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New Pacific Metals Reports Results of its Pre-Feasibility Study of the Silver Sand Project Post-Tax US$740 NPV (5%), 37% IRR, 157 Million Ounces of Silver

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New Pacific Metals Reports Results of its Pre-Feasibility Study of the Silver Sand Project Post-Tax US$740 NPV (5%), 37% IRR, 157 Million Ounces of Silver

 

 

 

 

 

New Pacific Metals Corp. (TSX: NUAG) (NYSE-A: NEWP) is pleased to report the results of its pre-feasibility study for the Silver Sand project in Potosi Department, Bolivia. The PFS is based on the Mineral Resource Estimate for the Project, which was reported on November 28, 2022 and is reported in accordance with National Instrument 43‐101- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

 

Highlights from the PFS are as follows (all figures in US Dollars):

  • Post-tax net present value (5%) of $740 million and internal rate of return of 37% at a base case price of $24.00/oz silver,
    • Post-Tax NPV (5%) of $638 million and IRR of 33% at the PEA1 comparative price of $22.50/oz silver,
  • 13-year mine life, excluding the 2-year pre-production period, producing approximately 157 million oz of silver,
    • Annual silver production exceeds 15 Moz in years one through three, with life of mine average annual silver production exceeding 12 Moz,
  • Initial capital costs of $358 million and a post-tax payback of 1.9 years (from the start of production) at $24.00/oz silver, and
  • Average LOM all-in sustaining cost of $10.69/oz silver.

 

“We are excited to share the results of the PFS for Silver Sand, a significant milestone for our Company. These strong results confirm that Silver Sand has the potential to become a high-grade, low-cost, pure silver producer, setting it apart as a rare and valuable asset in our industry. The next step along our journey will be reaching an agreement with local communities to secure surface rights for the project area. Furthermore, our team will continue to collaborate with local communities and authorities to ensure that the mineral wealth at Silver Sand benefits all Bolivians and stakeholders,” stated Andrew Williams, CEO and President. “We are very pleased with the progress and look forward to the next phases of development.”

 

______________________________________
1 Silver Sand Deposit Preliminary Economic Assessment, effective date of November 30, 2022, available at www.newpacificmetals.com or SEDAR+, for further information see below

 

AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) Ltd. (mineral resource and reserves, mining, infrastructure and financial analysis) was contracted to conduct the PFS in cooperation with Halyard Inc. (metallurgy and processing), and NewFields Canada Mining & Environment ULC (tailings, water and waste management). The taxation calculations were based on the guidance and expertise of Bolivian local experts engaged by the Company.

 

Economic Results and Sensitivities

 

Table 1 shows key assumptions and summarizes the projected production and economic results of the PFS. Tables 2 and 3 show sensitivities to silver prices and operating and capital costs.

 

Table 1: Silver Sand Project Open Pit Mining – Key Economic Assumptions and Results

 

Item Unit Value
Total Ore Mined Kt 52,014
Open Pit Strip Ratio1 t:t 3.3:1
Annual Processing Rate Ktpa 4,000
Average Silver Grade2 g/t 105
Silver Recovery2 % 90 %
Silver Price $/oz 24.00
Payable Silver Metal Moz 157
Gross Revenue $M 3,770
Total All-In Sustaining Cost3 $/oz 10.69
Initial Capital Costs $M 358
Mine Life4 Yrs 13
Payback Period (post-tax)5 Yrs 1.9
Cumulative Net Cash Flow (pre-tax) $M 1,733
Cumulative Net Cash Flow (post-tax) $M 1,162
Post-tax NPV (5%) $M 740
Post-tax IRR % 37 %
NPV (5%) to Initial Capex Ratio $:$ 2.1:1
1. LOM average strip ratio. Does not consider material mined during the pre-production period.
2. LOM average.
3. Includes operating costs, selling costs, royalties, sustaining capital costs, and closure costs. Calculated on a pre-tax basis.
4. Excludes pre-production period.
5. The payback period is measured from the beginning of production after construction is completed.

