Sunridge Gold Announces $837 Million Net Present Value Feasibility Study for the Asmara Project, Eri

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Sunridge Gold Announces $837 Million Net Present Value Feasibility Study for the Asmara Project, Eritrea

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sunridge Gold Corp. (SGC:TSX.V/SGCNF:OTCQX) is pleased to announce the completion and positive results of an independent feasibility study (the "Study") by lead engineer SENET (Pty) Ltd. ("SENET") for its Asmara Project in Eritrea. The Study demonstrates that the mining of all four advanced deposits that make up the Asmara Project (Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo Gold and Debarwa) and processing of the ore near the large Emba Derho deposit is economically robust with a Net Present Value ("NPV") of $837 million. The Study outlines a three-phase staged start-up mining plan which would initiate production almost one year earlier than was envisaged in the prefeasibility study. This earlier cash-flow, combined with capital cost reductions, reduces the initial capital requirements to be financed by over $130 million.

As a result of the positive outcome of the Study, Sunridge will continue work towards bringing the Asmara project into production as soon as possible, by completing required environmental studies, applying for the mining license, arranging debt financing, commencing detailed engineering work and hiring new key employees. Management estimates that initial production on the Asmara Project will commence in mid-2015.


Base Case Highlights (all $ equals US dollars):

  • NPV of $837 million at a 10% discount (pre-tax)
    NPV of $443 million at a 10% discount (post-tax)
  • Internal rate of return (IRR) - pre-tax 34%, post-tax 27%
  • Payback - pre-tax 4.1 production years, post-tax 4.6 years
  • Base Case metal prices used - $3.25/lb copper, $1.00/lb zinc, $1,400/oz gold, $25.00/oz silver
  • Initial capital cost Phase IA & IB Direct Shipping Copper Ore & Heap-Leach Gold - $46 million
  • Initial Phase II & III flotation plant capital cost estimate - $357 million
  • Peak Equity Funding - $354 million
  • On site operating costs - $29.42 per tonne average through life of mine
  • Average annual metal production over the first 8 years-
    • 65 million pounds (29,000 tonnes) of copper
    • 184 million pounds (83,000 tonnes) of zinc
    • 42,000 ounces of gold
    • 1.0 million ounces of silver
  • Total metal production -
    • 841 million pounds (381,000 tonnes) of copper
    • 1,874 million pounds (850,000 tonnes) of zinc
    • 436,000 ounces of gold
    • 11 million ounces of silver
  • Life of Mine - 1 construction year, 15.3 production years

Michael Hopley, President and CEO of Sunridge Gold states, "We are delighted with the results of the Asmara Project feasibility study which demonstrates even stronger economics and a superior mining plan than the prefeasibility study that was completed a year ago. We have been able to successfully reduce initial capital costs by instituting a 3 phased start-up plan that starts production a year earlier than previously planned. In a little over two years, the Asmara Mine can start production and become a very important producer of copper, zinc, gold and silver for the benefit of Sunridge shareholders and the Eritrean people."

Conference call details:

The Company will hold a conference call on Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 8:00AM Vancouver/11:00 AM Toronto, New York/4:00PM London, to discuss the Asmara Project feasibility study results. Please call in at least five minutes prior to the conference call start time and simply ask to join the Sunridge call. Dial in details are as follows:

Canada & USA: 1-800-319-4610 (toll free)
International: +1-604-638-5340

Questions during the conference call regarding the Study can be sent to greg@sunridgegold.com.

The conference call will be available for replay until May 23, 2013, by calling Canada & USA toll free 1-800-319-6413, Vancouver local 604-638-9010 and entering passcode 7852 followed by the # sign.

Mining and Production

The Study has concluded that the processing of gold and silver ores from Emba Derho, Gupo Gold and Debarwa by heap-leaching as well as the processing of copper and zinc ores from Emba Derho, Adi Nefas and Debarwa by milling and flotation at facilities near Emba Derho provides the optimum economic scenario. The Emba Derho, Debarwa and Gupo deposits will be mined by open-pit methods and the Adi Nefas deposit by underground mining methods.

The mining plan consists of a 3 phase start up in order to reduce initial capital costs. In Phase I, the high-grade copper (Phase IA) (direct shipping ore "DSO") will be mined, crushed to less than 10 mm, loaded into containers and transported 120 km to the port facility at Massawa for shipping to a smelter.

