New Liberty Construction Update

TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE

TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Aureus Mining Inc. (TSX: AUE / AIM: AUE) ("Aureus" or the "Company"), which is building Liberia's first commercial gold mine, the New Liberty gold project ("New Liberty" or "Project"), is pleased to announce that progress on construction is on track for New Liberty to deliver first gold in Q1 2015 and be fully commissioned and operating at a steady-state nameplate capacity by 30 June 2015. Key construction highlights include:

  • Plant construction. The construction of the crushing circuits, ball mill, carbon in leach "CIL" and thickener circuits and the gold room continues on schedule with steel work at an advanced stage;
  • Power generation infrastructure. The first batch of power generators has arrived at New Liberty;
  • Mining fleet. The first shipment of four Komatsu HD785 dump-trucks has arrived in Liberia and will be at New Liberty within a week;
  • Preparing mine footprint. Top soil removal, pre-strip mining and reverse circulation ("RC") grade control drilling have commenced;
  • Marvoe Creek Diversion Channel ("MCDC"). MCDC completed, with the creek now diverted and flowing along the new channel alignment;
  • Village relocation. All families (households) have been relocated from Kinjor and Larjor to the New Kinjor Township; and
  • Project completion. The project is 62% complete with first gold pour scheduled for Q1 2015 and full commissioning and steady state operations forecast to be completed by 30 June 2015.

Whilst there continues to be no reported or suspected cases of the Ebola virus across the Company's operations or in areas in proximity to where the Company operates, the recent escalation of the Ebola outbreak across Liberia and West Africa is a growing concern. Despite the difficulties in operating throughout this outbreak, all efforts are being made to ensure that the New Liberty project remains on track and to minimise the impact of the Ebola situation upon the construction schedule. The New Liberty construction schedule provides an element of flexibility, which has allowed the Company to reschedule some work streams, including commencing the pit preparation work that has started ahead of schedule, to mitigate against any potential delays that may be introduced should the Ebola situation persist or worsen.

Commenting on the development of the Project, David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus Mining, said:

"The New Liberty Gold Project continues to make good progress in its pursuit to become the first commercial gold mine in Liberia. Key elements of the plant construction are advancing, pre-stripping is underway and with the project now 62% complete the mine build remains on schedule to achieve steady state production by 30 June 2015.

We recognise the impact Ebola is having on West Africa and have implemented control measures to ensure New Liberty remains a safe place for our workforce. We continue to coordinate with governments, NGO's and task forces as well as other mining companies dedicated to West Africa with the objective of increasing the awareness of the virus. Every effort is being made to manage and implement our construction during this crisis and it is a testament to the team that we continue to progress."

Construction Update

Plant Construction

  • Steel erection continues on schedule with the primary crusher area 90% completed, the mill building 30%, thickener tower 70% and the gold room 90% complete. Steel erection for the stores is almost complete and the workshop area is 90% complete;
  • CIL tanks base civils are 95% complete;
  • CIL tank shell erection is 56% complete. There are currently seven tanks in the process of being constructed and welded;
  • The thickener civils are 98% complete and the structural steel, mechanical, plate work and piping ("SMPP") contractor has commenced work on steel erection. The tower steel is 70% complete and the first steel for the thickener is expected to be in the Port of Monrovia in mid-September;
  • The primary crusher has been placed in position and is currently awaiting the vendor for further assembly prior to commissioning, with work to position the secondary crusher due to commence shortly;
  • The ball mill and all associated components are at New Liberty, with the gearboxes, pinions, and barring units having arrived on site in late June 2014; and
  • The plant admin building is 95% complete, with only finishing work to be undertaken. The visitors, junior and senior accommodation in the mine camp is almost complete and nearing full occupation.

Other highlights include:

  • A major milestone was achieved during June when the dam wall was closed off completing phase 1 of the MCDC diversion project. The creek is now fully diverted and flowing along the new channel alignment;
  • The first batch of power generators have arrived on site from South Africa;
  • During July, following the successful relocation of all families to the temporary relocation part of the New Kinjor Township (as the Relocation Action Plan ("RAP") village is now formally known), Kinjor village was demolished and cleared; and
  • The focus on the RAP remains on completing the construction on the permanent house structures, which the local community are fully involved in, with expected completion and handover to the new owners due end of Q4 2014.

