Project Expected to Generate Significant Cash Flow in 2020 High Project Internal Rate of Return with Less than 2 Year Payback
TORONTO, Nov. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sprott Resource Holdings Inc. (“SRHI” or the “Company”) (TSX:SRHI) is pleased to announce the results from a series of technical studies (the “Technical Studies”) on its 70% owned Minera Tres Valles Copper Project (“MTV” or the “Project”) located in Salamanca in Region IV of Chile which will be reported in a consolidated NI 43-101 compliant technical report (the “Technical Report”). The Technical Studies were completed by Amec Foster Wheeler, a Wood company (“Wood”) along with contributions from independent consulting firms.
“We are very pleased with the results of the Technical Studies which validates our initial due diligence and investment thesis for the Project,” said Steve Yuzpe, CEO of SRHI. “The Technical Studies confirm that MTV should almost triple current levels of production achieving a run rate of approximately 18,000 tonnes per annum of copper cathodes,” added Mr. Yuzpe. “Based on a long-term copper price of US$2.75/lb, the preliminary economic assessment which looked at the total available mineral resources on the Project indicates that MTV could generate US$34 million in project cash flow in 2020 peaking at US$45 million in 2022.”
“The mine is operating well and crushing more than 100,000 tonnes of mineralized material per month,” said Luis Vega, CEO of MTV. “With the substantial infrastructure and development built by Vale S.A., the capital cost required to ramp up to full production is low and has resulted in attractive project economics with a short payback period.”
“We continue to believe in the long-term fundamentals for copper and Chile as a premier mining jurisdiction,” said Rick Rule, CIO of SRHI. “MTV is a core asset for SRHI and we are focused on building from this foundation.”
Table 1. Technical Studies – Economic Analysis Highlights (US dollars)
|Base Case||PEA Case|
|Pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV) (8%)||$87M||$129M|
|After-tax Net Present Value (NPV) (8%)||$87M||$129M|
|Pre-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR)||93%||131%|
|After-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR)||93%||131%|
|Average Annual Copper Cathode Production (2019-2025)||24M lbs||34M lbs|
|Total Copper Cathode Production (LOM)||177M lbs||250M lbs|
|2020 Cash Flow||$23M||$34M|
|Life of Mine||6.5 years||7.5 years|
|Operating Cash Cost (per lb of finished copper)||$1.66/lb||$1.65/lb|
|Upfront Capital Cost||$15M||$21M|
|LOM Capital Cost||$32M||$52M|
Highlights of the Technical Studies include:
The purpose of the Technical Report is to consolidate all the NI 43-101 compliant Technical Studies completed over the past 10 months, including:
The Technical Studies comprise a Base Case based on the exploitable mineral reserves from the Don Gabriel Manto open pit and the Papomono Masivo incline block cave underground deposit. These studies were completed at a FS level for Don Gabriel Manto and a PFS level for Papomono Masivo and the Salt Leach conversion. Wood has also completed a PEA Case for the exploitation of the Don Gabriel Manto and Papomono Masivo deposits and eight additional mining zones within the Don Gabriel and Papomono deposits which will utilize different mining methods such as sub-level caving and sub-level stopping. These additional eight mining zones will require additional drilling and engineering work to increase the confidence level. The PEA Case illustrates the property-wide production potential for the Project.
The PEA Case mine plan is partly based on inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the PEA Case based on these mineral resources will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Technical Report will be filed within 45 days of this release.
