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Updated Feasibility Study Confirms Significant Value of the Horne 5 Project

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Annual Average Payable Gold Production of Greater than 220,000 Ounces over 15 Years

Post-Tax NPV (5%)/IRR of US$761 million and 18.9%

All-In Sustaining Costs of US$587/oz Au, Net of By-Product Credits

All dollar amounts are quoted in U.S. dollars (US$) unless otherwise stated

 

Falco Resources Ltd. (TSX-V:FPC) is pleased to announce the results of the updated feasibility study, prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Respecting Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects for the Corporation’s Horne 5 Gold Project located in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, Canada.

 

The UFS was updated to reflect the improved commodity prices, the silver stream financing arrangement with Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. and the copper and zinc concentrate offtake agreements with Glencore Canada Corporation and its affiliated companies (“Glencore”). The capital and operating costs were reviewed to reflect current market conditions for labour, supplies and services.

 

UPDATED FEASIBILITY STUDY CONFIRMS SIGNIFICANT VALUE OF THE HORNE 5 PROJECT

 

The UFS reiterates that the Horne 5 Project represents a robust, high margin, 15-year underground mining project with attractive economics in the current gold price environment. At a gold price of $1,600 per ounce and using an exchange rate of C$1.28 = US$1.00, the UFS shows that the Horne 5 Project would generate an after-tax net present value (“NPV”), at a 5% discount rate, of $761 million and an after-tax internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 18.9%. In this scenario, the mine could become the next significant gold producer in Québec, with a production profile averaging 220,300 payable ounces annually over life of mine (“LOM”), with an average all-in sustaining costs of $587 per ounce, net of by-product credits.

 

Luc Lessard, President and Chief Executive Officer, noted: “The Horne 5 Project demonstrates robust returns from average annual gold production of 220,300 ounces over a 15-year mine life. The significant copper and zinc by-product credits from the copper and zinc production, as well as the highly automated modern operations result in a low projected all-in sustaining cost of $587 per ounce. The Project benefits from strong existing infrastructure in the world-class Rouyn-Noranda mining area. We expect that the Horne 5 Project will deliver strong cashflows and outstanding benefits to all of its stakeholders with anticipated production in the second half of 2025.”

 

UPDATED FEASIBILITY STUDY HIGHLIGHTS

 

The UFS was prepared in Canadian Dollars (C$). The values have been converted to U.S. Dollars (US$) at an exchange rate of C$1.28 = US$1.00 for this press release.

 

Base case economics are stated using a gold price of $1,600 per ounce, silver price of $21.00 per ounce, copper price of $3.20 per pound, zinc price of $1.15 per pound and an exchange rate of C$1.28 equal to US$1.00.

 

  • NPV of $1,279 million at a 5% discount rate and an IRR of 23.0% before taxes and mining duties;
  • NPV of $761 million at a 5% discount rate and an IRR of 18.9% after taxes and mining duties;
  • Average annual gold production of 220,300 payable ounces annually over the 15-year LOM;
  • Low average AISC of $587 per ounce;
  • C$43.11 per tonne processed total unit operating cost;
  • Forward capital and pre-production costs of $844.2 million, including 9.2% contingency;
  • Conservative mining reserves by maintaining 2017 commodity price assumptions, which are well below current levels.

 

TABLE 1: COMPARISON OF 2017 FS AND 2021 UFS ECONOMIC RESULTS

 

Category Unit 2021 UFS 2017 FS(3)
Inventory tonnes 80,896,876 80,896,876
Contained Gold oz 3,740,871 3,740,871
Payable Gold LOM oz 3,304,453 3,294,000
Payable Silver LOM oz 27,289,020 26,300,000
Produced Zinc LOM Million lbs 1,190 1,190
Produced Copper LOM Million lbs 247 247
Average Diluted Gold Equivalent Grade g/t Au Eq 2.24 2.37
Average Diluted Gold Grade g/t 1.44 1.44
Cash Cost $/oz Au 406 260
AISC* $/oz Au 587 399
Operating Cost C$/tonne processed 43.11 41.00
Total LOM NSR Revenue $M 6,813.9 6,123.9
Total LOM Pre-Tax Cash Flow $M 2,593.1 2,162.4
Average Annual Pre-Tax Cash Flow $M 232.7 205.4
LOM Income Taxes $M 982.9 784.7
Total LOM After-Tax Cash Flow $M 1,610.2 1,377.7
Average Annual After-Tax Cash Flow $M 158.4 146.1
Pre-Tax NPV 5% $M 1,279 1,012
After-Tax NPV 5% $M 761 602
Pre-Tax IRR % 23.0% 18.9%
After-Tax IRR % 18.9% 15.3%
Operating Costs $M 2,724.8 2,586.9
Refining & Smelting $M 525.7 493.5
Royalties $M 144.4 122.5
By-Product Credit $M (2,052.5) (2,337.9)
Pre-Production CAPEX $M 844.2(2) 801.7(1)
Sustaining CAPEX $M 526.6 417.6
Closure (net of salvage value) $M 69.0 32.9
Gold Price $/oz 1,600 1,300
Exchange Rate (US$:C$) 1 US$ = 1.28 1.28
After-Tax Payback Years 4.8 5.6

