Roxgold announces an After-tax IRR of 48.4% in Feasibility Study for the Yaramoko Gold Project

After-tax NPV of $250 Million with a 1.6 Year Payback on Initial Capital

Results support a low-cost underground mine with modest upfront capital requirements and high operating margins

TORONTO, April 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Roxgold Inc. ("Roxgold" or "the Company") (TSX.V: ROG) is pleased to announce the results of its Feasibility Study prepared pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") for the 55 Zone on its Yaramoko exploration permit in Burkina Faso.  The study envisions an underground mining scenario with an initial life of mine ("LOM") of over seven years.

Roxgold will be hosting a conference call and webcast presentation at 2:00 p.m. E.T. on April 22, 2014 to discuss these results.  Dial-in details are provided at the end of this release.

All amounts stated in this news release are in US dollars unless otherwise indicated.

FEASIBILITY STUDY HIGHLIGHTS:
Base case is stated on a 100% basis and a gold price of $1,300/oz
IRR
  • Pre-tax IRR of 53.7% with a 1.5 year payback on initial capital
  • After-tax IRR of 48.4% with a 1.6 year payback on initial capital
NPV
  • Pre-tax NPV5% of $300 million
  • After-tax NPV5% of $250 million 
Production Costs1
  • Average Total Cash Costs of $467/oz (including royalties)
  • Average All-in Sustaining Costs of $590/oz 
Capex
  • Pre-Production capital of $106.5 million
Production
  • Estimated average annual gold production of 99,500 ounces
Mine Life
  • Current study mine life of 7.4 years
Probable Mineral Reserves
  • 1.996Mt @ 11.8 g/t Au containing 759,000 ounces Au
Recoveries
  • Average metallurgical recoveries of 96.9% gold

1 Production costs are presented in accordance with World Gold Council standards

"The Yaramoko Gold Project benefits from many unique attributes including its high grade nature together with excellent metallurgy and access to grid power. This makes for a high margin project with a relatively modest upfront capital requirement," stated John Dorward, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are very pleased with the results outlined in the Feasibility Study, which validate our belief in the potential of the 55 Zone.  We will continue to advance the Project through financing and permitting over the coming months, with the aim of commencing underground development in the fourth quarter of this year."

ECONOMIC SUMMARY

Pre - tax $1,100/oz Au $1,200/oz Au $1,300/oz Au $1,400/oz Au $1,500/oz Au
NPV5% ($M) $201 $254 $300 $353 $406
IRR (%) 38.8% 46.9% 53.7% 61.4% 68.8%
Payback (Years) 2.2 1.8 1.5 1.2 1.1
After - tax $1,100/oz Au $1,200/oz Au $1,300/oz Au $1,400/oz Au $1,500/oz Au
NPV5% ($M) $168 $212 $250 $294 $337
IRR (%) 35.2% 42.5% 48.4% 55.0% 61.5%
Payback (Years) 2.4 1.9 1.6 1.4 1.2

The economic parameters quoted in this press release are based upon 100% ownership of the Yaramoko Gold Project. Under the Mining Code of Burkina Faso, the Government of Burkina Faso is entitled to a 10% interest in the Project upon formal award of an exploitation permit.

On a 90% basis, the After-tax NPV5% of Roxgold's interest in the Project is $232 million under the base case scenario. The Government of Burkina Faso is estimated to receive an undiscounted $143 million from Yaramoko in the form of dividends, taxes, VAT, duties and levies.

MINING AND PROCESSING

A summary of the capital costs, production and operating metrics from the Feasibility Study is provided below.

