TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE
TORONTO, Feb. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Aureus Mining Inc., ("Aureus" or the "Company"), the TSX and AIM listed West African gold producer, is pleased to announce increased gold recovery levels and production performance at the New Liberty Gold Mine ("New Liberty" or "Mine") in Liberia.
- Total gold production since 1 January 2016 of 11,001 ounces versus 17,172 ounces produced in H2 2015 consisting of:
- 5,478 ounces of gold produced in total for January 2016;
- 5,523 ounces of gold produced in the first three shipments of February 2016;
- Cumulative total of past four gold shipments totals 7,323 ounces of gold, over the past 22 days of operations;
- Operational performance improvements have been achieved in both the gravity and carbon in leach ("CIL") circuits of the process plant as a direct result of plant optimisation exercises which commenced in mid-January 2016;
- Overall process plant recovery levels have increased during January and have reached a current average of 85% recovery for February 2016, with 87% recovery achieved over the past seven days of operations;
- Further recovery improvements are expected following the addition of new carbon into the CIL circuit of the process plant.
As a result of the on-going process plant optimisation activities at the New Liberty Gold Mine which were commenced by the Company in mid-January 2016, overall plant recovery levels have increased towards design specifications.
Continued optimisation of the gravity circuit has shown incremental improvements and there have been further operational improvements in CIL leach kinetics. Additionally, on-going preventative maintenance activities have allowed plant availability to improve and have resulted in more stable operating conditions.
Throughout the year to date, the ball mill has been operating at an average of 82% of its designed capacity, including planned downtime for ongoing optimisation. It is anticipated that overall plant performance will continue to improve towards design levels throughout the coming weeks, with Commercial Production expected to be declared by the end of March 2016. The Company will declare full commercial production once the entire process plant is operating at full design capacity and in a manner consistent with management expectations.
As a direct result of the operational improvements achieved within the process plant, gold recovery levels have steadily increased from approximately 73% in mid-January to reach an average recovery of 85% throughout February 2016, and has continued to increase to in excess of 87% recovery during the last seven days of operations. Further improvements in gold recovery are expected following the introduction of new carbon into the CIL circuit of the processing plant.
Gold production achieved for the calendar year currently amounts to 11,001 ounces, with the cumulative total of gold recovered during the past four gold pours (over the last 22 days) totalling 7,323 ounces of gold.
During January 2016, 5,478 ounces of gold was poured and shipped to Switzerland for smelting and refining, and a further 5,523 ounces has been shipped to date in the first three shipments of February 2016. Production achieved during the 2015 calendar year totalled 17,172 ounces of gold.
To date, the New Liberty process plant has processed 426,523 tonnes of ROM fresh ore and lower grade oxide material. Mining operations at New Liberty continue to progress, with run of mine ("ROM") stockpiles currently standing at 79,525 tonnes of fresh ore at a grade of 2.40 g/t and oxide and transitional stockpiles standing at 74,014 tonnes at a grade of 1.31 g/t.
The Company continues to progress with the development of an updated mine plan which will be finalised by month end. This business plan will form the basis of discussions between the Company and Rand Merchant Bank ("RMB"), Nedbank Limited ("Nedbank") and the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited ("ECIC"), (collectively, the "Lenders") to agree upon an appropriate debt repayment schedule following the deferral of the first debt repayment which was due on 31 January 2016.
Once discussions between the Company and its lenders are completed a further update will be communicated to the market.
Commenting, David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus Mining, said:
"The improvements in gold recovery and production at New Liberty are encouraging and are a direct result of ongoing optimisation procedures as we progress towards achieving commercial production by the end of March. We fully expect to see further recovery improvements in the months ahead, and the Company now looks forward to continuing to optimise the New Liberty process plant and delivering on the exciting potential of the New Liberty Gold Mine."
About Aureus Mining Inc.
The Company's assets include the New Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia (the "New Liberty Gold Mine," "New Liberty" or the "mine") 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, the first gold pour has taken place and work continues on commissioning the plant for full scale commercial production. The mine is expected to have an 8 year life and annual production of 119,000 ounces for the first 6 years of production. The foregoing mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates and additional information in connection therewith are set out in the Company's technical report dated March 25, 2015 and entitled "New Liberty Gold Project, Bea Mountain Mining Licence Southern Block, Liberia, West Africa, Definitive Project Plan."
The New Liberty Gold Mine is located within the Southern Block of the 100% owned Bea Mountain mining licence. This licence covers 478 km² and has a 25 year, renewable, mineral development agreement. The Bea Mountain mining license also hosts additional gold projects of Ndablama, Gondoja, Weaju and Leopard Rock which are the focus of exploration programs during 2016. Ndablama has an indicated mineral resource of 386,000 ounces of gold grading 1.6 g/t and inferred mineral resource of 515,000 ounces of gold grading 1.7 g/t and Weaju has an inferred mineral resource of 178,000 ounces of gold grading 2.1 g/t. 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.
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 26, 2015, 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 / Anna Michniewicz, Tel: +44(0) 20 7466 5000; Numis Securities Limited (Nominated Adviser), John Prior / James Black / Paul Gillam, Tel: +44(0) 20 7260 1000; RBC Capital Markets (Financial Advisor), Richard Horrocks-Taylor / Richard Hughes, Tel: +44(0) 20 7653 4000