VANCOUVER , March 31, 2015 /CNW/ - SilverCrest Mines Inc. ("SilverCrest" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has filed a Technical Report prepared in compliance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") titled, "Update to Santa Elena Pre-Feasibility Study, Sonora, Mexico " (the "UPFS"), for its operating Santa Elena mine. The UPFS updates the Santa Elena Pre-Feasibility Study and Open Pit Resource Update, dated effective April 30, 2013 , as amended March 4, 2014 (the "2013 PFS"). Summaries of the updated Reserves and Resources, Life of Mine Plan ("LOMP"), operating costs, sustaining capital costs and project economics are presented in tables below. All dollar amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified. The effective date of this Technical Report is December 31, 2014 and is available on the Company's website, www.silvercrestmines.com and under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
The Base Case economic analyses use a range of metal prices per ounce for gold and silver. For gold prices, the range is defined as $1,250 (2015), $1,275 (2016) and $1,300 (2017 – 2022) and for silver prices the range is defined as $18 (2015), $19 (2016), $20 (2017) and $21 (2018 – 2022). On this basis, the following economic highlights for a continued 8 year mine life beginning January 2015 are:
- Total operating revenue of $555 million from estimated sales of 12.6 million ounces of silver and 270,700 ounces of gold.
- Total operating costs of $349 million .
- Estimated cash operating costs averaging $11.59 per silver equivalent ("AgEq") ounce (Ag:Au average ratio of 64.5:1 based on sold ounces for LOMP).
- Total sustaining capital costs of $31 million including LOMP underground drilling programs and 2015 surface exploration expenditures.
- Total pre-tax undiscounted cash flow of $163 million including estimated closure cost deductions of $6 million .
- Pre-tax Base Case pre-tax NPV (5%) of $144 million .
- Post-tax Base Case post-tax NPV (5%) of $119 million .
Metal price sensitivities were completed including spot price as $1,193 /oz Au and $16.16 /oz Ag (representing spot price in December, 2014) which showed a pre-tax NPV (DCF @ 5%) of $84.3 million .
J. Scott Drever , Chief Executive Officer, stated; "We are extremely pleased with the results of the reserve and economic update for the Santa Elena mine. The study confirms our expectations that the transition from the open pit heap leach operation to a conventional mill and underground operation represents a very attractive project with robust economics even at current reduced metal prices. The renewal of an 8 year mine life gives SilverCrest a strong corporate cash flow that provides a solid foundation for continued systematic and aggressive growth. We look forward to a year of continuing operational and financial improvements in 2015 with expansion of our annual metals production at Santa Elena ."
MINERAL RESERVES AND RESOURCE ESTIMATES AT DECEMBER 31, 2014
Update to Mineral Reserve and Resource are shown in the table below. Only Indicated Resources were used in estimating the Mineral Reserves related to the UPFS mine plan, schedule and economic analyses. In summary, Total updated Probable Reserves at Santa Elena are 7.45 million tonnes grading 1.23 gpt Au and 78.4 gpt Ag, containing 295,000 ounces of gold and 18.76 million ounces of silver. This represents an overall minimal decrease of 10% in contained gold and 5% in contained silver over previous Probable Reserves stated in the 2013 PFS even after reserve depletion by mining and decreased metal prices. Updated Indicated Resources (exclusive of Probable Reserves) are estimated at 1.12 million tonnes grading 1.39 gpt Au and 89.7 gpt Ag, containing 50,000 ounces of gold and 3.22 million ounces of silver. This represents a 57% decrease in contained gold ounces and 59% decrease in contained silver ounces over previous Indicated Resources. Updated Inferred Resources are estimated at 0.56 million tonnes grading 1.69 gpt Au and 106.5 gpt Ag, containing 31 thousand ounces of gold and 1.9 million ounces of silver. This represents a 57% decrease in contained gold ounces and 74% decrease in contained silver ounces. The differences in UPFS Reserves and Resources from the 2013 PFS are based on:
- A minimal decrease of overall Probable Reserves even after mining depletion over the last 1¾ years and changes in metal price (cut off grade analysis) from the 2013 PFS of $1,450 per ounce of gold to $1,300 and from $28 per ounce of silver to $19.50 .
- Underground Probable Reserves have increased 8% in contained ounces of gold and 8% in contained ounces of silver subsequent to the 2013 PFS and 2014 underground mining depletion.