(1) Including a $58.5 million contingency and excluding $26.7 million of capital outlays to August 31, 2017
(2) Including a $70.8 million contingency and excluding $51.5 million of capital outlays to December 31, 2020
(3) The NI 43-101 report dated effective October 5, 2017 and entitled “Feasibility Study Horne 5 Gold Project” (“2017 FS”).

*AISC are presented as defined by the World Gold Council less Corporate G&A.

 

 

TABLE 2: SENSITIVITIES (UFS BASE CASE IN BOLD)

 

Gold Price US$/oz $1,300   $1,400   $1,500   $1,600   $1,700   $1,800   $1,900   $2,000  
Pre-Tax NPV 5% $M   706     897     1,088     1,279     1,470     1,661     1,852     2,043  
After-Tax NPV 5% $M   405     526     645     761     875     989     1,101     1,213  
Pre-Tax IRR   15.8%     18.3%     20.7%     23.0%     25.2%     27.4%     29.5%     31.6%  
After-Tax IRR   12.8%     14.9%     17.0%     18.9%     20.7%     22.5%     24.2%     25.8%  
Pre-Tax Payback Years   6.2     5.5     5.1     4.6     4.2     3.9     3.6     3.4  
After-Tax Payback Years   6.3     5.7     5.2     4.8     4.5     4.2     3.9     3.7  

 

Copper Price US$/lb $2.50   $2.75   $3.00   $3.20   $3.50   $3.75   $4.00  
Pre-Tax NPV 5% $M   1,189     1,221     1,253     1,279     1,318     1,350     1,382  
After-Tax NPV 5% $M   707     726     746     761     784     803     822  
Pre-Tax IRR   22.0%     22.3%     22.7%     23.0%     23.4%     23.8%     24.1%  
After-Tax IRR   18.0%     18.3%     18.6%     18.9%     19.2%     19.5%     19.8%  
Pre-Tax Payback Years   4.8     4.7     4.6     4.6     4.5     4.5     4.4  
After-Tax Payback Years   5.0     4.9     4.9     4.8     4.8     4.7     4.6  

 

Zinc Price US$/lb $0.90   $1.00   $1.10   $1.15   $1.20   $1.30   $1.40  
Pre-Tax NPV 5% $M   1,129     1,189     1,249     1,279     1,309     1,369     1,430  
After-Tax NPV 5% $M   669     706     743     761     779     815     852  
Pre-Tax IRR   21.0%     21.8%     22.6%     23.0%     23.4%     24.2%     24.9%  
After-Tax IRR   17.3%     17.9%     18.6%     18.9%     19.2%     19.8%     20.5%  
Pre-Tax Payback Years   5.0     4.8     4.7     4.6     4.5     4.4     4.2  
After-Tax Payback Years   5.2     5.0     4.9     4.8     4.7     4.6     4.5  

 

FX: C$1.00: US$ $0.87   $0.84   $0.81   $0.78   $0.75   $0.72   $0.69  
Pre-Tax NPV 5% $M   870     998     1,137     1,279     1,446     1,621     1,810  
After-Tax NPV 5% $M   512     591     676     761     860     962     1,072  
Pre-Tax IRR   17.9%     19.5%     21.3%     23.0%     25.0%     27.0%     29.1%  
After-Tax IRR   14.6%     16.0%     17.5%     18.9%     20.5%     22.1%     23.8%  
Pre-Tax Payback Years   5.6     5.3     4.9     4.6     4.2     3.9     3.7  
After-Tax Payback Years   5.8     5.4     5.1     4.8     4.5     4.2     4.0  

QUÉBEC ADVANTAGE

 

The Horne 5 Project is located in Québec’s world-class Rouyn-Noranda mining camp. It benefits from well developed, in-place infrastructure, including roads, railways, hydro-electric power distribution system and supplier base. Adjacent to the Project, there is the Horne smelting facility owned and operated by Glencore which will process the copper concentrate.

