Revised 2023 All-In Sustaining Cost Guidance to $700-$800 per ounce
Orla Mining Ltd. (TSX: OLA) (NYSE: ORLA) announces the results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023.
(All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated)
Second Quarter 2023 Highlights:
“Orla endeavours to be a predictable and consistent gold producer and cash generator. Camino Rojo’s operational performance supports these objectives and we are on target to deliver on our 2023 plan,” said Jason Simpson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orla. “Our exploration efforts also continue to generate positive returns and we remain committed to a systematic approach to unlocking value.”
|1 Cash cost, AISC, adjusted earnings and net debt are non-GAAP measures. See the “Non-GAAP Measures” section of this news release for additional information.|
Financial and Operations Update
|Table 1: Financial and Operating Highlights||Q2 2023||YTD Q2 2023|
|Average Realized Gold Price2||$/oz||$1,975||$1,934|
|Cost of Sales – Operating Cost||$M||$13.5||$25.3|
|Cash Cost per Ounce2||$/oz||$485||$479|
|All-in Sustaining Cost per Ounce2||$/oz||$698||$696|
|Earnings per Share – basic||$/sh||$0.04||$0.08|
|Adjusted Earnings per Share – basic2||$/sh||$0.05||$0.08|
|Cash Flow from Operating Activities before Changes in Non-Cash Working Capital||$M||$22.4||$22.4|
|Free Cash Flow2||$M||$18.5||$12.9|
|Financial Position||June 30, 2023||Dec 31, 2022|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$M||$114.5||$96.3|
|2 Non-GAAP measure. Please see the “Non-GAAP Measures” section of this news release for additional information.|
Financial and Operations Summary
Camino Rojo achieved quarterly gold production of 29,058 ounces of gold in the second quarter 2023 with an average ore stacking rate of 19,669 tonnes per day. The average mining rate during the second quarter was 34,583 tonnes per day with a strip ratio of 0.61. The average grade of ore processed during the second quarter was 0.77 g/t gold, in line with plan. Mined ore tonnes continue to reconcile well to the block model and process recoveries to date are in line with the metallurgical recovery model.
Gold sold during the second quarter 2023 totaled 29,773 ounces.
Second quarter cash costs and AISC totaled $485 and $698 per ounce of gold sold, respectively. The lower AISC is mainly attributed to lower waste tonnes mined. The lower waste tonnes mined during the quarter was due to limited access to certain areas of the pit as the Company await permits from the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (known by its Spanish acronym, “SEMARNAT”). The permitting process in Mexico, including for amendments of existing permits, has become protracted and timing uncertain. The Company does not expect the delay in obtaining the permits to have any impact on 2023 annual production guidance. However, the Company expects waste tonnes to remain below average for the remainder of 2023, resulting in lower mining costs for the year and favorably impacting 2023 AISC.
Sustaining capital during the second quarter of 2023 was $2.1 million. Sustaining capital covered items such as the construction of a dome over the ore stockpile for dust control, the construction of water wells and IT network infrastructure, as well as drilling and evaluation work related to the layback area of approximately $0.7 million.
In the second quarter, $10.5 million was spent in exploration ($7.2 million expensed and $3.3 million capitalized) with a focus on drilling near-mine Sulphides and regional targets at Camino Rojo in Mexico and regional targets in Panama.
Camino Rojo Exploration Update (Mexico)
Orla’s 2023 Camino Rojo exploration program consists of three projects with a total budget of $22 million. Approximately 50% of the planned 34,000 metres of drilling on the Sulphides has been completed and is intended to advance the understanding of the deposit. The intention of the layback oxide extension (the “Layback Program”) is to confirm and delineate mineralization located in the oxide pit layback and allow for an update of mineral resource and reserve estimates planned in late 2023. The Layback Program, consisting of approximately 3,000 metres in 24 drillholes, was completed in late May and assay results are pending. The regional exploration drill program is testing priority regional targets in an effort to make new satellite discoveries. Approximately 40% of the planned 20,000 metres regional drilling program has been completed to date.