ENAMI and Third Party Material Treatment
As part of MTV’s toll processing strategy, MTV purchases mineralized material from third-party miners that operate near and on the MTV property and toll treat mineralized material from Empresa Nacional de Minería (“ENAMI”), the Chilean state owned enterprise that supports small and artisanal miners under the provisions of a long-term contract (the “ENAMI Tolling Contract”). This strategy is expected to continue going forward. Since 2014, MTV has purchased an average of 14,500 tonnes per month of mineralized material with a copper grade of 1.44%. Since SRHI’s acquisition in October 2017, MTV has purchased an average of 16,500 tonnes per month at a grade of 1.13% copper. Since 2014, ENAMI has delivered an average of 8,000 tonnes per month of mineralized material with a copper grade of 2.30%. Since SRHI’s acquisition in October 2017, ENAMI has delivered an average of 4,300 tonnes per month of copper at the same grade. The mineralized material from ENAMI and the small scale third-party miners has not been subject to any technical study, and is therefore not included in the Base Case and PEA Case mine plan and economic analysis contained in the Technical Studies, apart from the toll treatment revenue which serves to reduce the processing and general and administrative (“G&A”) unit cost. The economic analysis described in this press release also includes operating costs for the toll treatment.
In 2017, MTV produced 11.3 million pounds of copper cathode which comprised 8.6 million pounds from MTV’s own Project and 2.7 million pounds from small scale third party miners and the excess recovery of mineralized material delivered under the ENAMI tolling arrangements.
Consolidated Mine Plan
Figure 1 illustrates the Base Case mine plan using mineral reserves from the Papomono and Don Gabriel deposits.
Figure 1. Base Case Forecast Mine and Process Plan
Notes: Figure prepared by Wood, 2018. Don Gabriel Manto open pit is the main mine zone from Don Gabriel deposit. Papomono Masivo IBC and Papomono Masivo FC are the zones that will be mined from the Papomono deposit. Dark grey shading indicates additional processing capacity for material anticipated to be delivered under the ENAMI Tolling Contract that could be toll treated. Dark grey shading indicates additional processing capacity for material anticipated to be delivered under the ENAMI Tolling Contract that could be toll-treated.
Figure 2 illustrates the property-wide mine plan based on the PEA Case.
Figure 2. PEA Case Forecast Mine Production Plan
Notes: Figure prepared by Wood, 2018. The PEA Case is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them. There is no certainty that the PEA Case will be realized. Dark grey shading indicates additional processing capacity for material anticipated to be delivered under the ENAMI Tolling Contract that could be toll-treated.
Table 2 and 3 below summarizes the cash flow analysis for the Base Case and PEA Case. The Technical Studies economic evaluation considers cash flows starting in July 2018 (month one). This is consistent with the use of fiscal years (July to June).
Table 2. Economic Results for Base Case
|Cathode||Total||Mine||Plant / G&A||Opex||Pre-tax||After-tax|
|Production||Cu||Capex||Opex||Opex||Total||Revenue||Cash Flow||Cash Flow|
|Year||(kt)||(t)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)|
Table 3. Economic Results for PEA Case
|Production||Cu||Capex||Opex||Opex||Opex||Total||Revenue||Cash Flow||Cash Flow|
|Year||(kt)||(t)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)||(US$ 000s)|
The total initial capital cost for the PEA Case is estimated to be approximately US$21 million. The total capital cost for the project over the entire life of mine is US$52 million.
A breakdown of the PEA Case capital costs estimate is provided below:
Table 4. Capex Estimates for PEA Case (US$ 000s)
|Salt Leach Implementation||7,000||0||7,000||2018 - 2019|
|Don Gabriel Manto||0||0||0||2018 - 2019|
|Papomono Masivo||7,783||6,665||14,448||2018 - 2022|
|Additional Eight Mining Zones||4,622||11,772||16,394||2018 - 2026|
|Infill Drilling Campaign||2,088||1,884||3,972||2018 - 2021|
|Plant Sustaining Capex||0||3,494||3,494||2019 - 2025|
A sensitivity analysis on varying cash costs, copper price and capex was completed on the pre-tax and after-tax NPV (8%) and IRR. Results are summarized below.
