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SilverCrest Announces Santa Elena Expansion Pre-Feasibility Study; Base Case NPV @ $243.7 Million and 88% IRR 8 Years of Mine Life Added

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SilverCrest Announces Santa Elena Expansion Pre-Feasibility Study; Base Case NPV @ $243.7 Million and 88% IRR 8 Years of Mine Life Added

 

 

 

 

 

SilverCrest Mines Inc. (TSX VENTURE:SVL)(NYSE MKT:SVLC) is pleased to announce that it has filed its NI 43-101 Technical Report entitled “Santa Elena Expansion Pre-Feasibility Study and Open Pit Reserve Update” for its operating mine located in Sonora, Mexico. Summaries of the revised Life of Mine Plan, operating costs, capital costs and Expansion project economics are presented in tables below. All dollar amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified. The effective date of this Technical Report is April 30, 2013.
 

The economic analyses use Base Case metal prices of $1450/ounces of gold and $28/ounces of silver (3 year average historical trend). On this basis, the following economic highlights for an additional 8 years of mine life beginning in January 2014 are;

 



--  Total operating revenue of $684.9 million from estimated sales of 12.11
    million ounces of silver and 262,739 ounces of gold.

--  Total operating costs of $282.2 million with estimated cash operating
    costs averaging US$11/ounce AgEQ for mine life with lower costs in
    initial years.

--  Total capital costs of $87.8 million including contingency but excluding
    sunk costs up to April 30, 2013.

--  Total pre-tax cash flow of $302.5 million including estimated cost
    deductions for closure (US$ 5 million) and working capital (US$1.8
    million).

--  Base Case pre-tax NPV (DCF @ 5%) of $243.7 million including 2013
    estimated net cash flow of $20 million at $1250/ounce of gold and
    $19.50/ounce of silver after effective date of April 30, 2013.

--  IRR of 88% based on incremental project economics excluding sunk costs
    up to April 30, 2013.

--  Payback period of 1 year.

--  AgEQ based on a ratio of 70:1 which includes average metallurgical
    recoveries of 92% Au and 67.5% Ag for all milling ores.
 

 

 

 

Metal price sensitivities were completed including $1250/oz Au and $19.50/oz Ag which showed a pre-tax NPV (DCF @ 5%) of $128.7M (including 2013 est. net cash flow) and an IRR of 49%.
 

Updated Mineral Reserve and Resource estimations for Santa Elena Mine were announced in a news release dated May 29, 2013 which showed Probable Reserves (underground, open pit and leach pad) at an estimated 8.2 million tonnes grading 74.9 gpt Ag and 1.24 gpt Au containing 19.7 million ounces of silver and 327,430 ounces of gold. Updated Indicated Resources (exclusive of Probable Reserves) were estimated at 2.1 million tonnes grading 114.9 gpt Ag and 1.69 gpt Au containing 7.9 million ounce of silver and 116,000 ounces of gold. Only Mineral Reserves were used in the PFS mine plan, schedule and economic analysis. Mineralization at Santa Elena is open in most directions with excellent potential to further increase resources and reserves for increased production and mine life.
 

J. Scott Drever, Chairman and CEO commented: “We are extremely pleased with the results of the PFS which confirms our expectations that the transition from our open pit heap leach operation to a conventional mill and underground operation will represent a very attractive project with robust economics even at current reduced metal prices. The 8 year mine life will give SilverCrest a strong corporate cash flow providing a solid foundation for continued systematic and aggressive growth. We look forward to a banner year in 2014 with the commissioning of the new processing facility in the first quarter and the significant expansion of our annual metals production at Santa Elena.”
 

