Rubicon Minerals Corporation ("Rubicon" or the "Company") reports on the progress of the Phoenix Gold Project (the "Project").
"Significant progress has been made at the Phoenix Gold Project to-date," commented Michael A. Lalonde, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rubicon. "We are pleased to report that the mill commissioning has been completed, and is performing well. Mill recoveries have met and exceeded expectations. The grinding circuit is performing better than expected, achieving in excess of 80 tonnes per hour with run of mine material. However, we have experienced some delays in the underground during the initial extraction of the first trial stope."
Rubicon is currently focused on executing its stoping plan to bring the Project into projected commercial production and is encouraged by its progress to-date. The current development plan includes the following:
- The main extractive technique currently being used is long-hole sub-level stoping with Alimak access;
- Trial mining is well underway on the initial trial stope (305-030) between the 244- and 305-metre levels. This stope is approximately 50 percent complete. It is anticipated that approximately 20,000 tonnes will be mined from the trial stope by the end of September. SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. ("SRK") has been hired to audit current operational procedures and to assess the reconciliation of gold ounces from in-situ mineral resource estimation through to process plant recovered gold, once adequate material has been processed. In addition, SRK will be making recommendations to optimize procedures and future stope designs. Once the reconciliation has been completed, the Company will provide an update;
- Currently, only the initial trial stope is in the draw down cycle. There are seven full sub-level stopes, and four smaller take down back ("TDB") stopes to be drawn down for the remainder of 2015;
- The installation of the internal ore and waste passes between the 122- and 305-metre levels have been completed;
- The installation of the jaw crusher infrastructure at the 290-metre elevation has commenced, and is scheduled to be completed in November.
The Company has experienced the following start-up challenges during the trial stoping period:
- A fall of ground on the 183-metre level crosscut resulted in delays in the development of two stopes. This was an isolated incident, where a re-muck bay was developed into a known fault structure located approximately halfway between the shaft and the F2 deposit. Remediation is well under way and should be completed by the end of the August;
- Complications with the haulage system on the 305-metre level resulted in a required upgrade of the track and associated equipment, and the installation of a car dump at the 305-metre station waste pass. This work is scheduled for completion in September.
Notwithstanding these obstacles, Rubicon is confident that the issues are short-term in nature and will be resolved in the coming months. These type of issues are common during the start-up phase of an underground project, and operational effectiveness is expected to improve as the Company gains experience and a better understanding of the nature of the Phoenix deposit.
The Company is assessing its operational and capital expenditures, some of which are being reduced or deferred. The balance sheet remains sound, with current working capital of C$50 million.
Rubicon will endeavor to provide timely updates until projected commercial production is announced, which is estimated to be in the first quarter of 2016 based on current plans. Following the reconciliation of the initial trial stope, the Company will be able to provide formal production guidance for the remainder of 2015.
About Rubicon Minerals Corporation
Rubicon Minerals is an emerging gold producer focused on delivering shareholder value by growing free cash flow in low-risk jurisdictions. The Company will act responsibly, earning the respect and support of the communities in which it operates. Rubicon is in the trial stoping phase at the Phoenix Gold Project and is fully permitted for production to 1,250 tonnes per day. In addition, Rubicon controls over 100 square miles of prime exploration ground in the prolific Red Lake gold district and approximately 350 square miles of mineral property interests in the emerging Long Canyon gold district that straddles the Nevada-Utah border in the United States. Rubicon's shares are listed on the NYSE.MKT (RBY) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (RMX).
RUBICON MINERALS CORPORATION
Mike Lalonde, President and Chief Executive Officer