Wallbridge Reports Positive Prefeasibility Results at Fenelon

TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2017 /CNW/ - Wallbridge Mining Company Limited (TSX:WM, FWB: WC7) ("Wallbridge") is pleased to announce positive results of a Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") (prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101")) for the development of its Fenelon Gold Mine ("Fenelon") in Quebec, Canada. The PFS estimates a Pre-tax Net Cash Flow of $6.62M and a Project pre-tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 92% for the initial approximate 18 month mine life for the known reserves located above 100 meters depth and in close proximity to the existing ramp.

Marz Kord, CEO of Wallbridge, commented, "With a high margin pre-tax return of 92%, the PFS supports that Fenelon is well placed to become one of the high margin, low cost producers in the camp. The next key step in the development of Fenelon is the continuation of the permitting process as well as exploration around the existing deposit to add potential ounces and extend mine life."

"In tandem with the permitting and exploration, we will be seeking required funding for the pre-production costs through a variety of options including offtake partners. With recent exploration results at Fenelon, we are optimistic that we can add additional ounces with very limited drilling by initially pursuing high quality targets around the existing deposit. This exploration effort will continue from underground when in production in order to expand the deposit to depth and along strike."

Following the results of the PFS, we will continue with the required studies and permitting of the project as we look to bring the project to a production decision and into production.

The PFS demonstrates the attractive economics of Fenelon within the top 100 meters of the deposit and key findings are shown in the table below:

 

Table 1: Key Results (in Canadian dollars)

Pre-Feasibility Study Key Indicators

Value

Pre-tax Net Cash Flow

$6.62M

Pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV) (at 5% discount)

$5.84M

Pre-tax IRR (%)

92%

Initial Construction Capital Cost

$5.24M

Average operating costs ($/ounce Au)

$1,056

Post-tax NPV (at 5% discount)

$2.8M

Post-tax IRR (%)

60%

Peak production capacity (tonnes per day "tpd")

400

 

  • Estimated Project pre-tax IRR of 92%; NPV of US$5.84M, (at a 5% discount rate); and simple payback of twelve months, based on a $1,689 Canadian per ounce of gold- 6-month trailing average gold price in Canadian dollars.
  • Most cost estimates are based on firm quotations from mining and transportation contractors. Mining contractors have shown interest to supply the working capital (part of capital expenses) until mill payments are received.
  • Milling cost is based on an indicative quote from a gold toll milling facility where the previous two bulk samples were processed (295 kilometers distance from Fenelon).
  • Wallbridge intends to continue the permitting and the required studies with the intent to make a production decision in the second quarter of 2017.

Project Introduction

The Fenelon Project covers 1,052 hectares and is located in West-Central Quebec about 75 kilometres northwest of the town of Matagami. Geologically it is situated proximal to the Sunday Lake Deformation Zone which hosts the Detour Gold Mine in Ontario as well as the Martiniere gold project being explored by Balmoral Resources Ltd.

A total of over 50,000 metres of drilling have been completed on the project and, very significantly, two bulk samples have been mined and processed from the Discovery Zone deposit.  In 2001, a 13,713 tonne bulk sample mined from a small open pit at the Discovery Zone was test milled at the Camflo mill in Malartic and returned 132,039 grams (4,213 ounces) of gold giving a reconciled grade of 9.84g/t gold using a calculated recovery of 97%. A second bulk sample, mined from underground and also milled at Camflo was comprised of 8,073 tonnes and returned 80,731 grams (2,596 ounces) of gold giving a reconciled grade of 10.7 g/t gold at a calculated gold recovery of 93.5%. Without operational problem occurring during the ore processing of this second bulk sample, the gold recovery should normally be in the range of 97 %.

Mineral Resources

The 2016 resource area measures 500 m along strike, 210 m wide and 280 m deep. The resource estimate is based on a compilation of historical and recent diamond drill holes and wireframed mineralized zones largely inspired by previous work and Wallbridge's interpretation. The final model was constructed by InnovExplo Inc. ("InnovExplo").

In order to conduct accurate resource modelling of the deposit, InnovExplo based its mineralized-zone wireframe model on the drill hole database and their knowledge of the Fenelon mine and similar deposits. A total of nine mineralized solids (coded 102 to 110) that honour the drill hole database were created.

Table 2 below displays the results of the In Situ Mineral Resource Estimate for the Fenelon Project at the official 5.00 g/t Au cut-off grade.

