NGEx Resources Inc. is pleased to provide an update on progress towards the completion of a Preliminary Economic Assessment of an integrated Los Helados - Josemaria operation as well as on the results of a comprehensive review of the exploration potential of the Company's approximately 60,000 Ha land package.
The Los Helados PEA, completed in October 2014, contemplated the standalone development of Los Helados and was the first step in the Company's longer term plan to evaluate the potential to develop a district-scale integrated operation. The Integrated Study will consider a scenario in which production from the Los Helados and Josemaria deposits feeds a central processing facility with the goal of optimizing overall project economics. The Josemaria deposit is located approximately 12 kilometers from Los Helados (see attached map). Engineering work undertaken during 2015 focused on the key drivers of project economics as highlighted by the Los Helados PEA and on acquiring the data needed to complete the Integrated Study. The Company expects to complete a PEA of the Integrated Study in early 2016.
Commenting on the Company's progress to date Wojtek Wodzicki, President and CEO said "The Integrated Study will be an important milestone for the Company. It is an important step toward our long term objective of demonstrating the potential to develop our discoveries as a regionally integrated operation. Teck and Goldcorp's recently announced Corridor Project provides a possible template for the future development of mining projects in the high Andes that we believe has similarities to the NGEx projects.
"Our current study is focused on trying to significantly reduce pre-production timelines by staging development of Josemaria and Los Helados to enable early delivery of the highest grade and most easily accessible material to a central processing facility. This approach, combined with the potential to reduce capital costs and spread them over a larger resource base, has the potential to create a very exciting project. The tremendous exploration upside we continue to see on our land package adds a further dimension to this emerging district and, has the potential to yield additional discoveries over time."
The 2015 engineering work program includes:
- Development of an optimized mine plan which combines the Los Helados and Josemaria deposits. The objectives of this work are to evaluate opportunities to:
- bring forward production from the higher grade portion of the deposits which contains a combined Indicated mineral resource of 740 million tonnes of 0.50% copper; 0.26 grams/tonne gold, 1.58 grams/tonne silver for a copper equivalent grade of 0.69% CuEq at a cut off grade of 0.6% CuEq;
- reduce the upfront development costs;
- reduce the time needed to ramp up to full production; and
- extend the mine life by using a declining cut-off grade strategy later in the mine plan.
- Additional metallurgical testwork on both deposits to continue to improve metal recoveries and concentrate grades and better understand how these will vary over the life of the proposed mine;
- Geotechnical studies at Los Helados to better define the block cave mining characteristics of the deposit;
- An evaluation of the optimum site for a centralized processing plant including an assessment of options to reduce the infrastructure, water, and power costs used in the Los Helados PEA;
- Environmental baseline studies.
The above information will be used in the PEA of the Integrated Study expected to be completed in early 2016.