Figure 3. Sensitivity Analysis (Base Case Pre-tax NPV; US$ millions)
Figure 4. Sensitivity Analysis (PEA Mine Plan Pre-Tax NPV; US$ millions)
Figure 5. Sensitivity Analysis (Base Case Pre-Tax IRR)
Figure 6. Sensitivity Analysis (PEA Mine Plan Pre-Tax IRR)
Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources
Table 5. Mineral Resource Estimate
|Resource Class||Method||Off (%)||(kt)||(%)||(klbs)|
|Don Gabriel Manto||OP||0.20%||983||0.82%||17,857|
|Don Gabriel Vetas||UG||0.64%||0||0.00%||0|
|Measured Mineral Resource||5,530||1.42%||172,674|
|Don Gabriel Manto||OP||0.20%||5,476||0.83%||99,959|
|Don Gabriel Vetas||UG||0.64%||0||0.00%||0|
|Indicated Mineral Resource||12,774||0.87%||244,581|
|Measured + Indicated|
|Don Gabriel Manto||OP||0.20%||6,459||0.83%||117,816|
|Don Gabriel Vetas||UG||0.64%||0||0.00%||0|
|Measured + Indicated Mineral Resource||18,304||1.03%||417,255|
|Don Gabriel Manto||OP||0.20%||79||0.70%||1,216|
|Don Gabriel Vetas||UG||0.64%||2,020||1.33%||59,273|
|Inferred Mineral Resource||3,457||1.11%||84,408|
Notes to accompany Mineral Resources table:
Table 6. Mineral Reserve Estimate from MTV Base Case Mine Plan
|Don Gabriel Manto|
|Total Proven and Probable||5,168||0.81%||42.1|
|Total Proven and Probable||3,067||1.51%||46.2|
|Total Proven and Probable||8,235||1.07%||88.3|
Notes to accompany Mineral Reserves table:
The scientific and technical content contained in this news release has been reviewed, verified and approved by Dr Antonio Luraschi, RM CMC, Manager of Metallurgic Development and Senior Financial Analyst, Wood, Mr Sergio Navarrete, RM CMC, Mining Engineer, Wood, Mr Alfonso Ovalle, RM CMC, Mining Engineer, Wood, Mr Michael G. Hester, FAusIMM, Vice President and Principal Mining Engineer, Independent Mining Consultants, Inc., Mr Enrique Quiroga, RM CMC, Mining Engineer, Q&Q Ltda, Mr Gabriel Vera, RM CMC, Metallurgical Process Consultant, GVMetallurgy, and Mr Sergio Alvarado, RM CMC, Consultant Geologist, General Manager and Partner, Geoinvestment Sergio Alvarado Casas E.I.R.L. all of whom are independent qualified persons as defined by NI 43-101.
The Technical Report will be filed by SRHI on SEDAR within 45 days of this press release in accordance with the requirements of National Instrument 43-101.
Notes on Preliminary Economic Assessments
Please note that the PEA Case is preliminary in nature, that it includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the PEA Case will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
MTV is a fully permitted operating mining complex located nine kilometers from Salamanca in Region IV of Chile. MTV comprises two main deposits: Papomono (underground) and Don Gabriel (open pit). The mine is currently operating and producing high grade copper cathode. The mine has significant infrastructure in place with a crushing and processing plant with nameplate capacity of 7,000 and 6,000 tonnes per day, respectively. The plant is designed to produce up to 18,500 tonnes per annum of copper cathodes. For more information about MTV, please visit http://www.mineratresvalles.com.
About Sprott Resource Holdings Inc.
