LONGUEUIL, CANADA--(Marketwired - Jul 12, 2013) - Reunion Gold Corporation (TSX VENTURE:RGD) ("Reunion or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has received the mineral reserves estimate and results of the pre-feasibility study ("PFS") for its wholly-owned Matthews Ridge Manganese Project in northwest Guyana, South America (the "Project").
Highlights (all currency in US dollars):
- Proven and probable mineral reserves of 26.3 million tonnes with an average grade of 14.2% Mn;
- Open pit mine and conventional washing and gravity plant processing 2.8 million tonnes of ore per year;
- Production of 750,000 tonnes of manganese concentrate per year over a 10 year mine life, mainly suitable in silico-manganese furnaces;
- Initial capital cost of $233 million;
- Internal rate of return of 15.7% based on consensus manganese price forecasts;
- Satellite manganese deposits offer significant potential to extend mine life or lead to expansion.
The mineral reserve estimate and PFS were prepared under the direction of GMining Services Inc. ("GMining") with inputs from other specialized consultants, in accordance with the requirements of the Canadian Institute of Mining Guidelines and Canadian National Instrument 43-101 "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects" ("NI 43-101"). The PFS describes the scope, design and viability of developing the Matthews Ridge Project based on a simple open pit mining operation with gravity concentration and exporting lump and fine concentrates.
David Fennell, Executive Chairman of Reunion, stated: "The completion of the Matthews Ridge Project pre-feasibility study is an important milestone for the Company. The study indicates the viability of the Project. Matthews Ridge could become a significant manganese producer at a site close to the North American and European markets. Reunion intends, subject to available financing, to carry out the work for the completion of a full feasibility study, which will include defining manganese resources from satellite deposits, targeting a production decision in the second half of 2014".
In February 2013, Reunion announced unconstrained measured and indicated mineral resources for the Matthews Ridge footprint area (Figure 2), totaling 32.4 million tonnes at 14.0% Mn using an 8% Mn cutoff grade (see February 21, 2013 press release and NI 43-101 Technical Report - Matthews Ridge Manganese Project dated February 20, 2013 available on SEDAR and on the Company's website). The proven and probable reserves stated below were estimated based on these unconstrained measured and indicated resources, the work carried out for the PFS and industry standard open pit optimization techniques, and demonstrate a 81% conversion rate from resources to reserves:
|Total proven and probable reserves||26,293,418||14.2|
- The effective date for the mineral reserve estimate is July 7, 2013.
- The cutoff grade used is 8% Mn.
- For resource parameters, see the Reunion press release of February 21, 2013.
- Average waste to ore strip ratio: 1.59:1.
- The open pit shells and designs developed for estimating reserves are based on a benchmark manganese price of $5.50/dry metric tonne units ("dmtu") CIF China, recommended pit slopes, calculated operating costs and metallurgical recovery equations derived during the test program.
Production is scheduled over a period of 10 years. The average annual production rate is 2.8 million tonnes of ore fed to the process plant. The table below is a summary of the average life-of-mine (LOM) and total production:
|Ore mined||000 t||2,780||26,293|
|Waste mined||000 t||4,460||41,798|
|Total tonnes mined||000 t||7,240||68,091|
|Mill feed grade||% Mn||14.2||14.2|
|Lump concentrate production||000 t||462||4,449|
|Lump concentrate grade||% Mn||39.1||39.1|
|Fine concentrate production||000 t||288||2,763|
|Fine concentrate grade||% Mn||36.4||36.4|
|Total concentrate production||000 t||750||7,212|
Note: For lump and fine concentrate specifications, see Reunion's press release of February 21, 2013.
Open pit mining would be carried out by hydraulic excavators and articulated trucks with an anticipated mining recovery of 100%. The process plant flow sheet consists of scrubbing, screening and jigging to produce lump and fine concentrates. Metallurgical testing of the different ore types demonstrates very good and straightforward upgradability (see Reunion's press release of August 27, 2012, and February 21, 2013). Metallurgical recovery is anticipated at 73%. Concentrate is to be transported by road trains to a storage facility on a fluvial berth at Port Kaituma capable of loading ocean-going barges, using logistical concept already practised by the previous miners of Matthews Ridge. Current plans are to send the concentrate to a transhipment facility in Trinidad, where they would be loaded on dedicated bulk carriers.
