-Higher Reserves, Higher Production and Lower Costs Expected-
Material Julie Mineral Reserve increase anticipated following:
- 84% Mineral Resource uplift to more than 1.0Moz and 33% higher grade to ~2g/t Au (prev. 567,000,000oz @ 1.5g/t Au)
- Preliminary test work indicating 5% increase in primary ore recovery (from 85% in 'Stage One' Feasibility Study)
- Recent infill drilling of Inferred mineralisation in planned pits
- Reduced mining costs from larger scale operation at expanded pits
Kunche Mineral Reserve increase (on prev. 238,000oz) expected following recent infill drilling of Inferred mineralisation in planned pit
- Updated Feasibility Study (due Q4 2013) targeting:
- Higher annual production to ~100,000oz average (prev. 67,000oz)
- Increased plant throughput to 1.3Mtpa (prev. 1.0Mtpa)
- Increased head grade to 2.2 - 2.4g/t Au (prev. 2.0g/t Au)
- Lower Life-of-Mine cash costs of >US$700/oz (prev. ~US$802/oz)
Other recent Project developments include:
- Mining Leases recommended to Minister for approval
- Water Extraction Licence granted to draw from adjacent Black Volta River
- Survey completed for 161kV grid power spur line to site
"We are committed to delivering a material uplift in Mineral Reserves on the back of the increased Mineral Resource and grade at the growing Julie deposit. This will underpin the repositioning of the Wa Gold Project as a higher production, higher grade and lower cost operation." Azumah Managing Director Stephen Stone said.
"With the excellent support from the Ghana Government in advancing permitting and taking grid power to site plus our positive engagement with the local community, we believe that the Wa Gold Project could be development-ready by the end of 2013."
TORONTO, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Azumah Resources Limited (ASX:AZM TSX:AZR) ("Azumah" or "the Company") is pleased to advise that the Feasibility Study update for the Wa Gold Project in northwest Ghana ('the Project") is well on-track to deliver a material increase in Mineral Reserves on the back of a substantial expansion of the Julie deposit. This will support the Company's objective of establishing a de-risked, development-ready, higher production, higher grade and lower cost project (Table 1).
The Company is also pleased to announce that the Ghana Minerals Commission has recommended to Ghana's Minister of Lands and Natural Resources that Azumah be granted two Mining Leases covering the Project's Kunche-Bepkong and Julie deposits. This is a major milestone for the Project and demonstrates the high level of in-country support for the Project, which also includes installing grid power directly to the mine site and the granting of a water extraction licence.
'Stage One' Feasibility Study
The 'Stage One' Feasibility Study ('Study') delivered in August 2012 confirmed that the Project is viable and would generate a free cash flow of ~$40M per year, after tax and royalties (refer ASX release dated 27th August 2012 and NI 43-101 report lodged 8th October 2012).
Along with validating the economic, technical and logistical viability of the Project, the Study aimed to expedite the process for securing Mining Leases and then an environmental (EPA) permit.
The Study was based on a 1.0Mtpa conventional gravity/carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant located close to the Kunche and Bepkong deposits. There was only a minor contribution from the Julie deposit, 80km east of the proposed plant, which at the time had Mineral Reserves of 74,000oz (Probable: 1.0Mt @ 2.4g/tAu) comprising 17% of the global Mineral Reserve.
Updated Study and expected material Mineral Reserves increase
Since completing the Study, the Company has announced an 84% increase in Mineral Resources and a 33% increase in grade at Julie to more than 1.0Moz at 2.0g/t Au. Julie has become larger than the combined Kunche and Bepkong deposits and is 30% higher grade (refer ASX/TSX release dated 15th January 2013) (Appendix 1, 2 and 3).
This, along with several other positive developments, has prompted a major revision of the Study. Azumah is now reconfiguring the Project with a larger, single-stage SAG mill capable of processing 1.3Mtpa whilst still maintaining an initial six-year project life.
Table 1 compares key Study parameters with those being targeted for the 2013 revision. There are projected improvements in almost all Project parameters despite the Company running its pit optimisation at a lower gold price of US$1,200 per oz (prev. US$1,300) and a lower gold revenue price of US$1,400 per oz (prev. US$1,600). The 30% increase in production capacity will only require an estimated 11% increase in establishment capital costs.
Average Life of Mine (LOM) site cash costs are projected to reduce close to US$700 per oz and closer to US$600 per oz in the first year of operation (NB: site cash costs are inclusive of Julie haulage costs to the proposed plant at Kunche).
