Montage Gold Corp. (TSX-V: MAU) (OTCPK: MAUTF) is pleased to announce the results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Koné Gold Project in Côte d’Ivoire. The PEA was prepared in accordance with Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Please note that all financial figures in this press release are in United States dollars, unless otherwise noted.
Hugh Stuart, Montage CEO commented, “Since its listing in October 2020, Montage has moved quickly and efficiently to demonstrate that the Koné Gold Project has the potential to be one of the largest gold projects in Africa situated within a highly prospective emerging district.
“The PEA shows that Koné has the potential to produce over 200,000 ounces/year LOM with 249,000 ounces/year for the first 9 years delivering solid economics with after-tax NPV5% of $652M and an IRR of 31% at $1,600/oz gold.
“The key drivers of this are the simplicity of the project with true mineralised widths up to 330m, solid metallurgy lending itself to a standard flowsheet and low operating costs and a low-cost on-site power source. It is also important to note that the PEA represents a snapshot in time and the resource base has the potential to grow further.
“With this important milestone achieved, we will continue to move forward to deliver the Feasibility Study on the Koné Gold Project by the end of 2021. Infill drilling to upgrade the resource to the Indicated Resource category (and potentially form the basis for Mineral Reserves) is 80% complete and we continue to expect a high degree of resource conversion. Notably, the PEA pit design takes over 90% of the Inferred Mineral Resource and current drilling is targeting extensions to the resource model. Geotechnical and hydrogeological drilling is ongoing, metallurgical sampling is complete and given the detail of work within the PEA, Lycopodium will proceed directly to feasibility level design for the project.
“In parallel with the Feasibility Study we will also push ahead with permitting and begin the preparation of the mining permit application to tender in parallel with the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in Q4 of this year. Finally, now that we have a detailed estimate on capital requirements to develop the Koné Gold Project we will begin to have more in depth discussions with project finance providers.”
Summary operating and financial metrics from the PEA are presented in Table 1 below. A summary model with annual projections over the project life has been included as Appendix 1 to this release.
Note: The PEA is preliminary in nature, includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Table 1 – PEA Summary Metrics
|Pit Optimization Gold Price Assumption||$/oz||$1,250|
|Financial Model Base Case Gold Price||$/oz||$1,600|
|Life of Mine||years||14.7|
|Total Mineralized Material Mined||Mt||161.1|
|Annual Mining Rate||Mtpa||35.0|
|Annual Milling Rate (Mill Throughput)||Mtpa||11.0|
|Average Head Grade, first 3 years||Au g/t||0.94|
|Average Head Grade, first 9 Years||Au g/t||0.79|
|Average Head Grade, LOM||Au g/t||0.65|
|Processing Recovery, first 3 Years||%||91.2%|
|Processing Recovery, first 9 Years||%||90.2%|
|Processing Recovery, LOM||%||89.4%|
|Total Gold Production, LOM||koz||3,012|
|Average Gold Production, first 3 years||koz/yr||294|
|Average Gold Production, first 9 years||koz/yr||249|
|Average Gold Production, LOM||koz/yr||205|
|Mining Cost Per Tonne Mined, LOM||$/t, mined||$2.90|
|Mining Cost Per Tonne Processed, LOM||$/t, processed||$5.39|
|Processing Cost, LOM (including rehandle)||$/t, processed||$7.20|
|G&A, LOM||$/t, processed||$0.86|
|Royalties, LOM||$/t, processed||$1.93|
|Total Cash Costs, LOM||$/t, processed||$15.39|
|Average Cash Costs1, first 3 years||$/payable oz||$701|
|Average Cash Costs1, LOM||$/payable oz||$827|
|Average AISC1, first 3 years||$/payable oz||$835|
|Average AISC1, LOM||$/payable oz||$975|
|Initial Capital Expenditure||$M||$489.9|
|Sustaining Capital (incl. Closure)||$M||$444.9|
|NPV5%, pre-tax (100%)||$M||$928.7|
|NPV5%, after-tax (100%)||$M||$652.2|
|Average Annual EBITDA1, first 3 years||$M||$261.5|
|Average Annual EBITDA1, first 9 years||$M||$187.7|
Koné Gold Project Overview
The Koné Gold Project is located approximately 590km north-west of Abidjan (Figure 1), the commercial capital of Côte d’Ivoire. The Project comprises one exploration permit (PR262) covering 290km2 and four exploration permit applications covering a further 1,152km2 within trucking distance of Koné (Figure 1).
