November 19, 2012Back
November 19, 2012
Aureus Mining Inc.
TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE
Aureus Mining Inc. (TSX: AUE / AIM: AUE) (“Aureus Mining” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update in respect of its project development and exploration activities.
Corporate and Financial
- Successful fund raising of approximately $80m/£50m closed on 16 November, enabling the Company to proceed with its proposed development and construction activities at the New Liberty Gold Project in Liberia – the rest of which will be financed through debt. Various debt-financing institutions are currently reviewing the New Liberty Feasibility Study documentation and discussions are well advanced with a number of debt providers
- Key appointment of an experienced General Manager of Construction and Mine Operations in August 2012, as the Company moves into the development and production phase at New Liberty
- Settlement of legacy Weaju mining claims in July 2012 allows for the next phase of drilling in November 2012
- Feasibility Study delivered in October confirming the strong financial returns and low capex of the project, with a post-tax IRR of 33% (at an average gold price of $1,400/oz) and initial capex of $140m
- NI 43-101 compliant proven and probable reserves increased to 910koz at 3.3g/t, with additional upside through further defining the hanging wall zone and high-grade inferred resources immediately beneath the western end of the optimised pit
- Environmental Permit granted by the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia in October 2012
- Relocation Action Plan (“RAP”) submitted to the Government of Liberia in early November. The RAP outlines the relocation plan for 325 property owners to a new site locating two kilometres east of the current village. Approval from the Government of Liberia is expected in Q4, 2012
- Optimisation studies in progress with objective of improving project economics and include:
- An airborne Light Detection and Ranging (“LiDAR”) survey of the proposed mine footprint to define a detailed digital terrain model for infrastructure planning
- Further metallurgical test work at ALS Ammtec laboratories in Perth which is designed to reduce CIL residence time and reagent consumption
- Early works phase underway at New Liberty, ahead of full construction
- Upgrading of 20km laterite road to site is underway involving erection of five 100t bridges and construction of additional drainage gullies and culverts
- At Weaju drilling is now underway, involving a 7,700m drilling programme with the objective of defining continuity of mineralisation along strike and down dip and confirming the geological model
- Generative work involving structural studies and Geochemical surveys is in progress to define new gold targets within our entire licence portfolio of 546km²
- Detailed soil and Bulk Leach Extractable Gold (“BLEG”) surveys are planned to achieve complete gold geochemical coverage of the licence portfolio. A detailed soil survey is in progress over the Silver Hills target and covers an east-west trending, gold bearing shear zone, over a strike length of 15 kilometres
David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus Mining, said:
“Aureus Mining has accelerated its transformation into a gold mining company. The Environmental Permit was awarded to the Company in October, a Feasibility Study was delivered in October and we concluded the equity component of the financing for building the New Liberty mine in November. Aureus has during this brief period in its history significantly de-risked the project. The equity financing was fully subscribed which is a testament to the confidence our shareholders and new investors have in New Liberty and the exploration potential in our portfolio of mining and exploration leases, especially given the challenging capital markets.
“With a strengthened balance sheet, the Company is pushing ahead at New Liberty with project optimisation and early works ahead of beginning full-scale construction and concurrently following through on its ambitious exploration plans. The first exploration priority in the current field season is Weaju, with its very high-grade historical intercepts. The extensive drilling currently taking place at the target should allow us to define a resource in late H1 2013 and derive further value from our sizeable and highly prospective land holdings in Liberia.”
The Company will host an analyst conference call at 9:00am GMT to discuss the operational update, with the following web-cast presentation: http://mediaserve.buchanan.uk.com/2012/aureus191112/registration.asp.
Dial in details are as follows:
United Kingdom (Toll Free) 08082380673
United Kingdom 08448719236
International number +44 (0) 1452 569335
Conference ID # 71529918
A Relocation Action Plan was submitted to the Government of Liberia in early November. The RAP study adheres to IFC performance standards including the restoring or improving of livelihoods and standards of living for displaced persons. The relocation affects 325 property owners. New housing plans and village layouts have been designed and the community in question have agreed in writing to relocate three kilometres to the east of the current village. Government approval is expected in Q4 2012. The relocation programme includes the building of a new village and support and assistance for all displaced persons.
Debt Financing Process
There is strong appetite from various financial institutions to provide debt financing for the New Liberty project. A number of institutions have been invited to provide financing terms for the New Liberty project and these institutions are currently reviewing technical information in the Company’s data room. Discussions are progressing well and Aureus plans to select a lending group in Q1 2013. It is anticipated that loan documentation will be finalised in Q2 2013, with first drawdown of funds in Q3 2013. In order to expedite the process, SRK Consulting (UK) Limited has been appointed to act as the independent engineer on behalf of the group of financial institutions.
New Liberty Operational Update
Following completion of the feasibility study the Company’s operations team is focused on project optimisation studies and early construction works. Project optimisation work includes metallurgical studies and a review of the location of site infrastructure. The metallurgical studies involve further test work at ALS Ammtec laboratories in Perth, which is focused on accelerating the CIL leach kinetics and reducing the residency time of gold in the circuit. The test work will also focus on reducing cyanide and other reagent consumption. Other opportunities to reduce capital and operating costs could come from plant and tailings storage facilities relocation and reduction of pumping costs and ore haulage costs. A LiDAR airborne survey is currently in progress to provide detailed ground data (+/- 1m) to assist with infrastructural planning. The results from the optimisation work are expected to be announced in Q1 2013.
