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PureGold Mine Ramp-Up Progressing Steadily

Mar 3, 2021

Since pouring first gold in December 2020, commissioning activities at the PureGold Mine have transitioned to full scale ramp-up of the mining and milling operations, with approximately 260 persons employed at the mine site. Performance to date has met or exceeded expectations with respect to underground development and ore production rates, milling performance and gold recovery. Gold pours and shipments have continued regularly throughout the ramp-up period.

Mine Production
The underground mine is currently being accessed via a single decline, the Main Ramp, which is presently at a depth of approximately 300 metres. Ore production to date has primarily been from lateral sill development with the establishment of access to longhole and mechanized cut and fill stopes being a key priority during ramp-up. The first high grade stopes began to come into production in late February and head grades to the mill have increased since that time. With significant lateral sill development now complete, high grade stopes are expected to comprise an increasing proportion of ore production over the coming months. Accordingly, head grades are expected to continue to increase and unit costs are expected to continue trending downward. The forecast grade of mine production for the month of March is 7.0 g/t gold, in line with the grade profile for the first year of production outlined in the 2019 Feasibility Study.1

East Portal
To allow for increased ore tonnage from the mine and enhanced flexibility, a second decline on the northeast end of the mine, the East Portal, was collared in 2020 and is currently advancing at a rate of over seven metres per day. Lateral sill development from the East Portal is expected to commence in late March 2021 with stope production anticipated from April onward. Ore production from the East Portal will complement current ore production from the Main Ramp and with two independent mining centers established, the Company expects to be able to meet or exceed the design capacity of 800 tonnes per day from the mine.

The milling facility has performed in line with expectations, averaging approximately 600 tonnes per day for the month of February, with multiple days exceeding 700 tonnes in the latter part of the month. Ore processing rates for the first few weeks in January were constrained by minor ramp-up issues related to pumps and water balance which have now been largely resolved. Ramp-up activities are currently focused on optimization of the mill process systems with throughput and ore production trending steadily toward the design rate of 800 tonnes per day which is expected to be achieved in the coming weeks. Gold recoveries have been tracking in line with expectations at approximately 95% with both the gravity and CIP circuits performing well. Gold pours have been occurring at a rate of approximately one pour per week with regular shipments of gold doré to the Royal Canadian Mint.

Outlook for 2021
With the steady progress of mining and milling performance throughout the ramp-up period toward the design production rate of 800 tonnes per day, the Company currently anticipates declaring commercial production at the PureGold Mine in Q2 2021. Inaugural production and cost guidance for the balance of 2021 will follow shortly thereafter.

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