 

Table 2: Silver Sand Project Economic Sensitivity Analysis for Silver Prices – Post-Tax

 

Silver Price Sensitivity
Silver Price (US$/oz) $18.00 $21.00 $24.00
(Base Case)
$27.00 $30.00
Results (post-tax NPV $M / IRR) 329 / 22% 535 / 30% 740 / 37% 936 / 43% 1,124 / 48%
Note: Inputs for the base case (100%) are listed in Table 1. This table presents how the project’s post-tax NPV and IRR are affected by varying the selling price of silver. For example, if the silver price increases by $3/oz (from $24.00 to $27.00/oz) while other Inputs remain as the “Base Case”, then the NPV becomes $936 M and the IRR is 43%. NPV values are discounted at a rate of 5% per annum.

 

Table 3: Silver Sand Project Economic Sensitivity Analysis for Costs – Post-Tax

 

Cost Sensitivity
Sensitivity Items -20 % -10 % 100%
(Base Case)
+10 % +20 %
Mine Operating Cost (post-tax NPV $M / IRR) 784 / 38% 762 / 37% 740 / 37% 719 / 36% 697 / 36%
Process Operating Cost (post-tax NPV $M / IRR) 803 / 39% 773 / 38% 740 / 37% 708 / 36% 676 / 35%
Life-of-Mine CAPEX (post-tax NPV $M / IRR) 797 / 46% 770 / 41% 740 / 37% 711 / 33% 682 / 30%
Note: Inputs for the base case (100%) are listed in Table 1.Table 3 lists sensitivity analysis for three “Input” variables. For example, if LOM CAPEX increases by 20% (+20%), while silver price, mine operating cost, and process operating cost remain the same as the “Base Case” input, the NPV becomes $682 M and IRR is 30%. NPV values are discounted at a rate of 5% per annum.

 

Capital and Operating Costs

 

The Project, as outlined in the PFS, is an open-pit mining operation with mining anticipated to be completed by a contract mining company. The open-pit mine is anticipated to provide ore to a mineral processing plant, producing silver doré on site.

 

Silver Sand has several advantages that we anticipate will benefit capital and operating costs:

  • The mine is expected to be operated by a contractor with current operations in Bolivia. This will eliminate procurement of a mining fleet by the Company and sustaining capital for fleet replacement,
  • The mine is expected to be connected to the national electricity grid to provide low-cost power to the processing plant and other on-site infrastructure, and
  • The site can be accessed via government highways and high-quality local roads. The access road is currently being upgraded and widened by the government.

 

Costs used in the PFS were estimated based on quotes from multiple contractors, and vendors, as well as internal cost databases from the Company’s consultants and indications from local firms.

 

A summary of capital costs is shown in Table 4. The majority of initial capital costs are related to constructing the mineral processing plant, followed by mine pre-production and development costs, and site infrastructure. Mine pre-production and development costs are primarily composed of waste mining and construction of the tailings storage facility (“TSF”) embankment. In comparison to the PEA published on January 9, 2023, the $50 million increase in initial capital costs is primarily due to:

  • Reallocating 10Mt of waste material, that was mined in the production phase of the PEA, to the pre-production phase, as further engineering revealed the need for additional material for the TSF embankment (approximately $30 million), and
  • A larger silver leach circuit to extend the leach time, based on the results of the PFS metallurgical test work and further engineering (approximately $20 million).

 

Table 4: Total Capital Cost Estimate

 

Item1 Cost ($M)
Mine pre-production and development costs 76
Processing plant 207
TSF2 and site infrastructure 54
Owner’s cost 21
Initial capital 358
Life of mine sustaining capital3 85
1. Includes direct, indirect, and contingency costs.
2. Tailings capital includes initial earthworks, liners/membranes, and a water management facility. The cost of transporting and placement of material to build the tailings embankment is included in mine pre-production and development costs. Ongoing tailings embankment costs are included in mine operating costs and sustaining capital.
3. Sustaining capital costs include expansion of the TSF, refurbishment and replacement of processing equipment, and mine closure.

 

A summary of operating costs is presented in Table 5.

 

Table 5: Total Operating Cost Estimate

 

Item1 Cost ($/t milled)
Mining cost2 9.28
Processing & tailings cost 13.71
General and Administration cost 1.65
Total operating cost 24.63
1. Totals may not add up exactly due to rounding.
2. Mining costs includes a credit for 3.8 Mt of ore mined during the pre-production phase and is based on a mining cost $2.34/t mined.