 

Table 2 : Fenelon Project Mineral Resource Estimate at a 5.00 g/t Au cut-off grade

> 5.00 g/t Au


Tonnes

Au

Contained

Au

(t)

(g/t)

(oz)

Measured (M)
and
Indicated (I)

Measured (In-situ)


27,000

13.94

12,100

Measured (broken)


3,100

6.14

600

Indicated


61,000

12.89

25,300

Total M+I


91,100

12.97

38,000







Inferred

In-situ


6,500

9.15

1,900

 

  • The Independent and Qualified Persons for the Mineral Resource Estimate, as defined by NI 43-101, are Pierre-Luc Richard, P.Geo., M.Sc. and Catherine Jalbert, P.Geo., B.Sc., of InnovExplo, and the effective date of the estimate is July 5, 2016.
  • Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.
  • The model includes nine gold-bearing zones, eight of which include resources at the official cut-off grade.
  • Results are presented in situ and undiluted.
  • Sensitivity was assessed using cut-off grades from 2.00 to 10.00 g/t Au with 1.00 g/t Au increments. The official resource is reported at a cut-off of 5.00 g/t Au. Cut-off grades must be re-evaluated in light of prevailing market conditions (gold price, exchange rate and mining cost).
  • A fixed density of 2.80g/cm3 was used for all zones supported by limited information.
  • A minimum true thickness of 2.0 m was applied, using the grade of the adjacent material when assayed, or a value of zero when not assayed.
  • High grade capping (Au) was done on raw assay data and varies from 30 g/t to 140 g/t based on statistical analysis of individual mineralized zones. Restricted search ellipsoids were used during interpolation using 1X variography ranges and a threshold of 30 g/t Au.
  • Compositing was done on drill hole intercepts falling within the mineralized zones (composite lengths vary from 1m to 3m in order to distribute the tails adequately).
  • Resources were evaluated from drill holes using a 2-pass ID3 interpolation method in a block model (block size = 5 m x 5 m x 5 m).
  • The inferred category is only defined within the areas where blocks were interpolated during pass 1 or pass 2 where continuity is sufficient to avoid isolated blocks being interpolated by only one drillhole. The indicated category is only defined by blocks interpolated by a minimum of two drillholes in areas where the maximum distance to the closest drill hole composite is less than 20m for blocks interpolated in pass 1. The measured category is only defined by blocks interpolated by a minimum of two drillholes in areas where the maximum distance to the closest drill hole composite is less than 20m for blocks interpolated in pass 1 and in close proximity with sampled drifts (<10m).
  • Ounce (troy) = metric tons x grade / 31.10348. Calculations used metric units (metres, tonnes and g/t).
  • The number of metric tons was rounded to the nearest hundred. Any discrepancies in the totals are due to rounding effects. Rounding followed the recommendations in NI 43-101.
  • InnovExplo is not aware of any known environmental, permitting, legal, title-related, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other relevant issue that could materially affect the Mineral Resource Estimate.

Mineral Reserves

Mineral reserves were estimated from the resource block model, using manually generated wireframes (stopes), which were designed based on the established 5.0 g/t cut-off grade.

At a pre-feasibility level, longhole open stoping, uppers open stoping and drift & fill are the three methods selected for Fenelon, as they satisfy the following design criteria:

  • Maintain maximum productivities by incorporating bulk-mining methods and operational flexibility, which should result in lower operating costs; and
  • Maintain high overall recovery rates.

The following tables illustrate the estimated reserve by stope type as well as Reserve Statement by category:

 

Table 3: Reserve Statement

Stope
Type

Mined

Tonne

Grade

Mined

Grams

External

Dilution

1.0 g/t

Mined

Diluted

Tonnes

Grams of

Dilution

Total

Grams

Diluted

Grade

Recovery

Recovered

Tonnes

Grams

Recovered

New
Ounces

Uppers

24,652

9.93

244,792

15%

28,350

3,698

248,490

8.77

88%

25,018

219,594

7,060

Long Hole

46,521

11.23

522,364

15%

53,499

6,978

529,343

9.89

96%

51,265

509,319

16,375

Top Sill Surface

10,101

10.13

102,357

15%

11,617

1,515

103,872

8.94

96%

11,186

100,336

3,226

Pit Bench

2,222

9.73

21,614

15%

2,555

333

21,947

8.59

97%

2,478

21,289

684

Drift & Fill

2,232

8.76

19,548

5%

2,344

112

19,660

8.39

97%

2,274

19,070

613

Dev Ore

1,467

8.03

11,783

5%

1,540

73

11,856

7.70

97%

1,494

11,501

370

Broken Ore

3,100

6.14

19,034

0%

3,100

0

19,034

6.14

97%

3,007

18,463

594

Total

90,295

10.43

941,492

14%

103,004

12,709

954,201

9.30

94%

96,721

899,570

28,922

 

Table 4: Reserve Statement by category

Category

Mined
Tonnes

Recovered
Tonnes

Grams
Recovered

New
Ounces

Proven

6,321

6,770

62,970

2,025

Probable

83,974

89,951

836,600

26,897

Total

90,295

96,721

899,570

28,922

 

Metallurgy

The Fenelon ore responds well to conventional gold leaching with gold recoveries up to 98-99 % in the limited laboratory testwork done to date. The two bulk samples tested in the past returned gold recoveries of 97% and 93.5%, but with operational problems reported on both occasions. The problems were associated with liquid losses at the gold precipitation stage and not with gold dissolution. This situation could normally be avoided by process adjustments. Taking into account the excess gold liquid losses that occurred during the second bulk processing, both campaigns returned similar gold recoveries with extraction close to 97%.

The additional testwork done in 2016 on historical core samples failed to confirm by direct cyanidation the gold recoveries on the discovery zone and deposit. However, intensive leaching on the leach tails from those tests returned similar high gold recoveries  up to the 98-99% at the target grind size.

Considering the bulk sample and laboratory results to date, the 97% gold recovery appears appropriate at this stage. Test work will continue when new samples become available.

Capital and Operating Costs

For the purpose of the pre-feasibility study, all mining activities on site should be completed by contractors. No processing activities, other than crushing, are planned on site so the ore should be trucked to a toll mill facility for processing. A very small owner's team is envisioned to manage the contractors on site and oversee the geology aspect of the project. Thus capital and operating costs have been widely derived from contractor quotes, local to the area and have been validated based on the estimator experience with similar projects.

The estimated pre-tax capital and operating expenditures are summarized in the following table based on the information available at the time of the release.

 

Table 5: Fenelon Cost expenditure summary (000 Cdn$)

Cost Item

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Q3 2017

Q4 2017

Q1 2018

Q2 2018

Q3 2018

Q4 2018

Total

Total

329

941

4,140

6,292

11,968

8,131

6,825

2,152

40,777

 

The estimated global contingency included in the cost estimate represents 9.9% of the total cost before contingency at P50. This percentage was determined by evaluating the quantity and cost precision of each system element of the cost estimate. As a result, contingency by item varies between 5.6% and 50%. In other words, each system element was assigned a precision level on quantity development and a precision level on cost origin.

Cash Flow Analysis

The project is currently estimated to have a payback period of twelve months. Cash flows are based on a 100% equity funding basis and the economic analysis indicates a pre-tax NPV, discounted at 5%, of $5.84M and IRR of 92%. Post tax the NPV is approximately $2.8M and IRR 60%.

The economic evaluation was performed using the IRR and the NPV methods using estimates of capital and operating costs, a construction schedule, a production schedule, and estimates of future gold ore prices provided. Since the financial analysis is based on a cash flow estimate, it should be expected that actual financial results should vary from these predictions.

A 6 month trailing average for commodity prices and exchange rates as of September 2016 were used for the purpose of this study. The 6 month trailing average at the time of the report (July to December 2016) was calculated at 1,686 Cdn$/ounce which is consistent with the September 2016 value of 1,689 Cdn$/ounce used in the financial analysis.  All costs are in Q4 2016 Canadian dollars with no allowance for inflation or escalation.

The pre-tax Project NPV sensitivity was calculated for various gold prices and discount rates. This sensitivity is illustrated in Table 6 below.

 

Table 6: Pre-tax NPV for varying gold prices and discount rates (000 Cdn$)

Gold price (Cdn$/oz)

1,689

(Base Case)

1,400

1,500

1,600

1,700

1,800

Discount Rate







Pre-tax NPV at 0%

6,618

-1,330

1,416

4,163

6,909

9,655

Pre-tax NPV at 5% (Base Case)

5,842

-1,633

950

3,532

6,115

8,698

Pre-tax NPV at 10%

5,155

-1,895

541

2,977

5,413

7,849

 

Community and Environment

Wallbridge has been working on a consultation plan to assess the perceptions of the Fenelon Project by the Cree, Algonquin and Jamesian communities within which the Project is located.

None of the environmental data to date has identified any critical elements that could seriously impact the future development of the Fenelon Project. Additional studies will have to be conducted in order to complete an environmental baseline. The project will have to undergo the Northern Quebec environmental and social impact assessment and review procedure. An environmental baseline study was completed in 2004 which will require additional studies and Wallbridge will have to submit an environmental impact assessment statement.