The communities of Fadiadougou and Batogo lie 5km east and west respectively of the resource area with the nearest major centre at Séguéla, 80km to the south. The Project area is accessible year-round with an asphalt highway within a kilometre of the proposed plant location.
The Project area is characterized by moderate relief, lying between 200m and 420m above sea level and is largely devoid of habitation with subsistence farming and cashew plantations the dominant land use.
Mineral Resource Estimate
Recoverable resources were estimated (effective date of January 27, 2021) for the Koné deposit by Multiple Indicator Kriging (MIK) by MPR Geological Consultants Pty Ltd. based on 40,540m drilling completed up to December 31, 2020.
Table 2 shows the Inferred Mineral Resource estimates at a range of cut-off grades reported within an optimal pit shell generated at a gold price of $1,500/oz. The estimates are classified as Inferred and are now reported on a base case cut off grade to 0.2g/t to align better with the planned mining/processing scenario.
Table 2 – Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate
|Cut-off Grade||Inferred Mineral Resources (January 2021)|
|Au g/t||Mt||Au g/t||Au Moz|
|1.||The figures in this tables are rounded to reflect the precision of the estimates and include rounding errors.|
|2.||Inferred Mineral Resources are reported in accordance with NI 43-101 with an effective date of January 27,
|3.||The Inferred Mineral Resources are reported on a 100% basis and are constrained within an optimal pit
shell generated at a gold price of US$1,500/ounce.
|4.||The identified Mineral Resources are classified according to the “CIM” definitions of Inferred Mineral
|5.||The Inferred Mineral Resource statement was prepared by Mr. Jonathon Abbott of MPR Geological
Consultants who is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101.
|6.||Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not necessarily demonstrate economic viability.|
|7.||The estimates at 0.2g/t cut-off grade represent the base case or preferred scenario.|
Preliminary Economic Assessment Overview
The PEA is based on an open-pit gold mine feeding a gold processing facility (Figure 2). The Project will produce an average of approximately 205,000 ounces of gold per year over the life of the mine. The initial life of the Project is 14.7 years with upside potential through regional exploration and identification of satellite pits targeted at higher grades that can be mined and trucked to a central processing facility.
Initial capital to fund construction and commissioning is estimated at $490 million with total capital estimated at $935 million over the LOM including closure costs. All-in sustaining costs1 are estimated at $835 per ounces during the first three years of the Project, well below the current industry average and $975 per ounce over the life of the Project. Process costs of just $7.20/t position the Project to take advantage of processing satellite pits identified through exploration.
The financial analysis performed from the results of this PEA demonstrates the economic viability of the Koné Gold Project using the base case gold price assumption of $1,600 per ounce. This results in an after-tax net present value cashflow at a 5% discount rate (NPV5%) of $652 million and an after-tax IRR of 31% (both on a 100% basis). Tables 2 and 3 below detail the operational and financial metrics defined by the study.
The Company believes there are additional opportunities to further strengthen the Project through the continued drilling and testing of the existing resource base (which is open at depth) and definition of new targets.
The study was prepared for Montage by Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd. Other discipline specific consultants were:
The Koné deposit will be mined via open pit mining using a conventional truck and shovel mining fleet with drill and blasting planned for all material types.
