Third Quarter (“Q3”) 2019 Production highlights include:
- Q3 production of 18,636 oz of gold, 209,287 lbs copper and 5,284 oz silver for a total of 19,170 gold equivalent (“AuEq”) oz.
- Tonnage treated through the process plant was 32,094 tonnes, at an average grade of 19.19 g/t gold and 0.32% copper, achieving recoveries of 94.1% for gold and 92.1% for copper.
- Kainantu Mine added another quarter without any lost time injuries (LTI’s), increasing the record to 1,216 LTI free days.
- Production for the first three quarters of 2019 is a record of 56,741 oz of gold, 735,160 lbs copper and 17,742 oz silver for a total of 58,610 AuEq oz.
- Q3 AuEq production exceeded budget by 14% despite a number of interruptions necessary for the completion of key upgrades for the current expansion project. These include mine infrastructure, installation of gravity circuit and the main incline debottlenecking program consisting of three bypasses. These upgrades have well positioned Kainantu through year-end.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- K92 Mining Inc. (“K92” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: KNT; OTCQX: KNTNF) is pleased to announce production in the third quarter (“Q3”) exceeded budget by 14%, with 19,170 oz AuEq produced for the quarter at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea.
During Q3, K92 produced 18,636 oz of gold, 209,287 pounds of copper and 5,284 oz of silver or 19,170 AuEq oz (based on a gold price of US$1,300/oz; silver price of US$16.50/oz; copper price of US$2.90/lb). Production for the first three quarters of 2019 is a record of 56,741 oz of gold or 58,610 AuEq oz, compared to production of 47,237 for the entire year in 2018. Recoveries for the first three quarters of 2019 averaged 93.7% for gold and 92.8% copper.
Mining operations in Q3 continued to focus on Kora North and comprised cut and fill stope mining from the K1 vein at the 1,185 and 1,205 mRL level as well as development tonnes from the K1 vein on the 1,170 mRL level.
The blend of primarily K1 material provided an average head grade to the process plant for Q3 of 19.2 g/t Au and 0.32% Cu. The gold head grade was above and the copper grade below the anticipated long-term average grades. The above average gold grades are the result of a combination of lower dilution being achieved in the stope and development mining combined with a higher proportion of K1 treated during the quarter, while the below budget copper grades are the result of treating a higher proportion of K1.
Importantly, the above budget production was achieved despite a number of interruptions to underground mine operations due to upgrading of underground infrastructure and mining of three bypasses in the main incline associated with the expansion project. Some interruption in plant operations was also experienced during the quarter due to installation and commissioning of the gravity circuit.
Financial details and a potential update of the annual production guidance for 2019 will be available in the Company’s upcoming Q3 Financial Report.
|Table 1 – Q3 & YTD 2019 and 2018 Annual Production Data|
|2018 Total||Q1 2019||Q2 2019||Q3 2019||2019 YTD|
|Feed Grade Au||g/t||19.1||23.6||16.7||19.2||19.5|
|Feed Grade Cu||%||0.38%||0.48%||0.34%||0.32%||0.37%|
|Recovery (%) Au||%||93.7%||93.7%||93.2%||94.1%||93.7%|
|Recovery (%) Cu||%||92.9%||93.9%||92.5%||92.1%||92.8%|
|Metal in Conc Prod Au||Oz||45,810||19,125||18,980||18,636||56,741|
|Metal in Conc Prod Cu||T||277.27||119.78||118.73||94.94||333.45|
|Metal in Conc Prod Ag||Oz||10,069||5,564||6,894||5,284||17,742|
|Gold Equivalent Production*||Oz||47,237||19,788||19,652||19,170||58,610|
John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, “The production results for the third quarter reflect the robustness of the Kora North deposit and the ability of the team at Kainantu to deliver on operational performance, while also focusing on major capital and infrastructure projects for the expansion. The plant treated 32,094 tonnes at a head grade of 19.2 g/t Au, resulting in production of 19,170 oz AuEq, which was 14% above budget. The mine has now produced 58,610 oz AuEq in the first three quarters of 2019, surpassing the 47,237 oz AuEq for the entire 2018, and is well on target to meet our increased guidance of 72,000 to 80,000 oz AuEq for 2019.
The Company continued to work on the expansion of the Kora/Kora North Resource, with the two surface and three underground rigs operating on the mine lease and 30 holes completed during the quarter.
I am also extremely pleased to report that there were no lost time injuries during the quarter, extending our period without a lost time injury to 40 months.”
During Q1 the Company announced the commencement of the expansion of the Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea, with a goal of doubling current capacity to 400,000 tonnes per annum and increasing annual production to an average of 120,000 ounces of gold equivalent (oz AuEq).
