i-80 Gold closes acquisition of Ruby Hill Mine – Global Mining Review



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i-80 Gold Corp. has announced the closing of the Ruby Hill Mine acquisition from Waterton Nevada Splitter, LLC and Waterton Nevada Splitter II, LLC (collectively Waterton) and with the previously announced closing of the Lone Tree complex, the launch of a Nevada focused growth company.

Ruby Hill, which includes multiple deposits that collectively represent one of Nevada’s largest gold, silver and base metal endowments, was acquired from Waterton and i-80 has taken over operating the current opencast mine. When combined with the acquisition of the Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain gold deposits, that were acquired from Nevada Gold Mines LLC (NGM), including certain processing infrastructure, i-80 Gold is one of the largest holders of gold and silver resources in the state and is positioned to become a prominent, stand alone, growth-oriented gold producer. The company now embarks on its plan to advance multiple projects to production over the next several years.

Highlights of the transactions include:

  • i-80 becomes one of the largest holders of gold and silver resources in Nevada:
    • 6.3 million oz of overall measured and indicated gold resources and 104.5 million oz of overall measured and indicated silver resource1 (256.6 million t of 0.76 g/t gold [Au] and 12.7 g/t silver [Ag]).
    • 8.4 million oz of overall inferred gold resources and 76.5 million oz of overall inferred silver resources (228.3 million t of 1.15 g/t Au and 10.4 g/t Ag).
  • Secures for i-80, the ability to process multiple types of gold bearing mineralisation at a centrally located and permitted processing facility situated on Interstate 80. The Lone Tree facility includes an autoclave, CIL mill, floatation mill and heap leach facility.
  • Interim processing agreements with NGM provide i-80 with the ability to immediately advance its project portfolio – a test mining programme at Granite Creek is underway, Buffalo Mountain is currently being permitted, and the company is advancing plans to commence an underground development programme at McCoy-Cove.
  • Working to close financing arrangements totalling ~US$227 million with access a further US$100 million complement the company’s strong cash position. Major participants in the equity financing, which closed on 14 October 2021, of ~US$102 million include NGM subscribing to acquire a 9.9% interest in i-80 through the private placement, Orion subscribing to top up to a 9.9% interest in i-80, and participation from several members of the board and management.

“The recent transactions to acquire Ruby Hill, Lone Tree and Buffalo Mountain not only make i-80 one of the largest holders of gold and silver resources in the United States, but also positions the company to become one of Nevada’s most prominent producers with substantial processing infrastructure including an autoclave,” stated Ewan Downie, CEO of i-80. “We are now in a position to begin accelerating mine development at multiple sites with the interim processing agreements entered into with Nevada Gold Mines and will focus on executing our plan to build a mid-tier gold producing company.”

Ruby Hill Acquisition

Ruby Hill represents one of Nevada’s premier mining projects with existing production from the Archimedes opencast and a large property package that is host to multiple gold, gold/silver, and polymetallic gold deposits, that collectively comprise one of the largest and highest-grade, permitted, gold deposits in Nevada:

  • Substantial opencast gold and silver resources within the mineral point opencast deposit.
    • 3.2 million oz of gold and 97.5 million oz of silver indicated resources within 203.2 million t with an average grade of 0.49 g/t Au and 14.9 g/t Ag.
    • 1.9 million oz of gold and 72.4 million oz of silver inferred resources within 157.3 million t with an average grade of 0.37 g/t Au and 14.3 g/t Ag.
  • High-grade gold mineralisation at the Ruby Deeps deposit that remains wide open along strike to the north.
    • 1.59 million oz of gold in inferred mineral resources of 8.2 million t with an average grade of 6.02 g/t Au.
  • High-grade poly-metallic mineralisation has been defined within the Blackjack target that remains open along strike and at depth.

Pursuant to a membership interest purchase agreement with Waterton, on 15 October 2021, the company acquired all of the membership interests of the Ruby Hill Mining Company, LLC which owns the Ruby Hill Mine for a purchase price of US$75 million in cash and 3 191 358 i-80 common shares at closing (valued at US$8 million), and future milestone payments of up to US$67 million. The milestone payments are subject to an early payment option that could reduce total milestone payments to US$47 million, and the company may satisfy a portion of the milestone payments with i-80 common shares under certain circumstances.

Ruby Hill includes an opencast mine and related infrastructure (mill/heap leach) and is located immediately west of the town of Eureka proximal to Highway 50.

Multiple gold and polymetallic exploration targets exist on the property and i-80 will begin an aggressive exploration program beginning immediately. The company will begin permitting for the construction of a decline to access the high-grade Ruby Deeps deposit and the Blackjack Zone with the intent of trucking refractory mineralisation for processing at Lone Tree. Completion of the current mine plan at the Ruby Hill pit will continue with processing at the heap leach facility on the property. Ruby Hill also includes crushing and CIL processing infrastructure.

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