Aureus Mining Inc. - Financial Results for Year Ended December 31, 2014 and 2015 Operational Update

TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE

TORONTO, March 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Aureus Mining Inc. ("Aureus" or the "Company"), (TSX:AUE, AIM:AUE) the exploration and development Company focused on gold in West Africa, is pleased to announce its audited annual financial results for the year ended December 31, 2014 and to provide an operational update for 2015.

Financial Highlights

  • Cash and cash equivalents of US$ 33.0 million
  • Loss for year of US$ 3.4 million (loss per share of US$ 0.01)
  • Total assets of US$ 267 million
  • US$ 80 million drawn down of the available US$ 100 million project finance loan facilities
  • Completed subscription and equity raises of US$ 26.1 million in 2014 for exploration, grade control drilling, balance sheet strengthening and corporate purposes. In February 2015 a further US$ 15.3 million was raised to finance the new updated mine plan taking the total over the last 14 months to US$41.4 million

New Liberty Project Highlights and Update

  • Liberia continues to make significant progress in the fight against Ebola with no new cases in the previous seven days to 1 March 2015. This is the first week with no new confirmed cases reported since May 2014
  • Construction has continued to progress despite the challenges of operating throughout the Ebola outbreak, with all significant areas of civil works now completed and handed over to the structural steel, mechanical, plate work and piping ("SMPP") contractor for steelworks and further commissioning
  • Primary and Secondary Crushers and Ball Mill are now fully installed and awaiting power for directional testing with work focusing on the completion of the conveyor systems
  • Marvoe Creek Diversion and Kinjor and Larjor village relocations were completed in mid-2014, allowing the commencement of mining operations
  • Mining operations commenced in October 2014, with first blast of 25,000 tonnes of waste rock successfully completed in January 2015
  • Reverse-Circulation ("RC") grade control drilling has been completed for the Year 1 mining schedule and results confirm high grades and excellent reconciliation with the mineral resource model

New Updated Mine Plan Highlights

  • New updated mine plan aligned to the current gold price environment has been developed to further de-risk the Project
  • New plan increases operational flexibility through the creation of two starter pits, providing increased face length and stockpile management and giving greater confidence that production targets will be met
  • Expected all-in sustaining cash costs are reduced by 7% to US$ 789 / oz and the post-tax project NPV of expected cash flows from commencement of commercial production1 increased to US$ 328 million2
  • Significant free cash now expected to be generated over Life of Mine with earlier free cash to fund Aureus' highly promising exploration programmes
  • An additional 28,000 ounces of gold is expected to be produced in the first year of production through the mining of an additional starter pit, which brings the total Year 1 target production to 122,000 ounces of gold

Notes:

1 cash flows from life of mine operations before debt servicing and repayment

2 using a gold price of US$1,300/oz flat, 5% discount rate and corporation tax rate of 25%

Exploration and Pre-Feasibility Highlights

  • Approximately 14,200 meters of diamond drilling (67 holes) and 5,800 meters of RC drilling was completed in 2014 (39 holes) across the Ndablama and Weaju gold targets
  • Updated Mineral Resource of 349,000 oz at 1.9 g/t gold Indicated and 464,000 oz at 2.1 g/t gold Inferred was estimated at a 0.7 g/t cut off was calculated for the Ndablama target
  • Metallurgical testing for Ndablama ore gave overall gravity plus Carbon in Leach ("CIL") gold recoveries of between 91% and 97% for the oxide and sulphide ore composites from head grades of 0.8 to 2.7 g/t gold
  • Sulphide ore total gravity gold recovery gave test work recoveries of between 66% and 72% and flotation testwork showed recoveries in excess of 90% into the concentrate

Outlook – Key Targets for 2015

  • First gold pour at New Liberty is expected by the end of May 2015
  • Further plant optimisation and final commissioning is expected to occur in June and July, leading to steady state production at the end of July 2015
  • At Ndablama, execution of a new drilling programme to expand resource and explore the remainder of the 13km gold corridor structure that it is located within
  • Further generative reconnaissance work over the Company's licence to generate new gold targets for follow up work, with a primary focus on near mine target generation

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

"As we approach the end of the first quarter in 2015, our efforts last year have meant we are now on the cusp of bringing New Liberty to production with first gold scheduled for the end of May this year.  2014 was not without its challenges, however, I am extremely proud of the entire Company, staff and contractors who have worked tirelessly to continue with the development of the New Liberty Project.  

