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PureGold announces milestone Second Quarter and drilling updates as ramp-up nears completion

Jul 13, 2021

“The second quarter was one of achieving critically important milestones and making key investment decisions for the PureGold Mine, balancing both long-term and short-term objectives," said Darin Labrenz, President & CEO of PureGold.  

"As we continue opening up the mine and accelerating the development of our two key haulage ways, we are seeing consistent quarter-over-quarter improvements in all key operating metrics and, importantly, excellent grade reconciliation to our Mineral Reserves. With two active ramps now mining ore, an additional dedicated crew to focus on Main Ramp development beginning in July, and nearly 30,000 tonnes of longhole stopes developed in front of us, we are entering the third quarter in our strongest position ever.”

Pure Gold Mining Inc. is providing an operations and underground drilling update, including drill results, for the second quarter at its high-grade PureGold Mine in Red Lake.

Production highlights for the second quarter include:

  • Average daily throughput of 509 tpd for the quarter and 577 tpd for the month of June;
  • Average daily ramp development rate for the Main and East Ramps of 5.2 metres and 4.5 metres per day for the second quarter, respectively, a new quarterly record for the Main Ramp and a 53% increase compared to the first quarter;
  • A 46% increase in second quarter gold production compared to the first quarter;
  • Average head grade of 7.0 g/t Au from all stopes mined during the second quarter; and
  • Average head grade of 5.8 g/t Au for the high-grade portion of the mill feed, which includes all stopes mined plus high-grade development ore, a 51% increase compared to the first quarter and in line with expectations for the period.

Key de-risking milestones achieved in the second quarter include:

  • Underground drilling successfully confirmed stopes planned for mining in the second half of 2021 and identified new areas with potential to expand mineable inventory beyond known reserves close to existing development, highlights include 15.1 g/t Au over 5.6 metres and 33.1 g/t Au over 2.2 metres from the Main Ramp and 120.8 g/t Au over 1.0 metre and 21.4 over 2.0 metres from the East Ramp;
  • First ore production from the East Ramp achieved, with the first high-grade stopes from the east side of the mine expected to come online in August;
  • Ramp development contract awarded to accelerate the Main Ramp development at a projected rate of 6.0 metres/day for the balance of 2021, beginning in July;
  • Arrival of interstage screens for CIP tanks and trommel screen for the SAG discharge which are currently being installed with completion expected in August, positioning the mill to operate above design capacity in the second half of 2021 and beyond;
  • Over 4,500 metres of diamond drilling in over 70 drill holes completed to further delineate planned production for the second half of 2021; and
  • Continued excellent grade reconciliation for stopes mined to date with respect to the Mineral Reserves.1

8 Zone Update
In addition to improving access to high-grade ore in the near-term, the ramp development rates achieved to date coupled with the acceleration of the Main Ramp beginning in July present an opportunity to bring forward underground drilling and development of the high-grade 8 Zone. Based on projected Main Ramp development rates from July 2021 onward, first access to 8 Zone ore is currently expected to be achieved by July 2024, approximately 8 months earlier than was envisioned in the Feasibility Study.1 Additionally, the Company is currently evaluating opportunities to begin underground infill and step-out drilling of 8 Zone from the Main Ramp earlier than planned, with first results now potentially possible before the end of 2021. Further updates on plans to begin drilling 8 Zone from underground will be provided over the coming months.


Second Quarter Ramp-Up Summary

 Q1 2021Q2 2021

Main Ramp Advance Rate (metres/day)3.45.2

East Ramp Advance Rate (metres/day)4.74.5

Combined Ramp Advance Rate (metres/day)8.19.7

Number of Stopes Mined in Period47

Average Grade of Stopes Mined in Period (g/t Au)3.67.0

Stope Tonnage Mined in Period (tonnes)14,48517,216

Ending Number of Active Ore Headings1317

Average Daily Ore Throughput (tpd)538509

Average Grade of High Grade Portion of Mill Feed (g/t Au)3.85.8

Proportion of High Grade Material in Total Mill Feed (%)4663

Average Head Grade of Total Mill Feed (g/t Au)2.84.2

Total Gold Production (oz)4,2916,261

Average Recovery (%)95.095.6

During the second quarter, 63% of the mill feed was comprised of high-grade stope and development ore grading 5.8 g/t Au on average, in line with expectations and a significant increase from 46% grading 3.8 g/t Au in the first quarter. The balance of the mill feed has been comprised of low-grade development ore and stockpiles to date. Increasing the proportion of high-grade ore in the mill feed to 100% going forward remains the primary focus for the Company during ramp-up, with the key performance metrics being ramp development rates and number of active ore headings and stopes. Commencement of high-grade stope production from the East Ramp and acceleration of the Main Ramp development in July are expected to jointly drive continued and sustained quarter-over-quarter increases of high-grade ore production and average grades for the third quarter and for the balance of the year.

