Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC) is aiming to report an initial inferred resource for its recently acquired Great Bear (Dixie) project in Red Lake, Ont., by the end of the year. The gold miner, which paid $1.8 billion in cash and shares for Great Bear in a deal that closed in late February, plans to start a prefeasibility study on the project in 2023.
With 10 drill rigs at work at Dixie, Kinross expects to complete about 200,000 metres of drilling focusing on the project's LP Fault zone in 2022. In total, Kinross has budgeted about $75 million for the project's activities this year, which includes preparatory steps for the prefeasibility study, such as "critical field work including metallurgy, hydrology and geotechnical drilling and test work."
The company also released drill results from the 60 holes drilled late last year and early 2022 at the LP Fault zone. These drills follow the roughly 340,000 metres of drilling conducted by Great Bear prior to the takeover.
Highlights from the drilling included 10.3 metres grading 15.1 grams gold per tonne starting from 461.5 metres in drillhole BR-481; and 3.8 metres grading 25.7 grams gold starting from 18.7 metres in drillhole BR-503.
Kinross announced its acquisition of Great Bear for its Dixie project in December. The project has been dubbed as one of the most important gold discoveries in Canada and has the potential to become a Tier One asset according to analysts.
"The integration... has advanced quickly and efficiently, and we have retained many of the experienced Great Bear exploration team members," Kinross CEO J. Paul Rollinson said in a press release. "We are excited to move ahead with this next phase of drilling and project activities to help realize our vision of a large, long-life mining complex."
In what has been a busy week for the company, Kinross announced the sale of its Russian assets for US$680 million on Apr. 5 and entered into an agreement with Asante Gold (US-OTC: ASGOF; CSE: ASE) the following day to potentially sell the company's 90% interest in the Chirano gold mine.
"Following the potential sale of its Russian assets and potentially Chirano in Ghana, we estimate that 70% of Kinross's production would be sourced from North and South America and trend towards 85% by 2029 with Great Bear potentially coming online," Canaccord Genuity mining analyst Carey MacRury wrote in a research note to clients.
"As a reminder, Kinross is targeting a high-grade (3-4 grams per tonne) initial open pit with a 10,000 to 15,000 tonne-per-day mill, which could then transition to a bulk-tonnage underground operation," added MacRury.
Kinross has also begun its local stakeholder engagement program with the Wabauskang and Lac Seul First Nations on whose traditional territories the project is located.
At presstime in Toronto, Kinross Gold was trading at $7.32 per share within a 52-week trading range of $6.32 and $10.05. The company has 1.3 billion common shares outstanding for a market cap of $9.4 billion.