In addition, (Phase IB) near surface gold and silver ore will be mined from the Debarwa, Emba Derho and Gupo deposits and trucked to the same crushing facility near Emba Derho and processed in the gold recovery heap-leach facility. The heap-leach facility is located inside the tailings storage facility and available until Year 5 of operations.

During Phase II, supergene copper ores will be mined from both Debarwa and Emba Derho and processed at a central flotation plant at Emba Derho at a nominal rate of 2 million tonnes per annum. Copper concentrate with gold and silver byproduct will be transported to the Port of Massawa and shipped to smelters.

Full Production will be achieved in Phase III. Primary copper and zinc ores from Debarwa, Adi Nefas and Emba Derho deposits will be processed at a flotation plant at Emba Derho at a nominal rate of 4 million tonnes per annum. Copper concentrate with gold and silver byproduct and zinc concentrate will be transported to the port facility at Massawa for shipping to smelters.

Power will be generated onsite using a combination of diesel and medium fuel oil generators. Water supply is sourced from the capture of rainfall in ponds and recycled within the plant.

Phase I - DSO and Gold Production (Year 1 - Year 5)

Phase IA - DSO (Year 1 - Year 2)

  • Mining of 116,000 tonnes of high-grade DSO with an average grade of 15.6% copper, 2.96 g/t gold, and 76.8 g/t silver from Debarwa
  • Crushing at Emba Derho and shipping to smelter
  • Mine and ship in 6 months

Phase IB - Gold production - (Year 1 - Year 5)

  • Mining of the 3.0 million tonnes near-surface gold "caps" at Debarwa and Emba Derho followed by Gupo Gold
  • Process at gold heap-leaching operation near the Emba Derho deposit at a rate of 1.4 million tonnes per year
  • Phase IB average grades 1.48 g/t gold and 8.2 g/t silver
  • Phase IB average recoveries 66.7% gold, 37.7% silver

Phase II- Supergene Copper Production (Year 2 - Year 3.25)

  • Mine and process by flotation 2.4 million tonnes of high-grade copper supergene ore from Debarwa and Emba Derho at rate of 2 million tonnes per year for 1.25 years
  • Phase II average grades 2.25% copper, 0.76 g/t gold, 21.6 g/t silver
  • Phase II average recoveries 79% copper, 51% gold, 58% silver
  • Copper concentrate - 25% copper, 4.2 g/t gold, 109 g/t silver

Phase III Full Production (Year 3.25 - Year 16.3)

  • Mine and process by flotation 51.0 million tonnes of primary copper and zinc ore from Emba Derho, Debarwa, and Adi Nefas at a rate of 4 million tonnes per year for 13years
  • Phase III average grades 0.73% copper, 1.91% zinc, 0.36 g/t gold, 12.6 g/t silver
  • Final Waste/Ore ratios - 2.5:1 at Emba Derho, 9.8:1 at Debarwa and 1.7:1 at Gupo
  • Adi Nefas to be mined using underground long hole bench retreat ranging between 150,000 and 470,000 tonnes per year for a total of 1.682 million tonnes mined over 6 years and blended with ore from Emba Derho
  • Phase III recoveries average 86% copper, 86% zinc, 48% gold, 44% silver
  • Copper concentrate - 25% copper, 7.9 g/t gold, 255 g/t silver
  • Zinc concentrate - 57% zinc

Financial Analysis

The base case uses constant metal prices of $3.25/lb copper, $1.00/lb zinc, $1,400/oz gold and $25.00/oz silver.

 

Table 2: Sensitivity to Metal Prices

 
    

Base Case

Prices

  

Low Copper

Metal Price

  

Low Metal

Price

  

Current Metal

Prices

May 10 2013

NPV @ 10% discount (Pretax)837  728  404  758
IRR34%31%22%33%
NPV @ 0% discount (Pretax)1,7911,5961,0261,638
Payback4.14.35.14.2
 
NPV @ 10% discount (Post- tax)443364131386
IRR27%24%17%26%
NPV @ 0% discount (Post-tax)1,2761,1367271,166
Payback4.64.85.64.7
 

Metal Prices

Copper3.253.002.753.35
Zinc1.001.000.800.83
Gold1,4001,4001,2501,449
Silver    25.00  25.00  21.00  24.00
 

Operating Costs

On site operating costs average $29.42 per tonne through life of mine.