SRHI acquires and grows a portfolio of cash-flowing businesses and businesses expected to cash flow in the natural resource sector. Based in Toronto, SRHI is part of the Sprott Group of Companies and seeks to deploy capital to provide our investors with exposure to attractive commodities. For more information about SRHI, please visit www.sprottresource.com.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
"Cash costs" per recoverable pound is a non-GAAP financial performance measure. "Cash costs" per recoverable pound is based on cost of sales but excludes, among other items, the impact of depreciation. SRHI believes that the use of "cash costs" per recoverable pound will assist investors, analysts and other stakeholders in understanding the costs associated with producing copper, understanding the economics of copper mining, assessing the operating performance of MTV and also its ability to generate free cash flow from its operations. "Cash costs" per recoverable pound is intended to provide additional information only and does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and other issuers may define it differently. This measure should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures prepared in accordance with IFRS. Further details on non-GAAP measures are provided in the MD&A accompanying SRHI financial statements filed from time to time on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Certain statements in this news release, and in particular the "Next Steps" section, contain forward-looking information (collectively referred to herein as the "Forward-Looking Statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. The use of any of the words "expect", "anticipate", "continue", "estimate", "may", "will", "project", "should", "believe", "plans", "intends" and similar expressions are intended to identify Forward-Looking Statements. In particular, but without limiting the foregoing, this news release contains Forward-Looking Statements pertaining to: the economic and study parameters of MTV; mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates; the cost and timing of development of MTV; the proposed mine plan and mining methods; dilution and extraction recoveries; processing method and rates and production rates; projected metallurgical recovery rates; additional infrastructure requirements or infrastructure modifications; capital, operating and sustaining cost estimates; the projected life of mine and other expected attributes of MTV; the NPV and IRR and payback period of capital; availability of capital; future metal prices; changes to MTV’s configuration that may be requested as a result of stakeholder or government input; government regulations and permitting timelines; estimates of reclamation obligations; requirements for additional capital; environmental risks; and general business and economic conditions.
Although SRHI believes that the Forward-Looking Statements are reasonable, they are not guarantees of future results, performance or achievements. A number of factors or assumptions have been used to develop the Forward-Looking Statements, including: there being no significant disruptions affecting the development and operation of the Project; the availability of certain consumables and services and the prices for power and other key supplies being approximately consistent with assumptions in the Technical Studies; labour and materials costs being approximately consistent with assumptions in the Technical Studies; fixed operating costs being approximately consistent with assumptions in the Technical Studies; permitting and arrangements with stakeholders being consistent with current expectations as outlined in the Technical Studies; certain tax rates, including the allocation of certain tax attributes, being applicable to the Project; the availability of financing for MTV’s planned development activities; assumptions made in mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates and the financial analysis based on the mineral reserve estimate and in the case of the PEA, the mineral resource estimate, including (as applicable), but not limited to, geological interpretation, grades, commodity price assumptions, extraction and mining recovery rates, hydrological and hydrogeological assumptions, capital and operating cost estimates, and general marketing, political, business and economic conditions. Actual results, performance or achievements could vary materially from those expressed or implied by the Forward-Looking Statements should assumptions underlying the Forward-Looking Statements prove incorrect or should one or more risks or other factors materialize, including: (i) possible variations in grade or recovery rates; (ii) copper price fluctuations and uncertainties; (iii) delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing; (iv) risks associated with the mining industry in general (e.g., operational risks in development, exploration and production; delays or changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects or capital expenditures; the uncertainty of estimates and projections relating to mineral reserves, production, costs and expenses; and labour, health, safety and environmental risks); (v) performance of the counterparty to the ENAMI Tolling Contract; (vi) risks associated with investments in emerging markets; and (vii) those risks disclosed in the Corporation’s filings with Canadian securities regulators on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. See also the cautionary language under “Notes on Preliminary Economic Assessments” above. The Forward-Looking Statements speak only as of the date hereof, unless otherwise specifically noted, and SRHI does not assume any obligation to publicly update any Forward-Looking Statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be expressly required by applicable Canadian securities laws.
Cautionary Note to United States Investors Concerning Estimates of measured, indicated and inferred mineral resources
This news release may use the terms "measured", "indicated" and "inferred" mineral resources. United States investors are advised that while such terms are recognized and required by Canadian regulations, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies. United States investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of measured or indicated mineral resources will ever be converted into mineral reserves. United States investors are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource exists or is economically or legally mineable.
For further information:
Managing Director, Investor Relations
T: (416) 943-4394
1 Based on preliminary economic analysis (PEA) case study results. See “Notes on Preliminary Economic Assessments”.
2 See “Notes on Preliminary Economic Assessments”.
3 See “Notes on Preliminary Economic Assessments”.
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