Canada-based Premier Gold Mines has commenced processing of ore from the El Nino gold mine at the South Arturo mine in the US.

Located in the Carlin Trend, Nevada, South Arturo is a joint venture between Premier (40%) and Nevada Gold Mines (60%).

Premier Gold said that the El Nino mine was developed on-time and on-budget, with ore being processed ahead of schedule.

The production of gold is expected to ramp up in the second half of this year, with the first gold bar pour having been held on 26 September.

According to the company, attributable gold production is estimated to meet the high end of its 5,000-10,000oz guidance for the year. Premier expects that owing to the high-grade ore at El Nino, South Arturo will have a positive effect on cash flow for the company.

Premier president and CEO Ewan Downie said: “We are excited to once again realise the benefits of South Arturo, increasing the company’s production profile with an anticipated reduction in overall operating costs.

“Premier continues to benefit from the stellar performance of our partner, Nevada Gold, and its demonstrated ability to consistently execute on schedule.”

Premier said that surface and underground drilling will begin in the second half of this year in an effort to continue delineating and expanding mineralisation at El Nino.

Features of El Nino gold mine

El Nino is a high-grade underground deposit situated down plunge of the Phase 2 pit, where mining was concluded in 2017.

Pre-stripping of the Phase 1 open pit project, a second mine being constructed at South Arturo, is ongoing with a target of production in the second half of 2020.

The company said that work was continuing to optimise heap leach material with a potential future decision to proceed with the development of a heap leach facility on the property.

In October 2016, Premier Gold Mines signed deals with Goldcorp and Kinross Gold to acquire highly prospective exploration projects in Nevada and Mexico.