Details on the overall construction progress are included in the following illustration:
http://aureus-mining.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Project-Status-Graph.pdf

Photographs of the construction progress at New Liberty can be found at:
http://aureus-mining.com/construction-update-sept14

Health & Safety

  • No lost time injuries ("LTIs") have been recorded during 2014, which brings the total LTI free hours to 2,364,783. It has been 607 days since the last LTI on site.

Preparing mine pit for mining

An experienced mining management team has been recruited by the Company and commenced employment during August. First initiatives involved bush clearing and top soil removal prior to pre-stripping operations. RC grade control drilling is underway and the mining of waste material is expected to commence in early October.

The first four 100-tonne capacity Komatsu HD785 rigid dump trucks have arrived in the Port of Monrovia and will be assembled and transported to site during the next week. Dozers, excavators and articulated dump trucks ("ADTs") are already operational on site and working on the construction of New Liberty and the top soil removal in preparations for the pre-strip mining. Further equipment will arrive throughout the remainder of 2014 in accordance with the demands of the mining schedule.

Open pit mining operations for the mining of ore material are scheduled to commence in January 2015.  It is intended that three separate ore stockpiles will be created that will feed the plant – these will be a high, medium and low grade stock pile, which will allow that plant to be fed from the point of start up with a "blended" grade profile in order to optimise output and operations in general.  A subgrade stockpile will also be created adjacent to the southern waste dump which will contain all sub-grade gold bearing material not currently in the mine plan. This could potentially be processed in the future or at the end of the life of mine depending on economic considerations.

Ebola

The Company has applied stringent preventative control measures to allow construction at New Liberty to continue safely and on schedule, and various precautionary measures have been implemented by Aureus to effectively deal with the situation and to maximise the protection of all individuals (employees, contractors and stakeholders) working on the Project.  These precautionary measures include access control to Aureus' operations, temperature screening, education and collaboration with local villages and village elders, detailed and regular communication with employees, contractors and visitors, heightened medical provisions and medical assistance at the New Liberty medical clinic and travel restrictions.  Additionally, the Company has recently commenced using charter flights in order to transport employees and contractors in and out of Liberia. 

Aureus is an active member of the Public Sector Ebola Working Group, a group of 11 companies operating within the countries of West Africa and neighbouring states that are affected by the Ebola virus.  This group is in regular dialogue with governments, NGOs and other task forces involved in combatting the virus, and are actively lending our combined support to help these organisations reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from dealing with the epidemic.

The Company will continue to work with this action group and monitor the situation closely. Furthermore, Aureus has been collaborating with the Government of Liberia in the fight against the Ebola virus, donating medical supplies and seconding senior personnel to bolster the Liberian government's efforts in fighting this disease. All efforts are being made to ensure that the New Liberty project remains on track and to minimise the impact of the Ebola situation.

About Aureus Mining Inc.

The Company's assets include the New Liberty gold deposit in Liberia (the "New Liberty Gold Project," "New Liberty" or the "Project"), which has an estimated proven and probable mineral reserve of 8.5 Mt with 924,000 ounces of gold grading 3.4 g/t and an estimated measured and indicated mineral resource of 9,796 Kt with 1,143,000 ounces of gold grading 3.63 g/t and an estimated inferred mineral resource of 5,730 Kt with 593,000 ounces of gold grading 3.2 g/t.  A Definitive Feasibility Study has been completed on the Project and construction has commenced with earthworks.  The Project is expected to have an 8 year mine life and annual production of 119,000 ounces for the first 6 years of production.  The Company has financed the Project's equity and debt funding requirement.  The foregoing mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates and additional information in connection therewith are set out in the Company's technical report dated July 3, 2013 and entitled "New Liberty Gold Project, Liberia, West Africa, Updated Technical Report."

