Goldsource (TSXV: GXS) (OTCQX: GXSFF) Announces Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Eagle Mountain Gold Project; After-Tax IRR of 57% and NPV5% of US$292 Million
Vancouver, British Columbia - January 16, 2024 (Newsfile Corp.) (Investorideas.com Newswire) Goldsource Mines Inc. (TSXV: GXS) (OTCQX: GXSFF) (FWB: G5MA) ("Goldsource" or the "Company") is pleased to announce results for a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the Company's 100%-owned Eagle Mountain Gold Project (the "Project") in Guyana, South America. The PEA demonstrates potential for robust project economics as expressed by both strong after-tax returns on capital and free cash flow.
The PEA was prepared by ERM Consultants Canada Ltd. ("ERM") with contributions from Soutex Inc. ("Soutex") for aspects related to metallurgy and the process plant in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). The PEA contemplates a fit-for-purpose, low capital cost ("capex") intensity phased development plan for the Project. The initial phase (Phase 1) comprises shallow (starting at surface), low strip ratio open pits targeting soft-rock saprolite resources and a processing plant design that accounts for the beneficial characteristics of saprolite. This is followed by the second phase (Phase 2), the development of open pit fresh rock resources, in which gold production is derived from a blend of fresh rock, transition rock and saprolite material.
PEA Highlights (refer to Tables 1, 2, 3)
- Robust project economics with strong after-tax IRR and after-tax NPV.
- After-tax internal rate of return ("IRR") of 57% and after-tax net present value discounted at 5% ("NPV5%") of US$292 million ("M") at the base-case gold price of US$1,850 per ounce ("oz").
- After-tax IRR of 69% and after-tax NPV5% of US$388M at spot gold prices of US$2,055 per oz (January 15, 2024).
- Shallow open pit with 15-year mine life; quick payback period driven by a phased development plan.
- Phase 1 - 4.5 years of production from low strip soft-rock saprolite resources offers low capex intensity, with development capex estimated at US$95.6M, and a short payback period of 18 months.
- Phase 2 - the subsequent development of shallow and higher-grade fresh rock resources brings the mine life to 15 years. Phase 2 development capex estimated at US$46.6M consists primarily of additional processing equipment, building off the substantial infrastructure provided in Phase 1.
- Average all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") of US$1,077 per oz of gold produced. Phase 1 AISC estimated at US$829 per oz of gold.
- Projected average annual gold production of 66,500 oz per year for 15 years.
- Average mill head grade of 1.26 grams per tonne ("gpt") gold with associated strip ratio of 2.1, and average mill gold recovery of 90.7%. Phase 1 mill head grade of 1.20 gpt gold with associated strip ratio of 1.2, and mill recovery of 95.1%.
Goldsource Chief Executive Officer, Steve Parsons, P.Eng., stated, "The PEA results for Eagle Mountain represent a significant milestone in demonstrating the potential for robust project economics as expressed by the strong after-tax IRR of 57% and quick payback period. Also, a key objective with the PEA was to demonstrate the merits of the phased development plan, specifically the potential to scale into production with a low capex intensity, multi-year runway of low all-in sustaining costs, and potential strong free cash flow generation. As expected, the Eagle Mountain Gold Project is well suited to this approach owing to the distinctly shallow nature of the mineral resources. Notably, the soft-rock saprolite, which does not require drilling and blasting, translates to low estimated initial capital and operating cost intensities."
"The PEA incorporates a fit-for-purpose approach; mine design and equipment selection are tailored for the distinct requirements of Phase 1 and Phase 2. The PEA contemplates a technically simple, open pit mine and 5,000 tpd gold processing plant. The plant is initially configured for saprolite, which brings to bear lower power requirements and elevated gold recoveries. In Year 5, the plant is upgraded with conventional crushing and grinding equipment to treat a blend of fresh rock, transition rock and saprolite. While throughput rates greater than 5,000 tpd and lower cut-off grades for the fresh rock component could have allowed for production and NPV benefits, this would have come at the expense of IRR and with larger financing needs, concessions we were not willing to make as we look to bring forward a project with a low capital intensity and more favourable development logistics."