Table 1: Summary of 2013 Feasibility Study Update Targets and 'Stage One' Feasibility Study Parameters
|Gold Price for Optimisations||US$/oz||$1,200||$1,300|
|Gold Price for Revenue||US$/oz||$1,400||$1,600|
|Plant throughput (primary ore)||Mtpa||1.3||1.0|
|Annual production (average)||oz pa||~100,000||67,000|
|Site cash costs (LOM) (2) (pre royalties)||US$/oz||~700||802|
|Total costs (LOM) incl. capital & royalties||US$/oz||~1,120||1,306|
|Project payback (post royalties & tax)||years||1.9||2.9|
(2) LOM = Life of Mine
Mineral Reserves increase drivers
The substantial increase in Julie Mineral Resources and a possible increase of up to 5% in gold recoveries from Julie primary ore are expected to flow on to a material increase in the Julie Mineral Reserve and therefore the overall Project Mineral Reserve.
The conversion to Measured and/or Indicated Mineral Resource categories, of Inferred Mineral Resources captured in re-optimised pits at Kunche and Julie, is also likely to increase Mineral Reserves as will relatively lower unit mining costs arising from a more substantial earthmoving contract at the expanded Julie pits:
1. Julie metallurgical recovery increase
Preliminary and continuing metallurgical studies on Julie primary ore, which is estimated to comprise ~17% of total mill feed, indicate that gold recoveries may be increased by up to 5% on the 85% applied in the 'Stage One' Feasibility Study. This would be achieved through a dedicated flotation and concentrate regrind circuit that is estimated to cost 7% - 10% of establishment capital costs, although this will not occur until the third year of production.
Test work indicates that it should be possible to produce a high-grade sulphide flotation concentrate of +60g/t Au comprising 3% to 4% of the original mass of the ore feed. Following regrind, the concentrate would most likely be leached through the existing, conventional CIL circuit.
Julie comprises a series of planned open pits over an east-west strike of some 4km. To enable confirmatory metallurgical test work to continue, a 13-hole, 422m, combined RC and diamond core drilling programme was recently completed to obtain additional representative samples of Julie mineralisation, especially from the areas of expanded resources not previously tested.
The ability to effectively concentrate Julie primary mineralisation also presents several new and interesting options for configuring the Project down the track, especially if the Wa East region Mineral Resources are expanded again.
2. Reclassification of Inferred Mineralisation at Kunche and Julie
An additional contribution to the expanded Mineral Reserves is also anticipated from Kunche where some Inferred mineralisation captured within optimised pits was excluded from Mineral Reserves. Recent infill drilling has enabled it to be reclassified by Azumah's independent consultants as Measured and/or Indicated and to now be included in Mineral Reserves. Preliminary re-optimisations of open pits indicate that this is likely to result in an increase to the Kunche Mineral Reserves with a consequent reduction in strip ratio.
Similarly, at Julie, the reclassification of some Inferred Mineralisation to the Indicated category, following a recently completed and successful 5-hole, 650m RC and diamond core infill drilling programme, is also likely to have a positive impact on optimised pit sizes (refer ASX release dated 13th June 2013)(refer Figure 1).
3. Reduced Julie contractor mining costs
The expanded mining inventory and earthmoving requirement at Julie (approximately 25Mt of combined ore and waste compared with 5Mt in the Study) are expected to result in reductions in mining costs to levels more consistent with Kunche and Bepkong rates.
Water Extraction Licence, grid power and community engagement progress
In addition to the recommendation to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources that two Mining Lease be granted over the Kunche-Bepkong and Julie deposits, the Water Commission of Ghana has granted Azumah a permit to extract water for processing use from the nearby Black Volta River.
Survey work by Ghana power infrastructure provider, GridCo, for a 161kV spur line to the Project plant site at Kunche has just been completed. The spur will be funded by GridCo as an adjunct to the construction of the new Wa-Han-Tumu main line with power to be supplied by the US$790M, 400MW Bui hydroelectric scheme. The first of three turbines at the Bui Dam was recently commissioned.
The Company is also well advanced in its dealings with the local communities at Kunche-Bepkong which will be impacted by the proposed Project. This work is being extended across to Julie. With the Mining Leases recently recommended for approval, Azumah is now in a position to commence the formal process to obtain final EPA approvals.
Feasibility Study completion and Mineral Reserve upgrade
As mentioned, several technical studies are required to be extended as part of the Feasibility update. This work is underway and at various stages of progress, with the critical path item being the additional Julie metallurgical test work. Azumah expects that revisions to the Feasibility Study and an updated Mineral Reserve will be available in Q4 2013.
Azumah management believes that completion of this work will place the Project on a much stronger footing and, subject to the gold price and funding availability, in a position where a development decision can be made.
About Azumah Resources Limited
Azumah is an Australian-based company focused on the exploration and development of the 100% owned, 3,100km2 Wa Gold Project (Figure 2), which presently contains a JORC & NI 43-101 calculated Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource totalling 1.36Moz Au and an Inferred Mineral Resource totalling 0.85Moz Au (refer ASX/TSX release dated 15th January 2013).