 

Québec is recognized as a leading global jurisdiction, ranked 6th in 2020 by the Fraser Institute, to host a mining project.

 

Major advantages include:

 

  • Access to low cost green hydro-electric energy;
  • Well established regulatory and permitting frameworks;
  • Fair and stable taxation system;
  • Strong collaborative efforts between governments and mining industry to support mine development;
  • Qualified mining labour expertise;
  • Strong network of mining suppliers and contractors.

 

OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE VALUE

 

Although Falco considers the UFS results using the base case to be excellent, future optimization studies are anticipated to evaluate alternate development scenarios that would be used to reduce the initial capital requirements and increase revenue in the early stage of the LOM. Items to be reviewed include: (1) the significant exploration potential for discoveries at depth and around the Horne 5 Project, and the possibility to increase resources and extend LOM as further definition drilling may convert some of the existing Inferred mineral resources to the Indicated or Measured mineral resource categories; (2) determining whether larger underground stopes can be implemented through continued geotechnical investigations, simulations and detailed mining studies; and (3) the development of potential synergies with Glencore’s local smelting operations. In addition, the Corporation may benefit from Falco’s large, highly prospective regional land package (approximately 70,000 hectares).

 

CONTRIBUTORS

The independent UFS was prepared through the collaboration of a number of industry-recognized consulting firms, including BBA Inc. (“BBA”, Montreal, QC), Golder Associates Ltd. (“Golder”, Montreal, QC), InnovExplo Inc. (“InnovExplo”, Val d’Or, QC), WSP Canada Inc. (“WSP”, Rouyn-Noranda, QC), SNC-Lavalin Stavibel Inc. (“SNC-Lavalin”, Rouyn-Noranda, QC) and Ingénierie RIVVAL Inc. (“RIVVAL”, Deux-Montagnes, QC). These firms provided mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates, design parameters and cost estimates for mine operations, processing facilities, major equipment selection, waste and tailings storage, reclamation, permitting, operating and capital expenditures. The preparation of the UFS was overseen by Mr. Luc Lessard, P. Eng., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, and its Vice-Presidents Messrs. Francois Vezina, P. Eng., Christian Laroche, P. Eng., and Mrs. Hélène Cartier, P. Eng. LLB, the Osisko Development Corp. and Falco technical teams.

 

UPDATED FEASIBILITY STUDY COMPONENTS

 

Mineral Resource Estimate

 

The mineral resources presented in the UFS, are based upon an updated mineral resource estimate effective as of February 24, 2021, prepared by Carl Pelletier, P.Geo of InnovExplo, using available information. The main objective was to update the previous NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate for the Horne 5 deposit, which was prepared by InnovExplo and included in the 2017 FS (the “November 2016 MRE”). The mineral resources presented in the UFS were not used to develop the mineral reserves presented below.

 

The current MRE is primarily based on changes made to the net smelter return (“NSR”) parameters, supported by new assumptions concerning metal prices and net recoveries and the creation of potentially mineable shape to constrain the MRE. No changes to the interpretation were deemed necessary. The mineral resource model for the current MRE is based largely upon the model generated for the November 2016 MRE and 2017 Feasibility Study.

 

The current MRE is prepared in accordance with CIM standards and guidelines for reporting mineral resources and reserves. The selected NSR cut-off of C$55/t and the mineable shape constrain used allowed the mineral resource to be outlined for a potential underground mining scenario. While the results are presented undiluted and in situ, the reported mineral resources are considered by the qualified persons under NI 43-101, to satisfy the reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction.

 

The results of the current MRE are presented in the table below. InnovExplo estimates that the Horne 5 deposit contains, based on an NSR cut-off of C$55/t, Measured Mineral Resources of 10.8M tonnes at 2.26 g/t AuEq (gold equivalent) for a total of 786,000 oz AuEq, Indicated Mineral Resources of 94.8M tonnes at 2.25 g/t AuEq for a total of 6.9M oz AuEq, and Inferred Mineral Resources of 24.3M tonnes at 2.23 g/t AuEq, for a total of 1.7M oz AuEq.

