Benchmark Metals Inc (CVE:BNCH) (OTCQB:BNCHF) told investors it had hired an experienced mining executive as vice-president of engineering, along with the company JDS Energy & Mining Inc (JDS) as lead consultant, to advance its flagship Lawyers project in British Columbia toward a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) earmarked for the second quarter this year.
Benchmark's chief executive John Williamson said the mine developer now had a "heavy-weight" team with builder mentality to rapidly advance the asset with a vision beyond the PEA.
READ: Benchmark Metals closes second tranche of C$50 million financing to advance Lawyers gold-silver project
New VP Ian Harris has strong experience in project development, construction, restarts and commissioning facilities, including open-pit, underground and processing operations and has worked for companies like Washington Group, Asarco, and Corriente Resources, the firm said.
Meanwhile, the JDS team consists of seasoned professionals that have successfully designed, constructed and operated similar projects, enabling them to quickly identify appropriate solutions suited to British Columbia and a vision of future production, said Benchmark.
It has acquired a reputation for delivering and executing project plans on budget, on time, and most importantly, safely, said Benchmark, who noted previous projects included the Minto and Eagle Gold Mines in the Yukon, the Gahcho Kue Mine in the Northwest Territories, and the currently under construction Madsen Mine in Red Lake, Ontario.
"The addition of Ian Harris and JDS Engineering has created a formidable team who have developed, built and operated mines of a similar scope and scale.
"Together, they will coordinate a world-class consulting team including: Knight Piésold Consulting, Halyard Engineering, P&E Mining Consultants, F.Wright Consulting, APEX Geoscience Ltd., and One-eighty Consulting Group," said Williamson.
The brown-field 140 sq km Lawyers project lies in the so-called Golden Horseshoe area of British Columbia, a favourable mining jurisdiction.
Exploration in the area began in the late 1960s, peaking in the 1980s, and identified numerous high grade, showings, prospects, and deposits. But Benchmark said previous work has ignored the bulk tonnage and porphyry potential of the property.
The Cheni gold-silver mine operated there for four years from 1989 to 1992, exploiting high-grade underground workings and produced 171,200 ounces of gold and 3.6 million ounces of silver, when the gold price was just US$300 an ounce and silver stood at US$7 per ounce.
Shares advanced 3.2% to C$1.29 in Toronto.
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