Pit optimisations were completed based on slope angle recommendations from SRK Consulting of 36° for oxide, 65° for transition and 59 to 60° for fresh rock giving an overall slope angle of approximately 55°.
Pit optimisations were run using estimates of processing cost and recovery data. Mining costs were broken into base and incremental mining costs and were built from first principles using knowledge of recent mining contracts operating under similar conditions in West Africa.
A gold price of $1,250/oz was used for the pit optimisations, along with the following royalty assumptions: i) Sliding scale royalty payable to the government of Côte d’Ivoire; ii) 2% royalty payable to Maverix Metals Inc.; and iii) 0.5% community development fund royalty.
The PEA pit design includes over 90% of the Inferred Mineral Resource as depicted below in Figure 3.
The operating strategy assumes that mining operations will be carried out by a contractor on a cost per tonne basis utilising a mining fleet comprised of 145t rigid body haul trucks with suitably sized loading units.
Pit designs were completed for the Koné deposit which will be exploited through two pits, a smaller northern pit which reaches a depth of 130m and a larger southern pit which extends to a depth of 470 metres deep. The overall strip ratio for the KGP is 0.93:1. Figure 4 shows the mine schedule which is based on a peak 35Mtpa mining rate over a period of nine years. The grade of the processed material in the first nine years is enhanced by using an elevated cut off grade and stockpiling the lower grade material for later processing. Figure 5 shows the processing schedule with the higher-grade feed material being processed during the first nine years of mine life with the stockpiled lower grade material processed after the completion of mining operations. Figure 6 shows forecasted gold production and processing recoveries.
A detailed annual breakdown of mining and processing forecasts is included in Appendix 1 to this release.
A comprehensive testwork program was carried by SGS Lakefield on 43 comminution and 39 leach optimisation and variability samples representing range of material and rock types at the Koné deposit.
The testwork program demonstrated that the Koné deposit mineralisation can deliver high gold recoveries with low reagent consumptions and medium-low resistance to grinding provide favourable processing economics and a simple flowsheet.
Table 3 shows the forecast gold recoveries based and reagent consumptions at the average deposit grades along with reagent consumptions. Forecast gold recoveries were estimated based on predicted residue grades for average feed grades, solution loss of 0.01mg/l Au and carbon fines loss of 0.15%.
Cyanide consumption is low to very low and lime consumption is low for the predominant fresh zone (88%), but higher for the less dominant transition (5%) and oxide (7%) zones.
Table 3 – Metallurgical Test work Summary
|Oxidation Zone||LOM Plant
Table 4 shows the comminution results at grind size of 75 microns. The fresh mineralisation is soft in terms of resistance to ball milling, moderately hard in terms of resistance to SAG milling and crushing with medium abrasivity.
Table 4 – Comminution Testwork for Fresh Rock
|Test||Units||Average||SGS Lakefield Classification|
|Bond Ball Mill Work Index||kWh/t||11.3||Soft|
|SAG Milling Index||A x b||30.0||Moderate|
|Crusher Work Index||kWh/t||15.8||Medium|
The process plant design is based on a robust metallurgical flowsheet designed for optimal precious metal recovery. The flowsheet chosen is based on unit operations that are well proven in the industry, (Primary and Secondary crushing, SABC, CIP). The metallurgical testwork conducted to date, has confirmed that the mineralization at Koné deposit is amenable to recovery via conventional cyanidation techniques and carbon adsorption.
The key design criteria for the plant are:
Subject to final approval by government authorities, water will be sourced from the nearby Marahoué river, from pit dewatering and a supplementary borefield. Hydrological assessment of the river catchment indicates that the river will have flow in excess of total water demand for eight months of the year.
A water storage facility will be constructed downstream of the mining and processing area to act as the main water storage facility and sediment control dam. The facility will have a capacity of 3.9 Mm3 (up to the spillway invert level) with a pond area of 110 Ha. A spillway will be provided to safely release excess water from the facility. Water will be recovered from the facility by a floating pontoon mounted pump.
