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Artemis Gold Provides Q4 Update on Blackwater Mine Construction Progress

Press Release

January 30, 2024

Project Remains Fully Funded, Within Guidance for Initial Capital Expenditure, and on Schedule

Vancouver, British Columbia – Artemis Gold Inc. (TSX-V: ARTG) (“Artemis Gold” or the “Company”) provides an update on Q4 construction progress at the Blackwater Mine in central British Columbia. The project remains fully funded, within the guidance for initial capital expenditure, and on schedule for first gold pour in H2 2024.

At December 31, 2023, overall construction was 59% complete, and approximately C$389 million of the guided initial capital expenditure of C$730 to C$750 million had been spent. The lag between the spend and percentage of completion is as planned and consistent with a typical project S-curve. By the end of Q4 2023, the Company had entered into contractual commitments for C$615 million (or 84% of the lower end of the guided initial capital expenditure). The majority of the balance of uncommitted expenditures for the guided initial capital relate to owners cost and earthworks associated with mining pre-strip and construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF) and other civil structures.

Artemis Gold Chairman and CEO Steven Dean commented: “We remain focused on a disciplined approach to development and remain on track for the first gold pour in H2 2024.”

Construction Update

Earthworks continued in priority infrastructure areas, with approximately 640 hectares logged and cleared. All access roads needed for Phase 1 construction are now operable. Construction of the site water management facilities, including the water management pond, and Davidson Creek diversion, is well advanced. Work associated with the transmission line is progressing in accordance with the project schedule.

Total major works hours worked up to December 31, 2023 surpassed 1.1 million hours with a zero LTIFR1 and an AIFR2 of 91.86.

Plant Site

Process plant construction progressed well on a number of fronts, including the mill building foundation preparation, reagents building foundations, ball mill pedestals, carbon in leach (CIL) and detox tank erection, advancement of the primary, secondary, and tertiary crushers structures, and the reclaim tunnel civil works. Hydro testing within the  CIL tank area commenced.

Construction of the run-of-mine (ROM) wall and the initial ROM dump slab earthworks have been completed. The focus has now moved to concrete formwork to allow for the installation of the primary crusher ROM slab and crusher vault. Steel structures for the secondary and tertiary crusher and screening station have been advanced and installation of the crushing mechanical packages commenced in Q4. The erection of the mill building and installation of the ball mill also commenced in late Q4.

Heavy Equipment

The construction fleet now includes 60 and 100 tonne rigid frame haul trucks and 150 tonne excavators, providing more material movement capability to key areas. Assembly and commissioning of the owner’s mining fleet is well advanced, including two 400 tonne hydraulic backhoe excavators. Five 240 tonne rigid frame haul trucks have been delivered to site, four of which have been substantially assembled. The remainder of the fleet to support operations will arrive predominately across the first half of 2024. Fleet assembly is expected to be completed well before the commencement of pre-stripping, and equipment will be made available to support earthworks if needed.

Engineering and Procurement

At the end of December 2023, the Sedgman EPC contract work was 75% complete overall, with engineering, design and procurement substantially complete. Key mechanical equipment packages, including the primary, secondary and tertiary crushers, conveyor assemblies, dry screens, and ball mill are all on site and are in various stages of  installation. The electrical machinery control centres are also in various stages of delivery and installation.

Key mining-related contracts have been executed with detailed mobilization plans for production drilling services well advanced. In addition, equipment supply contracts have been awarded for the oxygen plant and water treatment plant. Q4 also marked the arrival onsite of the first delivery of the 225kV transmission line conductor and poles.

Personnel

The Company’s staffing numbers surpassed 320 employees in Q4 2023, with approximately 20%  of the team female and over 30% identifying as Indigenous. Approximately 50% of the development team is from the local region and over 80% are B.C. residents. The total workforce at the Blackwater Mine, including staff and contractors, surpassed 550 towards the end of December.

Funding

At December 31, 2023, Artemis Gold had estimated remaining Phase 1 capital expenditures of C$341 to C$361 million. At the same date, the committed sources of funding totalled C$432 million, comprising:

  • cash and cash equivalents of C$157 million;
  • remaining drawdowns from the project loan facility of C$235 million (including up to C$25 million of capitalized interest), and
  • a cost overrun facility of C$40 million

In addition, the Company had 26.2 million warrants outstanding which are exercisable at C$1.08 per warrant before August 27, 2024, for anticipated proceeds of C$28 million.

Hedging

Artemis Gold has put in place a modest hedging program to secure the returns on capital invested in the early years of operations and further de-risk servicing of the Company’s project loan facility during the pay-back period. To date, the Company has entered into forward sales agreements to deliver 190,000 ounces of gold between March 2025 and December 2027 at a weighted average sales price of C$2,851 per ounce, which is more than 40% higher than the gold price assumption in the September 2021 Feasibility Study. During Q4 2023, the Company also executed zero cost collars associated with 30,000 ounces of gold with settlement dates from December 2024 to February 2025. The collars have a weighted average put price of C$2,600 per ounce and a weighted average call price of C$3,353 per ounce.

Expansion Study

With Phase 1 fully funded and 59% complete at the end of December 2023, a study to evaluate the benefits of advancing the Phase 2 expansion earlier than contemplated in the September 2021 Feasibility Study is progressing well. The results of this expansion study are expected to be released later in Q1 2024.

Artemis Gold President and COO Jeremy Langford commented: “The fourth quarter was highlighted by our workforce eclipsing one million hours worked without an LTI – an important achievement that reflects the hard work and commitment of our dedicated workforce. As we enter Q1 2024, our short-term priorities will be to further progress the TSF infrastructure areas, advance the construction of the 225Kv transmission line and complete all essential concrete works within the process facility. In parallel with this the teams will look to progress the structural, mechanical, platework, piping and electrical construction activities within the process plant and electrical substation areas. Operations team members are scheduled to commence pre-production planning, which will prepare the teams for initial mining operations and plant commissioning.”

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Steven Dean
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
+1 604 558 1107

Investor Relations contact

Meg Brown
Vice President, Investor Relations
[email protected]
+1 778 899 0518

IBF4

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