July 16, 2014 - Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX: NCU) ("Nevada Copper" or the "Company") is pleased to provide a project and financing update.
- Shaft sinking reaches mid-shaft pumping level, and is at a current depth of 1,000 feet;
- Sinking rates increased and stabilized at design rate of 6 to 7 feet per day. Access to the main ore haulage level expected in Q1-2015;
- Detailed engineering of process plant advanced, now 40% complete;
- Multiple financing proposals being evaluated. Completion of project capital funding for Stage 1 targeted for Q4-2014;
- Steps taken to conserve cash. Most non-shaft sinking expenditures temporarily reduced;
- Initial ore production ramp-up now forecast in Q2-2016; and
- BMO Capital Markets engaged as strategic and financial advisor.
Giulio Bonifacio, President and CEO, stated: "We have made substantial progress in our key focus areas of shaft sinking and financing in the last quarter. Our decision to temporarily reduce non-shaft sinking expenditures allows us the time to fully optimize the funding mix for the balance of Stage 1 project capex while maximizing value for shareholders both from Stage 1 underground mine and the much larger Stage 2 open pit mine.
We continue to progress the permitting of Stage 2, and are awaiting the completion of the final procedural steps required for passage of the land bill. We have been advised that this remains one of the top priorities of the Nevada Senators and Congressmen."
Project activities continue to be focused on shaft sinking. The shaft has now reached its approximate mid-point, a depth of 1,000 feet. Sinking rates have improved, and have stabilized at between 6 and 7 feet per day, in line with our projections. A mid-shaft pump station has been successfully excavated, and will be equipped with high head positive displacement pumps and associated electrical and piping infrastructure. Detailed engineering and procurement has advanced in the quarter, and is now 40% complete.
Water inflows into the shaft remain limited and ground conditions are good. Grouting requirements have been minimal. Assuming that no unusual ground conditions or water inflows are encountered, sinking is expected to continue at between 6 and 7 feet per day, reaching the main ore haulage level in Q1-2015.
With shaft completion modestly delayed, and while financing discussions are ongoing, the level of all non-shaft related activities, including engineering and construction expenditures, has been being temporarily curtailed. This prudent action allows the Company the time to fully evaluate the financing options that will provide the balance of funding for Stage 1. Shaft construction and related activities, being critical path items, will continue at the current rate. The Company is now targeting the start of ramp up to full ore production in Q2-2016.
Nevada Copper has a current cash balance of US$18 million plus marketable securities of US$4 million. The Company also has a further US$149 million remaining as the undrawn portion of its Orion/Red Kite secured loan facility (see the Company's March 28, 2013 news release for further information). The final draw of the loan facility is subject to certain conditions, including completion of the shaft and arrangement of the balance of funding of Stage 1 project capital. Nevada Copper also has an available US$24 million Caterpillar Financial equipment lease finance facility.
The Company continues to evaluate several financing opportunities including additional debt, precious metal streams, joint ventures and off-take structures to provide the remaining funding for both Stage 1 and Stage 2. Numerous proposals have been received for the Stage 1 underground financing, and term sheets are currently being reviewed in this capacity. Completion of Stage 1 funding is targeted by Q4 2014.
BMO Capital Markets had previously been engaged by Nevada Copper as advisor to assist the Company with the process of identifying and evaluating its strategic alternatives. The objective of this process is to maximize shareholder value, and the engagement remains active.
About Nevada Copper
The Company's advanced stage Pumpkin Hollow project in Nevada consists of a fully permitted 6,500 tons/day Stage 1 underground copper mine development, currently in construction, and a nearby Stage 2, 70,000 open pit project in the permitting phase. Expected average copper production for the first five years is 75 Mlbs/year from the Stage 1 underground mine and 221 Mlbs/year from the Stage 2 open pit mine.
The project is located near Yerington, Nevada, close to road, rail, and power infrastructure, and with all future water supply requirements met.
NEVADA COPPER CORP.
Giulio T. Bonifacio, President & CEO
This news release includes certain statements and information that may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. All statements in this news release, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information specifically include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: progress of shaft-sinking and other mine construction activities; the likely date of commencement of commercial mining; expanding the mineral resources and mineral reserves; possible future financings or the securing of a strategic partner; the Company's plans at the Pumpkin Hollow Project; the timing of granting of key permits; the estimated metal production and the timing thereof; capital and operating costs, future metal prices, cash flow estimates, and economic indicators derived from the foregoing.
Often, but not always, forward-looking statements and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "potential", "is expected", "anticipated", "is targeted", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "believes" or the negatives thereof 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. Forward-looking statements or information include, but are not limited to, statements or information with respect to known or unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information.
Forward-looking statements or information are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements or information, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to: the Company's ability to obtain financing; risks relating to mine construction generally; requirements for additional capital; dilution; loss of its material properties; interest rates increase; global economy; no history of production; future metals price fluctuations, speculative nature of exploration activities; periodic interruptions to exploration, development and mining activities; environmental hazards and liability; industrial accidents; failure of processing and mining equipment to perform as expected; labor disputes; supply problems; uncertainty of production and cost estimates; the interpretation of drill results and the estimation of mineral resources and reserves; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore reserves, grade of mineralization or recovery rates may differ from what is indicated and the difference may be material; legal and regulatory proceedings and community actions; accidents, title matters; regulatory restrictions; permitting and licensing; volatility of the market price of the Company's common shares; insurance; competition; hedging activities; currency fluctuations; loss of key employees; other risks of the mining industry as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 25, 2014. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements or information. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update forward-looking statements or information except as required by law, and you are referred to the full discussion of the Company's business contained in the Company's reports filed with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that could cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. For more information on Nevada Copper and the risks and challenges of its business, investors should review Nevada Copper's annual filings that are available at www.sedar.com.
The Company provides no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
For further information call:
VP, Investor Relations & Communications
Toll free: 1-877-648-8266
Robert McKnight, P.Eng., MBA
Executive Vice President & CFO