The Company is also undertaking an upgrade of the 20 kilometres of laterite road which links the Monrovia – Freetown tarmac highway with the mine site. This work involves the replacement of wooden bridges with five 100 tonne steel bridges and the construction of additional drainage gullies and culverts. This work will facilitate the transport of all heavy equipment to site during the construction phase.
Exploration programmes are now in progress after the end of the rainy season. A diamond drilling programme has commenced at Weaju involving a 44-hole programme for approximately 7,700 metres. The programme is designed to test the geology model and define continuity of mineralisation along the sheared limbs of a syncline which close to the East and plunges to the West, and can be traced along the surface for 600 metres. This phase one drilling programme is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The Weaju target is located 30km east northeast of the New Liberty Project in Liberia, within the 457km2 Bea Mountain Mining Lease. Two historical phases of diamond drilling were conducted at the target, totalling 48 holes and 3,935m, between 2000 and 2006. Highlights of these encouraging early results are displayed in Table 1, below. The ore is near surface and truckable to the proposed New Liberty plant, which could provide a fast-track production option for Weaju.
Table 1: Significant Intercepts at Weaju
Exploration activities are also focused on generating new targets within the Company’s exploration portfolio in Liberia. This generative study involves structural studies, geophysical interpretation, geological mapping and the completion of Geochemical surveys for Gold covering the whole license portfolio of 457 km². The Geochemical programme will include a combination of soil grids and BLEG sampling. The principal objective of the generative study is to understand how many gold targets are present within the license portfolio as most of the ground has never been subjected to modern exploration programmes.
|Aureus Mining Inc.David Reading / Jeremy Cave
Tel: +44(0) 20 7010 7690
|BuchananBobby Morse / Gordon Poole
Tel: +44(0) 20 7466 5000
|RBC Capital Markets (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)Martin Eales / Richard Hughes
Tel: +44(0) 20 7653 4000
|GMP Securities Europe LLP (Joint Broker)Richard Greenfield / Alexandra Carse
Tel: +44(0) 20 7647 2800
The estimates of mineral Resources were calculated in accordance with NI 43-101 and carried out by Chris G Arnold BSc (Hons), MSc, MAusIMM (CP) of independent consultants AMC. The Reserve Study was prepared by Mr M Staples of AMC, a Qualified Person, for the purposes of the study, under the standards set forth by National Instrument 43-101 “Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Project”, of the Canadian Securities Administrators (“NI 43-101”), and he has also reviewed and approved the contents of this news release, as applicable
About Aureus Mining Inc.
The Company’s assets include the New Liberty gold deposit in Liberia (the “New Liberty Gold Project”), which has an estimated proven and probable reserve of 910,000 ounces of gold grading 3.3 g/t and an estimated Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource of 1,143,000 ounces of gold grading 3.6 g/t and an estimated Inferred Mineral Resource of 593,000 ounces of gold grading 3.2 g/t. The project is expected to have an eight and a half year mine life and annual production of 120,000 ounces for the first five years of production.
The New Liberty Gold Project is located within the Bea Mountain mining licence, which covers 457 km² and has a 25 year, renewable, mineral development agreement. The Bea Mountain mining license also hosts the proximal gold targets of Ndablama, Gondoja and Weaju, which are the focus of exploration programs during 2012. The contiguous Archaen Gold exploration licence, which covers 89km2, is also a focus of exploration for 2012, with Leopard Rock being the main target.
The Company also has gold exploration permits in Cameroon.
This press release contains certain forward-looking information. All information, other than information regarding historical fact, that addresses activities, events or developments that Aureus Mining believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking information contained in this press release includes, but may not be limited to, the future plans and objectives of Aureus Mining and their anticipated future growth, mineral resource estimates and the anticipated exploration and development activities of Aureus Mining. The foregoing and any other forward-looking information contained in this press release reflects the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of Aureus Mining based on information currently available to Aureus Mining. With respect to the forward-looking information contained in this press release, Aureus Mining has made assumptions regarding, among other things: general business, economic and mining industry conditions; and it has also been assumed that no material adverse change in the price of precious and/or base metals occurs, no unusual geological or technical problems occur and no significant events occur outside of the normal course of Aureus Mining’s respective business.
Such forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including: risks normally incidental to exploration and development of mineral properties; uncertainties in the interpretation of results from drilling and test work; the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with expectations; uncertainty of mineral resources estimates; adverse changes in precious and/or base metal prices; and future unforeseen liabilities and other factors including, but not limited to, those listed under “Risk Factors” in the Preliminary Prospectus of Aureus Mining Inc. dated April 20, 2011, a copy of which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and in the Aureus Mining Admission Document, a copy of which is available at www.aureus–mining.com.
Any mineral resource figures referred to in this press release are estimates and no assurances can be given that the indicated levels of minerals will be produced. Such estimates are expressions of judgment based on knowledge, mining experience, analysis of drilling results and industry practices. Valid estimates made at a given time may significantly change when new information becomes available. While Aureus Mining believes that the mineral resource estimates in respect of their respective properties are well established, by their nature mineral resource estimates are imprecise and depend, to a certain extent, upon statistical inferences which may ultimately prove unreliable. If such mineral resource estimates are inaccurate or are reduced in the future, this could have a material adverse impact on Aureus Mining, as applicable. Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to inferred mineral resources, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will be upgraded to an indicated or measured mineral resource as a result of continued exploration.
Forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable law, Aureus Mining disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking information, either as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.