NGEx Announces Positive PFS Results for Josemaría with a US$2.0 Billion After Tax NPV and 19% IRR
VANCOUVER, Nov. 20, 2018 /CNW/ - NGEx Resources Inc. (TSX: NGQ, OMX: NGQ) ("NGEx", or the "Company") is pleased to announce the results of a positive Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") at its 100% owned Josemaría project in San Juan province, Argentina. A Conference Call and Webcast to discuss these results will be held on Wednesday, November 21, at 9:00am Eastern Time. All values in this release are reported in US dollars. View PDF version
Commenting on the results, CEO Wojtek Wodzicki stated, "The PFS shows robust economics and confirms the great potential of Josemaría. Long term copper fundamentals are strong, and the global project pipeline is at multi-decade lows. We believe that this scarcity will lead to premium valuations for companies with construction-ready projects. We plan to work towards fast-tracking Josemaría towards production by starting work on a feasibility study, securing water rights, and advancing our environmental permitting plans."
Josemaría PFS Highlights:
- A $2.0 billion after-tax NPV using an 8% discount rate and an IRR of 18.6% at $3.00/lb copper;
- Strong front end production and cash flows drive a 3.4 year payback period and support a variety of financing alternatives;
- An Initial Probable Mineral Reserve of 1,008 Mt of 0.29% copper, 0.21 gpt gold, and 0.92 gpt silver (or 0.41% CuEq);
- Pre-production capital cost of $2,750 million (excluding costs prior to a construction decision);
- Average annual production (rounded) of approximately 125,000 tonnes of copper, 230,000 ounces of gold, and 790,000 ounces of silver per year at a C1 cost of $1.26/lb CuEq;
- First 3 years full years of annual production average 170,000 tonnes of copper, 350,000 ounces of gold, and 1,000,000 ounces of silver;
- 20 year mine life producing over 5.4 billion lbs of copper and 4.6 million ounces of gold;
- Low strip ratio of 0.71:1 (waste:ore);
- Excellent metallurgy producing a clean, marketable, precious metals rich copper concentrate;
- Design incorporates planning for a fully autonomous haul truck fleet along with high pressure grinding rolls;
- All major mining and infrastructure located in San Juan Province, Argentina – facilitating permitting in one jurisdiction;
- Potential opportunities to further improve the project include:
- Recovery of additional gold from the oxide cap at Josemaría;
- Increasing metallurgical recoveries and concentrate grades with additional test work and optimization; and
- Delineating more or higher-grade material through continued exploration on the Company's extensive land package.
Josemaría is a copper-gold (Cu-Au) porphyry system located in the Andes Mountains of San Juan Province, Argentina. The project is located about 10 km from the Chilean border and is about 140 km southeast of the city of Copiapó, Chile and 350 km northwest of the city of San Juan, Argentina.
The PFS contemplates that Josemaría would be mined using conventional open pit methods and assumes the latest in autonomous haul truck technologies. From the open pit, ore would be trucked to a primary crusher, crushed, and then sent to the process plant. The comminution circuit design considers a high-pressure grind roll ("HPGR") crushing circuit followed by ball mill grinding. The circuit was designed to process 150,000 tonnes per day of ore. Conventional sulphide flotation will follow the comminution stage and is expected to produce a gold and silver-rich copper concentrate. Groundwater for the process plant would be supplied from nearby aquifers to the plant site, and power would be supplied via 250 km of power line construction to connect to the Argentine national grid. Concentrates would be trucked from the plant to the port of Caldera in Chile, approximately 380 km by road from the Josemaría plant site, requiring the construction of 57 km of new road to connect to the public highway.
Summary of Josemaría PFS Economic Results:
Pre-Tax NPV (8%) & IRR
$2.9 billion NPV
After-Tax NPV (8%) & IRR
$2.0 billion NPV
Undiscounted After-Tax Cash Flow (LOM)
Payback Period from start of processing
(undiscounted, after-tax cash flow)
Metals Prices Assumed
Initial Capital Expenditures (rounded)
LOM Sustaining Capital Expenditure (excluding closure)
LOM C-1 Cash Costs (Co-Product)
Nominal Process Capacity
Average Annual Metal Production (rounded)
First 3 years
Life of Mine
170,000 t Cu
350,000 oz Au
1,000,000 oz Ag
125,000 t Cu
230,000 oz Au
790,000 oz Ag
LOM Average Process Recovery
* All figures reported are in 2018 US dollars and on a 100% Project and 100% equity basis valuation. This includes a 3% provincial mining royalty, other minor private royalties, and 25% corporate tax rate.