- Newly-defined El Cholugo underground Probable Reserve of an estimated 252,000 tonnes grading 2.58 gpt Au and 147.0 gpt Ag. This high grade zone is immediately adjacent to current underground development and has been exposed on several levels for easy access and planned mining in 2016. This zone is open in most directions and is a 2015 priority for further resource expansion with potential for conversion to reserves.
- An 85% decrease in open pit Probable Reserves due to depletion from mining from April, 2013 and some transfer to underground reserves. Open pit was shut down in April, 2014 and reopened in January, 2015.
- An 18% increase in leach pad Probable Reserves with continuation of open pit mining in 2013 and 2014 and partial leaching (300 day leach cycle) of ore.
- Indicated and Inferred Resources decreased based on conversion to Reserves, lower base case metal prices, updated geological modelling with detailed infill drilling, and changes in geostatistical parameters (smaller search radius) based on more exploration and production data, including infill drilling data generated in 2013 and 2014.
- Reserve replacement for a renewal of an 8 year mine life, even after mining depletion from 2013 and 2014.
SANTA ELENA RESERVES (DECEMBER 31, 2014)
SANTA ELENA UNDERGROUND DILUTED AND RECOVERABLE RESERVES*
SANTA ELENA OPEN PIT RESERVES**
SANTA ELENA LEACH PAD RESERVES (PAD ORE)***
TOTAL SANTA ELENA RESERVES
SANTA ELENA RESOURCES (DECEMBER 31, 2014) ****
Note: All numbers are rounded. Underground and Leach Pad Reserves and Resources are based on LOMP metal price trends of $19.50/oz silver, $1,300/oz gold and metallurgical recoveries of 92% Au and 67.5% Ag. All Mineral Resources and Reserves conform to NI 43-101 and Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum definitions for Resources and Reserves. Inferred Resources have been estimated from geological evidence and limited sampling and must be treated with a lower level of confidence than Indicated Resources.
The Santa Elena mine life with update to Reserves is scheduled to continue for 8 years at nominal milling rate of 3,000 tonnes per day with reduced throughput in the last two years upon depletion of leach pad reserves. The mine schedule is based on mining long hole stopes (89% by reserve volume) early in the mine life at attractive lower costs with small reserve being mined using cut and fill stopes (11% by reserve volume) being mined towards the end of the mine schedule. The 2013 PFS showed long hole and cut and fill stopes were 69% and 31% by volume, respectively. The average width of proposed optimized stopes is 10 metres, which is advantageous for lower cost bulk mining methods. SilverCrest envisions a continued blending strategy during operations at variable rates for mill feed to achieve optimum throughput. A summary of the mine and production schedule is presented below with proposed initial blending strategy.
Aspect of operations
Life of Mine
Total Tonnes Underground
Total Tonnes Leach Pad
Total Tonnes Open Pit
Total Tonnes Processed
Total Gold Ounces Sold*
Total Silver Ounces Sold*
Note: All numbers rounded.
LOMP OPERATING COSTS
The operating cost estimates stated below were compiled using Santa Elena mine site operating experience, SilverCrest financial and operational reports, recent contractor quotes, other local producing mines and industry estimations in Mexico to a Pre-Feasibility level.
Cut & Fill
Mining Cost/T ore1
General & Administration/T4
1 Long hole stopes are 89% of designed stopes by volume and cut & fill stopes are 11% of designed stopes by reserve volume. Includes adjustment for exchange ratio impact in the mining costs and excludes ore development costs.
Ore development costs are estimated at $36 /T ore and represent approximately 6% of total underground ore planned to be mined during LOMP.
LOMP SUSTAINING CAPITAL COSTS
The sustaining capital cost estimates stated below are based on internal estimates for remaining capital expenses over life of mine.
Sustaining Capital Cost Table Including Exploration Drilling Expense
Mill sustaining capital
Underground waste development expenses
Underground equipment and infrastructure
Underground and 2015 surface drilling
Total capital costs
Note: All numbers rounded.
UPFS ECONOMIC ANALYSES
UPFS economic analyses were completed for both pre-tax and post-tax. Base Case pre-tax and post-tax results are stated as follows:
Aspects of Santa Elena UPFS Economic Analyses
Gold Ounces Sold - post refiner credit1
Silver Ounces Sold - post refiner credit
Total Operating Costs4
Freight & Refining
Sustaining Capital Expenses
Underground & Surface Drilling5
Sustaining Capital Costs6
Pre-Tax Undiscounted Cash Flow
Total Cash Flow
Pre-Tax Financial Results
Pre-Tax NPV, DCF @ 5%
Post-Tax Financial Results
Post-Tax NPV, DCF @ 5%
Note: All numbers rounded.