 

TABLE 3: MINERAL RESOURCES TABLE (1)

 

Resource Category Tonnes (Mt) NSR($) AuEq (g/t) Au (g/t) Ag (g/t) Cu (%) Zn (%) Contained
AuEq (Moz)
Contained
Au (Moz)
Contained
Ag (Moz)
Contained
Cu (Mlbs)
Contained
Zn (Mlbs)
Measured 10.839 110.67 2.26 1.45 15.70 0.17 0.74 0.786 0.504 5.470 40.123 177.753
Indicated 94.767 109.88 2.25 1.44 14.16 0.17 0.80 6.854 4.382 43.155 348.704 1 672.328
Measured + Indicated 105.606 109.96 2.25 1.44 14.32 0.17 0.79 7.640 4.886 48.625 389.827 1 850.081
Inferred 24.311 107.40 2.23 1.35 21.40 0.19 0.67 1.740 1.058 16.730 103.666 357.931

(1) Please refer to the Mineral Resources Estimate Notes below.

 

Mineral Reserve Estimate

 

The Mineral Reserve estimate for the Horne 5 Project (effective as of August 26, 2017) was prepared by Mr. Denis Gourde, P.Eng., an employee of InnovExplo. The Mineral Reserve estimate stated herein is consistent with the CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves and is suitable for public reporting. As such, the mineral reserves are based on measured and indicated mineral resources, and do not include any inferred mineral resources. Measured and indicated mineral resources are inclusive of proven and probable reserves.

 

The UFS, LOM and Mineral Reserve estimate were developed from the November 2016 MRE (Jourdain et al., 2016) and do not consider the October 2017 (Hardie et al., 2017) nor the current MRE. As of the date of this release, the QP, has not identified any risks, legal, political or environmental, that would materially affect potential development of the Mineral Reserves other than the third-party approval discussed below.

 

There are no changes to the mining mineral reserves in the UFS as compared to the 2017 FS. The metal prices used in the mineral reserves are gold $1,300 per ounce, copper $2.15 per pound, zinc $1.00 per pound and silver $18.50 per ounce.

 

 

TABLE 4: STATEMENT OF MINERAL RESERVES

 

Category Tonnes (Mt) NSR ($) Au (g/t) Ag (g/t) Cu (%) Zn (%)
Proven 8.4 91.72 1.41 15.75 0.17 0.75
Probable 72.5 92.56 1.44 13.98 0.17 0.78
P&P 80.9 92.41 1.44 14.14 0.17 0.77

 

1) The QP for the Mineral Reserve estimate is Mr. Denis Gourde, P.Eng (InnovExplo).
2) Mineral reserves have an effective date of August 26, 2017.
3) Estimated from the November 2016 MRE and does not consider the October 2017 nor the current MRE. The metal prices, exchange rates and recovery equations that were used to support the Mineral Reserve estimate are: 2.15 US$/lb Cu, 1.00 US$/lb Zn, 1,300 US$/oz Au and 18.50 US$/oz Ag, using an exchange rate of 1.30 C$:US$, cut-off NSR value of C$55/t.
4) Mineral reserve tonnage and mined metal have been rounded to reflect the accuracy of the estimate and numbers may not add due to rounding.
5) Mineral reserves presented include both internal and external dilution along with mining recovery. The external dilution is estimated to be 2.3%. The mining recovery factor was set at 95% to account for mineralized material left in the margins of the deposit in each block.

 

 

TABLE 5: CAPITAL AND OPERATING COSTS SUMMARY

 

  2021 UFS 2017 FS
Capital Costs ($M) Pre-Production Sustaining Total(1)(2) Pre-Production Sustaining Total(1)(3)
Mining $218.7 $285.4 $504.1 $200.4 $253.6 $454.0
Mineral Processing Plant $313.0 $11.6 $324.5 $296.0 $10.2 $306.1
Electrical and Communication $15.0 $2.0 $16.9 $14.2 $1.8 $16.0
Project Infrastructure $76.6 $3.5 $80.1 $76.9 $3.7 $80.6
Tailings and Water Management $50.1 $224.1 $274.3 $53.0 $148.4 $201.4
Indirect Costs $61.3 $61.3 $65.9 $65.9
Owner’s Costs $38.7 $38.7 $36.8 $36.8
Site restoration (net of salvage value) $69.0 $69.0 $32.9 $32.9
Subtotal $773.4 $595.6 $1,369.0 $743.2 $450.5 $1,193.7
Contingency $70.8 $70.8 $58.5 $58.5
Total Capital Costs (2) $844.2 $595.6 $1,439.8 $801.7 $450.5 $1,252.2
             
CAPEX per Oz ($/oz) $255         $243
OPEX per Oz ($/oz) $587         $399
All-In Cost per Oz ($/oz) $842         $643

(1) Totals may differ due to rounding.
(2) Excludes $51.5 million in outlays to December 31st, 2020.
(3) Excludes $26.7 million in outlays to August 31st, 2017.

