COPPER-GOLD EXPLORATION NEWS Kemess North Project Moves to Final Feasibility

SMITHERS, British Columbia The pre-feasibility study was positive and now NORTHGATE EXPLORATION is advancing the...


SMITHERS, British Columbia The pre-feasibility study was positive and now NORTHGATE EXPLORATION is advancing the Kemess North project to the bankable feasibility stage. The final report is expected in the first quarter of 2004.

A 12-year mine plan has been developed by engineering consultants at NORTHWEST CORP. which outlines an open pit with 250 million t of resources at a grade of 0.392 g/t Au and 0.207% Cu, containing 3.15 million oz of gold and 1.14 billion lb of copper. Northgate expects to convert these resources within the proposed pit to a probable reserve once the final feasibility study is completed and filed early in 2004.

Northgate's plan is to put the Kemess North deposit into production in 2008, after copper-gold reserves are depleted at the Kemess South pit. The switch would extend the mine life by 10 years. At the same time the mill capacity would be increased by 50% to 75,000 tonnes/day. The capital cost of bringing the Kemess North deposit into production will be about $150 million.

The Kemess North mine is reached via an 11-km-long road from the Kemess South operation. The site will consist of a primary crusher, initially one SAG mill, a maintenance building, and a fuel storage depot. Once ore is crushed and milled, it will be transported by a gravity flow pipeline running parallel to the access road to the existing Kemess South mill building for secondary milling and flotation. It was determined during the pre-feasibility study process that the proposed SAG mill/pipeline configuration had a lower capital cost and higher operational reliability, relative to the tunnel/conveyer concept that had previously been envisioned.

Several different options are being considered for the impoundment of the tailings and waste rock generated at Kemess North. It is anticipated that the Kemess South pit and the existing Kemess South tailings facility will be used in addition to one of several alternative sites that are being investigated as part of the feasibility study.

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