Key PEA Assumptions
- The PEA is based on the April 2022 Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") comprised of an estimated 31.1 million tonnes ("Mt") grading 1.18 gpt gold for 1,183,000 oz of gold in indicated mineral resources, and 18.4 Mt grading 0.98 gpt gold for 582,000 oz of gold in inferred mineral resources. The 2022 MRE is contained in a technical report titled "Eagle Mountain Gold Project, Potaro - Siparuni Region Guyana, NI 43-101 Technical Report" dated May 24, 2022, with an effective date of April 5, 2022.
- The production scale for Phase 2 was established to maximize the utility of the 5,000 tonne per day ("tpd") Phase 1 processing infrastructure (i.e. minimize the requirements for additional capex). The timing of the transition to Phase 2 was set based on projections for free cash flow, specifically to recover the Phase 1 development capex and generate significant surplus cash to fund Phase 2.
- PEA mine plan and cost assumptions contemplate contract mining and power generation.
- Phase 1 and Phase 2 development capex estimates for the processing plant are based on budget quotes from manufacturers for large mechanical equipment and quotes from recently constructed and under-construction projects for other plant/auxiliary equipment. Non-plant and other development capex are derived from both benchmarking analyses using comparable projects and calculation-derived estimates for certain earthmoving activities. Development capex includes a contingency of 15%.
A technical report prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 on the Project which includes the PEA will be filed with the applicable Canadian securities regulators within 45 days of this news release. The technical report will be available under the Company's profile on SEDAR+ (www.sedarplus.ca) and on the Company's website (www.goldsourcemines.com). The results of the PEA are preliminary in nature and include inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them to be classified as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the results of the PEA will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Life of Mine ("LOM") Estimated Cash Flow Profile
The economic analysis of the Project is based on the production and cost models developed for the Phase 1, Phase 2, and LOM construction, operating, and reclamation plans. The models include detail for the major components of the phases, including the open pits, carbon-in-leach ("CIL") processing plant, and supporting infrastructure, such as haul roads, waste rock dumps and tailings storage facilities. The economic analysis uses a cash flow model at a base-case gold price of US$1,850 per oz. The model applies all Phase 1 pre-production capital costs (development capex) in year 0 and Phase 2 development capex in years 4 and 5. At the base-case gold price of US$1,850 per oz gold, cumulative undiscounted after-tax free cash flow is estimated at US$443M (Figure 1) and average annual after-tax free cash flow at US$37M for years 1 to 15. At spot gold prices of US$2,055 per oz (January 15, 2024), cumulative undiscounted after-tax free cash flow is estimated at US$585M and average annual after-tax free cash flow at US$47M.
Overview of Production Plan
The conceptual LOM plan estimates total gold production of 997,000 oz, of which 306,000 oz at AISC of US$829 per oz of gold are for Phase 1 (Figure 2). Total recoverable gold is a subset of the 2022 MRE, as shown in Table 4, largely due to the Company's express focus on delivering a smaller, higher-grade "fit-for-purpose" project to enhance the overall development logistics in the context of the project particulars and market backdrop. The alternative, a larger bulk tonnage operation with a lower cut-off grade, notably for the fresh rock, could have resulted in higher conversion rates, but would have come with higher development capex and lower internal rates of return.
The PEA contemplates an open pit operation using contract mining. Mill feed for the processing plant is sourced from the primary Eagle Mountain deposit as well as satellite pits at the Salbora deposit and Toucan and Powis prospects, which are proximal (within approximately 1.5 kilometres) to the Eagle Mountain pit outline. Mining will use traditional load and haul methods using hydraulic excavators, and/or wheel loaders as appropriate to the terrain. Based on the conceptual locations of the processing plant and waste dumps, haulage is predominantly downhill from the Eagle Mountain deposit, which provides scope for fuel savings. Phase 1, estimated at 4.5 years, considers initial gold production from saprolite mineralization during which time most of the mining will be "free dig" (i.e. not requiring blasting). This is followed by Phase 2 in which gold production will be derived from a blend of fresh rock, transition and saprolite mineralization for an estimated 10.5 years, bringing the estimated LOM plan to 15 years. Phase 2 will require drilling and blasting of the fresh and transition rock to facilitate mining, material handling and processing. The PEA mine plan is designed to maintain mill feed rates at 1.825 Mt per year (approximately 5,000 tpd) through Phases 1 and 2.