 

 

 

TABLE 6: OPERATING COSTS

The LOM operating costs are summarized as follows:

  2021 UFS 2017 FS
Operating Costs $M $M
Mining 776.6 795.3
Processing 1,388.1 1,290.3
Tailings & Water Management 375.3 320.8
General & Administration 184.7 180.5
Total Operating Costs 2,724.8 2,586.9

The average unit costs per tonne over the LOM are:

  2021 UFS 2017 FS
Operating Costs C$/t Milled C$/t Milled
Mining 12.29 12.60
Processing 21.96 20.45
Tailings & Water Management 5.94 5.08
General & Administration 2.92 2.86
Total Operating Costs Per Tonne Milled 43.11 41.00

Mining

 

The underground deposit is located at a depth of approximately 600 metres to 2,300 metres below surface. The existing Quemont #2 shaft, which extends to a depth of approximately 1,200 metres, would need to be rehabilitated. The shaft would provide for the hoisting of mineralized material and waste, services personnel and materials, and the supply of ventilation to the underground workings in the development stage. As previously stated, the access to and use of the Quemont #2 shaft by Falco is contingent upon entering into an operating license and indemnity agreement (“OLIA”) with Glencore as the owner of such infrastructure.

 

The mine has been designed to have low operating costs through the use of large, modern equipment, gravity transport of mineralized material through raises, shaft hoisting, minimal mineralized material and waste re-handling, and high productivity bulk mining methods. The mine is designed to employ state-of-the-art technology. Highly automated and using tele-operation equipment, the mine would be able to operate 25-tonne LHD to transport ore to the ore pass systems. The underground crushing facility would be fed by two ore pass systems. The crushed mineralized material would then be transported via two 250-metre conveyors and transferred to a 600-metre conveyor leading to the shaft loading point, where it would be hoisted to the surface using 43.5-tonne skips on a continuous basis. For servicing the mine, the shaft would have a double-deck service cage and a double-deck auxiliary cage. Paste backfill would be used to fill the extracted stopes and strengthen stability of the adjacent stopes and avoid or minimize dilution.

 

The Corporation expects to use transverse long hole as the primary mining method and will favor the minimization of dilution over Mineral Resource recovery. The Corporation believes that the mineral resource dilution will be below 3%.

 

Processing

 

A Semi-Autogenous-Ball milling facility on surface would be used to process an average of 15,800 tonnes per day of mineralized material at steady-state. The facility would also include a flotation and thickening section, divided in three circuits and dedicated to recovering copper, zinc and pyrite concentrates. The copper and zinc circuits would have their concentrate filtered to reduce humidity to 9%. Both concentrates would be stored directly in trucks and railcars, awaiting shipment. The pyrite concentrate will require a finer liberation to enhance gold recovery by cyanide leaching, resulting in the requirement to regrind from the primary grind size of 55 microns to the targeted P80 of 12 microns. The resulting reground pyrite concentrate would then be leached along with the pyrite flotation tailings in separate leaching circuits, followed by CIP circuits. Thickeners would be used to maximize water and cyanide recovery, and the Caro’s acid cyanide destruction method would be applied to reduce the cyanide content of the two leach streams. Both pyrite tailings and pyrite concentrate streams from flotation would be used as paste backfill in the new mine workings; excess volumes will be disposed of in existing historical openings, until the old mine openings are filled. Water liberated in the underground workings from the consolidated tailings would be recovered, recycled and pumped back to the process plant.

 

Gold, zinc, copper and silver metal would be recovered. The process plant would produce two concentrates and doré bars. The copper concentrate would have an estimated 16% copper content as well as payable gold and silver, and the zinc concentrate would have an estimated 52% zinc content as well as payable gold and silver. The payable gold recovery is estimated to average 88.3% over the LOM and estimated payable recoveries average 75.7% for copper, 72.8% for zinc and 74.2% for silver. Copper and zinc concentrates have been analyzed and are considered to be free of deleterious elements and are expected to be readily marketable to both smelters and traders.