Based on the preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”) published in January 2019, the major results from the decision to expand production include:
- Total Capital Expenditure for 2019 is projected to be US$30 million, comprising US$12 million in expansion capital, US$8 million in sustaining capital and US$10 million in capital development;
- Production is projected to be 68-75,000 oz AuEq in 2019 and 115-125,000 oz AuEq in 2020;
- Cash Costs are expected to be between US$580 and US$620 per oz AuEq, and All in Sustaining Costs (“AISC”) are expected to be US$780 to US$820 per oz AuEq in 2019, dropping to Cash Costs below US$500 per oz AuEq and AISC below US$700 per oz AuEq in 2020;
- Employment is expected to increase from the current 650 to 750 by the end of 2019, and to 800 by the end of 2020, with over 96% of all positions in-site being filled by PNG Nationals;
- Based on the results of the PEA:
○ Total production over the next 13 years would be 1.33 million oz gold and 130 million lbs copper;
○ Total Revenue for the period would be over US$2 billion;
○ Royalty payments for the period would be US$50 million;
○ Tax paid to PNG Government for the period, from payroll and corporate tax, would total US$300 million;
○ Total sustaining capital of US$202 million would be required over the 13-year period; and
○ Net Cashflow would be US$1.03 billion, the Net Present Value (“NPV5”) would be US$710 million pre-tax, or US$559 million after tax, and the Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) would be in excess of 350%.
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 PEA will be realized. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Company’s decision to expand production is not based on a feasibility study of mineral reserves demonstrating the economic and technical viability of the expansion. As a result, there is increased uncertainty of the economic and technical risks of failure associated with the decision.
K92 engaged H and S Consultants Pty Ltd to complete a Mineral Resource Estimate for the Kora North Deposit (Table 1). This resource together with the previously reported Kora Mineral Resource Estimate dated March 2017 (Table 2) provide the resource base for the updated PEA.
K92 engaged Mincore Pty Ltd (“Mincore”) to complete the PEA for the expansion of the existing processing plant to double its capacity to approximately 400,000 tonnes per annum. The study found that the current crushing, milling and concentrate handling circuits have sufficient capacity to treat the Kora mine material at a rate of 400,000 tpa, subject to upgrading the crushing and flotation circuits and plant services. The estimated total cost of such expansion and upgrading would be US$3.7 million, including EPC and commissioning with a contingency of 10%.
The technical report containing the PEA, titled, “Independent Technical Report, Mineral Resources Estimate Update and Preliminary Economic Assessment of Kora North and Kora Gold Deposits, Kainantu Project, Papua New Guinea” with an effective date of September 30, 2018 (the “Technical Report”) was prepared by Anthony Woodward BSc (Hons.), M.Sc., MAIG, Simon Tear BSc (Hons), EurGeol, PGeo IGI, EurGeol, Christopher Desoe BE (Min)(Hons), FAusIMM, RPEQ, MMICA, Lisa J. Park, BEng (Chem), GAICD, FAusIMM. Refer to the Company’s news release dated January 8, 2018 for a summary of the results of the PEA. The PEA can be found under the Company’s profile on SEDAR.
The Company engaged Australian Mine and Development Pty Ltd (“AMDAD”) to undertake the PEA mine plan for Kora and Kora North, which involved:
- applying financial and processing parameters to determine cut-off grades for stope design;
- generating three-dimensional stope shapes and mining inventory using the CAE Mineable Shape Optimiser (MSO) program;
- creating a conceptual development layout to suit the MSO inventory;
- producing a project cash-flow model; and
- producing a simple mining schedule as input to the cash-flow model.
The key results from the PEA for the combined Kora North and Kora deposits are as follows:
- Could have a 13-year operating life and treat 4.9 million tonnes @ 9.0 g/t Au, 20 g/t Ag & 1.3% Cu (11.0 g/t Au Eq*);
- Could achieve an estimated pre-tax NPV of US$710 million (US$559 million after-tax) using current metal prices, exchange rate and a 5% discount rate;
- Initial capital cost estimated to be US$13.6 million, including US$3.7 million for the plant upgrade identified in the Mincore Scoping Study;
- The additional combined development and sustaining capital cost is estimated at US$202 million spent over the life of mine;
- Operating cost per tonne estimated to be US$163/tonne for the first five years and US$153/tonne thereafter;
- Cash cost estimated to be US$429/oz Au Eq (inclusive of a 2.5% Net Smelter Royalty) and AISC of US$615/oz Au Eq;
- Production of an estimated 135,000 Au oz and 2,100 Cu tonnes over a 5-year period from 2019 through to 2023, with average production of 90,000 Au oz and 6,500 Cu tonnes for the balance of the life of mine; and
- Current metal prices used were: Au - US$1,300/oz; Ag – US$15/oz; Cu – US$2.90/lb.
*AuEq – calculated on above Current Metal Prices.
The Kora North resource estimate was defined after just twelve months of underground exploration drilling.
|Table 2 - Kora North Mineral Resource Estimate|
|Global Mineral Resources Kora North Gold-Copper Mine - October 2018|
|Total M & I||0.85||12.9||0.35||13.1||0.36||0.7||13.3||14.1||0.39|
|M in table is millions.|
The Mineral Resources estimate was prepared and verified by Simon Tear (PGEO), consultant to the Company and a director of independent consultancy of H & S Consultants Pty. Ltd., Sydney, Australia (October 2018).