The river abstraction facility will be constructed adjacent to the Marahoué River at a location approximately 26 km east of the WSF. The facility will comprise a sump to capture and allow for harvesting of water. Water will be reclaimed from the facility by a pump mounted on a floating pontoon.
The TSF comprises two cells separated by a natural ridgeline, with each cell confined by a cross valley embankment. Initially the northern cell (“TSF A”) will be constructed, with the southern cell (“TSF B”) constructed later in the mine life to reduce the capital expenditure early in the mine life. Towards the end of the mine life, the two cells will merge into a single facility, with the confining embankments raised concurrently.
The TSF basins will be lined with HDPE within the normal operating pond areas and a compacted soil liner elsewhere to reduce seepage. In addition, a system of underdrainage, embankment drainage and sub-liner drainage will be constructed to reduce seepage and aid consolidation of the tailings. Water will be recovered from the supernatant pond by a suction pump with floating intake located in a channel excavated adjacent to an access causeway.
Closure spillways will be formed to prevent water accumulating on the facilities and a waste rock cover will be placed over the tailings prior to topsoiling and revegetation.
An evaluation of power supply options for the development of the Project has been undertaken. The options considered Diesel, HFO and LNG with varying levels of solar PV and battery energy storage integration. A Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) contract is the preferred commercial arrangement for the power station supply and an LNG/Solar Hybrid has been assessed as the preferred power station.
The Koné Gold Project process plant is estimated to have a maximum demand of 47.4 MW, an average annual demand of 39 MW with an expected energy consumption of 342GWhr/yr.
The up-front capital cost estimate for this LNG/Solar hybrid power station estimated at $2.5M with annual repayments of $14.6M over 10 years. The operating cost is estimated at $0.076/kWhr. The solar PV and Battery Energy Storage Systems integration is expected to save in the order of 50,000 tonnes/year of CO2 emissions compared to the stand-alone LNG power plant. Dedicated hybrid power station control systems will be utilised to optimise the renewable energy yield whilst ensuring the security and reliability of the power supply is maintained at a very high level.
Under the Mining Code, all applicants for an exploitation licence must submit an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to Agence Nationale de L’Environment, the environmental authority in charge of supervising, validating and controlling environmental impact studies. Montage is currently in the process of compiling the ESIA which is 50% complete. The northern part of the Project area overlaps the Toundia Forest Reserve. Discussions with the Forest Department have commenced to establish a mitigation plan.
The development of the Project will be subject to the following permitting process:
Montage expects to commence the Mining Permit application in the near future and submit the Project ESIA for approval in October 2021. The Company notes that other projects in Côte d’Ivoire have received both environmental and mining permits in a timely manner and expects that given the nature of and support for the project the final parts of the permitting process can be completed in Q1/2022.
Capital Costs Summary
The capital cost estimate is summarized in Table 5 and Table 6. The initial project capital cost is estimated at $489.9 M, including a contingency allowance of $65.1M.
Table 5 – Pre-Production Capital Cost Estimate Summary (+20/-10%)
|Main Area||Value ($M)|
|Tailings and Water Storage||$53.7|
The duration of the detailed design and construction phase of the Project has been estimated to be 27 months. The site accommodation camp size has been selected, by taking the manning demands for the various overlapping activities into account and the use of local villages.
The total LOM capital cost is estimated at $934.8M, including sustaining capital costs of $444.9M, as shown in Table 6. The LNG power plant and the camp will be financed under a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) contract. The duration of the contract will be 10 and 5 years respectively.
Table 6 – Sustaining Capital Cost Estimate Summary (+20/-10%)
|Main Area||Value ($M)|
|Tailings Storage Facility||$205.8|
Operating Costs Summary
Contract open pit mining costs were derived from first principles based on equipment required and include pit and dump operations, road maintenance, mine supervision and technical services cost. The average open pit operating cost ($/t mined) is shown in Table 7 . A diesel price of $0.75/l was used.
