Fruta del Norte Gold Project
The Fruta del Norte (FDN) deposit is located within a 150 km long copper--gold metallogenic sub-province located in the Cordillera del Cóndor region. The nearest city to the Fruta del Norte Project area is Loja, the fourth-largest city in Ecuador. The FDN Project is situated about 139 km east--northeast of Loja.
An independent Feasibility Study ("FS") for the Fruta del Norte Project was prepared by Amec Foster Wheeler, with the support of four other globally recognized, leading engineering firms into a Technical Report filed on SEDAR in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"). (See Technical Report on Feasibility Study, Fruta del Norte Project, Ecuador - April 30, 2016 under Technical Reports
Feasibility Study Highlights
- Probable Mineral Reserves totaling 4.82 million ounces of gold and 6.34 million ounces of silver (15.5 million tonnes at 9.67 g/t Au and 12.7 g/t Ag);
- Estimated average annual gold production of 340,000 ounces at an average life of mine ("LOM") total cash cost of $553/oz and an estimated LOM all-in sustaining cash cost ("AISC") of $623/oz, placing FDN in the lowest cash cost quartile globally;
- Estimated LOM production of approximately 4.4 million ounces of gold and 5.2 million ounces of silver over an initial 13-year mine life using an average gold recovery of 91.7% and average silver recovery of 81.5%;
- Estimated Project capital cost, including contingency, of $669 million, net of taxes;
- Targeted start of construction in mid-2017;
- Expected first gold production in first quarter 2020 with first year of full production in 2021;
- Project economics at a gold price of $1,250/ounce and a silver price of $20/ounce resulted in the following:
|Net Present Value at a 5% discount rate (NPV5)
|Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
|Capital Payback (yrs)
Further Optimization, Cost Reductions and Project Potential
- All figures are reported on a 100% equity project basis valuation. Capital payback is calculated based on start of production.
- Economic valuation is presented using a start date of July 1, 2017.
The Company believes there are potential opportunities to further improve the economics of the FDN Project through:
- Review of the mine plan to potentially improve the production ramp-up and optimization of the mining methods to increase the use of transverse-long-hole stoping ("TS") over the higher cost, lower productivity drift and fill ("D&F") methods;
- Further metallurgical testwork to increase the ratio of doré versus gold in concentrate produced through gravity concentration of flotation concentrate to recover additional free gold;
- Evaluation of aggregate supply for the Project construction and supply of aggregate for backfill. Currently the Project is relying on a quarry operation to be developed on site. Further analysis of alternative sources needs to be completed which could result in lower capital and operating costs;
- Evaluation of owner self-perform construction, which could result in capital cost savings versus the traditional Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management approach that was used for the FS. The Company will also study other potential ways to reduce the capital cost; and
- Potential extension of LOM, perhaps materially, in two ways: (i) through the inclusion of significant additional Mineral Resources not included in the initial mine plan; and (ii) through the identification of mineralization as a result of on-going and future exploration on the Company's concessions which could support the conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves.