November 30, 2017 - Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX: NCU) (“Nevada Copper”) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has completed, and SEDAR-filed, a Technical Report (“Technical Report “) prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”) for its 100%-owned Pumpkin Hollow Copper Project located near Yerington, Nevada. The Technical Report, entitled “NI43-101 Technical Report: Pumpkin Hollow Development Options - Pre-feasibility Study 5,000 tons/day Underground Project; Feasibility Study for a 70,000 tons/day Open Pit/Underground Project”, has an effective date of September 15, 2017.
The Technical Report discloses the proposed development of a 5,000 tons/day underground project (the “Underground Project”) at a preliminary feasibility (“PFS”) level. This is the primary focus of the Technical Report.
The Technical Report also includes feasibility-level information on the potential development of a large 70,000 tons/day mine at Pumpkin Hollow with feed mainly from the nearby open pit deposits, but also from the same Mineral Resources as accessed in the Underground Project. This is referred to within the Technical Report as the Integrated Project (the “Integrated Project”). The Integrated Project, that was originally disclosed in a NI 43-101 2015 Feasibility Study Technical Report (“2015 IFS”) for which the scientific and technical information is materially unchanged, remains a viable development option.
Highlights of the Underground Project Pre-Feasibility Study
The Pumpkin Hollow Property encompasses the only fully-permitted copper project of scale in the United States, comprising two potential copper projects both of which are disclosed in the Technical Report:
- the high-grade Underground Project; and
- the Integrated Project, a large scale open pit and underground project with reserves of 5 billion pounds of copper, 0.76 Mozs. of gold and 27.6 Mozs. of silver1.
The two projects, which are mutually exclusive and are each viable development options, benefit from over $220 million of prior expenditures which funded a significant amount of engineering work and technical studies, and construction of a production-sized headframe and hoist, warehouse, a 1,900 foot deep, 24-foot diameter concrete-lined production size shaft and over 600 feet of lateral development.
The PFS for the Underground Project leverages upon the substantial existing infrastructure at the site, including power, water, road access, plus a production shaft and lateral mine development. The objective of the PFS has been to optimize the previously-defined underground portion of the Mineral Resources at Pumpkin Hollow with a focus on:
- Reduced capital cost;
- Higher mined ore grades;
- Reduced operating cost profile;
- De-risked construction plan, including brownfield assets, EPC construction approach and contract mining during ramp-up; and
- A philosophy on focusing on “margin-over-tons”, while maintaining expansion and extension optionality.
The Technical Report was prepared under the direction of Sedgman Canada Limited (part of the Cimic Group) (“Sedgman”) as lead, along with Mining Plus Limited (“Mining Plus”). Sedgman and Mining Plus are both industry-leading international engineering firms. Sedgman and Mining Plus have taken advantage of the existing infrastructure to improve capital cost accuracy and reduce development risk, and worked with Nevada Copper’s project team, supported by Pala Investments as technical advisor, on preparation of the PFS.
A detailed overview of the Underground Project within the Technical Report is provided below. Highlights include:
- Robust project economics:2
- Average annual copper production of 50 Mlbs (60 Mlbs in Years 1 to 5);
- First five-year copper grades averaging 1.81% (2.01% Cu-equiv.3);
- First five-year C1 cash costs of $1.69/lb of payable copper;
- Average annual operating margins of $67M per annum ($86M in Years 1 to 5);
- Pre-tax NPV5% of $356M and IRR of 27.2%4;
- After- tax NPV5% of $301M and IRR of 25.2%;
- Low initial capital requirements: $182M
- Short lead time to first production:
- Fully permitted for construction and operation;
- Planned commencement of construction by mid-2018 (subject to board approval and financing);
- Target first production in mid-2019;
- Development plan focused on minimizing execution risk:
- Utilizes the existing 1,900 foot deep, 24-foot diameter concrete-lined, production-sized shaft, associated headframe and hoist, and existing surface infrastructure;
- Process plant construction under fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) contract for which engineering designs are well advanced;
- Experienced mining contractor to be utilized for underground development and mine ramp-up, for which initial contractor tenders have been completed;
- Full optionality retained over large-scale fully-permitted open pit:
- Underground Project does not impact Nevada Copper’s ability to develop a future project on the adjacent deposits accessible by open pit methods;
- Significant optimization opportunities identified for open pit project, including potential to:
- Convert assumed waste material to potential mineral resources, and eventually ore, through drilling in Northern Extension and Connector Zones and additional engineering studies;
- Reduce project costs through updated project estimation; and
- Reduce capital costs by optimizing project scale.