The New Liberty Gold Project is located within the Southern Block of the 100% owned Bea Mountain mining licence. This licence covers 457 km² and has a 25 year, renewable, mineral development agreement.  The Northern Block of the Bea Mountain mining license also hosts additional gold projects of Ndablama, Gondoja and Weaju, which are the focus of exploration programs during 2014.  Ndablama has an inferred mineral resource of 6,829 Kt with 451,000 ounces of gold grading 2.1 g/t and Weaju has an inferred mineral resource of 2,680 Kt with 178,000 ounces of gold grading 2.1 g/t.  The Archaen Gold exploration licence, which covers 89 km², is also a focus of exploration for 2014, with Leopard Rock being the main target.  The Yambesei (759 km2), Archaen West (112.6 km2), Mabong (36.6 km2) and Mafa West (15.6 km2) licences will also be subject to preliminary reconnaissance geological work.  The foregoing mineral resource estimates and additional information in connection therewith are set out in the Company's technical report dated November 11, 2013 and entitled "Ndablama and Weaju Gold Projects, Bea Mountain Mining Licence, Northern Block, Technical Report on Mineral Resources."

The Company also has gold exploration permits in Cameroon.

Qualified Persons

The estimates of mineral Resources for the DFS were calculated in accordance with NI 43-101 and carried out by Chris G. Arnold BSc (Hons), MSc, MAusIMM (CP) of independent consultants AMC.  The Reserve Study for the DFS was prepared by Mr. M. Staples of AMC, a Qualified Person, for the purposes of the study, under the standards set forth by National Instrument 43-101 "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Project", of the Canadian Securities Administrators ("NI 43-101″).

The Company's Qualified Person is David Reading, who holds a MSc in Economic Geology from University of Waterloo, Canada and is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. David Reading is the President and CEO of Aureus Mining Inc. and approves this press release.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information in this news release relating to Aureus is forward-looking and related to anticipated events and strategies. When used in this context, words such as "will", "anticipate", "believe", "plan", "intend", "target" and "expect" or similar words suggest future outcomes. Forward-looking information contained in this press release includes, but may not be limited to, mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates, the expected mine life and production of the New Liberty Gold Project and the anticipated exploration and development activities of Aureus. By their nature, such statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including: risks normally incidental to exploration and development of mineral properties; uncertainties in the interpretation of results from drilling and test work; the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with expectations; regulatory and government decisions; the possibility that future drawdowns under the loan facilities may not be available; construction of the New Liberty Gold Project being delayed and/ or over budget; economic conditions; availability and cost of financing; estimates of capital and operating costs and start-up costs; plans regarding construction activities; and future unforeseen liabilities and other factors including, but not limited to, those listed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 25, 2014, a copy of which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and in the Aureus Mining Admission Document, a copy of which is available at www.aureus–mining.com. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information as actual results could differ materially from the plans, expectations, estimates or intentions expressed in the forward-looking information. Forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable law, Aureus disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking information, either as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.

Any mineral resource and mineral reserve figures referred to in this press release are estimates and no assurances can be given that the indicated levels of minerals will be produced. Such estimates are expressions of judgment based on knowledge, mining experience, analysis of drilling results and industry practices. Valid estimates made at a given time may significantly change when new information becomes available. While the Company believes that the mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates in respect of its properties are well established, by their nature mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates are imprecise and depend, to a certain extent, upon statistical inferences which may ultimately prove unreliable. If such mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates are inaccurate or are reduced in the future, this could have a material adverse impact on the Company. Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to inferred mineral resources, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will be upgraded to an indicated or measured mineral resource as a result of continued exploration. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

SOURCE: Aureus Mining Inc.

For further information: Aureus Mining Inc., David Reading / Paul Thomson, Tel: +44(0) 20 7010 7690; Buchanan, Bobby Morse / Gordon Poole, Tel: +44(0) 20 7466 5000, Email: bobbym@buchanan.uk.com and gordonp@buchanan.uk.com; Numis Securities Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker), John Prior / James Black, Tel: +44(0) 20 7260 1000; GMP Securities Europe LLP (Joint Broker), Richard Greenfield / Alexandra Carse, Tel: +44(0) 20 7647 2800

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