A Feasibility Study and 'Stage One' Mineral Reserve was completed in August 2012 (refer to ASX/TSX release dated 27th August 2012) (Appendix 3) primarily to benchmark the Project and so that applications for Mining Leases could be submitted and the process of obtaining other key operating permits commenced with the Ghana Government. The Study was based on a conventional 1.0Mtpa gravity/CIL gold plant to be located adjacent to the flagship Kunche deposit. It confirmed that the Project is economically viable, has no technical or infrastructure related impediments and could be expected to generate a free cash flow of ~$40M per year after tax and royalties.
An update to the Feasibility Study and Mineral Reserve is underway and will reflect the increased Mineral Resource announced in January 2013 and especially the 84% growth in Mineral Resources at the Julie deposit
The Company has not made a production decision and its strategic plan to develop a gold mining operation is subject to the results of an update to the 'Stage One' Feasibility Study (refer ASX release dated 28th August 2012) and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company's control. The Mineral Resources disclosed herein are preliminary in nature and include Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them to be categorised as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that the Mineral Resources disclosed herein will be realised or converted to Mineral Reserves. Inferred Mineral Resources captured in optimised pits may not all be converted to Measured and Indicated Resources. Mineral Resources which are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Target, expected and anticipated numbers contained herein are not confirmed, are not JORC or NI 43:101 compliant and are indicative only. Target Mineral Reserves implied herein are based on preliminary Whittle optimisations using adjusted Feasibility Study assumptions.
Competent Persons' Statement
The scientific and technical information in this report that relates to the in-situ Mineral Resource estimates for the Kunche, Aduane and Julie deposits is based on information compiled by Mr Dmitry Pertel, who a full-time employee (Manager - Resources) of CSA Global Pty Ltd. Mr Pertel is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves' and to qualify as a "Qualified Person" as defined in National Instrument 43 -101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") of the Canadian Securities Administrators. Mr Pertel has reviewed and approved the disclosure of the relevant scientific or technical information contained in this announcement that relates to the Kunche, Aduane and Julie Mineral Resource estimates.
The scientific and technical information in this report that relates to the in-situ Mineral Resource estimates for the Bepkong deposit is based on information compiled by Mr David Williams, who is a geological consultant employed by CSA Global Pty Ltd. Mr Williams is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves' and to qualify as a "Qualified Person" as defined in National Instrument 43 -101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") of the Canadian Securities Administrators. Mr Williams has reviewed and approved the disclosure of all scientific or technical information contained in this announcement that relates to the Bepkong Mineral Resource estimate.
The scientific and technical information in this report that relates to the geology of the deposits and exploration results is based on information compiled by Mr Nick Franey, who a full-time employee (General Manager Geology) of Azumah Resources Ltd. Mr Franey is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves' and to qualify as a "Qualified Person" as defined in National Instrument 43 -101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") of the Canadian Securities Administrators. Mr Franey is the Qualified Person overseeing Azumah's exploration projects and has reviewed and approved the disclosure of all scientific or technical information contained in this announcement.
For further information, including a description of Azumah's standard data verification processes, quality assurance and quality control measures, and details of the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves set out in this report and the extent to which the estimate of previously declared Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves set out herein may be materially affected by any known environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or relevant issues, readers are directed to the technical report titled "Wa Gold Project, Ghana 43-101 Technical Report", effective as of 27 August, 2012, available on www.sedar.com.
The reported Mineral Reserves have been compiled by Mr Harry Warries. Mr Warries is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and an employee of Coffey Mining Pty Ltd. He has sufficient experience, relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity he is undertaking, to qualify as a Qualified Person as defined in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Definition Standards of November 2010, as well as a Competent Person as defined in the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves' of December 2004 ("JORC Code") as prepared by the Joint Ore Reserves Committee of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and the Minerals Council of Australia. Mr Warries gives Azumah Resources Limited consent to use this reserve estimate in reports.
This release contains forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information is often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "seek", "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "estimate", "expect" and "intend", and statements that an event or result "may", "will", "should", "could", or "might" occur or be achieved, and other similar expressions. In providing the forward-looking information in this news release, the Company has made numerous assumptions regarding: (i) the accuracy of exploration results received to date; (ii) anticipated costs and expenses; (iii) that the results of the feasibility study continue to be positive; and (iv) that future exploration results are as anticipated.
Management believes that these assumptions are reasonable. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information. Some of these risks, uncertainties and other factors are described under the heading "Risks Factors" in the Company's annual information form available on www.sedar.com. Forward-looking information is based on estimates and opinions of management at the date the statements are made. Except as required by law, Azumah does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking information even if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change. Readers should not place reliance on forward-looking information and readers are advised to consider such forward-looking statements in light of the risks set forth in the Company's continuous disclosure filings as found at the (Canadian) SEDAR website.
SOURCE Azumah Resources Inc