Key Assumptions and Parameters of Kora and Kora North Resource Estimate
Mineralization comprises two parallel, steeply west dipping, N-S striking quartz-sulphide vein systems, K1 & K2, within an encompassing dilatant structural zone hosted by phyllite. An additional structure, the Kora Link, has also been defined and provides a possible link between the two main vein systems.
Underground drilling consists of diamond core for a range of core sizes depending on length of hole and expected ground conditions. Sampling is sawn half core under geological control and generally ranges between 0.5m and 1m. Underground face sampling is completed for every fired round and is to industry standard.
QAQC data indicated no significant issues with the accuracy of the on-site analysis.
Core recovery of the mineral zone was initially 90%, this has improved to >95%. There is no relationship between core recovery and gold grade. Geological logging is consistent and is based on a full set of logging codes covering lithology, alteration and mineralization.
The geological interpretation of the vein systems is represented as 3D wireframe solids snapped to a combination of diamond drillhole data and underground face sampling. Definition of the wireframes is based on identified gold mineralisation in drillcore nominally at a 0.2g/t Au cut off in conjunction with geological control/sense and current mining widths.
Gold Equivalent (AuEq) g/t was calculated using the formula Au g/t +(Cu% x 1.53) + Ag g/t x 0.0127. (No account of metal recoveries through the plant have been used in calculating the metal equivalent grade. However, production is currently achieving 93% metal recovery for both gold and copper and gold is currently providing 95% and copper 5% of the total revenue of the mine).
Gold price US$1,300/oz; Silver US$16.5/oz; Copper US$2.90/lb.
The mineral resource estimate for the Kora deposit is based on the technical report prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”), and titled, “Mineral Resource Update and Preliminary Economic Assessment of Irumafimpa and Kora Gold Deposits, Kainantu Project, Papua New Guinea," with an effective date of March 2, 2017. This provides additional information on the geology of the deposits, drilling and sampling procedures, lab analysis, and quality assurance/quality control for the project, and additional details on the resource estimates. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
|Table 3 – Irumafimpa and Kora/Eutompi Resource Estimates|
|Resource by Deposit and Category|
|M in table is millions. Reported tonnage and grade figures are rounded from raw estimates to reflect the order of accuracy of the estimate. Minor variations may occur during the addition of rounded numbers. Gold equivalents are calculated as AuEq = Au g/t + Cu%*1.52+ Ag g/t*0.0141.|
K92 Mine Geology Manager and Mine Exploration Manager, Mr. Andrew Kohler, PGeo, a Qualified Person under the meaning of Canadian National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has reviewed and is responsible for the technical content of this news release. Data verification by Mr. Kohler includes significant time onsite reviewing drill core, face sampling, underground workings and discussing work programs and results with geology and mining personnel.
K92 Mining Inc. is engaged in the production of gold, copper and silver from the Kora and Kora North deposits of the Kainantu Gold Mine in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea, as well as exploration and development of mineral deposits in the immediate vicinity of the mine. The Company declared commercial production from Kainantu in February 2018 and has commenced an expansion of the mine. An updated Preliminary Economic Assessment on the property was published in January 2019. K92 is operated by a team of mining company professionals with extensive international mine-building and operational experience.
ON BEHALF OF THE COMPANY,
John Lewins, Chief Executive Officer and Director
For further information, please contact David Medilek at +1-604-687-7130.
NEITHER TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION:
This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions regarding K92 Mining Inc.’s future financial or operating performance that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this news release are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made and are subject to important risk factors and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict. All statements that address future plans, activities, events, or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur are forward-looking information, including statements regarding: the realization of the preliminary economic analysis for the Kainantu Gold Mine; the generation of further drilling results; expectations of future cash flows; expectations of future production results; expected success of the proposed plant expansion; potential expansion of resources; any which may or may not occur. Forward-looking statements and information contained herein are based on certain factors and assumptions regarding, among other things: there being no significant disruptions affecting the Company’s operations; political and legal developments in Papua New Guinea being consistent with the Company’s current expectations; the accuracy of K92’s current mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates; the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar, and the Papua New Guinea Kina, being approximately consistent with current levels; prices for fuel, electricity and other key supplies being approximately consistent with current levels; equipment, labour and materials costs increasing on a basis consistent with K92’s current expectations; all required permits, licenses and authorizations being obtained from the relevant governments and other relevant stakeholders within the expected timelines and the absence of material negative comments during the applicable regulatory processes; the market price of the Company’s securities; metal price;, ;taxation; the estimation, timing and amount of future exploration and development; capital and operating costs; the availability of financing; the receipt of regulatory approvals; environmental risks; title disputes; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents; labour disputes; claims and limitations on insurance coverage and other risks of the mining industry; changes in national and local government regulation of mining operations; and regulations and other matters.
There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.