 

The process plant facility would include a wet laboratory, site offices, mine and mill dry and a process plant maintenance shop.

 

Surface Infrastructure

 

The Horne 5 Project, located within the industrial park and former mine infrastructure (Quemont and Horne Mines) of the City of Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, a mining community of over 42,000 people, benefits from great infrastructure. As important as the physical infrastructure in the Rouyn-Noranda region is the high level of underground mining expertise that is readily available in the region. The Corporation believes its advantageous location has the potential to positively impact the long term viability and attractiveness of employment at the Horne 5 Project, given that employees and contractors could work in the community they live in, a rare opportunity in the mining industry.

 

The Horne 5 Project is located 1.1 km from route 101 and 4.0 km of the Trans-Canada Highway, with all services readily available at site. The Horne 5 Project is also located less than 700 meters from Glencore’s operating Horne custom copper smelter, which treats both copper concentrates and precious metal-bearing recyclable materials as its feedstock to produce 99.1% copper anodes. Development of the future mine would be done on the former Quemont mine site, the surface rights for which were acquired by Falco. Acquisition of land adjacent to the currently proposed mine site would likely be necessary for some of the new infrastructure. Electric power would be supplied to the site at a voltage level of 120 kV, originating from the nearby Hydro-Québec, Rouyn-Noranda substation, approximately 1 km away.

 

The Horne 5 Project envisions the following key infrastructure items to support the mine to be constructed: site access road, on-site parking area, process plant, including site offices, dry and paste backfill plant, headframe and shaft house, hoist building, 120kV sub-station and railway spur lines and storage area.

 

As previously stated, the access to and use by Falco of surface rights and infrastructure not owned by it may, in some instances, be contingent upon entering into an OLIA with Glencore as the owner of such surface rights and infrastructure.

 

Environment and Permitting

 

Environmental baseline studies were initiated in 2016 and have continued to support the permitting process and the project timeline. The Horne 5 Project will require a provincial decree. The Project is subject to a provincial impact assessment and review procedure under the Environment Quality Act, including public hearings, as forecasted production is over the 2,000 tonnes per day threshold outlined in the applicable regulation.

 

On December 6, 2017, Falco was advised by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (Government of Canada) that the Horne 5 Project is not a designated activity under the Regulations Designating Physical Activities pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Therefore, the Horne 5 Project is not subject to the federal environmental assessment. However, other federal authorizations will need to be obtained.

 

An environmental impact study was filed with the MELCC in January 2018 and was published in the Environmental Assessment Registry of the MELCC on August 1, 2018.

 

Falco is in the process of finalizing various studies to obtain its admissibility with the Government of Québec, which shall lead to formal public consultation process under the supervision of the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (“BAPE”) in accordance with applicable Québec legislation.

 

Falco continues to work with various stakeholders to obtain the permits and authorizations required to continue the development of the Project.

 

The Corporation will also be submitting an application for an authorization under Section 22 of the Environmental Quality Act to be issued by the MELCC, to support the pre-production dewatering and sludge management strategy as part of the Horne 5 project development.

 

During the dewatering phase, which is expected to last approximately two years, high density sludge from the water treatment will be stored in the old Donalda and Quemont underground mine openings.

 

Mine Tailings and Waste Management

 

During the initial years of production, tailings that are not used for the production of paste backfill for the Horne 5 workings will be stored in old underground openings. The remainder of the LOM tailings produced will be stored at surface in a tailings management facility. The Corporation has identified an old TMF located at approximately 11 km from the City of Rouyn-Noranda, a site already impacted by historical mining activities, to serve for the surface storage of tailings for the Horne 5 Project. Discussions for the acquisition of the site are ongoing. Tailings will be transported from the mining complex to the surface TMF by pipelines. Waste rock that is not used for underground mining operations will be transported by truck and stored at the TMF.

 

Closure and Rehabilitation

 

A closure and rehabilitation plan for the sites has been developed in accordance with the Mining Act (Québec). Site restoration costs were updated and are now estimated at $104.2 million, less $35.2 million of equipment salvage value, resulting in a restoration cost (net of salvage value) of $69.0 million. The site restoration cost estimate for the Horne 5 Project is based on the dismantling of the mine buildings, the pipelines and the restoration of the TMF. This cost estimate includes the cost of site restoration as well as post-closure monitoring. In accordance with the applicable regulations, the Corporation intends to post a bond as a guarantee against the site restoration cost.

Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement

 

Falco’s approach to sustainability and social impact is measured through environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) criteria. Falco has been proactive and made progress in securing its social license to operate in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, and believes that ESG is fundamental to creating a positive impact on local and regional economies, better working and living environment, health and employment as well as creating shareholder value. With our people, mission, culture and strategy, Falco will emerge as a strong ESG performer.

 

The Corporation remains committed to taking a proactive approach to its public consultation process and has been working diligently with as many stakeholders as possible in the Rouyn-Noranda and Abitibi region. Since March 2016, more than 60 private and public community meetings have been held with various stakeholders.

 

As part of its consultation and communication process, Falco launched a video on the Horne 5 Project in November 2020 available on Falco’s website.

 

Falco also created an advisory committee (the “Committee”) composed of representatives from different organizations of the community. The formation of the Committee is part of the stakeholder consultation program, which has been underway since 2016. The mandate of the Committee is to develop the Horne 5 Project proposal in order to promote harmonious coexistence for all stakeholders in the region for this new generation mine project.

 

Based upon our numerous community meetings and communications held throughout the region, there is strong community support for the Horne 5 Project. Development of the mine would bring substantial economic development to the City of Rouyn-Noranda and the surrounding region. The mine would provide direct employment for approximately 500 people over its 15-year operating life.

 

The Corporation remains committed to working with the citizens of Rouyn-Noranda to build a plan for the Horne 5 Project that would maximize benefits for the community, the Corporation’s shareholders and other stakeholder groups.

 

Projected Next Steps:

 

  • Completion of work plan collaboration with Glencore and geotechnical studies;
  • Negotiation of a principal operating license and indemnity agreement with Glencore;
  • File dewatering permit applications with authorities to commence the pre-production dewatering;
  • File additional EIA technical studies and answer MELCC’s questions to obtain Horne 5 Project acceptability;
  • Prepare and complete the Horne 5 Project’s formal public consultation process;
  • Project permitting and authorizations; and
  • Project financing.

 

The Corporation notes that the activities contemplated above are subject at all times to matters and timelines that are not within the exclusive control of Falco. These factors include the ability to obtain on terms acceptable to Falco, financing, governmental and other third party approvals, licenses, rights of way and surface rights.

 

Royalties

 

Basecore Metals LP retains a 2% NSR on all metals produced from the Horne 5 Project.

 

Title to Property and Operating License

 

Pursuant to an agreement between Falco and Glencore, Falco owns certain rights to minerals and title to certain mining titles, including rights to the minerals located below 200 meters from the surface of mining concession CM-156PTB, where the Horne 5 Deposit is located. Falco also owns certain surface rights surrounding the Quemont #2 shaft (located on mining concession CM-243). Under this agreement, ownership of the mining concessions remains with Glencore. In order to access the Horne 5 Project, Falco must obtain one or more licenses from Glencore, which may not be unreasonably withheld, but which may be subject to conditions that Glencore may require, including the provision to Glencore of a performance bond or other assurance and Glencore’s indemnification by Falco.

 

This agreement with Glencore stipulates, without limitation, that a license shall be subject to reasonable conditions which may include, among other things, that activities at the Horne 5 deposit will be subordinated to the current use of the surface lands and subject to priority, over such activities. Any license may provide for, among other things, access to and the right to use the infrastructure owned by Glencore, including the Quemont #2 shaft and some specific underground infrastructure in the former Quemont and Horne mines.

 

Furthermore, Falco will also have to obtain a number of rights of way or other surface rights in order to construct and lay in the ground the pipeline that will carry the tailings to a TMF located approximately 11 km from the City of Rouyn-Noranda. Falco is also required to obtain definitive rights to the TMF site which are currently held by a third party.

 

While Falco believes that it should be able to obtain the above mentioned licenses, there can be no assurance that any such license, right of way or surface right or rights to the TMF rights will be granted, or if granted will be on terms acceptable to Falco. Any delay may also negatively impact the project schedule. Although Falco believes that it has taken reasonable measures to ensure proper title to its assets, there is no guarantee that title to any of assets will not be challenged or impugned.