Drill results at Camino Rojo Sulphides continue to support potential for underground development
Drilling continues to intercept wide zones (>15m down-hole drill intersections) of higher-grade gold mineralization (>2g/t Au), and in conjunction with metallurgical results from the 2021 drilling (see news release dated May 9, 2022), supports the potential for underground development and a standalone processing option for the Camino Rojo Sulphides. Assay results from 11 of the planned 57 holes completed in 2023 have returned 17 significant mineralized drill intercepts with a grade-by-thickness factor greater than 50 g/t gold by metre (g/t * m), including five intercepts with grade-by-thickness factor greater than 100 g/t gold by metre. See the Company’s news release dated June 22, 2023, and full drill results are available at www.orlamining.com. Notable results include:
|Camino Rojo Sulphides|
|Hole CRSX22-11 :||2.87 g/t Au over 93.0 m incl. 3.69 g/t Au over 48.5 m|
|Hole CRSX22-12A :||3.26 g/t Au over 56.9 m|
|Hole CRSX22-13 :||3.11 g/t Au over 34.0 m incl. 10.29 g/t Au over 5.6 m|
|Hole CRSX22-13 :||2.12 g/t Au over 43.0m incl. 2.78 g/t Au over 26.0 m|
|Hole CRSX23-14 :||2.00 g/t Au over 38.5 m|
|Hole CRSX23-14A :||1.89 g/t Au over 63.0 m incl. 2.75 g/t Au over 31.5 m|
|Hole CRSX23-16A :||1.62 g/t Au over 62.6 m incl. 7.72 g/t Au over 6.0 m|
|Hole CRSX23-17A||3.18 g/t Au over 24.5 m|
|Hole CRSX23-17A||4.18 g/t Au over 12.0 m incl. 23.7 g/t Au over 1.5m|
|Hole CRSX23-17C :||3.16 g/t Au over 29.0 m|
|Hole CRSX23-17C :||3.05 g/t Au over 42.0 m|
New style of mineralization including high grade gold and zinc intersections continue to support potential for extension of Camino Rojo Sulphides
A new style of polymetallic (Au-Ag-Zn) semi-massive to massive sulphide mineralization has been confirmed in drill holes testing below the Caracol Formation hosted Sulphides. These intercepts indicate mineralization remains open at depth along and adjacent to interpreted feeder-like structures for the currently defined Camino Rojo deposit. Approximately 20% of the 2023 sulphide drill program is planned to be extended, beyond the boundaries of the current open pit resource estimate, to test the down plunge continuity of gold mineralization along the steep northwest dipping Dike Structural Zone.
Additional drilling in the Camino Rojo Sulphide Extension target area through the remainder of 2023 will seek to continue defining the extent and grade of this style of mineralization down-plunge of the Camino Rojo deposit. Notable results include3:
|Camino Rojo Sulphides Extension|
|Hole CRSX23-15C:||5.90 g/t AuEq over 8.5 m (3.52 g/t Au, 26.2 g/t Ag, 3.64% Zn, 0.26% Cu)|
|Hole CRSX23-15C:||7.28 g/t AuEq over 3.3 m (4.54 g/t Au, 6.7 g/t Ag, 5.49% Zn, 0.06% Cu),|
|incl. 8.00 g/t Au, 7.6g/t Ag, 12.5% Zn, 0.11% Cu over 1.2m)|
|Hole CRSX23-15C:||17.6 g/t AuEq over 1.5 m (15.4 g/t Au, 6.7 g/t Ag, 4.39% Zn, 0.04% Cu)|
Near mine layback drilling seeking to confirm mineralization with targeted mineral resource addition
The Company began drilling in the oxide pit layback in late April to confirm and delineate mineralization on the Fresnillo Plc (“Fresnillo”) property, located immediately north of and adjacent to the Camino Rojo Oxide Mine open pit. While historical drilling indicates that mineralization continues across the property boundary onto the Fresnillo layback area, no ounces from this area are currently included in the Camino Rojo mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate. The Layback Program, consisting of approximately 3,000 metres in 24 drillholes, was completed in late May. Results of the Layback Program will be included in an update of mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate planned in late 2023. Assay results are pending.
Early Camino Rojo regional exploration drilling with positive showings
Follow-up drilling at the Guanamero target area, located approximately 7 km northeast of the Camino Rojo mine along the mine structural trend, returned encouraging and narrow high-grade gold results with occurrences of visible gold in two of the seven holes completed. Notable assay results include3:
|Camino Rojo Regional Exploration (Guanamero)|
|Hole CRED23-05:||0.69 g/t Au over 10.5 m incl. 4.02 g/t Au over 1.5 m (visible gold)|
|Hole CRED23-05:||0.94 g/t Au over 3.3 m incl. 1.08 g/t Au over 1.7 m|
|Hole CRED23-06:||61.2 g/t Au over 1.3 m (visible gold)|
|Hole CRED23-06:||2.72 g/t Au over 1.5 m|
Results from this most recent drilling at Guanamero suggest gold mineralization extends and plunges moderately to the southwest, similar to the plunge of mineralization at the Camino Rojo deposit. Additional follow-up drilling to test the southwest plunge of mineralization at Guanamero is planned for 2023, along with drilling at other regional targets.
