Construction of the Blackwater Gold mine, 160 kilometres southwest of Prince George, remains on target to begin extracting the first gold pour in the second half of this year.  

In a mining report issued Tuesday, Artemis Gold said construction was 59 per cent complete as of Dec. 31 and the company had spent $389 million of its initial capital expenditure of $730-750 million. By the end of 2023, Artemis has entered into $615 million worth of contractual commitments.

A 640-hectare mine site has been logged and cleared. All access roads needed for the first phase of construction are now operable.

Construction of the mine’s water management facilities is progressing according to plan, the company says. That includes the Davidson Creek diversion and the sediment control pond, which features a two-millimetre thick environmental control liner. Work also continued to expand the septic field and construction of the hydro transmission line remains on schedule.

Major works construction through Dec. 31 surpassed 1.1 million hours with a zero lost time injury frequency rating and an all-injuries rating of 91.86.

Blackwater now has a fleet of 60- and 100-tonne rigid frame haul trucks and 150-tonne excavators. Five 240-tonne rigid frame haul trucks have also been delivered to the site and four of them are now substantially assembled. Delivery of the remainder of the fleet to support mine operations is expected before July.

Blackwater surpassed 320 employees in Q4, of which 20 per cent were female and 30 percent identified as Indigenous. Fifty per cent of the workforce is from the local region and 80 per cent are from B.C. By December, there were more than 550 workers involved the project.

An online video provides an update on the mine’s construction.

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