Note that a future stand-alone open pit project development option is not part of the Technical Report. Both the underground and open pit projects are located within privately-held land inclusive of surface and mineral rights.
In early 2017, Nevada Copper commissioned Sedgman as lead, along with Mining Plus, to complete a Technical Report including a PFS level study on the Case A Underground Project, and including the previous disclosure from the 2015 IFS, in accordance with NI 43-101 standards. The scientific and technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. John Grady Ch.Eng. IEA, Project Manager with Sedgman, and overall manager for the PFS. Mr. Grady is an Independent Qualified Person within the meaning of NI 43-101.
The information and data contained in this news release insofar as Case A in the Technical Report has been reviewed by the independent Qualified Persons, John Grady Ch.Eng. and Steve Rossetti Ch.Eng. of Sedgman, and Neil Schunke P.Eng. of MiningPlus.
The information and data in this news release was also reviewed by Gregory French, P.G., Vice-President & Project Manager of Nevada Copper and Robert McKnight, P. Eng., Executive Vice-President of Nevada Copper, both of whom are Non-independent Qualified Persons within the meaning of NI 43-101.
NEVADA COPPER CORP.
Giulio T. Bonifacio, President & CEO
This news release includes certain statements and information that contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. All statements in this news release, other than statements of historical facts, including metal price assumptions, cash flow forecasts, projected capital and operating costs, metal or mineral recoveries, mine life and production rates, and other assumptions used in the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, the likelihood of commercial mining, securing as strategic partner, expanding the mineral resources and reserves and possible future financings are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information specifically include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: the Company’s plans at Pumpkin Hollow Project; the estimated mineral resources and mineral reserves at Pumpkin Hollow; the estimated metal production of Pumpkin Hollow and the timing thereof; capital and operating costs of Pumpkin Hollow, future metal prices, cash flow estimates and economic indicators derived from the foregoing.
Forward-looking statements or information relate to future events and future performance and include statements regarding the expectations and beliefs of management and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral resources and reserves, the realization of mineral resources and reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, capital costs, costs of production, capital expenditures, success of mining operations, environmental risks and other mining related matters. 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: history of losses; 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 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 30, 2017. 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.
Alternative Performance Measures
“Copper Production Costs”, “LOM Operating Costs”, “LOM site unit operating costs” and similar terms are alternative performance measures. These performance measures are included because these statistics are key performance measures that management may use to monitor performance. Management may use these statistics in future to assess how the Company is performing to plan and to assess the overall effectiveness and efficiency of mining operations. These performance measures do not have a meaning within International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and, therefore, amounts presented may not be comparable to similar data presented by other mining companies. These performance measures should not be considered in isolation as a substitute for measures of performance in accordance with IFRS.
For further information call:
Eugene Toffolo, VP, Investor Relations &Communications
Toll free: 1-877-648-8266
Robert McKnight, P.Eng.,
Executive Vice President & CFO
1 Source: 572Mtons grading 0.44% Cu, 0.001 oz/ton Au and 0.048oz/ton Ag as reported in a November 30, 2017 NI 43-101 Technical Report “NI43-101 Technical Report: Pumpkin Hollow Development Options - Pre-feasibility Study 5,000tons/day Underground Project; Feasibility Study for a 70,000 tons/day Open Pit/Underground Project
2 All dollar reference in this news release are to United States currency unless otherwise indicated.
3 Copper equivalency calculations are based on consensus metal prices, gold and silver grades as presented in the PFS and metallurgical recoveries of 92%, 78% and 70% for copper, gold and silver respectively.
4 Pre-tax, based on analysts’ average consensus prices for copper, gold and silver (copper $2.66/lb in 2018 rising to $3.20/lb in 2020; similarly gold $1,268 rising to $1,325/oz; silver $18.21/oz rising to $20.01/oz)