 

Table 3: Average Operating Costs

 
    Heap-Leach  Flotation
 
Phase IB  Phase II & III
Mining $/t ore mined2.4613.35
Process $/t ore processed8.6817.64
TOTALS    11.14  30.99
 

Capital Costs

Initial capital costs for the DSO and heap-leach are projected at $46 million. The expansion capital for Phase II and Phase III is an additional $357 million. During the life of mine there will be capital requirements estimated at $227 million and closure costs are estimated at $36 million.

 

Table 4: Total Capital Expenditures per Phase

 
     Phase I  Phase II  Phase III  Total
    $ million  $ million  $ million  $ million

Pre-strip mining and mining equipment (includes

all costs incurred until initiation of copper

processing by flotation) - (excludes HL & DSO


opex)

0116.00116.0
Phase I Plant and Equipment49.50049.5
Copper circuit facility0113.80113.8
Zinc circuit facility0022.822.8
Site development, utilities and facilities3.855.55.564.8
Water facilities0.0419.4019.44
Tailings facilities11.218.30.229.7
Debarwa facilities09.809.8
Adi Nefas facilities03.203.2
Gupo facilities1.1001.1
Adi Nefas development017.017.134.1

Engineering, procurement, construction

management (EPCM)

4.129.85.239.1
First fills (ie. fuel, reagents etc)0.031.701.73
Owner's cost's1.022.7023.7
Contingency    5.5  21  3.6  30.1
SUBTOTALS    76.3  428.2  54.4  558.9
Sustaining Costs56.0
Social Costs14.8
Closure Costs             36.6
TOTAL             666.3
 

When the mining license is granted the Government of Eritrea will have a 10% carried interest in the project and ENAMCO (Eritrean National Mining Corporation) will be purchasing an additional 30%. ENAMCO will therefore be responsible for 33.33% of all capital and operating costs of the mine.

 

Table 5: Mineral Reserves by Classification

 
Rock type    Tonnes (kt)  

copper

(%)

  zinc

(%)

  gold

(g/t)

  

silver

(g/t)

Proven                 
Emba Derho Primary    4,337  0.9  1.7  0.2  11.6
Debarwa Oxide1--1.06.7
Debarwa Transition94--4.384.1
Debarwa Supergene4238.90.22.253.2
Debarwa Primary    6  1.6  2.8  0.6  15.6
Total proven    4,861            
 

Probable

                 

Emba Derho

Supergene

1,2001.00.40.314.9
Emba Derho Primary44,4970.71.60.39.2
Debarwa Oxide163--1.68.2
Debarwa Transition428--2.517.0
Debarwa Supergene8882.50.21.022.9
Debarwa Primary5141.94.01.125.4
Adi Nefas Primary1,6821.68.22.896.5
Gupo Oxide399--1.9-
Gupo Sulfide66--2.4-
Total Probable    51,723            
 

Total Proven and

Probable

    56,584            
 

The mineral reserves listed in Table 5 were created for Emba Derho, Debarwa and Gupo by generating Net Smelter Return (NSR) values (revenue minus royalty and smelting/selling costs) for each metal using Measured and Indicated Resources only. The net revenue of each block was compared to total cost. Each mining block becomes economical and is included in the processing schedule if it is above the total combined cost of processing, general administrative and applicable transport.

In the case of the Adi Nefas underground mine the mineral reserves were generated through a sequential process of NSR calculation, stope optimization, stope design, and development design. Stope optimization was applied using Snowden's Stopesizor software which modifies the resource to reflect minimum mining width for the NSR. The outcome is a set of blocks that reflect this recoverable resource. Unplanned dilution was added to the model through adding a fixed width of over break waste into the planned stopes.

The mineral reserve listed in Tables 5 was generated from the Measured and Indicated resource after the application of the economic cut-off grades for each rock type, open-pit design, external dilution and recovery parameters.

Social and Environmental Studies

Social and environmental baseline studies and stakeholder engagement programs are well advanced on all four deposits that are included in the Study. This work has been completed to comply with the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards for Social and Environmental Impact Assessment Studies, as well as the Eritrean Government "National Environmental Assessment Procedures & Guidelines". The work is being carried out by the Sunridge social and environmental staff and consultants (both international and national) and will lead to the publications of a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA). It is expected that the SEIA will be completed and submitted to the government in September 2013.

Project Location and Access

All four deposits included in the Study are located within a 30 minute drive on paved roads from the capital city of Asmara with close proximity to power, water and an international airport. In addition, the Red Sea port

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