The initial capital cost required to bring the Project into production is estimated at $ 233.0 million, including a $21.7 million contingency. An additional amount of $24.9 million would be required in sustaining capital over the life of the mine. Breakdown of the initial capital cost is summarized below:
|Total direct costs||159.0|
|Indirect costs (engineering, construction, freight, etc.)||52.3|
|Subtotal direct and indirect costs||211.3|
|Total Project Capital Cost||233.0|
The life-of-mine operating cost is estimated at $88.59 per tonne of concentrate, as summarized in the table below. Additionally, closure costs which include dismantling of all infrastructures and rehabilitation of the Project are estimated at $8 million.
|General and administration||11.83|
|Total operating costs||88.59|
Project returns are summarized in the tables below at various manganese prices and discount rates. The returns are on an after tax basis and reflect terms negotiated with the Government of Guyana under a Mineral Agreement signed on March 24, 2011. For the base case price assumption of $6.00/dmtu CIF China, the Project internal rate of return (IRR) is 15.7 % and the payback period is 4.4 years.
|Mn Price (1)
($/dmtu CIF China)
|0 %||234.7||5.50||10.0 %|
|2 %||186.7||5.75||12.9 %|
|4 %||146.0||6.00||15.7 %|
|6 %||111.2||6.25||18.4 %|
|8 %||81.4||6.50||21.0 %|
|(1) The manganese price assumptions include a "value-in-use" discount of 2%. The CIF China benchmark price is derived from the three-year lagging average manganese price of $5.53, five-year average lagging manganese price of $6.57 and independent market analyst consensus forecast pricing.|
Reunion has identified the following specific Project opportunities:
- Potential increase of footprint mineral resources: There are specific areas on the footprint that could not be trenched and drilled in the past because of logistical constraints, but that are known to host mineralized materials. Subject to available financing, these targets will be explored later this year.
- Regional resource development: Three other prospects in the Matthews Ridge region (the Pipiani, Arakaka and North Prospects) are being explored with the objectives of adding new resources in the feasibility study.
- Favorable exploration ground: Reunion holds exclusive exploration licenses for manganese over an area of 185 square kilometers in northwest Guyana considered geologically very favorable for manganese mineralization.
- Potential optimizations: There is considerable scope for optimization of the process plant throughput based on market conditions, increased resources and further metallurgical testing.
- Transportation costs: Ocean freight costs could be significantly reduced if the concentrate is transported by sharing transshipment facilities and bulk carriers currently used for other commodities in the region.
Environmental and social studies
Reunion has conducted the full cycle of environmental and social baseline studies in anticipation of a complete project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA") in conformity with international and local standards. Significantly, no issues have been identified that would hinder project development. The studies have covered two seasons of biodiversity (flora and fauna) data, two years of climate and meteorology, air and water quality, as well as site hydrology data. Social and community baselines have involved documented surveys within and outside the Project footprint area and regular community engagement meetings. Environmental studies were done with the participation of Ground Structures Engineering Consultants Inc., a Guyanese-based company.
A gap analysis by Environmental Resources Management Inc. (ERM), an independent consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., found no major concerns, confirmed the reliability of the existing information and proposed a pathway to the completion of the ESIA for project permitting, which should be completed within the feasibility study period.
Plans for 2013
The pre-feasibility results reported in this press release provide a platform for Reunion to advance the Matthews Ridge Project through to full feasibility. Subject to available financing, the Company's plan for 2013 is to complete an aggressive resource definition program on the Pipiani, Arakaka and North Prospects, upgrade the inferred resources (5.3 million tonnes at 15% Mn) already identified on these prospects and the footprint, and carry out essential work for the full feasibility study.
General Project Description
The Matthews Ridge Project consists of four prospecting licenses covering an area of 185 km2 located in northwest Guyana, in and around the former Matthews Ridge mine (see maps - Figure 1 and 2). Manganese ore was mined from 1960 to 1968 by a subsidiary of Union Carbide and exported via railroad and the Port Kaituma fluvial port (Figure 1).
Manganese deposits have been defined at the Matthews Ridge footprint along a series of nine hills extending for 15 km, of which five were previously mined. Ongoing exploration is focusing on the Arakaka Prospect, which is the eastern extension of the footprint, the North Prospect, which is 5 km to the north of Matthews Ridge, and the Pipiani Prospect, which is located 60 km to the southeast of Matthews Ridge and was already drilled by the previous mine operators (Figure 1).