Capital Costs:

  Pre-Production LOM
Underground Mine $30.7M $62.4M
Processing Plant $28.4M $0.6M
Infrastructure & Vehicles $13.9M $0.9M
Tailings & Water Storage $5.7M $3.3M
Power Line $8.7M -
Owner's Costs $8.5M -
First Fills $1.8M -
Contingency $8.7M $2.7M
Capital Cost $106.5M $69.8M

Feasibility Study Baseline Production Metrics:

  LOM
Average mine production (tpd) 750
Average annual gold production (oz) 99,500
Average mill feed grade (g/t) 11.59
Tonnes Processed (Mt) 2.036
Average gold recoveries (% Au) 96.9
Total Gold Recovered (oz) 735,430

Payable Gold Cash Cost Summary:

  LOM
($/oz)
LOM
($/tonne)
Mining $242 $86
Processing $89 $32
G & A $61 $22
Refining $10 $4
Cash Operating Cost $402 $144
Royalties $65 $23
Total Cash Costs $467 $167
Sustaining Capital $101 $36
Corporate G&A $22 $8
All-in Sustaining Cost (1) $590 $211

(1) Quoted All-in Sustaining Costs are presented as defined by the World Gold Council and include Total Cash Costs, Corporate G&A, Sustaining Capital and Closure Costs. 

Key Assumptions:

Gold Price $1,300/oz
Diesel Price $1.58/litre
Electricity Tariff $0.171 per kWhr
Royalty Rate 3% when gold price is less than $1,100/oz
4% when gold price is $1,100 to $1,300/oz
5% when gold price is greater than $1,300/oz

Sensitivity To Gold Price And Discount Rate:

NPV (Millions)
Discount rate
Pre - Tax Post - Tax
5% 7.5% 10% 5% 7.5% 10%
Gold Price         $ 1,000 $147 $118 $94 $124 $98 $77
        $ 1,100 $201 $165 $136 $168 $137 $112
        $ 1,200 $254 $212 $178 $212 $176 $146
        $ 1,300 $300 $253 $214 $250 $210 $176
        $ 1,400 $353 $300 $255 $294 $248 $210
        $ 1,500 $406 $346 $296 $337 $287 $244
        $ 1,600 $459 $393 $338 $381 $325 $278

STUDY DESCRIPTION

The study, led by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. ("SRK") in partnership with Mintrex, Knight Piésold and Cardno BEC, focuses on the high grade 55 Zone deposit located approximately 200 kilometres South West of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou. The deposit occurs within Roxgold's 100% owned Yaramoko permit and lies roughly one kilometre from Bagassi. The project lies approximately 40 kilometres to the West of a paved highway and will benefit from a 90 kV powerline within three kilometres of the project. A rail line connecting Ouagadougou to Abidjan, a major port in Côte d'Ivoire, also runs through the permit approximately four kilometres north of the 55 Zone.

Feasibility Study Scope & Contributors:

COMPANY LOCATION RESPONSIBILITIES
SRK Consulting
(Lead)
Toronto, Canada Resource and reserves, mine planning and scheduling, economic
modelling, hydrology, geotechnical studies, environmental and
social studies, mine closure.
Mintrex Perth, Australia Metallurgy, process and infrastructure design, implementation
and capital.
Knight Piésold Perth, Australia Tailings and water storage facilities, project water balance.
Cardno BEC Perth, Australia Power supply, electrical engineering and implementation.

MINING OPERATIONS AND PROCESS RECOVERY

The mining aspect of the study was completed in conformity with generally accepted CIM "Estimation of Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserves Best Practices" guidelines. The study envisions an underground mining scenario which benefits from a small surface footprint, as well as existing infrastructure on the permit. The deposit will be accessed from a single decline to the 5270 level where a cross cut will be driven to the western side of the deposit (see Figure 1). At this point two spiral declines will be driven connected through sub-level development at 17 metre spacing along the strike of the ore body. At the 5072 level the double decline access ends and a single decline progresses from this level to the 4884 level, a depth of 430 vertical metres from surface. In addition, 24 levels of lateral development designed to open up multiple working faces and allow operating flexibility are incorporated in the mine plan.

The dual decline in the upper parts of the mine allows for concurrent development of the two declines and doubles the access to open working faces throughout development. Mining will be conducted using long hole retreat mining on close space sublevels, with cemented rock backfill used to eliminate non-recoverable pillars, maximising mining recovery to 96%. The mine plan is based on a contractor mining scenario with engineering and grade control provided by Roxgold.  Development of the box cut for the underground mine is scheduled to commence, as per the study, in Q4 2014. Production and development rates, along with assumed unit operating costs, (representing approximately 60% of the total life of mine expenditure) are based upon competitively tendered quotes from experienced underground mining contractors active in the region. Owner mining is assumed after approximately five years of operation.

