Significant gains at Seabridge’s KSM Project

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New Study Finds Significant Further Gains for Seabridge Gold’s KSM Project
Adding Deep Kerr and Iron Cap Lower Zones Improves Economics, Reduces Environmental Risks
Base Case Life of Mine Operating Costs (Net of Cu and Ag Credits) Estimated at Negative US$179 Per Ounce of Gold Produced
Total Total Cost (Including all Capital, Operating and Closure Costs and Net of Cu and Ag Credits) Estimated at US$358 Per Ounce
Smaller Footprint: 2.4 Billion Tonnes (or 81%) Less Waste Rock Generated Compared to 2016 PFS

Toronto, Canada –Seabridge Gold Inc. announced today the results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (the “PEA”) for its 100%-owned KSM project located in northern British Columbia, Canada. Unlike the updated Preliminary Feasibility Study (the “2016 PFS”) announced on September 19, 2016, the PEA takes a different approach to developing the KSM Project by incorporating the Deep Kerr Zone and the Iron Cap Lower Zone into a conceptual project design. 

The PEA was prepared by Amec Foster Wheeler. An NI 43-101 Technical Report summarizing the results of the PEA, as well as the 2016 PFS, will be filed at www.sedar.com.

The 2016 PFS incorporated KSM’s Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources into mine plans generating Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves of 2.2 billion tonnes grading 0.55 grams per tonne gold, 0.21% copper and 2.6 grams per tonne silver (38.8 million ounces of gold, 10.2 billion pounds of copper and 183 million ounces of silver). (For details see http://seabridgegold.net/News/Article/626/) The 2016 PFS could not include the higher grade resources delineated at Deep Kerr and the Iron Cap Lower Zone as they are in the Inferred Mineral Resources category which cannot be considered as Mineral Reserves required for inclusion in a PFS.

The PEA was undertaken to evaluate a different approach to developing the KSM Project by emphasizing low cost block cave mining and reducing the number and size of the open pits, which significantly reduces the surface disturbances in the re-designed project.  The PEA assesses the potential impacts of incorporating these inferred resources into project design, capital and operating cost estimates and projected economics. The results of the 2016 PFS remain valid and represent a viable option for developing the KSM project, with the PEA assessing an alternative development option at a conceptual level. The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves, and there is no certainty that the results of the PEA will be realized. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. 

Seabridge Gold Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk noted that “the PEA demonstrates the potential for significant project improvements over the 2016 PFS. It is important to acknowledge that the PEA includes Inferred Mineral Resources and is more conceptual, not having the same amount of engineering work involved in a PFS. The results are therefore not directly comparable. However, the PEA should help our shareholders understand the potential value of the exploration discoveries we have made at Deep Kerr and Lower Iron Cap these past three years at considerable expense. I would also note that we have had great success at KSM upgrading inferred resources to higher categories and we therefore believe that the improvements suggested by the PEA could be realized.”

The PEA under direction of Amec Foster Wheeler, uses some of the 2016 PFS consulting team members. Notable changes in the PEA include:

  • In the PEA, open pits would account for only 22% of total production compared to 70% in the 2016 PFS. In the PEA, the Kerr Deposit would be mined exclusively as a large underground block cave along with the Deep Kerr deposit below (together “Kerr”). The PEA mine plans in total would reduce the amount of waste rock by 81% (by approximately 2.4 billion tonnes) compared to the PFS, substantially shrinking the project’s foot print and its environmental impact and reducing water treatment costs.
  • By including Deep Kerr, annual average maximum throughput of 130,000 tonnes per day envisioned in the 2016 PFS has been increased to 170,000 tonnes per day in the PEA without significant redesign of facilities. Increased throughput would increase metal production, reducing payback periods and improving estimated projected internal rates of returns and net present values.
  • In the PEA, estimated Base Case initial capital costs including pre-production mining costs are about 9.7% higher than the 2016 PFS due primarily to increased throughput. Base Case total cost per ounce of gold produced in the PEA is estimated at US$358 compared to US$673 per ounce in the 2016 PFS. The change in Base Case total cost is due to higher by-product credits from significantly higher copper production more than offsetting higher sustaining capital for expanded underground development in the PEA. (see Projected Economics table at end of release for breakdown of copper and silver credits)
  • As a result of approximately 77% more copper that would be produced over the projected life, Base Case life of mine operating costs in the PEA are estimated at negative US$179 per ounce of gold produced, compared to the positive US$277 per ounce in the 2016 PFS . (see Projected Economics table at end of release for breakdown of copper and silver credits)

Commenting on the changes in the PEA, Fronk concluded that “we are very excited by the sizeable potential economic impact from including Deep Kerr in the project design as well as the very significant environmental improvements that could be realized. In our view, the PEA approach is likely to be an attractive alternative for prospective partners.”

The PEA envisages a combined open-pit/underground block caving mining operation that is planned to operate for 51 years. Over the entire 51-year mine life, mineralized material would be fed to a copper and gold extraction mill. The flotation plant would produce a gold/copper/silver concentrate for transport by truck to a nearby sea port at Stewart, B.C. for shipment to Pacific Rim smelters. Metallurgical testing indicates that KSM can produce a clean concentrate with an average copper grade of 25% with a high gold and silver content, making it readily saleable. Separate gold-silver doré would be produced at the KSM processing facility.

For the complete news release, please visit http://seabridgegold.net/news.php

Additional information info@seabridgegold.net


Seabridge Gold
106 Front Street East, Suite 400
Toronto Ontario M5A 1E1
Canada

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