For additional detail, please see the news release dated June 22, 2023, Orla Mining Provides Update On Successful Drilling Program In Mexico.
South Railroad Project and Exploration Update (Nevada, US)
Drilling at South Railroad began late in the second quarter and assay results are pending. The exploration objectives are to upgrade and grow resources at satellite deposits and drill test multiple targets for new discovery. For additional detail, please see the news release dated February 8, 2023, Orla Mining Drills Significant Gold Intersections at Multiple Oxide Targets upon Reactivation of Exploration at South Railroad Project, Nevada.
The Company is expecting the Bureau of Land Management to file the Notice of Intent for South Railroad in the Federal Register in late 2023 or early 2024. Once the Notice of Intent is filed, public scoping meetings can commence in conjunction with the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). The Company has engaged SWCA Environmental Consultants to manage the EIS process on behalf of the BLM as per the prescribed process. The Company anticipates awarding the Engineering, Procurement & Construction Management contract for the South Railroad Project once the Notice of Intent has been filed. Detailed engineering and design work could then commence in preparation for a construction decision following the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act process and receipt of the Record of Decision document.
Cerro Quema Exploration and Project Update (Panama)
The 2023 exploration program followed-up on encouraging results generated at regional targets in 2022. Exploration drilling at Cerro Quema for the 2023 exploration program was completed in the first half of 2023. Drilling was focused at La Pelona target where low grade (±0.3 g/t Au) near surface oxide mineralization had been intersected. Results are currently being interpreted.
The mine environmental permitting process for the Cerro Quema Project has been ongoing and in May, Orla received the resolution approving the Category 3 Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (“ESIA”) and has commenced the preparation of reports and data collection to fulfill the requirements established by the resolution. This approval came after the technical aspects of the ESIA were approved in 2021.
The original 20-year term for the mining exploitation concessions for Cerro Quema expired in 2017 and the Company has applied for the prescribed 10-year extension to these contracts as it is entitled to under Panamanian mineral law. In 2021, the extension of the exploitation contracts was signed by both Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MICI”) and by Orla. As of the date of this release, the documents are in the final review and approval stage. The final step in the process requires the publication of the resolution in the official Gazette — this process is pending. Upon receipt of mining concession renewals, the Company can contemplate a construction decision for the Cerro Quema Project.
The Company is revising its AISC guidance for 2023, reducing the range to $700 to $800 per ounce of gold sold from its original guidance of $750 to $850 per ounce. The reduced cost guidance is mainly driven by lower waste tonnes mined during the first half of 2023 which is expected to continue for the remainder of the year due to limited access to certain areas of the pit as the Company await permits from SEMARNAT. This has resulted in lower than planned strip ratio and directly reducing the Company’s expected mining cost for 2023.
The Company remains on track to achieve its gold production guidance of 100,000 to 110,000 ounces for 2023.
Agnico-Eagle Exercises Top-Up Right
As announced on May 11, 2023, Agnico Eagle partially exercised its top-up right and subscribed for 3,987,241 common shares of the Company at a price of C$6.27 per Common Share, for total gross proceeds of C$25 million.
Orla’s unaudited financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis for the quarter ended June 30, 2023, will be available on the Company’s website at www.orlamining.com, and under the Company’s profiles on SEDAR+ and EDGAR.
Qualified Persons Statement
The scientific and technical information in this news release was reviewed and approved by Mr. J. Andrew Cormier, P. Eng., Chief Operating Officer of the Company, and Mr. Sylvain Guerard, P. Geo., Senior Vice President, Exploration of the Company, who are the Qualified Persons as defined under NI 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.
About Orla Mining Ltd.
Orla’s corporate strategy is to acquire, develop, and operate mineral properties where the Company’s expertise can substantially increase stakeholder value. The Company has three material gold projects: (1) Camino Rojo, located in Zacatecas State, Mexico, (2) South Railroad, located in Nevada, United States, and (3) Cerro Quema, located in Los Santos Province, Panama. Orla is operating the Camino Rojo Oxide Gold Mine, a gold and silver open-pit and heap leach mine. The property is 100% owned by Orla and covers over 160,000 hectares which contains a large oxide and sulphide mineral resource. Orla also owns 100% of the South Railroad Project, a feasibility-stage, open pit, heap leach gold project located on the Carlin trend in Nevada. Orla also owns 100% of Cerro Quema located in Panama which includes a pre-feasibility-stage, open-pit, heap leach gold project, a copper-gold sulphide resource, and various exploration targets. The technical reports for the Company’s material projects are available on Orla’s website at www.orlamining.com, and on SEDAR+ and EDGAR under the Company’s profile at www.sedarplus.ca and www.sec.gov, respectively.
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