 

Mining

 

It is anticipated that the deposit will be mined using a conventional open pit approach. This entails drilling and blasting, with loading by hydraulic excavators and haulage by off-highway rear dump haul trucks. Ore is expected to be hauled to a crusher or to run-of-mine (ROM) stockpiles. Waste is anticipated to be hauled to external and in-pit waste rock dumps. Open-pit mining is anticipated to commence in Year 2, with 28.0 million tonnes of pre-production mining occurring over a two-year pre-production period. Peak open-pit production is expected to be 18.0 Mt of total material mined in Year 8. A total of 52.0 Mt of ore is anticipated to be mined from open pit operations over the life of mine.

 

Processing & Metallurgy

 

Three additional metallurgical programs, building on earlier test work, were completed during 2022 and 2023 and focused on cyanidation and tank leaching. They included bottle roll tests, column leach tests and gravity concentration, in addition to further grindability and sample characterization. The selected PFS flowsheet consists of comminution by crushing, followed by semi-autogenous and ball milling, tank leaching with cyanidation over 72 hours, counter current decantation (“CCD”) and zinc precipitation (Merrill Crowe). Zinc precipitate from Merrill Crowe will be treated for copper removal, and then smelted to produce silver doré.

 

Thickened tailings from the CCD circuit are anticipated to be filtered with pressure filters before being conveyed to the nearby TSF. Upon mine closure, it is anticipated that the TSF will be capped with rock and reclaimed topsoil to provide a secure facility.

 

Process water is expected to be sourced from the water reservoir adjacent to the process plant and from recycled water from the TSF, supplemented by site runoff as required. A site-wide water balance model has been developed to maximize water recycling over the life of mine.

 

Mineral Resource Estimate

 

The MRE, which used conceptual open pit mining constraints for reporting purposes, was previously reported in a news release dated November 28, 2022. The Mineral Resource, stated at a 30 g/t silver cut‐off grade, is shown in Table 6.

 

Table 6: Mineral Resource as of October 31, 2022

 

Tonnes (Mt) Ag (g/t) Ag (Moz)
Measured 14.9 131 62.6
Indicated 39.4 110 139.2
Measured & Indicated 54.3 116 201.8
Inferred 4.6 88 13.0
Notes:
·        CIM Definition Standards (2014) were used for reporting the Mineral Resources.

·        The qualified person (as defined in NI 43-101) is Dinara Nussipakynova, P.Geo. of BBA, formerly employed with AMC Consultants (Canada) Ltd. (“AMC Consultants).

·        Mineral Resources are constrained by optimized pit shells at a metal price of US$22.50/oz Ag, recovery of 91% Ag and cut-off grade of 30 g/t Ag.

·        Drilling results up to July 25 2022.

·        The numbers may not compute exactly due to rounding.

·        Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

 

Source: AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) Ltd.

 

Mineral Reserve Estimate

The open pit Mineral Reserves are reported within an optimized pit design. The Mineral Reserves represent the economically mineable part of the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource and are presented in Table 7 below.

 

Table 7: Mineral Reserve estimate as of June 19, 2024

 

Tonnes (Mt) Ag (g/t) Ag (Moz)
Proven 15.1 121 58.8
Probable 36.9 98 116.6
Proven & Probable 52.0 105 175.4
 

Notes:

·        CIM Definition Standards (2014) were used for reporting the Mineral Reserves.

·        The qualified person is Wayne Rogers, P.Eng. of AMC Consultants

·        Cut-off grade of 27 g/t Ag for material inside the administrative mining contract (“AMC”), and 29 g/t Ag outside the AMC limit based on operating costs of 16.71 US$/t of ore, 91% Ag metallurgical recovery, 0.50 US$/oz Ag treatment and selling costs, 6% royalty within AMC, 12% royalty outside AMC, and 99.00% payable silver

·        Ag price assumed is US$23.00 per oz.

·        Mineral Reserves include dilution and mining recovery.

·        Mineral Reserves are converted from Mineral Resources through the process of pit optimization, pit design, production schedule and supported by a positive cash flow model.