EXPANSION LIFE OF MINE PLAN
 

The Santa Elena mine life with updated Reserves is scheduled for an additional 8 years at nominal milling rate of 3,000 tonnes per day. The mine schedule is based on mining long hole stopes (69% by reserve volume) early in the mine life at attractive lower costs with higher cost cut and fill stopes (31% by reserve volume) being mined towards the end of the mine schedule. The average width of proposed stopes is 13.4 metres which is advantageous for lower cost bulk mining methods. SilverCrest envisions a blending strategy during operations at variable rates for mill feed to achieve optimum throughput. A summary of the mine and production schedule is presented below with proposed initial blending strategy.

 



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aspect of operations            2013      2014      2015      2016      2017
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Tonnes Underground               127,707   392,412   535,520   646,088
Total Tonnes Leach Pad                 335,426   615,588   472,480   361,912
Total Tonnes Open Pit     882,040(1)   544,867         -         -         -
Total Tonnes Processed       882,040 1,008,000 1,008,000 1,008,000 1,008,000
Total Gold Ounces Sold                  36,173    39,606    29,361    27,557
Total Silver Ounces Sold             1,345,248 1,594,643 1,409,639 1,742,741
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Total
Aspect of operations          2018      2019      2020    2021  Life of Mine
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Tonnes Underground   708,359   684,604   580,407 245,225     3,920,322
Total Tonnes Leach Pad     299,641   323,396   427,593   8,495     2,844,531
Total Tonnes Open Pit            -         -         -       -     1,426,907
Total Tonnes Processed   1,008,000 1,008,000 1,008,000 253,720     8,191,760
Total Gold Ounces Sold      27,924    53,357    37,535  11,226       262,739
Total Silver Ounces Sold 1,556,867 1,951,279 1,816,118 702,392    12,118,927
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1)Included for Reserve declaration purposes only but not included in
economic analyses for the Expansion
 

 

 

This plan excludes an estimated 750,000 tonnes of heap leach spent ore which will be placed on the pad in 2013 and accounted for in early 2014 as additional material for reprocessing during the mine life.
 

EXPANSION OPERATING COSTS
 

The operating cost estimates stated below were compiled using Santa Elena mine site operating experience, SilverCrest financial and operational reports, recent contractor quotes, other local producing mines and industry estimations in Mexico to a Pre-Feasibility level.

 



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    U/G        U/G
                                              Long Hole Cut & Fill Leach Pad
Mining Method              Open Pit Open Pit    Average    Average Reprocess
Process Method           Heap Leach CCD Mill   CCD Mill   CCD Mill  CCD Mill
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining Cost/T ore             $2.42    $2.50  $17.00(1)  $38.00(1)     $0.62
Mining Cost/T waste           $1.52    $2.00         NA         NA        NA
Processing Cost/T(2)          $6.65   $20.50     $20.50     $20.50    $18.50
General &
 Administration(3)            $3.30    $3.60      $3.60      $3.60     $3.60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1)Long hole stopes are 69% of designed stopes by volume and cut & fill
stopes are 31% of designed stopes by reserve volume. Excludes ore
development costs. $/t inclusive of ore dev. Is estimated at $21 to $48.
(2)Processing includes crushing, milling, site refining and dry stack
tailings disposal.
(3)Estimated based on current operations and may vary on an annual basis.
 

 

 

EXPANSION CAPITAL COSTS
 

The capital cost estimates stated below were compiled using Santa Elena mine site experience, recent contractor quotes, other local producing mines and industry estimations in Mexico to a Pre-Feasibility level.

 



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Capital Expense Item                                          Estimated Cost
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining equipment purchases                                         2,343,810
Development - Underground                                          3,480,550
Process plant including EPCM                                      41,928,472
Electrical and services - Underground                                 72,042
Indirect services                                                    243,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initial Capital (including contingency, excludes sunk costs)      48,067,874
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining equipment purchases                                         5,144,587
Development                                                       31,284,348
Electrical and services                                            2,283,346
Health and safety                                                    143,442
Construction (incl. labour)                                          322,880
Indirect services                                                    567,000
Sustaining Capital (including contingency)                        39,745,603
Total Capital (including contingency) - Life of Mine              87,813,477
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