Underground Drilling Update
PureGold is also pleased to report high-grade drill intercepts returned from underground drilling completed during the second quarter of 2021. This new drilling targeted zones in close proximity to both the Main Ramp and the East Ramp and has been designed to further delineate stopes planned for the second half of 2021 with the goal of expanding mineable inventory and increasing the grade of longhole stopes in the near-term mine plan. This drilling has been highly successful in confirming the tenor of high-grade mineralization within planned stopes and has also expanded the mineable inventory in areas close to the main haulage ways. 
Underground drilling results highlights:

East Ramp:

  • 14.7 g/t gold over 1.7 metres from drill hole PGU-0203; including
    21.6 g/t gold over 1.0 metre.
  • 84.2 g/t gold over 1.0 metre from drill hole PGU-0210;
  • 21.4 g/t gold over 2.1 metres from drill hole PGU-0212;
  • 120.8 g/t gold over 1.0 metre from drill hole PGU-0214;
  • 9.2 g/t gold over 7.9 metres from drill hole PGU-0222; including
    15.2 g/t gold over 1.0 metre and 33.0 g/t gold over 1.0 metre.

Main Ramp:

  • 33.1 g/t gold over 2.2 metres from drill hole PGU-0188; including
    68.5 g/t gold over 1.0 metre;
  • 65.6 g/t gold over 2.0 metres from drill hole PGU-0198;
  • 41.6 g/t gold over 1.0 metre from drill hole PGP-00007;
  • 14.2 g/t gold over 4.3 metres from drill hole PGP-00009; including
    21.2 g/t gold over 1.0 metre;
  • 16.7 g/t gold over 3.6 metres from drill hole PGP-00012; including
    27.6 g/t gold over 1.6 metres;
  • 6.4 g/t gold over 8.4 metres from drill hole PGP-00018; including
    32.3 g/t gold over 1.0 metre;
  • 15.1 g/t gold over 5.6 metres from drill hole PGP-00019; including
    20.8 g/t gold over 1.0 metre and 30.4 g/t gold over 1.0 metre;
  • 12.4 g/t gold over 5.0 metres from drill hole PGP-00019 including
    29.8 g/t gold over 1.0 metre.

A summary table of results is set out at the end of this News Release.

Results from drilling continue to be integrated into short-term mine planning, with production planned from most of these areas in 2021. High-grade results from the East Ramp include PGU-0210, PGU-0212 and PGU-0214 which confirm the first stoping area scheduled to be mined from PureGold’s East Ramp. Development of two stopes in this area is underway with sills on multiple levels currently delivering high-grade development ore. Stoping from the East Ramp in the third quarter will enhance mine flexibility and will increase the availability of high-grade ore inventory and mill feed from underground and is expected to commence in August.

In addition to confirming high-grade stopes close to the main haulage ways, underground drilling also continues to identify new zones that are not part of the current mineral reserves. Drillholes PGP-00017, PGP-00018 and PGP-00019 each returned broad zones of high-grade gold mineralization, including 15.1 g/t gold over 5.6 metres and 12.4 g/t gold over 5.0 metres in a new zone that lies west of a high-grade longhole stope that was mined in the second quarter of 2021. Ore development is currently underway in this area with stoping anticipated to occur in the third quarter.

“Ongoing underground drilling programs such as these are a hallmark of Red Lake deposits, responsible for the nearly 100 years of high-grade discovery and mining in the district,” stated Darin Labrenz, President & CEO of PureGold. “Our underground drilling program continues to be highly successful at confirming stopes within our near-term production plan as well as identifying opportunities for discovery and growth near our existing development. We expect this trend to continue as we continue to open up the mine and establish underground access to an increasing number of ore production areas into the third quarter and for many quarters to come at the PureGold Mine.”

As of the end of the second quarter, three air-powered underground core diamond drills were active on the site and focused on delineating gold mineralization with both infill and extension drilling. Results from this underground drilling will continue to be reported on a quarterly basis.

Commercial Production
Commercial production will be declared on the first day of the calendar month following the achievement of certain criteria including ore throughput and gold production levels achieving a pre-determined percentage of design capacity. These criteria are reviewed monthly. Inaugural production and cost guidance will follow shortly after a positive commercial production decision.

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