Premier Gold’s dispute with Centerra over Ontario project heats up

The Hardrock gold project is located in Northwestern Ontario, about 270 km northeast of Thunder Bay. (Image courtesy of Greenstone Gold Mines.)

A dispute between Canada’s Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) and Premier Gold Mines (TSX:PG) in relation to their joint gold project in Greenstone, Ontario, is heating up, with Premier filing on Tuesday a counterclaim in response to its partner’s lawsuit.

The bone of contention is a project update made in December by Greenstone Gold Mines — Premier’s and Centerra’s subsidiary AuRico Canadian Royalty Holdings’ company — which Centerra argues should not be considered a “Feasibility Study.”

The bone of contention is a recent update for the miners’ Hardrock project, which Centerra argues should not be considered a “Feasibility Study”

Premier claims that in 2016, a comprehensive technical and economic feasibility study was completed for the Hardrock project, located in Northwestern Ontario, about 270 km northeast of Thunder Bay.

Upon its completion, the Greenstone Gold board —  consisting of two members each from Centerra and Premier —  approved a series of budgets, including the 2019 budget that gave Greenstone Gold the direction to independently complete a resource estimate and an economic update on the project.

Premier contends the Greenstone Gold board met once the 2019 project update, prepared by an independent mining consultant, was completed.

The Thunder Bay-based miner added that the feasibility study presented at the time indicated an internal rate of return that satisfied the criteria under the partnership agreement for the development of a mine.

The partners are expected to meet in court in October.

It’s estimated that the open-pit gold mine could provide nearly 1,000 jobs during construction and pre-production, and 450 workers would be employed full-time during Hardrock’s 15-year mine life span.

Between 1930 and 1970, more than 4 million ounces of gold were mined with underground methods from multiple mines in the region, with the Hardrock mines being the largest.

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