Table 7 – Mining Costs
Process operating costs have been developed for each major domain. Operating costs were developed using the plant parameters specified in the process design criteria. Table 8 presents the operating cost summary by material type. In addition to the processing costs, LOM rehandle costs equate to $0.40/t processed.
Table 8 – Process Operating Cost per Material Type (+20/-10%)
Fixed Processing Costs
|Variable Processing Costs ($/t)
Total fixed general and administration (“G&A”) costs are estimated at $9.4M annually, these are in addition to the $11.7M in annual fixed processing costs shown in Table 8.
Table 9 shows the LOM total cash cost and all-in sustaining costs calculated both on a $/payable ounce and $/tonne processed basis.
Table 9 – Cash Cost and Unit Cost Summary (using $1,600/oz gold price)
|Total Cash Cost||$827||$15.39|
|All-in Sustaining Costs||$975||$18.15|
An economic analysis has been carried out for the Project using a cash flow model. The model has been constructed using annual cash flows taking into account annual processed tonnages and grades for the CIP feed, process recoveries, metal prices, operating costs and refining charges, royalties and capital expenditures (both initial and sustaining). A payable factor of 99.5% has been assumed for purposes of gold sales.
The financial analysis used a base price of $1,600 per ounce. The financial assessment of the Project is carried out on a “100% equity” basis and the debt and equity sources of capital funds are ignored. No provision has been made for the effects of inflation. Current Côte d’Ivoire tax regulations are applied to assess the tax liabilities. Discounting and IRR calculations has been applied mid year from the first year of operation using a 5% discount rate and pre-production capital is deducted on an undiscounted basis. A detailed annual summary cash flow model is provided in Appendix 2 of this release.
Table 10 shows the Project sensitivity of the NPV, IRR, Cash Cost and AISC with gold price.
Table 10 – Project Sensitivity
|Gold Price ($/oz)|
|Total Cash Cost1||$/payable oz||$814||$821||$823||$827||$851||$862||$873|
|* Three-year trailing average|
A number of potential opportunities to improve the economics of the Koné Gold Project have been identified:
The Company is well advanced with the next phase of the project and is on schedule to complete the Feasibility Study by year end.
Koné Gold Project Preliminary Economic Assessment Presentation
A presentation and webcast discussing the Koné Gold Project PEA results will be available on the Company’s website at www.montagegoldcorp.com.
|1.||Cash costs per payable ounce, AISC per payable ounce, and EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures. Please see “Cautionary Note Regarding Non-GAAP Measures”. AISC per payable ounce includes all mining costs, processing costs, mine level G&A, royalties, sustaining capital and closure costs. Cash costs per payable ounce includes all mining costs, processing costs, mine level G&A, and royalties. EBITDA includes revenues less selling costs, less all mining costs, processing costs, mine level G&A, and royalties.|
ABOUT MONTAGE GOLD CORP.
Montage Gold Corp. is a Canadian-based precious metals exploration and development company focused on opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire. The Company’s flagship property is the Koné Gold Project, located in northwest Côte d’Ivoire, which currently hosts an Inferred Mineral Resource of 123Mt grading 0.80 g/t for 3.16Moz of gold, based on a 0.4 g/t cutoff grade. Montage has a management team and board with significant experience in discovering and developing gold deposits in Africa. The Company is rapidly progressing work programs at the Koné Gold Project towards completion of a Feasibility Study by the end of 2021.