Project Timetable

Table below shows the project milestones in months with project start date to be when permits are received (month 0). The project duration is approximately 18 months from the receipt of production permits. The start date is dependent on the receipt of production permits from various regulatory agencies.

 

Table 7:  Fenelon Main Milestones

Milestone Id

Month

Engineering Start

-6

Permits are received

0

Mobilization Complete

1

Dewatering Complete

4

Mine Development Complete

11

End of Mining

17

Project Finish

18

 

Report Filing

A technical report on this PFS (prepared in accordance with NI 43-101) will be filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and at www.wallbridgemining.com within 45 (forty-five) days of the date of this news release.

Qualified Persons

Each of the Qualified Persons below has reviewed and approved the technical information for their specific items contained in this press release and is independent of Wallbridge. The Qualified Persons are:

Catherine Jalbert, P.Geo., B.Sc., and Pierre-Luc Richard, P.Geo., M.Sc. (InnovExplo Inc.), who prepared the Mineral Resource Estimate in this press release.

George Darling, P. Eng., (SNC-Lavalin Inc., at the time of preparation of the report), who prepared the Mineral Reserve Estimate, mine plan infrastructure, cost estimate and financial evaluation.

Marie-Claude Dion St-Pierre (WSP Canada Inc.) who prepared the Community & Environment item.

Pierre Pelletier, ing. (InnovExplo Inc.) who prepared the Metallurgical  item.

Marz Kord, P. Eng. is the Qualified Person on behalf of Wallbridge and has approved the scientific and technical disclosures in this press release.

About Wallbridge Mining

Wallbridge is establishing a pipeline of projects that will support sustainable production and revenue as well as organic growth through exploration and scalability.

Wallbridge is currently exploring and completing a prefeasibility study on its recently purchased 100%-owned high-grade gold Fenelon project in Quebec with a production decision targeted for 2017. Wallbridge is also in discussions regarding several other advanced stage projects which could become the company's next mines. These discussions benefit from the operating capabilities Wallbridge demonstrated by safely and efficiently mining the Broken Hammer deposit in Sudbury, which was completed in October 2015.

Wallbridge is also continuing active partner-funded exploration on its large portfolio of nickel, copper, and PGM projects in Sudbury, Ontario. Currently, Wallbridge is completing a 20,000 metre fully partner-funded drilling program on its Parkin project designed to follow up on wide high-grade intersections in 2016.

Wallbridge also has exposure to active exploration for copper and gold in Jamaica and British Columbia through its 15.5% ownership of Carube Copper Corp. ("Carube Copper") (CUC:TSX-V, formerly Miocene Resources Limited). 

This press release may contain forward-looking statements (including "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) relating to, among other things, the operations of Wallbridge and the environment in which it operates. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved".

Wallbridge has relied on a number of assumptions and estimates in making such forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the ability to acquire the necessary permits and approvals to advance the Fenelon Mine Property toward production, the ability to safely and successfully dewater the underground workings at Fenelon, the ability to add to the existing resource base at Fenelon through drilling, the costs associated with the development and operation of its properties. Such assumptions and estimates are made in light of the trends and conditions that are considered to be relevant and reasonable based on information available and the circumstances existing at this time. A number of risk factors may cause actual results, level of activity, performance or outcomes of such exploration and/or mine development to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including, without limitation, whether such discoveries will result in commercially viable quantities of such mineralized materials, the possibility of changes to project parameters as plans continue to be refined, the ability to execute planned exploration and future drilling programs, the need for additional funding to continue exploration and development efforts, changes in general economic, market and business conditions, and those other risks set forth in Wallbridge's most recent annual information form under the heading "Risk Factors" and in its other public filings. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and such information is inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and may be beyond the control of Wallbridge. Although Wallbridge has attempted to identify important risks and factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors and risks that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Consequently, undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements. In addition, all forward-looking statements in this press release are given as of the date hereof.

Wallbridge disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, save and except as may be required by applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this disclaimer.

SOURCE Wallbridge Mining Company Limited

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2017/02/c1996.html

For further information: Please visit Wallbridge's website at www.wallbridgemining.com, or contact: Wallbridge Mining Company Limited, Marz Kord, President and CEO, Tel: (705) 682-9297 ext. 251, Email: mkord@wallbridgemining.com; Linda Zubal, Vice President Corporate Communications, Tel: (705) 682-9297 ext. 263, Email: lzubal@wallbridgemining.com

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