The mine plan is based on a 4.9 grams of gold per tonne ("g/t") cut-off at a minimum width of 1.6 metres. A 750 tonne per day ("tpd") extraction rate is forecast from the underground mine with a life of mine of 7.4 years at 99,500 ounces of gold per year for a total of 735,430 ounces of gold contained within 1,996,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 11.8 g/t. The typical planned stope has a 25 metre strike length, a vertical height of 34 metres and the full vein width. The average true vein width within, before dilution, is 4.0 metres. An external dilution factor of 20.5% was applied to this and dilution grade is estimated at 1.34 g/t gold.

The processing facility will be sized for 750 tpd throughput and will include single stage jaw crushing, SAG milling, gravity recovery, leaching and adsorption circuits, gold recovery and thickening. Average recoveries are assumed to be 96.9% based on three rounds of metallurgical test work. Material milled is estimated to be of a moderate hardness with a Bond Ball Work Index of 18 kWh/t.

The design philosophy incorporates a requirement that the processing facility be amenable to expansion with minimum capital requirements. The processing facility would be able to readily increase throughput in the event that the extraction rate at the 55 Zone is higher than forecast or additional sources of ore feed are developed.

Metallurgical performance including gravity and overall extraction are positive. Variability testing and composite testing confirm a high gravity recovery component consistently observed throughout the program. The summary, below, of the variability testwork program conducted in the Feasibility Study, illustrates these performance characteristics across 24 variability samples tested throughout the deposit.

Pre-production capital costs are estimated to total $106.5 million including $8.7 million in contingency. This figure includes $30.7 million for underground development, construction and mining activities which result in a pre-production surface stockpile of approximately 50,000 tonnes at 18 g/t grade accounting for an estimated in situ 29,000 ounces of gold at the commencement of mill start-up.

Processing Plant pre-production capital amounts to $28.4 million.  Surface and processing infrastructure is estimated to total $13.9 million and includes all roads, buildings and a 150 person camp. Tailings and water storage facilities are estimated at $5.7 million and a 4 kilometre power line with associated transformers is estimated to be $8.7 million. Each of these figures has also been built up from first principles in conjunction with quoted rates from contractors active in Burkina Faso.

MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE

The Feasibility Study is based on a new mineral resource model completed by SRK Toronto. The model was completed in conformity with generally accepted CIM "Estimation of Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserves Best Practices" guidelines.

The mineral resource model is based on a wireframe interpretation of the boundaries of the gold mineralization encompassing the entire width of the shear zone hosting the gold mineralization in the 55 Zone. This interpretation considered the Company's geological database, core photographs and field structural geology investigations completed by SRK. As a result, the confidence in the geological continuity of the gold mineralization is improved from previous mineral resource models. Gold is chiefly associated with low-sulphide quartz veins representing dilatational zones developed inside a reverse dextral shear zone. The structure dips at approximately 75 degrees from the surface to roughly 400 metres and steepens to 80 degrees below that. That change in shear zone dip provided the dilatational site where the bulk of the auriferous quartz veins were formed.

Resource domains were constructed to separate the higher grade gold mineralization contained in the dilatational quartz veins from the lower grade shear zone envelope and to assist with the construction of the resource model. A modal composite of 1.5 metres was applied to each resource domain for geostatistical study and variography. Outliers were capped at 250 g/t in the higher grade domains and 20 g/t in lower grade domains. Gold grades were estimated into a block model using ordinary Kriging informed from capped composited from each domain. Block size set at 5 metres by 3 metres by 5 metres, with sub-blocks to honour the shape of the resource domains.

