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TMAC Resources Provides Operations Update and Reports 2017 Mineral Reserves & Mineral Resources Estimate, Hope Bay, Nunavut
TORONTO– TMAC Resources Inc. (TSX:TMR) (“TMAC” or the “Company”), provides an operations update together with its updated Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources as of June 30, 2017.
Dr. Catharine Farrow, Chief Executive Officer of TMAC, commented: “The ramp up continues to be slower than anticipated and has resulted in less than budgeted cash inflows. We anticipate that recoveries will improve as we continue to optimize the plant’s performance. As recoveries increase, we will increase the tonnes of ore being processed, increase the tonnes of ore being mined and hauled to surface and increase the grade of ore being processed, all resulting in greater revenues and cash inflows. Our entire site-based team’s focus, assisted by our metallurgical consultants and Gekko, the manufacturer of the processing plant, and other vendor and consultant teams, is to improve plant availabilities and ramp up to planned rates through an optimization process. We acknowledge their dedication to ensure that the process continues in a safe and systematic manner.”
The tonnes of ore being fed from the ore stockpiles into the processing plant continue to be lower than planned due to the processing plant’s ramp up proceeding slower than expected. While the underground development at Doris North and Doris North BTD continues as planned, the daily mining rate at Doris North remains less than planned due to the reduced number of tonnes being fed into the processing plant and the large stockpile of ore remaining on surface. To June 30, 2017, 79,600 tonnes of ore have been processed and 15,880 ounces of gold have been sold. As at June 30, 2017, the surface stockpile comprises 105,000 tonnes at 15.2 grams per tonne containing 51,000 ounces. In addition, there are multiple stopes underground that have been drilled and are awaiting blasting and mucking, the tonnes from which can be brought to surface relatively quickly to replenish the stockpile.
The processing plant can and has operated at or in excess of its design capacity of 1,000 per day, but its average daily throughput continues to be lower because of variable and sometimes low plant availabilities. As part of the normal ongoing ramp up process that all processing plants go through, modifications have been made and will continue to be made. The focus to date on the pre-concentrator installed in the upstream half of the processing plant (the “Python”) has been on the jig and gravity circuits. By the end of June, the Python was producing a concentrate for treatment at the concentrate treatment plant (the “CTP”) that averaged 80% of the contained gold in the ore feed. Further optimization of the Python is ongoing to increase its recovery rate and the concentrate grade being sent to the CTP.
The CTP, in the downstream half of the processing plant, continues to have lower than expected throughput availabilities and recoveries due to a variety of challenges including design issues and mechanical failure. The CTP recoveries of the gold in the concentrate from the Python remain below expectations. Although the recoveries have also reached 80%, they have not done so on a sustainable basis. For the month of June, overall gold recoveries for the processing plant were 67%. Ramp up and optimization of the CTP is ongoing with the target of bringing the overall gold recoveries for the processing plant up to those estimated by the Preliminary Feasibility Study issued in 2015.
Third party metallurgical consultants advise the Company that the expected throughputs and recoveries can be achieved with continued optimization and improvements in both the Python and CTP.
The inconsistent availability and recoveries of the CTP have negatively affected the tonnes of ore being fed to the processing plant as well as the number of tonnes of ore mined daily and put on the ore stockpile. In addition, the grade of the ore sent to the processing plant has deliberately been kept lower than planned resulting in the amount of gold produced and sold being significantly lower than planned which, in turn, results in lower revenues and higher costs. An increase in CTP recoveries is a prerequisite for the Company to start processing ore from its high grade stockpiles and achieving previously stated guidance. TMAC will update its guidance at the time of releasing its second quarter results.
Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources Highlights
- Total Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves at Hope Bay have increased by 100,000 contained gold ounces to 14,529,000 tonnes at 7.7 g/t Au for 3,607,000 contained gold ounces.
- Madrid North Proven and Probable Reserves have increased by 126,000 contained gold ounces to 8,350,000 tonnes at 6.7 g/t Au for 1,802,000 contained gold ounces.
- Inferred Mineral Resources at Doris East Limb and Extension BTD (formerly known as Doris North Deep) are 200,000 tonnes at 14.7 g/t Au for 94,000 contained ounces.
- First Probable Reserves at Doris East Limb BTD are 72,000 tonnes at 14.5 g/t Au for 34,000 contained ounces.
Dr. Catharine Farrow, Chief Executive Officer of TMAC, stated, “We are pleased to provide an update to TMAC’s Hope Bay Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource statement. As of June 30, 2017, Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves have increased by 100,000 ounces of gold, which more than replaces the ore mined over the past year and a half at Doris. The results of diamond drilling at Doris and Madrid North, and the more than a year and a half of mining at Doris, have significantly improved our understanding of the structural controls on gold mineralization and have thereby refined our geological models. The new ramp development below the dyke at Doris North has allowed us to carry out detailed drilling to further test areas of new Mineral Resources and Reserves reported here. We are optimistic that current 2017 diamond drilling programs at both Doris and Boston will have positive impacts and will continue to add to the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource base, thereby replacing mined Reserves.”
Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves for the Hope Bay Project have increased 2.9%, from 3.51 million ounces in 2015 to 3.61 million ounces at the end of June 2017, compared with the March 31, 2015 pre-feasibility study (“PFS”) Mineral Reserves. Significant factors that contributed to the revised reserve estimate include;
- At Doris, total Proven and Probable Reserves, including the surface stockpile, decreased by 25,900 ounces of gold compared with the PFS Mineral Reserves. Pre-production sill development and associated mapping and sampling in Doris North, have refined the geological model and resulted in a highly constrained resource estimate. Some areas previously interpreted as bends in the mineralized quartz vein have been identified as fault offsets resulting in an overall decrease in contained ounces of gold. Pre-production development (including Newmont test mining) in ore of 182,500 tonnes grading 14.0 g/t Au, totalling 82,300 ounces of gold have been mined to June 30, 2017 and transferred to the surface stockpiles. As of June 30, 2017, 105,000 tonnes, grading 15.2 g/t Au, and containing 51,100 ounces of gold remains in the surface stockpile after processing. Mining depletion has been partially offset by the addition of initial reserves in a portion of the high grade Doris North BTD zone, where 2016 diamond drilling was sufficient to allow reserve estimation.
- At Madrid North Proven and Probable Reserves have increased by 125,900 ounces of gold. The change is a result of diamond drilling in 2015 and 2016 and associated detailed geological interpretation and modelling. Mineral Reserves at Naartok and Rand total 1.26 million ounces of gold, 40,000 ounces less than the PFS Mineral Reserves, as a result of refined geological modelling. Mineral Reserves at Suluk total 538,400 ounces of gold, an increase of 165,400 ounces over the 2015 PFS estimate due to diamond drilling and increased Indicated Resources and conversion to Probable Reserves.
- Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves at Madrid South and Boston remain unchanged over the PFS estimates as no additional diamond drilling had been completed at those locations since 2015.
Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources were last updated and published in conjunction with the PFS. Mineral Reserves reported here were estimated using a long-term gold price of US$1,250/oz and US$/C$ exchange rate of 0.85. Mineral Resources were estimated using a long-term gold price of US$1,400/oz and US$/C$ exchange rate of 0.85.
TABLE 1: HOPE BAY PROVEN AND PROBABLE RESERVES – JUNE 30, 2017
|Proven||Probable||Proven and Probable|
|Doris Connector/Central BTD||111||8.0||28||111||8.0||28|
|Doris North BTD (East Limb and Extension)||72||14.5||34||72||14.5||34|
|Naartok and Rand||5,931||6.6||1,263||5,931||6.6||1,263|
|Madrid North Total||8,350||6.7||1,802||8,350||6.7||1,802|
|Madrid South Total||692||10.3||230||692||10.3||230|
1. CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Reserves.
2. Mineral Reserves are estimated using a cut-off grade of 4.4 g/t for Doris and Madrid North. Madrid South and Boston use a 4.7 g/t Au cut-off grade.
3. Mineral Reserves are estimated using an average long-term gold price of US$1250per ounce and a US$/C$ exchange rate of 0.85.
4. A minimum mining width of 1.5 metres for longhole mining and 3 metres for Drift and Fill mining was used.
5. Density was calculated using the geological block model density field.
6. A 95% extraction factor was applied to longhole mining.
7. The application of dilution varied by deposit, and depended on stope thickness.
8. Numbers may not add due to rounding.
Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources for the Hope Bay Project have increased 9% from 4.51 million ounces in 2015 to 4.91 million ounces at the end of June 2017, compared with the March 2015 PFS Mineral Resources. Significant factors that contributed to the revised resource estimate include;
- At Doris, Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources decreased by 96,300 ounces of gold. Reductions as a result of pre-production mining and refined geological modelling, have been partially offset by an increase in Mineral Resources below the diabase dyke (“BTD”). Indicated resources in the high grade Doris North BTD East Limb area total 68,000 tonnes grading 18.3 g/t Au containing 40,000 ounces of gold. Initial BTD resources are constrained to the portion of the East Limb that could be drilled sufficiently in 2016 from the exploration development above the dyke. The BTD access ramp has since progressed below the dyke and results from the current drill program will be incorporated into the 2018 Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource statement. An increase of 27,000 ounces of gold is attributed to lowering the cut-off grade at Doris from 4.5 g/t Au to 4.0 g/t Au.
- At Madrid North, total Indicated Mineral Resources have increased 496,000 ounces of gold, most significantly as a result of diamond drilling in 2015 and 2016. An increase of 243,000 ounces of gold is attributed to lowering the cut-off grade at Madrid North from 4.5 g/t Au to 4.0 g/t Au. Indicated Resources in the Suluk zone have increased 79% or 350,000 ounces of gold and now total 794,000 ounces of gold.
- Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources at Madrid South and Boston remain unchanged from the 2015 PFS. TMAC opened the Boston camp in June 2017and will complete 7,500 metres of surface diamond drilling. Results of the current drilling program at Boston will be incorporated into the 2018 Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource statement.
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