28 Jul Jon Cartu Announced Alamos Gold Announces Construction Decision on High Return…
TORONTO, July 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alamos Gold Inc. (TSX:AGI; NYSE:AGI) (“Alamos” or the “Company”) today reported results of the positive internal economic study completed on its fully permitted La Yaqui Grande project located in the Mulatos District in Sonora, Mexico. Given the project’s strong economics and its proximity to the existing Mulatos operation, the Company is proceeding with construction of the project starting in the second half of 2020.
La Yaqui Grande Project Highlights
- Average annual gold production of 123,000 ounces per year starting in the third quarter of 2022. This will replace higher cost production from the main Mulatos pit, keeping combined production at approximately 150,000 ounces per year
- Mine-site all-in sustaining costs of $578 per ounce, significantly reducing Mulatos District all-in sustaining costs from the mid-point of previous 2020 guidance of $960 per ounce
- After-tax net present value (“NPV”) of $165 million at a 5% discount rate and an after-tax internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 41%, using a base case gold price assumption of $1,450 per ounce and a MXN/USD foreign exchange rate of 21:1
- After-tax NPV of $260 million and an after-tax IRR of 58% at a 5% discount rate using a gold price assumption of $1,750 per ounce and a MXN/USD foreign exchange rate of 21:1
- Mine life of five years, extending production from the Mulatos District to 2027, based on current Mineral Reserves
- Initial capital of $137 million to be spent over a two year period starting in the second half of 2020. At a $1,750 per ounce gold price, Mulatos is expected to self finance the development of La Yaqui Grande following which the operation is expected to generate strong free cash flow 1
“La Yaqui Grande represents our next low-cost, high-return project in the Mulatos District. This follows the success of the La Yaqui Phase I and Cerro Pelon projects which were both developed on budget and ahead of schedule. Given its bigger scale and low-cost profile, La Yaqui Grande is expected to drive strong free cash flow growth from the Mulatos District in 2022 and beyond,” said John A. McCluskey, President and Chief Executive Officer.
|La Yaqui Grade Project Highlights||Life of Mine1|
|Mine life (years)||5|
|Total gold production (000 ounces)||616|
|Total silver production (000 ounces)||1,471|
|Average annual gold production (000 ounces)||123|
|Total ore mined (000 tonnes)||19,205|
|Average tonnes of ore mined & stacked (tonnes per day (“tpd”))||10,000|
|Average gold grade (grams per tonne)||1.17|
|Gold recovery (%)||85%|
|Silver recovery (%)||15%|
|Waste-to-ore ratio (Life of Mine including pre-strip)||5.50|
|Waste-to-ore ratio (post pre-strip)||4.04|
|Mining costs per tonne of material (life of mine, including pre-stripping)||$2.42|
|Processing costs per tonne of ore||$5.05|
|G&A costs per tonne of ore||$2.34|
|Total cash cost (per ounce sold)2||$539|
|Mine-site all-in sustaining cost (per ounce sold)2||$578|
|Capital Costs (millions) 1|
|Initial capital expenditure3||$137|
|Sustaining capital expenditure||$24|
|Total capital expenditure, including reclamation||$196|
|Base Case Economic Analysis1|
|NPV @ 0% discount rate (millions, after-tax)||$226|
|NPV @ 5% discount rate (millions, after-tax)||$165|
|Gold & silver price assumption (average, per ounce sold)||$1,450 / $18|
|Exchange Rate (Mexican Peso/US Dollar)||21|
|Economic Analysis at $1,750 per ounce Gold Price1|
|NPV @ 0% discount rate (millions, after-tax)||$345|
|NPV @ 5% discount rate (millions, after-tax)||$260|
|Gold & silver price assumption (average, per ounce sold)||$1,750 / $18|
|Exchange Rate (Mexican Peso/US Dollar)||21|
- Capital spending and economic analysis (NPV and IRR) are calculated starting January 1, 2020
- Total cash costs and mine-site all-in sustaining costs include royalties and silver as a by-product credit
- Initial capital is offset by $5 million of pre-production revenue less operating costs
Mineral Reserves and Resources
The La Yaqui Grande mine plan and economic analysis are based on Mineral Reserves as of December 31, 2019 which total 19.2 million tonnes (“Mt”), grading 1.17 grams per tonne of gold (“g/t Au”) and 15.88 grams per tonne of silver (“g/t Ag”), containing 724,000 ounces of gold and 9.8 million ounces of silver. Additionally, the project hosts Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources which total 1.3 Mt, grading 1.01 g/t Au and 8.0 g/t Ag, containing 43,000 ounces of gold and 340,000 ounces of silver. These Mineral Resources were not included in the mine plan and represent potential upside.
