Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia — (Newsfile Corp. - November 21, 2018) - Minera Alamos Inc. (TSXV: MAI) ("Minera" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has received a positive notification from the Mexican environmental authorities (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - "SEMARNAT") regarding the Company's permit application (MIA/ETJ) for the development of the La Fortuna Gold Project ("Fortuna"). The notification confirms the successful completion of the technical review phase of the Company's application (Estudio Tecnico Justificativo - "ETJ") for the change of land use to construct mining and processing facilities at the Fortuna project area. Following the completion of the change of land use payments, SEMARNAT will be in a position to issue the formal approval documentation for the project.
"The receipt of this notification represents a major milestone for the Company. Despite some procedural changes in the MIA/ETJ application process that caused early delays, the notice was received a little over a year following the completion of our strategic partnership with Osisko Gold Royalties and starts the transformation of the Company from a junior explorer to a growing gold producer," stated Darren Koningen, CEO of Minera Alamos. "Our highly experienced Mexican technical team continues to demonstrate the ability to advance concurrently our full portfolio of late-stage gold development projects. Mexico remains one of the world's premier mine development locations with respect to the timeframes required for permitting of new operations. We now eagerly await similar notifications regarding the Company's Santana gold project which remains our first priority for construction consideration in 2019 according to the Company's current development schedule."
The receipt of a MIA-ETJ permits for the Fortuna project will allow the Company to initiate applications for other state/local permits that will be required in advance of any commercial mine production. These cover activities such as water use and explosives. In addition, the Company can advance discussions with potential contractors related to mining, crushing, construction, etc. The Fortuna MIA-ETJ applications were structured to provide the Company with significant flexibility to further optimize the development approach for the project and the ability to expand the project operations organically once resources are increased.
In advance of a final construction decision, the Company has also initiated discussions with a number of project finance groups that can provide debt facilities complementary to the Fortuna royalty structure arranged with strategic partner Osisko Gold Royalties. The recently completed PEA (see news release dated August 16th 2018) for the project demonstrated an after-tax internal rate-of-return in excess of 90%, a rapid payback of capital of approximately one year and low production costs for an initial 50,000 oz (AuEq) per annum operation (see La Fortuna Gold Project below).
As planning activities are refined in the coming year (2019) the Company will provide regular updates regarding ongoing advancements at the Fortuna project. The PEA identified several opportunities to further enhance the overall project economics and these are currently under review. Included in this list are the following:
Additional metallurgical studies to further optimize the gold extraction process and improve overall metal recoveries.
A staged plant construction plan (possibly involving earlier use of ore sorting technology) to reduce the initial start-up CAPEX and then expand the facilities once production is underway.
Mine planning studies to evaluate opportunities to delay portions of early waste removal until later in the mine life Consideration of more aggressive use of ore sorting to offer additional economic benefits for the project (i.e. plant CAPEX reductions, increased mineable gold ounces, etc.)
Trade-off studies aimed at optimizing cut-off grades (with or without ore sorting) and the incorporation of additional milling capacity - the project is permitted for a 2,000 tpd operation with the PEA based on a starting rate of 1,100 tpd.
In addition to the engineering activities, the Company is also preparing for some new exploration at the Fortuna project. The footprint of the currently drilled deposit is small compared to the overall land position (6,200 Ha) and a number of other areas of historical mining activity have been identified with most having never been evaluated using modern exploration methods.
La Fortuna Gold Project
Details of potential development plans for the Fortuna Gold project were prepared in an independent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") completed by CSA Global Geosciences Canada Ltd (CSA Global) of Toronto, Canada. For a detailed
summary of the PEA contents refer to a previous news release issued by the Company dated August 16th 2018. (Note to reader: Unless stated all currency references are in US dollars).
"AISC per ounce" is a nonAAP financial performance measures with no standardized definition under IFRS; additional reference info at bottom of release
Base case prices for gold, silver and copper were assessed at values approximately 2%-7% below the three-year trailing average prices for each of the metals and below the majority of the publicly available. Forward-looking estimates available as of July 2018
PEA Cautionary Note:
Readers are cautioned that the PEA is preliminary in nature and there is no certainty that the PEA results will be realized. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. Additional work is needed to upgrade these mineral resources to mineral reserves.
Mr. Darren Koningen, P. Eng., Minera Alamos' CEO, is the Qualified Person responsible for the technical content of this press release under National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Koningen has supervised the preparation of, and has approved the scientific and technical disclosures in this news release.
About Minera Alamos:
Minera Alamos is an advanced-stage exploration and development company with a growing portfolio of high-quality Mexican assets, including the La Fortuna open-pit gold project in Durango with positive PEA completed, the Santana open-pit heap- leach development project in Sonora with test mining and processing completed and the Guadalupe de Los Reyes open-pit gold-silver project in Sinaloa with mine planning in progress. The Company is awaiting the pending approval of permit applications related to the commercial production of gold at both the Santana and Fortuna projects.
The Company's strategy is to develop low capex assets while expanding the project resources and pursue complementary strategic acquisitions.