The FS assumes the processing of an average 21,000 tonnes per day ("tpd") from a combination of open pit, underground and stockpiled material. The mine schedule contains two years of pre-production and envisions a mine operating life of 16 years, including six years of reclamation from the stockpiles and excluding the pre-production period. Development of the underground operation would start in Year 1 of mine operations and begin producing at full rates by Year 6.
Conventional open pit mining has been chosen as the primary method to extract the Rainy River deposit because of its proximity to surface. The open pit mine production rate is planned to be approximately 21,000 tpd of mill feed material initially, and is gradually reduced to 20,000 tpd once the 1,000 tpd underground operation reaches full production in Year 6. The open pit mining plan is based on a declining cut-off grade strategy, whereby low grade material will be stockpiled near the primary crusher for future processing as needed, at the end of the open-pit and underground mine lives. The objective of this strategy is to obtain a higher average milled grade in the early years in order to maximize the Project's cash flow and economics.
An operating cut-off grade of 0.60 g/t AuEq is applied initially, dropping to 0.45 g/t AuEq in the final years. During open pit operations, material with grade below the operating cut-off grade and at or above 0.30 g/t AuEq is stockpiled near the primary crusher for processing in the last six years. The stockpiled material totals 43 million tonnes ("Mt") at 0.37 g/t Au and 1.97 g/t Ag, and is reclaimed and processed using existing mine equipment after the open pit is exhausted.
The primary mine fleet for the open pit consists of three 28-cubic metre hydraulic shovels, one 15 cubic-metre wheel loader, up to 19 haul trucks (226-tonne-class) and a fleet of support equipment. Initial production drilling will be carried out by a fleet of up to 3 diesel powered track-mounted (DTH) drills. Operating bench heights of 10 metres have been planned for mining operations. Over the life of the mine, a total of 350.6 Mt of waste rock and 80.0 Mt of overburden will be moved. It is anticipated that all overburden will be removed within the first seven years of mine operations.