Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp. (with its subsidiaries, "Triple Flag") is pleased to report that its partner Steppe Gold Ltd. ("Steppe Gold") announced on October 26 the positive results of the Feasibility Study on the ATO gold mine in Mongolia, focused primarily on the 10.5 year expansion from the fresh rock ore ("Phase 2 Expansion") following depletion of the producing oxide phase in 2 years (the "Feasibility Study"). The Phase 2 Expansion materially extends the life of Triple Flag's gold and silver stream by more than a decade, for no incremental investment by Triple Flag.
All dollar references are in United States dollars.
The Phase 2 Expansion is a low-risk project with construction already underway (a new 2.5 million tonnes per annum crusher is currently being installed) and existing permitting and infrastructure in place. After constructing the ATO oxide phase heap leach project that went into production in 2020, Steppe Gold boasts a proven management team well versed in constructing a mine in the region. Steppe Gold has reported that it is in advanced discussions with project lenders for debt financing.
Triple Flag's Founder and CEO, Shaun Usmar, commented, "We want to extend our gratitude and congratulations to the entire Steppe Gold team on the excellent Phase 2 Expansion results and the rapid progress made on this exciting project. This project will bring further significant investment to the region, generating more jobs and providing economic benefits to the local region and Mongolia, while creating strong returns for Steppe Gold and Triple Flag shareholders. This stream showcases Triple Flag's ability to source and secure transactions on high-quality mining projects led by great partners around the globe, deploy our broad technical and commercial expertise, and work hand-in-hand with mining companies to deliver value to all stakeholders. We are working with the Steppe Gold management team to meaningfully contribute to their impressive community programs in education and beyond."
Summary of the Feasibility Study1
Stepp Gold announced the following highlights from its Feasibility Study:
- Pre-Tax NPV (5%) of $320 million with an IRR of 109% and a Post-Tax NPV (5%) of $232 million with an IRR of 67%, driven by payback of three years from initial capital outlay.
- Total gross revenue of $1.72 billion and EBITDA of $584 million over 12.5 years, with first concentrate production anticipated in Q4 2023.
- Average annual production of 106,000 gold equivalent ounces in years 1-5 of the Phase 2 Expansion, following depletion of the oxide zone.
- Average site all-in sustaining costs of $853/gold equivalent ounce.
- Initial capital expenditure, prior to optimizations, is expected to be $128 million (including a $12 million contingency).
- Phase 2 Expansion assumes processing 2.2 million tonnes per annum of ore incorporating crushing, grinding and flotation of concentrates.
- Gold recovery is forecast to be 79% with further recoveries of up to 10% estimated through CIP/CIL plant in later years.
- Numerous plans underway to further optimize the Phase 2 Expansion, including planned connection to grid power, optimization of construction and engineering costs, and further exploration and drilling to support higher conversion of resources to reserves.
- Further information can be found at: https://steppegold.com.
Triple Flag Stream
- Triple Flag was the cornerstone financing partner in 2017 to support Steppe Gold in its acquisition and development of ATO, investing $28 million2 in the ATO stream.
- As of September 30, 2021, we have realized $16 million in stream cash flow from ATO.
- The stream terms are: 25% gold stream rate and 50% silver stream rate until the milestone deliveries are met, after which Triple Flag deliveries are capped annually.
- Once 46,000 ounces of gold have been delivered to Triple Flag, the gold stream is capped at 7,125 ounces annually.
- Similarly, once 375,000 ounces of silver have been delivered to Triple Flag, the silver stream is capped at 59,315 ounces annually.
- Based on Steppe Gold's guidance, we expect to hit the gold delivery milestone in late 2024 (brought forward by increased production, driven by new crusher installation noted above), coinciding with the start of fresh rock production.
- Triple Flag's initial investment was primarily predicated on the oxide zone Mineral Reserves. The ATO fresh rock Phase 2 Expansion is strongly accretive to our net asset value, represents attractive returns and provides robust long-life gold equivalent ounce growth included in our long-term outlook.
- Exploration upside at ATO remains robust including potential at the Mungu deposit and we look forward to seeing continued strong results from this deposit as Steppe Gold continues expanding the scope, scale and economics of the project.
1 Feasibility Study and reserves calculated using $1,610/oz Au, $21/oz Ag, $2,515/t Zn, and $1,970/t Pb.
2 Triple Flag's initial investment into the stream in 2017 was $23 million. In 2019, Triple Flag provided an additional $5 million to Steppe for an amendment to stream terms.