·        The totals may not sum due to rounding.

·        Probable Mineral Reserves are based on Indicated Mineral Resources only

·        Proven Mineral Reserves are based on Measured Mineral Resources only.

·        Ag metal (Moz) represents contained metal.

 

Source: AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) Ltd.

 

Permitting

The Company continues to progress with community engagement efforts with those individuals located within the Project’s area of influence. To finalize the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for submission to Bolivia’s Ministry of Environment and Water, as disclosed in the Company’s news release dated January 31, 2024, the Company must obtain surface rights for the Project through long-term land lease agreements, finalize a resettlement and compensation plan for impacted community members and implement measures to safeguard cultural and historical heritage. Discussions are ongoing with local communities to reach these agreements.

 

Progress towards these agreements has been disrupted by a minority group of artisanal and small-scale miners operating illegally within our mineral rights whose activities do not align with the development objectives of the Project. Through its extensive community engagement efforts, the Company believes that the interests of this minority group of ASMs do not align with those of the broader communities. These communities have formally acknowledged the Company’s mining rights and they have indicated that they expect the cessation of these ASM activities.

 

The Company has taken steps to address the presence of these ASMs, including the commencement of formal legal proceedings in December 2023. These legal proceedings are led by one of the leading law firms in Bolivia. In addition, on May 7, 2024, the Company successfully obtained an execution order from the Mining Jurisdictional Administrative Authority for the reinstatement of its mining rights and is working closely with government authorities to enforce the Order. As efforts to resolve the presence of this minority group of ASMs have intensified over the past several months, our site access for certain activities has been temporarily limited, as expected.

 

The Company remains optimistic about achieving a favorable resolution, bolstered by community and governmental support to uphold our mining rights and drive positive development outcomes for the Project, benefiting local communities, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and the Company’s shareholders over the next two decades, and beyond, pending positive exploration success. Regarding the extent of the impact of the illegal ASM activities on the Project’s Mineral Resources, the Company believes the mineralized material extracted is not significant.

 

Mining Production Contract

 

The Company continues to engage with the Bolivia state mining corporation, Corporación Minera de Bolivia, to obtain the ratification and approval of the signed Mining Production Contract at the Project by the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia. As noted in the Company’s January 31, 2024 news release, the Company acknowledges the significant role of Mining Cooperatives in the region’s economic and political landscape in areas of the Project that do not encroach on our mineral rights.

 

The Company is committed to ensuring that the proposed Project delivers shared benefits, including access to milling capacity, technology, infrastructure, capital, and underutilized mining areas. Establishing a framework for coexistence with CoOps in non-encroaching areas of Silver Sand is crucial for securing the necessary support for the ratification and approval of the signed MPC. In light of this, over the past several months the Company has extensively engaged with the relevant CoOps, their affiliate groups, and COMIBOL.

 

Qualified Persons

 

The qualified persons for the PFS are Mr. Wayne Rogers P.Eng and Mr. Mo Molavi P.Eng both Principal Mining Engineers with AMC Mining Consultants (Canada) Ltd, Mr. Andy Holloway P.Eng, Process Director with Halyard Inc., and Mr. Leon Botham P.Eng., Principal Engineer with NewFields Canada Mining & Environment ULC. This is in addition to Ms. Dinara Nussipakynova, P.Geo., Principal Geologist formerly with AMC Consultants who estimated the Mineral Resource. All such qualified persons have reviewed the technical content of this news release for the deposit at the Project and have approved its dissemination.

 

Further details supporting the PFS will be available in an NI 43‐101 Technical Report which will be posted under the Company’s profile at sedarplus.com within 45 days of this news release.

 

This news release has been reviewed and approved by Alex Zhang, P.Geo., Vice President of Exploration of New Pacific Metals Corp. who is the designated qualified person for the Company.

 

About New Pacific Metals

 

New Pacific is a Canadian exploration and development company with three precious metal projects in Bolivia. The Company’s flagship Silver Sand project has the potential to be developed into one of the world’s largest silver mines. The Company is also rapidly advancing its Carangas project towards a Preliminary Economic Assessment. For the Silverstrike project, the Company completed a discovery drill program in 2022.

 

Posted June 26, 2024

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