"We want to have a construction decision for Hardrock and a clear path to finance it subject to a resource update, economic update and joint resolution of the partners," he said.
Premier Gold is a 50-50 joint venture partner in Hardrock owner Greenstone Gold Mines with Centerra Gold.
Greenstone proposes development of an openpit mine that could produce on average 300,000oz/y over a 14.5-year mine life from an openpit probable mineral reserve of 141.7 million tonnes grading 1.02 grams per tonne gold containing 4.7 million contained ounces at a 0.33g/t cut-off grade.
Greenstone is working on a resource update, updating project economics and completing the environmental impact analysis to be able to enter the permitting process. The November 2016 feasibility study showed an after-tax net present value (NPV) of C$709 million at 5% discount rate and a 14.4% internal rate of return at a US$1,250 gold price.
With gold prices now much higher, Begeman believes project economics are improved at current prices. "We see really enhanced project economics at today's prices," he said.
Greenstone will need to put together US$1.2 billion in financing with 60% likely to come from debt with the partners funding the rest.
"We are going to maintain our portion in the partnership and we are looking at different options including the possibility of raising equity in tranches over the course of the build," he said.
Shares in Premier Gold Mines (TSX:PG) are trading at $2, valuing the company at $421 million.