For Phase 1, the process flowsheet involves a low capital intensity saprolite CIL plant. Main components include five leach tanks, scrubber, ball mill, cyclones, gravity concentrators, carbon stripping circuit, and effluent treatment. While the back end of the plant, downstream of the grinding circuit, is similar for both phases, additional screening, crushing and grinding, and additional power generation equipment are required for Phase 2 to treat the harder fresh rock material. The mill configuration for Phase 2 is also capable of processing 5,000 tpd, including up to 4,250 tpd of fresh and/or transition rock with the balance of the mill feed being made up with saprolite. The saprolite and fresh rock/transition composition of run-of-mine material is presented in Figure 3. Coarse and bulk fresh rock encountered in Phase 1 will be stockpiled and processed in Phase 2. Detailed metallurgical testwork from 2018 (saprolite) and 2022 (fresh rock and saprolite) for areas represented in the 2022 MRE provide the basis for the PEA mill design criteria developed by Soutex.
Capital and Operating Cost Estimates
Phase 1 development capex (preproduction capex) is estimated at US$95.6M (including contingency), of which US$56.5M is related to the processing plant (direct and indirects). Phase 2 development capex, primarily comprised of processing equipment to accommodate harder fresh rock, is estimated at US$46.6M with expenditures to commence in the second half of year 4. A further US$133.4M of sustaining capex is estimated over the LOM (averaging US$8.9M per year), of which US$51.9M relates to tailings storage facilities, US$23.8M to the processing plant, and US$20M to open pit auxiliary equipment. Total LOM capital expenditures are estimated to be US$295.6M. This includes US$20M for mine reclamation at the end of the LOM. Tables 5 and 6 provide the breakdown of the capital cost estimates.
Total LOM operating costs are estimated at US$786M. The operating cost estimate is based on the total amount of labour, materials, and consumables that will be required to fully execute the mining and processing plans for Phase 1 and 2. The PEA contemplates open pit mining and power generation by contractors. Average unit mining cost of US$2.10 and US$2.75 per tonne mined were used for saprolite and fresh rock/transition, respectively, in the economic analysis. Operating costs have been determined based on benchmarking analyses using similar sized saprolite and fresh rock operations with adjustments for local conditions. For unit processing cost determinations, the average ore blend (ratio of fresh rock to saprolite) for the LOM was used to estimate power draw and reagent consumptions. Table 7 provides a breakdown of the operating cost estimates.
As contemplated in the PEA study, over 300 mining, processing, maintenance, and general administrative workers are expected to be employed directly. In addition, the Project will benefit Guyana through both taxation and royalty payments.
Eagle Mountain Project Opportunities
Based on Project work, including engineering studies, exploration, and results of a 2017 pilot plant operation at Eagle Mountain, opportunities have been identified which may offer scope to enhance Project economics. The following opportunities will be evaluated:
- The PEA economic model accounts for US$59M of construction costs over the LOM for a tailings storage facility. It is recommended that the Company evaluate alternative and potentially lower cost locations for tailings deposition with consideration given to valley and topographic lows within the Eagle Mountain Prospecting License. Also, the opportunity to backfill the open pits during Phase 2 activities will be evaluated.
- Evaluation of the potential efficacy of locating a portion of the saprolite processing equipment, such as the scrubber, and pump boxes, at higher elevations along the northeast flanks of the Eagle Mountain deposit. This could allow for the use of slurry transport of saprolite material to the main processing facility, reducing truck haulage of saprolite from these areas of the Eagle Mountain deposit. This technique was tested during the 2017 gravity pilot plant. Trade-off studies are recommended.
- The PEA contemplates a power-by-the-hour contract using diesel generators. The Company will complete trade-off studies to evaluate the merits of owner-operated gensets. Also, the Company will evaluate opportunities for lower costs via hydrokinetic power sourced from nearby rivers.