The PFS was prepared and managed by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. with input from Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (Canada), Knight Piésold (Vancouver), BGC Engineering (Canada), Merlin Geosciences, and Gino Zandonai.
A National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") Technical Report that summarizes the results of the PFS and incorporates the initial mineral reserve statement for Josemaría will be filed within 45 days on SEDAR and on the Company's website (the "Technical Report"). For readers to fully understand the information in this news release, they should read the Technical Report in its entirety, including all qualifications, assumptions and exclusions that relate to the PFS. The Technical Report is intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context.
Project Economic Sensitivity to Copper Prices
A cash flow valuation model for the project has been developed based on the PFS. The model was developed using a long-term copper price of $3.00/lb. The following figures show the sensitivity of estimated NPV for the Project's cash flows at various copper prices and discount rates (Au and Ag held flat at $1,300/oz and $20/oz respectively):
Sensitivity to Discount
Rate & Copper Prices
Discounted at 5%
Discounted at 8%
Discounted at 10%
Capital & Operating Cost Estimates
Capital costs were derived from a variety of sources including derivation from first principles, equipment quotes and factoring from other costs contained within the PFS study. Costs are estimated to an accuracy of +/- 25% which is equivalent to an AACE International, Class 4 Estimate.
Estimated Capital Costs
Total Direct Costs
TOTAL INITIAL CAPEX
LOM Sustaining Capital
Total Life of Mine Capital
The PFS estimates that the C1 cash costs (by-product basis) over the life of mine will average $1.26/lb CuEq. C1 cash costs include at-mine cash operating costs, treatment and refining charges, royalties, selling costs, and transportation costs and are reported on a $/equivalent payable unit of the primary metal.
Initial Josemaría Mineral Reserve Statement
The Initial Mineral Reserve estimate for Josemaría, shown below, is based on the Mineral Resource model with an effective date of 7 August 2015 (details of the Josemaría Mineral Resource estimate will be contained in the Technical Report). The Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves.
Josemaría Mineral Reserve Statement
Total Proven and Probable
Notes to accompany Josemaría Mineral Reserve table:
Mineral Reserves have an effective date of 20 November 2018. The Qualified Person for the estimate is Mr. Robert McCarthy, P.Eng.
The Mineral Reserves and Resources in this news release were estimated using the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions and adopted by CIM Council.
The mineral reserves are based on a pit design which in turn aligns with an ultimate pit shell selected from a WhittleTM pit optimization exercise. Key inputs for that process are:
- Metal prices of $2.95/lb Cu, $1,225/oz Au; $19.00/oz Ag;
- Mining cost of $1.80/t ore and waste at a reference elevation of 4180 m, plus cost adjustments of $0.016/t/10m bench above reference and $0.025/t/10 m bench below reference;
- Processing cost of $3.60/t ore milled;
- General and administration cost of $0.80/t milled;
- Pit slope angles varying from 42 to 46 degrees; and
- Process recoveries are based on grade. The average recovery is estimated to be 85% for Cu, 65% for Au and 66% for Ag;
- CuEq was calculated using total payable revenue from all metals in the mine plan, converting to copper, and back calculating for grade based on life of mine average copper recoveries and payables;
Mining dilution is estimated to be 5%;
Ore loss is assumed to be 1%;
The Mineral Reserve has an economic cut-off, based on Net Smelter Return, of $4.95/t for prime mill feed;
There are 711 Mt of waste in the ultimate pit. The strip ratio is 0.71 (waste:ore);
All figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimate. Totals may not sum due to rounding as required by reporting guidelines.
Mining & Processing
The study contemplates conventional open pit mining methods using autonomous haul trucks. Mine planning incorporates stockpiling strategies to focus on the early extraction of the highest-grade ore in addition to deferring waste stripping. Including pre-stripping, the open pit will be in operation for 23 years, delivering ore to the mill for 20 years, with a life of mine strip ratio of 0.71:1. A maximum mining rate of approximately 115 Mt per year (including waste) is required to provide the nominal 150,000 tonnes per day of ore to the mill. A total of 1,008 Mt of ore is expected to be processed over the life of the mine.
