Dundee Precious Metals Inc. ("DPM" or "the Company") has announced the results of the updated Mineral Reserve estimate for its Chelopech mine in Bulgaria, as prepared by CSA Global (UK) Pty. Ltd ("CSA").
This Mineral Reserve update follows the December 21, 2015 announcement regarding the 15% increase to the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource category of the Mineral Resource inventory at Chelopech. The Mineral Resource estimate, as reported in February 2016 (CSA, 2016), remains unchanged and has been used as a basis for Mineral Reserve estimates as outlined in this press release. This Mineral Resource estimate ("MRE") is reported as of December 31, 2015, which reflects the mined volumes used to deplete the resource.
"This update to the Chelopech Mineral Reserve has not been impacted by the 15% increase to Mineral Resources announced in December," said Rick Howes, President and CEO of DPM. "We are optimistic that with 28,000 metres of drilling planned for the upper areas of Chelopech in 2016, we will start to move these additional resources into the mine plan."
Chelopech Mineral Reserves
Mineral Reserves are reported using a net smelter return ("NSR") methodology and are summarized in the table below.
Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources in proximity to historical cave zones above 450 level were not considered in current Mineral Reserves. Resource drilling activity will continue in 2016 and geotechnical assessment, to better understand risk in cave zones, before consideration for conversion to Mineral Reserves in due course.
The Probable classification has been determined to be those designed stopes that lie further than 15 metres (1/2 stope height) away from any level, with crosscut development completely through the ore. That is, ore classified as Proven Mineral Reserve is within 15 metres of existing development, or stopes, where sampling takes place on a regular basis and classified as Measured Mineral Resources.
Net changes in tonnes and contained metals from the December 2014 to the 2015 Mineral Reserves estimate show reductions of 1.3 Mt, 120,000 ounces of gold, 264,000 ounces of silver and 23 million pounds of copper. This corresponds to a percentage reduction of 6% in tonnes and 5% in metal content each, for gold, silver and copper primarily as a result of depletion from mining. The grades are generally slightly higher by 1%, as a result of improvement in stope designs for blocks 151, 103, 19, 149, 144, 145, 147 and 149 south. The Mineral Reserves estimate is considered to be very robust. Chelopech is an established mine and it is anticipated that there will be no major changes in legislation which will affect the materiality of the current Mineral Reserves estimate. Considering that Bulgaria is part of the European Union ("EU"), the main likely changes are if the current legislations are not EU compliant.
The Mineral Reserves at Chelopech have been estimated by including a number of technical, economic and other factors. A change to any of the inputs would therefore have some effect on the overall results. Concerning mining and metallurgical factors, it is CSA's belief that sufficient work has been done by DPM to ensure that these are not likely to have any significant or material effect on Mineral Reserves.
Chelopech Mineral Resource Estimate
The MRE for the Chelopech deposit is presented in the table below, as at December 31, 2015, and is reported based on an operating net profit cut-off greater than USD 0 and a gold equivalent cut-off of 3.0 g/t. The MRE of Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources are reported exclusive of those Mineral Resources modified to produce the Mineral Reserve Estimate.
A comparison of the 2015 MRE with the previously reported 2014 MRE (DPM AIF, 2015), after depletion of Mineral Reserves, is presented below. The updated MRE shows an increase of 25% in the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource category, exclusive of Mineral Reserves.
|Comparison of Chelopech MRE as at December 31, 2015 with|
MRE as at December 31, 2014
|Mineral Resources exclude all blocks already classified as Mineral Reserves|
||Tonnes % diff
This increase in Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources is largely attributed to the re-classification of Mineral Resource volumes in proximity to historical mining areas (sub-level caving) following targeted infill drilling completed in 2015. These volumes, which were restricted from mining by the Bulgarian authorities due to perceived technical difficulties in mining in proximity to historical sub-level caving zones, are now believed to be mineable. Over the last two years, Dundee Precious Metals Chelopech EAD ("DPMC") has successfully demonstrated the safe and efficient recovery of some 151,000 tonnes of ore from the block 150 crown pillar. This proof of concept is to be further evaluated by DPMC with the intention of using the same mining approach to continue to extract material in proximity to historical sub-level caves. DPMC considers that Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources that have not been included in Mineral Reserve estimates can be potentially mined ("reasonable chances of eventual economic extraction") in due course, and will be considered in future Mineral Reserve estimates once sufficient, additional data collection and technical evaluation has been completed.
In addition, ongoing infill and resource development drilling programs, which have defined and re-classified resources in blocks 19, 103, 151, 149 and 149 south, have also been completed.
The Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates and other scientific and technical information contained in this news release was prepared by CSA, in accordance with the Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), and has been reviewed and approved by, as it relates to Mineral Resources, Malcolm Titley, BSc, MAIG, Principal Geologist of CSA, and by Karl van Olden, BSc (Eng)(Mining), GDE, MBA, FAusIMM, MAICD, Manager Mining of CSA Global Ltd., as it relates to Mineral Reserves. Both Malcolm Titley and Karl van Olden are independent Qualified Persons ("QP"), as defined under NI 43-101. The NI 43-101 compliant technical report, dated March 28, 2016, in respect of the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserves estimates disclosed herein, is being filed today on SEDAR (the "Technical Report").
Ross Overall, Corporate Senior Resource Geologist of DPM, and Simon Meik, Technical Consultant and former Corporate Director, Processing of DPM, both of whom are QPs and not independent of the Company, have reviewed and approved the contents of this release.
The Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates contained herein may be subject to legal, political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of such Mineral Resources. See the Technical Report for more information with respect to the key assumptions, parameters, methods and risks of determination associated with the foregoing.
Cautionary note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Mineral Resources. These estimates have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Canadian securities laws, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. The terms "mineral resource", "measured mineral resource", "indicated mineral resource" and "inferred mineral resource" are defined in NI 43-101 and recognized by Canadian securities laws but are not defined terms under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") Guide 7 ("SEC Guide 7") or recognized under U.S. securities laws. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in these categories will ever be upgraded to mineral reserves. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an "inferred mineral resource" will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian securities laws, estimates of "inferred mineral resources" may not form the basis of feasibility or pre-feasibility studies. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource exists or is economically or legally mineable. Accordingly, these mineral resource estimates and related information may not be comparable to similar information made public by U.S. companies subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements under the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder, including SEC Guide 7.