Artemis Gold has secured early works permit for its 100% owned Blackwater Gold project from the British Columbia government in Canada.

The approval is the first step needed for the construction of the open pit mine and it allows the company to begin the required site preparation and land-clearing work.

Artemis Gold estimates an initial development capital of CAD592m ($470.94m) for the project for the first five years to achieve a throughput of 5.5 million tonnes per annum (tpa).

The company had applied for the early works permit in February 2021, a year ahead of the planned construction date. The company at that time stated that after securing the permit, it will focus on clearing land for haul roads, the stage 1 tailing storage facility, and camp areas associated with the project.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said: “Advancing the Blackwater Gold project will help unearth the massive economic potential in B.C.’s Cariboo region.

“Mining and mineral exploration are a foundational part of our economy and will help us build a stronger and more sustainable British Columbia where the benefits of our recovery reach everyone.”

The Blackwater Gold project holds 8.2 million ounces of gold in proven and probable mineral reserves along with 60.8 million ounces of silver.

According to the British Columbia government, the Blackwater Gold mine is expected to be the largest mine development project in the Cariboo region in the last 10 years.

The gold project will generate 457 direct full-time roles per year over its 23-year operating mining life along with 825 direct full-time roles per year for its construction/expansion phases, as per a study by KPMG.

Artemis Gold chairman and CEO Steven Dean said: “We would like to thank the Government of British Columbia for prioritising this permit, the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and Ulkatcho First Nation, whose traditional territories overlap the mine property for continuing to demonstrate strong support, including during the permitting process, to advance the Blackwater Project forward on its path of becoming the next major new gold mine in British Columbia.

“The approval of the early works permit is another sign that British Columbia is open for business for responsible mineral exploration and development.”