Mining veteran Bruce McLeod took over as CEO of Sabina Gold & Silver last Feb. 15 and has steered the company through an eventful and successful year.

Sabina published two Feasibility Studies showing strong economics for the company’s rich Back River gold project in Nunavut, including a low-capex option that would focus on high-grade open pits. A weak Canadian dollar has enhanced those economics further.

“We’re dealing with some of the highest-grade open pits in the world, certainly the highest grade open pits in the Americas, over 6 g/t,” the Sabina CEO notes.

The Back River gold belt hosts more than 5.3 million ounces of gold, Measured and Indicated, and another 1.85 million ounces Inferred.

Sabina’s 2016 focus is permitting and the company’s Final Environmental Impact Statement is in the hands of the Nunavut Impact Review Board. Final public hearings are anticipated in the second quarter, after which the review board will forward a recommendation to cabinet. A project certificate - a major derisking event - could be issued as soon as the second half of the year, McLeod says.

In the meantime, Sabina’s exploration plans could yield even more high-grade ounces at Back River. The company kicks off a drill campaign in March focusing on the three newest gold discoveries at Back River: Kogoyok, Convergence and Hivogani.

It should all add up to a catalyst-rich year, McLeod says.

“To have a high-grade Canadian project that makes economic sense at today’s gold price, even better with today’s Canadian exchange rate - which has turned into a big benefit for the project - and through the bulk of the permitting process, there are very few peers that are going to have those catalysts in front of them,” McLeod says. “By the second half of this year, most of them will be behind us.”

“We’re one of the fortunate few to have an asset that has allowed a management team to execute around it.”

Sabina had $18.4 million in cash as of Dec. 31. Shares have doubled since late summer lows, giving the company a market capitalization of about $140 million.

Sabina Gold & Silver is a CEO.CA client and this article is not investment advice. Please do your own due diligence.