Under the direction of GMining Services Inc., an independent mining consultant firm based in the Montreal area, Canada, the PFS had contributions from the following independent consultants: Met-Chem Canada Inc. of Montreal, Canada (support for process plant design), Golder Associates Ltd. of London, Ontario (geotechnical studies, water balance and geochemistry of ore and waste rocks), SGS Canada Inc. of Lakefield, Ontario (HLS metallurgical tests), CRU Strategies of London, England and Camet Metallurgy of Montreal, Quebec (manganese market analysis).
The resource modeling used for the reserve estimate was undertaken by Mr. Réjean Sirois, ing., P. Geo., of GMining. Mr. Ahmed Bouajila, ing., of GMining has supervised the metallurgical testing and process flow sheet development for the Project. Mr. Nicolas Menard, ing., of GMining has supervised the project engineering and capital cost compilation. All other technical information, including the mineral reserves estimate reported in this press release, was prepared or approved by Mathieu Gignac, ing., of GMining. Messrs. Sirois, Bouajila, Menard and Gignac qualify as independent 'qualified person' within the meaning of that term under NI 43-101.
The exploration data used to generate the resource estimate was approved by Carlos H. Bertoni, P. Geo., a consultant to the Company, and a 'qualified person' within the meaning of that term under NI 43-101.
A technical report on the pre-feasibility study, in compliance with NI 43-101, will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days of this press release.
About the Company
Reunion Gold Corporation is a mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in the Guyana Shield of South America. The Company, through its 100% indirectly owned subsidiary Reunion Manganese Inc., has assembled a large, strategic land position to conduct exploration and development activities for manganese in the North West District of Guyana. The Company also has the right to acquire a 100% interest in a gold exploration project located in the Lely Mountain area in eastern Suriname.
Manganese is the fourth largest metal consumed in the world, behind iron, aluminum and copper. It is a key component in steel and iron production, with no viable substitute.
Cautionary Statement on Forward Looking Information
This press release contains statements that are 'forward-looking information' under Canadian securities laws. Forward looking information refers to statements about possible events, conditions or results of operations that are based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action.
Forward looking information in this news release includes statements about Reunion's need for additional capital and its ability to acquire it; Reunion's plans to complete a full feasibility study, conduct exploration work and define additional manganese resources, and develop the project into a mine, and the timing for these events; and Reunion's ability to become a successful producer of manganese.
Forward-looking information involves making assumptions and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and factors that may result in actual events differing materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information. Material risks that could cause actual results to vary materially from the forward looking information in this press release include: the risk that the Company will not be able to raise the additional capital necessary to continue its planned activities or that it will be delayed in obtaining required funds; the risk that required permitting will not be received as expected or at all; the risk that additional exploration will not be successful in expanding or upgrading or both the current resources and reserves; and the risk that unforeseen global market or other changes will make it not possible for Reunion to produce an economic product from Matthews Ridge. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the price of manganese or certain other commodities (such as diesel fuel and electricity); increases in the discount rates applied to present value net future cash flows based on country-specific real weighted average cost of capital; changes in capital and operating costs; fluctuations in the currency markets; changes in interest rates; changes in government legislation, controls, policies and regulations; and adverse political or economic developments in Guyana. In addition, there are risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development and mining, including: operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities; and environmental hazards and industrial accidents (and the risk of inadequate insurance, or the inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks). If one or more of these uncertainties and contingencies occur, they could cause Reunion's actual results to differ materially from the results expressed or implied in the forward-looking information. The Company has made assumptions regarding the occurrence of future events that its officers and directors, in their collective experience, believe are reasonable and which are based upon their understanding of current conditions and expected future developments and other factors that they consider relevant. However, despite all this, future events may turn out differently from what is expected at present, and the Company can give no assurance that the forward looking information will prove to be correct. Therefore, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward looking information.
The statements containing forward-looking information in this press release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking information, unless required to do so by applicable securities laws.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.
Figure 1 - Map of Matthews Ridge region and Figure 2 - Map of Matthews Ridge Footprint area are available at the following link : http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/RGD_figures07112013.pdf.