Kaminak Gold plans for Yukon property to be shovel ready by 2018

Kaminak Gold (CVE:KAM) says it wants to be ready to break ground on its Coffee gold project within three years, says CEO Eira Thomas.

"Basically we have been undertaking a number of programs in conjunction with a feasibility study, which we aim to complete by the end of 2015/early 2016," says Thomas who spoke to MINING.com mid-August.

"If that study proves positive, the project will enter into the permitting phase and we hope to be permitted and in construction in 2018."

Today Kaminak announced a $22.5 million investment. Investors include Ross Beaty, Electrum Strategic Opportunities Fund, Zebra Holdings and others.

Earlier this month the company updated its NI 43-101. The company plans to move onto permitting next year after the feasibility study is filed.

Thomas spoke with MINING.com in Dawson City. The tour was underwritten and hosted by Invest Yukon.

The Coffee project is located in west-central Yukon, within the emerging White Gold District, approximately 130km south of Dawson City and approximately 160km northwest of Carmacks, which is a two hour drive from Whitehorse.

MINING.com: What's Kaminak Gold Corporation?

Eira Thomas: Kaminak Gold Corporation is a development stage company and we are working to progress the Coffee gold project through feasibility and ultimately into development in a few short years.

MINING.com: What is the work you did on the project this summer?

Eira Thomas: It's been a very busy summer. Basically we have been undertaking a number of programs in conjunction with a feasibility study, which we aim to complete by the end of 2015/early 2016. And if that study proves positive, the project will enter into the permitting phase and we hope to be permitted and in construction in 2018.

CEO Eira Thomas (center) speaks to reporters during the Invest Yukon tour mid-August.

MINING.com: You have had some high profile financial backers.

Eira Thomas: We have. We have been really fortunate. Coffee is a really interesting project. We are located in the Yukon. We have been evaluating it since 2010. We currently have a 4 million ounce resource. The big news in 2014 was that we undertook our first economic study at Coffee. That proved positive and that allowed us to attract three key strategic investors who now just own under 30% of the company. Those investors include Ross Beaty and Lukas Lundin.

MINING.com: There are some unique properties that make the project low cost. Why is this a low cost project?

Eira Thomas: Two key reasons. You are right, it is unusual for a northern Canadian project to deliver such low all-sustaining costs but we really benefit from being located in a part of the Yukon that has never been glaciated. So the result is that almost 2.6 million ounces out of our 4 million ounce resource is actually oxidized or weathered, which in turn has demonstrated good amenability to heap leaching. So we are able to heap leach the Coffee mineralization and that is a big value driver. The other key value driver for us is grade. At 1.23 grams per tonne, Coffee will be one of the highest grade open pit heap leach gold mines in the world.

MINING.com: What are the transportation updates?

Eira Thomas: We have been investigating different access route options into the project area and as part of our original preliminary economic assessment. We did include the cost to build a permanent access road into the site. Recently however we have changed tack with that and we have determined that the most optimal route would be to come from the north, from Dawson City into our project site–that's about a 160KM long route. However almost 130KM of that access route is already constructed so we would simply need to upgrade that and then we are looking at about 30KM of new construction.

An NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate shows an indicated resource of 52.4 million tonnes grading at 1.68g/t Au

MINING.com: Who are the First Nations in the area?

Eira Thomas: We are working within the traditional area of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, we call them "TH" for short. And they have been very supportive of the project. We have been engaging with them since day one. And we do have an exploration and development agreement with TH that ensures their support right through the exploration phase.

MINING.com: What's up for 2016?

Eira Thomas: 2016 is also going to be busy. We are expecting that our feasibility study will be positive and on the heals of that we would like to go right into the permitting process. So we will be submitting our project description to start the permitting process in the Yukon. That is expected to take us 24 months. So our aim is to be shovel-ready by the second quarter of 2018.

MINING.com: What's it like working in the Yukon?

Eira Thomas: I've spent most of my career working north of 60. But this is the first project I've had in the Yukon. And I have to say it's been terrific. Certainly there is a long history and experience with mining in this territory. You know we are in Dawson, which is the heart of the Klondike, the Gold Rush. Exploration still really influences the outlook and the attitude so we find that there is good support for our project. And it is really great to be working in a legacy gold mining district in Canada.

Tony Reda, Vice President of Corporate Development, examines a rock on the Coffee project.