Primary crushed ore will be transported via surface conveyor to a coarse ore stockpile, and then transferred to the process plant. The process considers the use of HPGR's as part of a three-stage crushing circuit, followed by conventional ball mill grinding and sulphide flotation. Design throughput is 150,000 tonnes per day. Water obtained from the concentrate thickener, tailings thickener and concentrate filter will be recovered and sent back to the process plant to be used as make-up water.
The proposed PFS production schedule and metal production profile is shown on the attached figures. Note: the project assumes a 30-month construction period, which would begin mid way through Year 1.
Figure 1 – Josemaria PFS Production Schedule
Figure 2 – Josemaria PFS Metal Production Schedule
A two-phase metallurgical test work program for Josemaría was conducted at SGS Minerals S.A. laboratories in Santiago, Chile. SGS Minerals S.A. laboratories is independent of the Company. Multiple composite and variability samples were tested for mineralogy, physical characterization, gravity concentration, conventional sulphide flotation (open/locked cycle tests with different flowsheets), flotation tailings cyanidation and solids settling. Based on the testwork completed to date, life of mine metal recovery is expected to be 86% for copper, 71% for gold, and 59% for silver. Copper concentrate grades are expected to average 25% over the life of the mine. It is anticipated that the concentrate will be clean, precious metals rich, and readily marketable.
Recent metallurgical testing performed at ALS, Kamloops, BC focused on confirming and improving the bulk concentrate flotation results achieved by SGS. ALS is also independent of the Company. The work generally confirmed the results and identified several areas that could be explored to increase the overall copper concentrate grades while maintaining similar recoveries. Additional test work is planned during the 2018 / 2019 field season to optimize this work as Josemaría transitions into a Feasibility Study.
The major infrastructure items considered and estimated in the PFS are:
- Water Supply: Water is fully supported by aquifers in Argentina, located near the proposed plant site. The industrial water make-up requirement is estimated to be 750 L/s.
- Power Supply: The site will be supplied with electricity through a 250 km long, 220 kV, single circuit power transmission line connected to the El Rodeo substation in San Juan province, Argentina. Average electrical demand is estimated to be 136 MW. A price of $0.075/kWh was used for long-term power supply. Power supply alternatives from Chile were also considered however, the lower power costs in Argentina led to operating costs savings over the Project life.
- Tailings Storage Facility: Tailings, water from the milling process, and surface runoff will be stored within a typical surface storage facility ("TSF"). The TSF consists of a starter embankment across a large valley located 7 km from the process plant and subsequent embankment raises along with two smaller containment embankments, designed to contain 1 Bt of tailings and water over the life of the project.
- Concentrate Transport: Concentrate will be transported by truck from the filter plant to the port in Chile. The PFS considered the use of a port near the city of Caldera which is located 77 km northwest of Copiapó. The approximate trucking distance from the plant site is 380 km. Existing secondary access from the mine site through Argentina to the city of San Juan will also be used. Fifty-seven (57) km of new road construction is required.
Social & Environmental
Knight Piésold completed the environmental baseline work for the Company in 2017 and 2018, in addition to reviewing the historical work from other independent consultants who assisted in the preparation of the environmental work. Efforts here will be used to support the ultimate preparation of the respective Environmental Impact Assessments ("EIA").
Baseline studies to date include: geosciences, air & water, terrestrial biota, the human environment, and natural & cultural heritage. The list of environmental components to be studied was derived from the Chilean national environmental assessment regulations, the Argentine national mining environmental law and from the International Finance Corporation's Sustainability Performance Standards (IFC 2012). Baseline studies are ongoing and will continue into the upcoming field season.
Communication with the local community, private land owners, and other interested parties is also ongoing.
The Josemaría Mineral Resource remains unchanged from the Mineral Resource estimate reported by the Company with an effective date of 7 August 2015 and is based on data from 116 drill holes totaling 52,725 m of drilling, of which 34 holes (13,164 m) are reverse circulation (RC) and 82 holes (39,561 m) are core holes. The total length of assayed intervals is 51,092 m and there are 27,344 assays.
