Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. takes immense pleasure in announcing the completion of construction of the first-ever Winter Ice Road from the Port Facility at Bathurst Inlet to the Goose Property at the completely owned Back River Gold Project in Nunavut, Canada and the shipping of most of the critical items to the Goose Property.
Winter Ice Road
The Winter Ice Road (“WIR”) is the last critical infrastructure component to make transportation of equipment and supplies easier to the Back River Project. The first component, constructing the Port facility and receiving equipment through sea lift, was accomplished last year.
Construction of the WIR started in mid-February and was over by late April. The shipping of equipment staged at the Port facility to the Goose Property is now in progress. The heavy and critical loads are currently executed with extra loads continuing until the WIR is shut on or about May 15th.
The last step in de-risking the transportation of goods and equipment to the Back River Project was the successful construction of the WIR. Since this route has never been maneuvered using wheeled vehicles, it was very important to show that the WIR could be constructed and operated through the selected corridor between the Port Facility and project site.
We are pleased to have this initial WIR successfully constructed. While this first time constructing was challenging, we have learned valuable lessons in how to better construct and improve the WIR for future years. It was important to have built this road prior to making a production decision as it enables us to evaluate execution plans, optimize the process and provide additional certainty that it can be built and operated once a construction decision has been made.
Bruce McLeod, President and CEO, Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.
2019 WIR Timeline
In December 2018, preparations began for the construction of winter ice road, which covered a distance of 170 km from the Port Facility at Bathurst Inlet to the Goose Property. An ice airstrip was done in late January 2018 and 11 aircraft loads of specialty equipment and supplies were obtained, allowing the WIR contractor to start construction on February 14.
Despite engineering and selecting a route before starting the work, there were several improvements made to the final route on the basis of the field conditions experienced during the construction of the WIR.
The feasibility study envisaged commencing the WIR with two headings from the Goose as well as Port camps. As this season had only less number of loads to be shipped, the road was built on one heading only from the Port to the Goose project site, which prolonged the construction timeline by over two times. Adjustments, such as logistics support, equipment selection, and final route alignment, will eventually increase the company’s ability to build and operate the WIR in the coming years.
Transport of equipment and supplies started on April 18th and is predicted to continue until the WIR is closed on or about May 15th, 2019. Materials shipped to the Goose site included construction equipment, supplies for earthworks activities, and steel and supplies for bulk fuel tanks.