The new mineral resource model completed as part of the Feasibility Study considers no additional drilling subsequent to the Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") released in September 2013 (see Company press release dated September 16, 2013). The mineral resource statement below is reported at a cut-off of 5.0 g/t. Globally, 55 Zone contains 1.6 million tonnes accounting for 810,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 15.8 g/t of gold in the indicated category and 840,000 tonnes accounting for 278,000 ounces of gold at 10.26 g/t of gold in the inferred category.

Management believes that the mineral resources remain open to expansion and that there is an opportunity to improve the classification of the inferred mineral resources with infill drilling. There is no certainty that such additional drilling will result in expanding or upgrading the classification of the inferred mineral resources to an indicated category for inclusion in a mine plan. The effective date of the mineral resource statement is: April 22, 2014

Mineral Resource Statement1, 55 Zone of the Yaramoko Project, Burkina Faso, SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., Date: April 22, 2014 (Inclusive of Mineral Reserves):

Cut -off Mineral Resource(1) Grade (capped) Metal
  Category Tonnes Au g/t Au Oz
>5.0g/t Indicated 1,600,000 15.80 810,000
  Inferred 840,000 10.26 278,000
(1) Mineral resources include mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. All figures have been rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimates. Underground mineral resources are reported at a cut-off grade of 5.0 g/t gold assuming: metal price of US$1,200 per ounce of gold, mining cost of US$75 per tonne, G&A cost of US$20 per tonne, processing cost of US$24 tonne, process recovery of 96%, exchange rate of C$1.00 equal US$1.00.

MINERAL RESERVES

The mineral reserve estimation used in the Feasibility Study only considered the indicated portion of the mineral resources. The mineral reserve estimation assumed a minimum mining width of 1.6 metres, a 20.5% global dilution factor at a grade of 1.34 g/t and a base gold price of $1,300 per ounce. The effective date of the mineral reserve statement is April 22, 2014

Mineral Reserve Statement1, 55 Zone of the Yaramoko Project, Burkina Faso, SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., Date: April 22, 2014 (Included in Mineral Resources):

Ore Type Probable Mineral Reserves
  Tonnes Au (g/t) Au Oz
Crown Pillar 98,000 23.46 74,000
Development 440,000 11.75 166,000
Stope 1,459,000 11.07 519,000
Total/Avg. 1,996,000 11.83 759,000
(1) Mineral reserves included in mineral resources. Reported at a cut-off grade of 4.9 gpt gold assuming: metal price of US$1,300 per ounce of gold, mining cost of US$94 per tonne, G&A cost of US$26 per tonne, processing cost of US$27 tonne and process recovery of 96%.

FEASIBILITY STUDY OPTIMIZATIONS CONTRASTED WITH PRELIMINARY ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT

The following opportunities were identified within the PEA study as potential optimizations within the Feasibility Study. These optimizations and opportunities have been incorporated into the Feasibility Study with largely positive impacts on the project as described below.

OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFIED IN PEA FEASIBILITY STUDY IMPACTS
A geotechnical study with results to feed into an optimized mine plan including reductions in footwall and lateral development The results of the geotechnical study, including 13 boreholes into areas around proposed infrastructure and development, allowed for better modelling of hanging and footwall conditions allowing for better informed assumptions around dilution, mining widths and mining methods. This has also resulted in a large reduction of footwall and lateral development throughout the mine plan which, with the inclusion of the secondary ramp, allows for a more productive and flexible mine plan. Lateral development in the Feasibility Study was reduced to 20,000 metres compared to 42,000 metres as included in the PEA. The geotechnical study also indicated that the use of more cemented rock backfill as an alternative support would allow for better ore body extraction.
Detailed metallurgical test work to optimize recoveries and flow sheet inputs for design and construction In Q3 of 2013, Roxgold commissioned a detailed metallurgical test work program to build on information gained from previous test programs.  This included more detailed work on gravity response, recovery variability, comminution and leach kinetics. This study including material sourced from specifically planned diamond drill holes as well as existing material from resource drilling, was confirmatory of previous studies and indicated an overall recovery rate of 97%. Outcomes of this study included an optimization of the flow sheet to include a SAG mill as opposed to a ball mill which would allow for a potential expansion scenario to up to 900 tpd through the incorporation of a larger motor.
Maximising ore body recovery in order to extract and recover high grade ore included in rib and sill pillars The revised mine plan focused on ore body extraction and includes more cement rock back fill into open stopes. This has allowed for the extraction of the ounces of gold that remained in rib and sill pillars in the PEA. The resultant Feasibility mine plan extracts a similar number of ounces as tabled in the PEA while at the same time realising a significant reduction in the required amount of sustaining capital and ramp development. This amounts to a reduction of approximately $49 million in sustaining capital in the Feasibility Study which has an economic cut-off of 430 vertical metres as opposed to the 720 metres considered in the PEA.
Conversion of inferred resources below 430 metres into indicated and continuing to grow the resource and reserve base The conversion of inferred mineral resources into the indicated category remains a priority for management. The Project has a mine life of over seven years based on the current reserve estimate. In addition, there are 276,000 ounces of gold (835,000 tonnes at 10.3 g/t) in the inferred category below the 430 metre level. Management continues to believe that there is an opportunity to upgrade the inferred mineral resources to the indicated category with infill drilling. There is also the potential to increase the overall mineral resources with step-out drilling laterally and at depth, thereby providing a potential to extend the mine life. The deposit remains open to expansion along strike below 500 metres where limited drilling has previously identified the presence of mineralized structure.  It is also open down plunge where the deepest hole intersecting the deposit to date has been drilled at 900 vertical metres.  There is no certainty however that any additional drilling will result in improving the classification of the inferred mineral resources or expand the mineral resources and expand the mine plan.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES & NEAR TERM DEVELOPMENT PLANS

  • Power Supply:

    During the feasibility infrastructure definition, Roxgold identified an opportunity to improve the Project's operating cost metrics through the integration of reliable grid power. This is a result of collaboration between Roxgold, Cardno BEC and the national utility provider, SONABEL. This will involve tying into a 90KV line that passes within three kilometres of the project. This represents a significant saving on unit power costs when compared to the high speed diesel assumptions used in the PEA. There is understandably a capital cost associated with this operating cost improvement. Management believe that the short payback on this specific project justifies the additional capital burden.
  • Paste Backfill:

    The use of paste backfill versus cemented rock backfill has also been identified as a possible opportunity for optimization in near term development plans.  Patterson and Cooke in Ontario, Canada, are currently conducting a study to evaluate the use of this strategy.  Potential benefits include reduced overall costs due to reduced underground equipment operating hours, elimination of the planned surface rock quarry, and reduced tailings storage capacity requirements on surface.
  • Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA"):

    Roxgold has made a provisional submission of its ESIA to the environmental regulator (BUNEE) in Burkina Faso. The Company expects to finalize this submission shortly while advancing other aspects of in-country permitting.

    Discussions with community members regarding income restoration and compensation for land disturbed by the planned mining activities are well advanced. No relocations are required as part of the proposed development.
  • Financing:

    The Company has appointed Cutfield Freeman & Company to assist with securing project financing on competitive terms. A number of leading project finance banks and alternative financiers are involved in this process and the Company looks forward to providing more details in the near future.
  • Regional Exploration:

    Roxgold continues to explore on its 167 km2 permit where it has identified eight priority drill targets that will be tested within Q2 2014. Most notably these targets include the QV1 target at Bagassi South where recent drilling has returned high grade results including 19.94 g/t over 3.7 metres (see Company press release dated Feb 20, 2014) and 41.7 g/t over 4.4 metres (see Company press release dated Jul 09, 2013).

    Three drill rigs are currently operating on the Yaramoko permit as part of the ongoing exploration program.

TECHNICAL REPORT

The results of the feasibility study will be summarized in a Technical Report prepared pursuant to Canadian Securities Administrators' National Instrument 43-101 that will be filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) within 45 days and will also be available on the Company's website (www.roxgold.com).