The Mineral Resource estimate as of the effective date of 7 August 2015 is shown in the table below (base case highlighted). Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Josemaría Indicated Mineral Resources (sulphide)
Josemaría Inferred Mineral Resources (sulphide)
Josemaría Indicated Mineral Resources (oxide)
Josemaría Inferred Mineral Resources (oxide)
Notes to accompany Josemaría Mineral Resource tables:
Mineral Resources have an effective date of 7 August, 2015. The Qualified Person for the estimate is Mr. Gino Zandonai, RM CMC.
Sulphide Mineral Resources are reported using a copper equivalent (CuEq) cutoff grade. CuEq was calculated using US$3.00/lb copper, US$ 1,400/oz gold and US$23/oz Ag and was based on copper, gold and silver recoveries obtained in metallurgical testwork on four composite samples representing the rhyolite, tonalite, porphyry and supergene zones. Copper recoveries for the rhyolite, tonalite and porphyry zones were calculated as a function of copper grade, ranging from a low of 81% to a high of 97%. Copper recovery in the supergene zone was fixed at 85%. Gold recoveries were fixed between 62% and 73% and silver recoveries were fixed between 53% and 75% depending on the zone.
Mineral Resources are reported within a conceptual Whittle pit that uses the following input parameters: Cu price of US$3.00/lb; mining cost of US$2.20/t; process cost (including G&A) of US$7.40/t processed; copper selling cost of US$0.35/lb and over-all pit slope angle of 42º. The oxide resource was treated as waste for the Whittle run, however preliminary testwork has shown good recovery of gold through cyanide leaching and there is a reasonable prospect of eventual economic extraction of gold and silver using this method.
Mineral Resources (sulphide) have a base case estimate using a 0.2% CuEq cutoff grade; Mineral Resources (oxide) are reported using a 0.2 g/t Au cutoff grade.
Details of the Josemaría Mineral Resource estimate will be contained in the Technical Report.
Totals may not sum due to rounding as required by reporting guidelines.
The following Qualified Persons (QPs) will co-author the Technical Report that will be based on the PFS. These QPs have reviewed and approved the information in this news release that pertain to the sections of the PFS technical report that they are responsible for.
- Geology: Fionnuala Devine, P.Geo., of Merlin Geosciences
- Metallurgy: Robin Kalanchey, P.Eng., of Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (Canada)
- Mineral Resource: Gino Zandonai, MSc. (CSM), CP (RM CMC #0155)
- Mining & Mineral Reserve: Robert McCarthy, P.Eng., of SRK Consulting (Canada)
- Processing: Robin Kalanchey, P.Eng, of Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (Canada)
- Infrastructure: Scott Elfen, P.E., of Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (Canada)
- Economic Evaluation: Neil Winkelmann, B.E. (Mining), MBA (FAusIMM), of SRK Consulting (Canada)
- Environmental & Social: Bruno Bontrager, P.Eng., of Knight Piésold (Vancouver)
Each of the individuals above are independent QPs for the purposes of NI 43-101. All scientific and technical information in this news release in respect of the Josemaría project or the PFS is based on information prepared by or under the supervision of those individuals.
Conference Call and Webcast
A conference call to discuss the PFS results will be held on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 at 09:00 Toronto time, 14:00 UK time, or 15:00 Swedish time.
Please call in 10 minutes before the conference call starts and stay on the line (an operator will be available to assist you).
The presentation slideshow will also be available in PDF format for download from the NGEx Resources website www.ngexresources.com before the conference call.
A replay of the telephone conference will be available approximately 2 hours after the completion of the conference call until December 19, 2018.
Replay number (Toll Free North America): +1 888 390 0541
Replay number (All others): +1 416 764 8677
The pass code for the replay is: 968702 #
NGEx is a Canadian mineral exploration company with projects in Chile and Argentina. The Company's shares are listed on the TSX and on the OMX under the symbol "NGQ". The Company's main focus is on advancing the development of its two, large copper/gold deposits, Los Helados and Josemaría, located in Chile's Region III and adjacent San Juan Province, Argentina. The Company owns a 100% interest in the Josemaría project and is the majority partner and operator for the Los Helados project, subject to a Joint Exploration Agreement with its joint exploration partner in Chile, Pan Pacific Copper ("PPC"). The Company is also actively seeking new exploration projects and carrying out earlier stage exploration on projects with large scale potential.