- The PEA does not include drill results after December 2021, the cut-off date for the 2022 MRE. The Company will evaluate opportunities to incorporate exploration targets that have been identified, upgrade inferred mineral resources to indicated mineral resources and via expansion drilling test for opportunities to capture additional shallow gold mineralization currently below the US$1,600 per oz PEA pit shells. Also, several area and regional targets need to be evaluated for potential additional mineral resources.
The Independent Qualified Persons, as defined in NI 43-101, for the PEA and who have verified and approved the contents of this news release are Nigel Fung, P.Eng, of ERM (Mining and Economic Model), Leon McGarry, P.Geo, an ERM Associate (Mineral Resource), and Antoine Berton, P.Eng, Ph.D. of Soutex (Processing).
All scientific and technical data contained in this presentation has been reviewed and approved by N. Eric Fier, CPG, P.Eng., Executive Chairman of Goldsource, a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101.
The Qualified Persons referenced in this news release are not aware of any environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-economic, marketing, political, or other relevant factors that could materially affect the PEA.
ABOUT GOLDSOURCE MINES INC.
Goldsource Mines Inc. (www.goldsourcemines.com) is a Canadian exploration company focussed on its 100%-owned Eagle Mountain gold project in Guyana, South America. The Company is led by an experienced management team, proven in making precious metals exploration discoveries and executing on phased project development in the Americas.
Chief Executive Officer
Goldsource Mines Inc.
or Further Information:
Goldsource Mines Inc.
Contact: Steve Parsons, Chief Executive Officer
Telephone: +1 (604) 694-1760
Fax: +1 (604) 357-1313
Toll Free: 1-866-691-1760 (Canada & USA)
570 Granville Street, Suite 501
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3P1
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of Canadian and United States securities legislation, including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this news release relate to, among other things: the Company's strategic plans; the results of the PEA; the economic potential and merits of the Project; the estimated amount and grade of mineral resources at the Project; the PEA representing a viable development option for the Project; the timing and particulars of the development phases as identified in the PEA; estimates with respect to LOM, operating costs, sustaining capital costs, Phase 1 and Phase 2 capex, AISC, cash costs, LOM production, mill throughput, NPV and after-tax IRR, payback period, production capacity and other metrics; the estimated economic returns from the Project; evaluation of alternate locations for tailings deposition and the opportunity to backfill open pits during Phase 2; evaluation of the efficacy of location a portion of the saprolite processing equipment at higher elevations; the completion of trade-off studies to evaluate the merits of owner-operated gensets and opportunities for lower costs via hydrokinetic power; Project enhancement opportunities; the completion of further expansion drilling; the benefits of the Project to Guyana and its citizens; and the timing of filing of a technical report in respect of the PEA.
These forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and are necessarily based upon a number of assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant operational, business, economic and regulatory uncertainties and contingencies. These assumptions include, among other things: conditions in general economic and financial markets; tonnage of ore to be mined and processed; ore grades and recoveries; prices for gold remaining as estimated; currency exchange rates remaining as estimated; reclamation estimates; reliability of the 2022 MRE and the assumptions upon which it is based; future operating costs; prices for energy inputs, labour, materials, supplies and services (including transportation); the availability of skilled labour and no labour related disruptions at any of the Company's operations; no unplanned delays or interruptions in scheduled production; performance of available laboratory and other related services; availability of funds; all necessary permits, licenses and regulatory approvals for operations are received in a timely manner; the ability to secure and maintain title and ownership to properties and the surface rights necessary for operations; and the Company's ability to comply with environmental, health and safety laws. The foregoing list of assumptions is not exhaustive.
