World’s largest gold project just got rather expensive

Drill site at the KSM gold-copper project British Columbia. (Image courtesy of Seabridge Gold.)

Shares in Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA) (NYSE:SA) were being hammered Monday after the Canadian explorer revealed results of new preliminary studies which show the cost of building its massive gold-copper project in northern British Columbia, would be about $5 billion.

While the KSM project is considered the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves, the amount needed to turn it into a producing mine is equivalent to over 20% of the total market capitalization of Barrick Gold, the world’s No.1 producer by output.

Seabridge’s KSM project is considered the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves.

Investors seemed disappointed and the stock was down 4.39% in Toronto to Cdn$14.60 at 10:15 am. The price drop also reflected a dip in gold prices, as haven assets took a hit Monday after the Federal Bureau of Investigation cleared Hillary Clinton over a batch of newly discovered emails.

The company’s Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk, however, said the updated preliminary feasibility study remained a viable option for developing KSM, which has 38.8 million ounces of gold, 10.2 billion pounds of copper and 183 million ounces of silver in proven and probable mineral reserves.

Canada’s minister of the environment approved KSM during the final days of 2014. The federal and provincial environmental assessment process took nearly seven-years and KSM was only the second metal mine in five years to receive the green-light from authorities.

During its first seven years of operation, the mine is expected to have an annual gold output of 1 million ounces and life of mine annual production is estimated at 592,000 ounces of gold, 286,000 pounds of copper and 2.8 million ounces of silver.

Details of the NI 43-101 Technical Report released today:

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