QUALIFIED PERSONS STATEMENT
The technical contents of this release have been approved by the following Qualified Persons pursuant to National Instrument 43-101:
Appendix 1 – Annual Mining and Processing Schedule
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9||Year 10||Year 11||Year 12||Year 13||Year 14||Year 15|
|South Pit Grade||Au g/t||0.66||0.70||0.70||0.70||0.73||0.58||0.56||0.59||0.62||0.61||0.72||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|North Pit Grade||Au g/t||0.50||–||–||–||–||0.40||0.44||0.47||0.49||0.59||0.75||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Total Grade||Au g/t||0.65||0.70||0.70||0.70||0.73||0.57||0.55||0.58||0.61||0.60||0.72||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|South Pit Waste||Mt||138.5||7.2||15.3||13.5||14.9||16.3||21.6||15.9||15.2||14.9||3.6||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|North Pit Waste||Mt||11.1||–||–||–||–||2.0||2.2||2.1||2.3||2.4||0.0||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Oxide Grade||Au g/t||0.56||–||0.98||0.97||0.97||0.61||0.73||0.46||0.43||0.40||0.40||0.40||0.40||0.39||0.39||0.39||0.39|
|Transition Grade||Au g/t||0.57||–||0.87||1.00||–||0.70||0.60||–||0.72||–||–||0.41||–||–||–||–||0.37|
|Fresh Grade||Au g/t||0.66||–||0.91||0.95||0.96||0.69||0.59||0.67||0.73||0.71||0.95||0.45||0.45||0.45||0.45||0.44||0.42|
|Total Grade||Au g/t||0.65||–||0.91||0.96||0.96||0.68||0.59||0.66||0.73||0.70||0.92||0.45||0.45||0.44||0.44||0.43||0.39|
|Production and Recoveries|
Appendix 2 – Annual Cash Flow Model
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9||Year 10||Year 11||Year 12||Year 13||Year 14||Year 15||Year 16||Year 17|
|Direct Operating Costs|
|Maverix Metals Royalty||$M||$96||$8.5||$9.8||$9.8||$6.9||$5.8||$6.7||$7.4||$7.0||$9.4||$4.4||$4.4||$4.4||$4.3||$4.2||$2.9||–||–|
|Community Development Fund||$M||$24||$2.1||$2.5||$2.5||$1.7||$1.5||$1.7||$1.8||$1.8||$2.4||$1.1||$1.1||$1.1||$1.1||$1.1||$0.7||–||–|
|Total Cash Cost||$/t processed||$15.39||$18.44||$19.41||$19.94||$18.01||$18.75||$19.06||$19.61||$20.04||$18.16||$9.80||$9.94||$9.81||$9.79||$9.76||$8.89||–||–|
|Total Cash Cost||$/payable oz||$827||$691||$697||$715||$918||$1,128||$1,007||$937||$1,008||$679||$786||$794||$793||$795||$814||$797||–||–|
|All-in Sustaining Cost||$/payable oz||$975||$829||$830||$845||$1,082||$1,315||$1,282||$1,096||$1,106||$876||$929||$1,072||$834||$920||$837||$819||–||–|
|Estimated Cash Taxes||$M||$352.4||$47.7||$53.9||$51.0||$24.0||$10.0||$16.3||$21.0||$15.4||$41.8||$14.9||$12.9||$12.7||$11.5||$11.2||$8.1||–||–|
|Sustaining Capital (incl. Closure)||$M||$444.9||$30.4||$33.9||$33.1||$30.5||$30.2||$52.6||$31.5||$16.6||$51.4||$16.6||$35.3||$2.5||$13.8||$0.0||–||$32.7||$33.9|
|After-Tax Net Cash Flow||$M||$1,017.1||($489.9)||$160.8||$187.5||$186.2||$91.8||$45.4||$53.8||$99.1||$96.7||$176.6||$79.7||$62.4||$94.0||$83.1||$91.9||$64.6||($32.7)||($33.9)|
Figure 1: Location of Koné Gold Project (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
Figure 2: Koné Site Layout (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
Figure 3 – PEA Pit Design vs. Inferred Mineral Resource Shell (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
Figure 4 – Mining Schedule (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
Figure 5 – Processing Schedule (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
Figure 6 – Gold Production and Recoveries (CNW Group/Montage Gold Corp)
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We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.