La Yaqui Grande’s estimated after-tax IRR is 41% and after-tax NPV is $165 million using a 5% discount rate and assuming a gold price of $1,450 per ounce, silver price of $18 per ounce, and MXN/USD foreign exchange rate of 21:1.
Assuming a $1,750 per ounce gold price and $18 per ounce silver price, the after-tax IRR increases to 58% and after-tax NPV increases to $260 million using a 5% discount rate. The mine plan, operating parameters, and capital estimates incorporated in the study are based on actual operating experience, and mining contractor agreements that have been established for the life of the project. The project economics are sensitive to metal price assumptions as detailed in the following table.
La Yaqui Grande After-Tax NPV (5%) and IRR Sensitivity to Gold Price
|Gold Price||After-Tax NPV5% ($M)||After-Tax IRR (%)|
Permitting and Project Overview
La Yaqui Grande is located approximately 7 kilometres (straight line) from the existing Mulatos operation and is adjacent to the past producing La Yaqui Phase I operation. As with La Yaqui Phase I, La Yaqui Grande will be developed with an independent heap leach pad and crushing circuit.
La Yaqui Grande is fully permitted for construction having received approval of the environmental impact assessment (“MIA”) in the second quarter of 2019 and the Change of Land Use permit in the third quarter of 2019. The project will be developed over the next 24 months with initial production expected in the second half of 2022.
Mining and Processing
La Yaqui Grande will be mined using conventional open pit methods. Ore will be mined and stacked at a rate of 10,000 tpd over a five year mine life based on existing Mineral Reserves. Contract mining will be employed and a jaw crusher and cone crushers from the past producing El Chanate mine will be relocated to the La Yaqui Grande project area. Ore will be crushed through a three-stage crushing circuit, agglomerated, stacked, and leached on an independent leach pad. The resulting gold bearing solution will be processed through carbon columns following which the loaded carbon will be transported to the existing Mulatos plant for final processing.
The La Yaqui Grande deposit is highly oxidized with expected average recoveries of 85% over the life of the operation. This is based on metallurgical test work which demonstrated recoveries above 85%, and operating experience at La Yaqui Phase I which hosts similar metallurgy and yielded life of mine recoveries of 90%.
Total cash costs are expected to average $539 per ounce and mine-site all-in sustaining costs $578 per ounce over the life of the operation. La Yaqui Grande is expected to supply the majority of annual production from the Mulatos District starting in the second half of 2022, driving a significant reduction in total cash costs and mine-site all-in sustaining costs from the mid-point of previous 2020 guidance of $860 and $960 per ounce, respectively.
Lower costs reflect La Yaqui Grande’s favourable metallurgy and higher grades which, at 1.17 g/t Au, are 31% higher than the grade of Mineral Reserves in the main Mulatos pit. This also reflects lower unit mining costs of $2.42 per tonne of material with La Yaqui Grande benefitting from lower haulage distances and improved contract mining rates with significantly higher mining rates relative to the current Mulatos operation.
Total initial capital is estimated to be $137 million and expected to be spent over a two year period starting in the second half of 2020. This includes $15 to $20 million to be spent in the second half of 2020 with the remainder to be spent in 2021 and the first half of 2022. Initial capital includes $74 million for pre-stripping activities and the remainder is for project infrastructure including the construction of the heap leach pad, waste rock dump, water treatment plant and an independent camp to house the workforce, as well as the installation of the crushing circuit from El Chanate. The remaining life of mine capital includes $24 million of sustaining capital and $35 million for reclamation activities.
A breakdown of the initial and total capital requirements is detailed as follows.
|Capital Cost ($ millions)|
|Infrastructure (heap leach facilities, carbon columns, camp, crushing circuit)||$63|
|Total Initial Capital||$137|
Chris Bostwick, FAusIMM, Alamos Gold’s Vice President, Technical Services, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this news release. Mr. Bostwick is a Qualified Person within the meaning of Canadian Securities Administrator’s National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”).
Alamos is a Canadian-based intermediate gold producer with diversified production from three operating mines in North America. This includes the Young-Davidson and Island Gold mines in northern Ontario, Canada and the Mulatos mine in Sonora State, Mexico. Additionally, the Company has a significant portfolio of development stage…