This information is information that NGEx Resources Inc. is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out below, on November 20, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
On behalf of the board
President and CEO
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made and information contained herein in the news release constitutes "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable securities legislation (collectively, "forward-looking information"). The forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on information available to the Company as of the date of this news release. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update this forward-looking information. Generally, this forward-looking information can frequently, but not always, be identified by use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events, conditions or results "will", "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative connotations thereof. All statements other than statements of historical fact may be forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements contained in this news release include statements regarding the results of the PFS and the anticipated capital and operating costs, sustaining costs, net present value, internal rate of return, payback period, process capacity, average annual metal production, average process recoveries, anticipated mining and processing methods, proposed PFS production schedule and metal production profile, anticipated construction period, anticipated mine life, expected recoveries and grades, anticipated production rates, infrastructure, social and environmental impact studies, availability of labour, tax rates and commodity prices that would support development of the Josemaría Project. Information concerning mineral resource/reserve estimates and the economic analysis thereof contained in the results of the PFS are also forward-looking statements in that they reflect a prediction of the mineralization that would be encountered, and the results of mining, if a mineral deposit were developed and mined. Although NGEx believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements and/or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements since NGEx can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements, including the risks, uncertainties and other factors identified in NGEx's periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators, including the Company's Annual Information Form available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com. In addition, these statements involve assumptions made with regard to the Company's ability to develop the Josemaría Project and to achieve the results outlined in the PFS; the ability to raise the capital required to fund construction and development of the Josemaría Project; and the results and impact of future exploration at the Josemaría Project.
Statements relating to "mineral resources" are deemed to be forward-looking information, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the mineral resources described can be profitably produced in the future.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as at the date of this news release and NGEx does not undertake any obligations to publicly update and/or revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of additional information, future events and/or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information is provided for the purpose of providing information about management's current expectations and plans and allowing investors and others to get a better understanding of the Company's operating environment. Forward-looking information is based on certain assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including that the current price of and demand for commodities will be sustained or will improve, the supply of commodities will remain stable, that the general business and economic conditions will not change in a material adverse manner, that financing will be available if and when needed on reasonable terms and that the Company will not experience any material labour dispute, accident, or failure of plant or equipment. These factors are not, and should not be construed as being, exhaustive. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that would cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated, or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All of the forward-looking information contained in this document is qualified by these cautionary statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information due to the inherent uncertainty thereof.
Estimates of Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources
Information regarding reserve and resource estimates has been prepared in accordance with Canadian standards under applicable Canadian securities laws, and may not be comparable to similar information for United States companies. The terms "Mineral Resource", "Measured Mineral Resource", "Indicated Mineral Resource" and "Inferred Mineral Resource" used in this news release are Canadian mining terms as defined in accordance with NI 43-101 under guidelines set out in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves adopted by the CIM Council on May 10, 2014. While the terms "Mineral Resource", "Measured Mineral Resource", "Indicated Mineral Resource" and "Inferred Mineral Resource" are recognized and required by Canadian regulations, they are not defined terms under standards of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Under United States 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 calculation is made. As such, certain information contained in this news release concerning descriptions of mineralization and resources under Canadian standards is not comparable to similar information made public by United States companies subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. An "Inferred Mineral Resource" has a great amount of uncertainty as to its existence and as to its 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. Readers are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of Measured or Indicated Resources will ever be converted into Mineral Reserves. Readers are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an "Inferred Mineral Resource" exists or is economically or legally mineable. In addition, the definitions of "Proven Mineral Reserves" and "Probable Mineral Reserves" under CIM standards differ in certain respects from the standards of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
This news release refers to certain financial measures, such as pre-production capital costs, initial capital expenditures, sustaining capital expenditure, closure costs, C1 cash costs, payback period, undiscounted after-tax cash flow, net present value, strip ratio, IRR and other financial metrics which are not measures recognized under IFRS and do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. In the mining industry, these are common performance measures but may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. The Company believes that, in addition to conventional measures prepared in accordance with IFRS, certain investors use this information to evaluate the Company's performance and ability to generate cash flow. Accordingly, it is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.
SOURCE NGEx Resources Inc.