Aureus has had a strong start to 2015, with the development of a new mine plan that achieves significant additional and accretive benefits to all our shareholders and I look forward to realising the full potential of Liberia's first commercial gold mine."

Photographs of the latest construction progress at New Liberty can be found at:

http://aureus-mining.com/construction-update-mar15

The Financial Statements and the accompanying Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") are available for review at the Company's website, www.aureus-mining.com, and on www.sedar.com, and should be read in conjunction with this press release.

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 ("DFS") has been completed on the Project and construction is well progressed. 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 3 July, 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 2015. Ndablama has an indicated mineral resource of 386,000 ounces of gold grading 1.6 g/t and inferred mineral resource of 515,000ounces of gold grading 1.7g/t and Weaju has an inferred mineral resource of 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 2015, 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 December 1, 2014 and entitled "Ndablama and Weaju Gold Projects, Bea Mountain Mining Licence, Northern Block, Technical Report on Mineral Resources" ("Ndablama and Weaju Technical Report 2014").

The Company also has a gold exploration permit in Cameroon.

Qualified Persons

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 has reviewed 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, statements or information relating to: the New Liberty Gold Project (including the quantity and quality of mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates), the potential to upgrade inferred mineral resources, opportunities to optimize the New Liberty Gold Project, the ability of the Company to develop the New Liberty Gold Project into a mine and the proposed new plans relating thereto regarding operations and mine design, future gold production, and future cash flows, the expected mine life of the New Liberty Gold Project, progress in the fight against Ebola 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; the inability of the Company to obtain required financing when needed and/or on acceptable terms or at all; risks that the cost of implementing the new mine plan at the New Liberty Gold Project  and the operating cash costs of the New liberty Gold Project exceed those estimated in the new mine plan; 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; risks related to the Ebola crisis; 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.

With respect to forward looking information contained in this news release, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: general business, economic and mining industry conditions; interest rates and foreign exchange rates; mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates; geological and metallurgical assumptions (including with respect to the size, grade and recoverability of mineral resources and mineral reserves) and cost estimates on which the mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates are based; the parameters and assumptions employed in the New Liberty Technical Report, (including but not limited to, those relating to construction, future mining and operating costs, processing and recovery rates, net present values and internal rates of return, timing for the commencement of production, tax and royalty rates,  future gold prices, metallurgical rates, pit design, operations and management, grades, the base case analysis and the proposed budget for further exploration plans and objectives); the supply and demand for commodities and precious and base metals and the level and volatility of the prices of gold; market competition; the ability of the Company to raise sufficient funds from capital markets and/or debt to meet its future obligations and planned activities; the business of the Company including the continued exploration of its properties; the political environments and legal and regulatory frameworks in Liberia and Cameroon with respect to, among other things, the ability of the Company to obtain, maintain, renew and/or extend required permits, licences, authorizations and/or approvals from the appropriate regulatory authorities and the ability of the Company to continue to obtain qualified staff and equipment in a timely and cost-efficient manner to meet its demand. Assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable by Aureus at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect.

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; Numis Securities Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker): John Prior / James Black / Paul Gillam, Tel: +44(0) 20 7260 1000; GMP Securities Europe LLP (Joint Broker): Richard Greenfield / Alexandra Carse, Tel: +44(0) 20 7647 2800

RELATED LINKS
www.aureus-mining.com

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