The Company cautions the reader that forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this news release and the Company has made assumptions and estimates based on or related to many of these factors. Such factors include, without limitation: fluctuations in gold prices; fluctuations in prices for energy inputs, labour, materials, supplies and services (including transportation); fluctuations in currency markets; operational risks and hazards inherent with the business of mining (including environmental accidents and hazards, industrial accidents, equipment breakdown, unusual or unexpected geological or structural formations, cave-ins, flooding and severe weather); risks relating to the credit worthiness or financial condition of suppliers, refiners and other parties with whom the Company does business; inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks and hazards; employee relations; relationships with, and claims by, local communities and indigenous populations; the ability to obtain all necessary permits, licenses and regulatory approvals in a timely manner; changes in laws, regulations and government practices in the jurisdictions where the Company operates; changes in national and local government, legislation, taxation, controls or regulations and political, legal or economic developments, including legal restrictions relating to mining and risks relating to expropriation; increased competition in the mining industry for equipment and qualified personnel; the duration and effects any pandemics on the Company's operations and workforce; and those factors identified under the caption "Risks Factors" in the Company's most recent annual Management's Discussion and Analysis. Forward-looking statements are based on the expectations and opinions of the Company's management on the date the statements are made. The assumptions used in the preparation of such statements, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date the statements were made. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements included in this news release if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as otherwise required by applicable law.
Cautionary Note for U.S. Investors Concerning Mineral Resources and Reserves
This news release has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Canadian NI 43-101 and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum guidelines, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. NI 43-101 is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators that establishes standards for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral projects.
Canadian public disclosure standards, including NI 43-101, differ significantly from the requirements of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and information concerning mineralization, deposits, mineral reserve and mineral resource information contained or referred to herein may not be comparable to similar information disclosed by U.S. companies. In particular, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, this news release uses the terms "indicated mineral resources", and "inferred mineral resources'". U.S. investors are advised that, while such terms are recognized and required by Canadian securities laws, the SEC does not recognize them. The requirements of NI 43-101 for identification of "reserves" are not the same as those of the SEC, and may not qualify as "reserves" under SEC standards. Under U.S. standards, mineralization may not be classified as a "reserve" unless the determination has been made that the mineralization could be economically and legally produced or extracted at the time the reserve determination is made. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part of an "indicated mineral resource" will ever be converted into a "reserve". U.S. investors should also understand that "inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of "inferred mineral resources" exist, are economically or legally mineable or will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Disclosure of "contained metal" in a mineral resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian securities laws. However, the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute "reserves" by SEC standards as in place tonnage and grade, without reference to unit measures. Accordingly, information concerning mineral deposits set forth herein may not be comparable with information made public by companies that report in accordance with U.S. standards.
Non-IFRS Financial Measures
Goldsource has included certain non-IFRS financial measures in this news release, such as development capital expenditures, sustaining capital expenditures, total cash costs, all-in sustaining costs, and free cash flow, which are not measures recognized under IFRS and do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. As a result, these measures may not be comparable to similar measures reported by other companies. Each of these measures used are intended to provide additional information to the user and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures prepared in accordance with IFRS. Non-IFRS financial measures used in this news release and common to the gold mining industry are defined below.
Development Capital Expenditures
Development capital expenditures represents the spending at new projects and/or expenditures at an existing operation that is undertaken with the intention to increase production levels or increase the mine life.
Sustained Capital Expenditures
Sustaining capital expenditures are expenditures incurred during a production phase to sustain and maintain the existing assets so they can achieve constant expected levels of production from which the Company will derive economic benefits. Sustaining capital expenditures include expenditure for assets to retain their existing productive capacity as well as to enhance performance and reliability of the operations.
Total Cash Costs and Total Cash Costs per Ounce
Total cash costs are reflective of the cost of production. Total cash costs reported in the PEA include mining costs, processing, general and administrative costs of the mine, off-site costs, refining costs, transportation costs and royalties. Total cash costs per ounce is calculated as total cash costs divided by payable gold ounces.
All-In Sustaining Costs and All-In Sustaining Costs per Ounce
Site-level all-in sustaining costs and all-in sustaining costs per ounce are reflective of all of the expenditures that are required to produce an ounce of gold from operations. All-in sustaining costs reported in the PEA include total cash costs, sustaining capital, but exclude corporate general and administrative and exploration costs. All-in sustaining costs per ounce is calculated as all-in sustaining costs divided by payable gold ounces.
A description of the significant cost components that make up the forward looking non-IFRS financial measures of total cash costs and all-in sustaining costs per ounce of payable gold produced is shown in Table 7 of this new release.
Free Cash Flow
Free cash flows are revenues net of operating costs, royalties, capital expenditures and cash taxes.
Neither TSX-V nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX-V) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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