 

Independent Qualified Persons

 

The UFS was prepared for Falco under the direction of BBA Inc., by leading independent industry consultants, all of whom are QPs under NI 43-101. The QPs have reviewed and approved the content of this news release. Independent QPs from BBA, InnovExplo, Golder, WSP, SNC-Lavalin and RIVVAL who have prepared or supervised the preparation of the technical information relating to the UFS include:

 

  • Colin Hardie, (BBA);
  • Carl Pelletier, Denis Gourde, Simon Boudreau (InnovExplo);
  • Michel Mailloux, Ken De Vos, Rob Bewick, André Harvey, Michael Bratty, Yves Boulianne, Pierre Primeau (Golder);
  • Dominick Turgeon, René Fontaine (WSP);
  • Luc Gaulin (SNC-Lavalin);
  • Yves Vallières (RIVVAL).

 

The Corporation’s disclosure of technical or scientific information in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Luc Lessard, P. Eng., President and Chief Executive Officer of Falco, who serves as a QP under the definition of NI 43-101.

 

MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE NOTES:

 

  1. The Independent and QP for the mineral resource estimate, as defined by NI 43-101 is Carl Pelletier, P. Geo. of InnovExplo and the effective date of the estimate is February 24, 2021.
  2. The Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves.
  3. These Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves as they do not have demonstrated economic viability.
  4. The Mineral Resource estimate follows 2019 CIM definitions and guidelines for Mineral Resources.
  5. The Mineral Resources were estimated using Geovia GEMS 6.8. A minimum true thickness of 7.0 m was applied, using the grade of the adjacent material when assayed, or a value of zero when not assayed. Only the silver interpolation in the Inferred Resources does not use the material when not assayed.
  6. High-grade capping was done on raw assay data prior to compositing (3.0 m) and established on a per zone basis for gold (25 to 35 g/t) and silver (40 to 165 g/t). No capping was applied to the Cu and Zn data.
  7. The mineral resources were estimated from drill holes using an ID2 interpolation method in a block model (block size = 5 x 5 x 5 m).
  8. The NSR cut-off grade of C$55/t is based on mining costs of C$12.39/t, milling costs of C$20.63/t and G&A of C$21.98/t.
  9. The NSR estimated value of the resources are based on: Exchange rate of C$1.28/1.00 US$; Metal prices for gold 1,550 US$/oz, silver 20.00 US$/oz, copper 3.00 US$/lb, zinc 1.15 US$/lb; Net recoveries are variable in function of grade of each commodity. Smelting cost (including transportation) of C$6.52/t.
  10. ‘’Deswik Stope Optimizer’’ module (DSO) in Deswik software was used to create the potentially mineable shape.
  11. Density used were interpolated using an ID2 method for the ENV_A and HG_A to HG_F averaging 3.41 g/cm3 for 91% of the Project. For the remaining area, the density values were fixed at 2.88 g/cm3 for ENV_B to ENV_E and at 2.67 g/cm3 for ENV_F.
  12. The mineral resource categories were assigned using clipping boundaries. Measured category was established for blocks interpolated during the first two passes within 15 m closest distance from an historical channel samples within the same mineralized zone. Indicated category was established for blocks interpolated during the first two passes within 25 m closest distance from a composite.
  13. Results are presented in-situ. Ounce (troy) = metric tons x grade / 31.10348 and 22.05 for g/t to pounds. Calculations used metric units (metres, tonnes, g/t). The number of tonnes was rounded to the nearest thousand. Any discrepancies in the totals are due to rounding effects. Rounding followed the recommendations as per NI 43-101.
  14. The author is not aware of any known environmental, permitting, legal, title-related, taxation, socio-political or marketing issues, or any other relevant issue not reported in this Technical Report that could materially affect the mineral resource estimate.

 

About Falco

 

Falco Resources Ltd. is one of the largest mineral claim holders in the Province of Québec, with extensive land holdings in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. Falco owns approximately 70,000 hectares of land in the Rouyn-Noranda mining camp, which represents 70% of the entire camp and includes 13 former gold and base metal mine sites. Falco’s principal asset is the Horne 5 Project located in the former Horne mine that was operated by Noranda (now Glencore Canada Corporation) from 1927 to 1976 and produced 11.6 million ounces of gold and 2.5 billion pounds of copper. Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd’s subsidiary, Osisko Development Corp. is Falco’s largest shareholder owning 18.2% interest.

 

Posted March 25, 2021

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