process was initiated through the submission of a project description (PD) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in February, 2018. The PD was used by CEAA to determine whether an EA was required for the Springpole project, and to prepare guidelines regarding the completion of an EA. EIS guidelines were issued to First Mining on June 19, 2018.
For the provincial process, First Mining entered into a voluntary agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) (formerly MOECC) in April, 2018, to conduct an EA for the project. There are two main stages in the provincial EA process, namely the development of terms of reference (ToR) and the development of the EA report. The ToR is a work plan which will outline how the EA will be prepared. The ToR document will address the community consultation and engagement plan, key components of the project, and the range of alternatives that will be considered by First Mining.
First Mining commenced community consultation and engagement with the communities of interest (COI) in July, 2018, and has held consultation meetings with indigenous communities and other stakeholders. The company is now in its second round of consultation in readiness for the preparation of the ToR. First Mining anticipates completing this round of consultation and submitting its ToR to MECP during the third quarter of 2019, with final approval of its ToR anticipated by the end of 2019.
While the permitting process is continuing, the company has completed a data gap assessment on the environmental baseline work to identify any remaining work requirements. Data collection programs to further advance the environmental assessment process will include terrestrial and aquatic environs, hydrology, surface water quality monitoring, hydrogeology, geotechnical investigation, and tailings and mine rock geochemical characterization.
The company plans to complete its draft EIS during the balance of 2019 and 2020, with a goal of submitting a final EIS in early 2021.
Goldlund gold project (Ontario, Canada)
The immediate priority at Goldlund is to follow up on regional exploration, focused at the Miller prospect, which is located along strike 10 kilometres northeast of the main Goldlund deposit. The 2018 drill campaign at the Miller prospect yielded strong results, including 108 metres of 2.43 g/t gold (see news release dated March 27, 2019, for final Miller results).
An initial 3,000-metre stepout drill program is planned at the Miller prospect, following up on the strong results achieved in 2018. The company expects drill rigs to be mobilized to the Goldlund site in June, 2019. The program consists of 14 drill holes planned along strike both to the northeast and southwest of the area drilled in 2018 along 50-metre-to-200-metre centres, testing a total strike length of up to 900 metres. This initial program will also include five infill drill holes to support the potential delineation of an NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate at the Miller prospect. The balance of the program will be success dependent, with additional metres available to continue methodically testing the strike extent of the Miller prospect as well as for infill drilling.
None of the 2018 drill results from the Miller prospect were incorporated into the 2019 updated mineral resource estimate for Goldlund, and as such, stepout and infill drilling at Miller is a priority work program in 2019 with a goal of establishing an initial resource estimate for the Miller prospect.
Drilling will also be completed to test the Camreco South target, another regional target at Goldlund. The granodiorite that hosts the Goldlund main deposit has been mapped at surface approximately seven kilometres southwest of the Goldlund main zone along the main structural corridor. Only a limited amount of historical work has been completed on the Camreco South showing. This includes soil sampling, surface grab sampling and a limited amount of historical drilling in the area, including one drill hole (TFY-28) that yielded visible gold and a high-grade intercept of 13.87 g/t gold over 1.34 metres.
Broader gold project portfolio (Eastern Canada)
First Mining's broader asset portfolio includes strategic, past-producing gold assets located in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland. Efforts on the broader portfolio will focus on the Pickle Crow, Hope Brook and Cameron gold projects, and will include data compilation, internal scoping studies, reconnaissance exploration programs and baseline environmental work. This work will advance the company's understanding of the potential of each of the projects, while ensuring that thorough and appropriate baseline environmental data are being collected in order to facilitate permitting processes in the future. Each of these projects have well-defined resources, excellent infrastructure and a significant amount of historical data.
First Mining completed a non-brokered equity offering in mid-May, 2019, raising $7.4-million with net proceeds primarily dedicated toward exploration, development and permitting activities at the company's Canadian gold projects. First Mining is fully financed to complete the work programs outlined in this news release for its Canadian gold assets. The company is focused on continuing to advance and derisk its strategic portfolio of Canadian gold assets, with a goal of surfacing fundamental value in its portfolio and unlocking value for all stakeholders.
Hazel Mullin, PGeo, director, data management and technical services, of First Mining, is a qualified person for the purposes of NI 43-101, and she has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical disclosure contained in this news release.
About First Mining Gold Corp.
First Mining Gold is an emerging development company with a diversified portfolio of gold projects in North America. Having assembled a large resource base of 7.3 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories and 3.6 million ounces of gold in the inferred category in mining-friendly jurisdictions of Eastern Canada, First Mining is now focused on advancing its material assets toward a construction decision and, ultimately, to production. The company currently holds a portfolio of 24 mineral assets in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and it may acquire additional mineral assets in the future.
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