QUALIFIED PERSONS

The Feasibility Study was led by SRK Consulting Canada Inc. with contributions from Mintrex Pty Ltd., Knight Piésold and Cardno BEC.  The following Independent Qualified Persons, as defined in NI 43-101, have prepared or supervised the preparation of the scientific or technical information presented in this news release:

  • Jean François Couture, PGeo (SRK Consulting Canada Inc.)
  • Ken Reipas, P. Eng (SRK Consulting Canada Inc.)
  • Ian Kerr (Mintrex Pty Ltd.)
  • David Morgan (Knight Piésold)
  • Geoff Bailey (Cardno BEC)

FEASIBILITY STUDY RESULTS CONFERENCE CALL AND WEBCAST

Roxgold will be hosting a conference call and webcast presentation discussing the results of the Feasibility Study on Tuesday, April 22, at 2:00 p.m. ET.  A replay of the call will be available until April 29, 2014.

Conference Call Details:  
Toll Free (North America) 888-390-0546
Toronto Local and International 416-764-8688
Webcast Link: Click Here
Conference Call REPLAY:  
Toll Free Replay Call (North America) 888-390-0541, access code: 209424
Toronto Local and International Replay Call 416-764-8677, access code: 209424

About Roxgold

Roxgold is a gold exploration and development company with its key asset, the high grade, 100% owned Yaramoko Gold Project located in the Houndé greenstone region of Burkina Faso, West Africa.  The Company is currently advancing Yaramoko's 55 Zone through permitting and expects to commence development in Q4 2014.  Roxgold trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol ROG.

"Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release."

This news release contains forward-looking information. Forward looking information contained in this new release includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the estimation of inferred and indicated mineral resources and probable mineral reserves; (ii) the success of exploration activities; (iii) the completion and timing of the environmental assessment process (iv) the results of the Feasibility Study including statements about future production, future operating and capital costs, the projected IRR, NPV, payback period, and production timelines for the 55 Zone on the Yaramoko permit.

These statements are based on information currently available to the Company and the Company provides no assurance that actual results will meet management's expectations. In certain cases, forward-looking information may be identified by such terms as "anticipates", "believes", "could", "estimates", "expects", "may", "shall", "will", or "would". Forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on certain factors and assumptions regarding, among other things, the estimation of mineral resources and mineral reserves, the realization of resource estimates and reserve estimates, gold metal prices, the timing and amount of future exploration and development expenditures, the estimation of initial and sustaining capital requirements, the estimation of labour and operating costs, the availability of necessary financing and materials to continue to explore and develop the Yaramoko project in the short and long-term, the progress of exploration and development activities, the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, the completion of the environmental assessment process, and assumptions with respect to currency fluctuations, environmental risks, title disputes or claims, and other similar matters. While the Company considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect.

Forward looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Such factors include risks inherent in the exploration and development of mineral deposits, including risks relating to changes in project parameters as plans continue to be redefined including the possibility that mining operations may not commence at the Yaramoko project, risks relating to variations in mineral resources and mineral reserves, grade or recovery rates resulting from current exploration and development activities, risks relating to changes in gold prices and the worldwide demand for and supply of gold, risks related to increased competition in the mining industry generally, risks related to current global financial conditions, uncertainties inherent in the estimation of mineral resources and mineral reserves, access and supply risks, reliance on key personnel, operational risks inherent in the conduct of mining activities, including the risk of accidents, labour disputes, increases in capital and operating costs and the risk of delays or increased costs that might be encountered during the development process, regulatory risks, including risks relating to the acquisition of the necessary licenses and permits, financing, capitalization and liquidity risks, including the risk that the financing necessary to fund the exploration and development activities at the Yaramoko project may not be available on satisfactory terms, or at all, risks related to disputes concerning property titles and interest, and environmental risks. Please refer to the Company's Short Form Prospectus dated March 17, 2014 filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the development of mineral resources and mineral reserves.  This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the Company's forward-looking information. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on the Company's forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information that may be made from time to time by the Company or on its behalf, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

SOURCE Roxgold Inc.

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For further information:


Annelise Burke
Manager, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
416-203-6401
aburke@roxgold.com