 

 

EXPANSION ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
 

Pre-Feasibility level economic analyses were completed for both pre-tax and post-tax. Base Case pre-tax results are stated as follows;

 



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Aspects of Santa Elena Expansion Financial Analysis
                                 (Base Case)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Production
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Gold Ounces Sold - post refiner credit                262,739
            Silver Ounces Sold - post refiner credit             12,118,927
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Revenue $(000)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Gross Sales                            $684,931
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Operating Expenses
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Total Operating Costs(1)                      $282,223
                       Freight & Refining                          $5,579
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Capital Expenses
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Total Capital Costs(2)                        $87,813
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pre-Tax Cash Flow
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Total Cash Flow(3)                         $302,481
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pre-Tax Financial Results
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Pre-Tax NPV, DCF @ 5%(4)                      $243,670
                         Pre-tax IRR(5)                              88%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Operating cost per AgEQ oz. sold varies between $9.6 and $12.6 over the
life of mine
(2) Excludes sunk costs, up to April 30, 2013, closure costs and working
capital
(3) Includes deductions of $5 million for closure costs and $1.8 million for
working capital
(4) Includes 2013 estimated net cash flow after effective date of April 30,
2013
(5) The IRR presented here do not reflect total project economics but
reflect incremental project economics as they do not include sunk costs for
the Santa Elena expansion prior to April 30 2013
 

 

 

The economic analyses consider SilverCrest delivering a remaining 31,000 ounces of gold (2014 and beyond) to Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (Sandstorm) at a price of $350/oz under the Sandstorm Purchase Agreement executed on May14th, 2009. It does not include the option held by Sandstorm to participate in the future underground mine production which would require payment by Sandstorm of 20% (pro-rata of gold) of the capital costs with a subsequent increase of gold price for 20% of produced ounces to $450/oz Au. Sandstorm may elect to participate in the expansion, once SilverCrest provides a preliminary technical report that includes amongst other items; the required capital costs associated with the transition from open pit heap leaching to a conventional mill facility and underground mine.
 

EXPANSION PRE-FEASIBILTY RECOMMENDATIONS
 

Further optimization of the mine schedule is warranted to investigate grade optimization versus stoping costs (long hole or cut and fill), potential to expand and accelerate increased underground production with a second ramp for the bottom of the pit and expand milling capacity. These optimizations will be addressed in detail after successfully announcing commercial production for the new mill facility in 2014. Mineralization at Santa Elena is open in most directions with excellent potential to further increase resources and reserves for increased production and mine life. Further infill and expansion drilling is recommended.
 

The Qualified Persons for this Technical Report and who have reviewed and approved the contents of this news release are N. Eric Fier, CPG, P.Eng., President and Chief Operating Officer for the Company, James Barr., P.Geo., Mike Tansey, P.Eng. and Carlos Chaparro, P.Eng. from the consulting firm of EBA, a Tetra Tech Company, and John Fox, P.Eng. of Laurion Consulting Inc.
 

SilverCrest Mines Inc. is a Canadian precious metals producer headquartered in Vancouver, BC. SilverCrest’s flagship property is the 100%-owned Santa Elena Mine, located 150 km northeast of Hermosillo, near Banamichi in the State of Sonora, Mexico. The mine is a high-grade, epithermal gold and silver producer, with an estimated life of mine cash cost of US$8 per ounce of silver equivalent (55:1 Ag: Au) for the open pit heap leach. SilverCrest anticipates that the 2,500 tonnes per day open pit heap leach facility at the Santa Elena mine should recover approximately 675,000 ounces of silver and 33,000 ounces of gold in 2013. An expansion plan is well underway to significantly increase the annual metals production in 2014 at the Santa Elena Mine (open pit and underground). Exploration programs have rapidly advanced the definition of a large polymetallic deposit at the La Joya property in Durango State with stated resources nearing 200 million ounces of Ag equivalent.

Posted July 25, 2013

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