Vancouver-B.C.- TSX listed Northern Vertex Mining Corp. (TSX: NEE.V) reports the Company has received its final State mine permits and that procurement and construction activities are advancing unabated at its 100% owned Moss Mine gold-silver project located in the historic Oatman Mining district in NW Arizona, U.S.A.
The Vancouver and Arizona-based miner says the receipt of final mine permits removes the last barrier for the Moss Mine going forward and that it is on schedule to proceed to commercial gold production in Q4 of this year.
“This is clearly an exciting time for the company, as we advance construction and prepare to enter gold production later this year in Arizona, says Northern Vertex President and CEO Ken Berry, “The final permits provide us with a clear pathway to production and to realizing our goal of becoming a full-fledged U.S. gold producer.”
Moss Mine project: Results from pilot production program exceeded expectations (click to enlarge)
The new Moss mine, open-pit, heap leach operation is expected to generate over 40,000 ounces of gold equivalent production annually, with a 2.4-year payback. Supported by all-in sustaining costs of US$662/oz. gold and an after-tax IRR of 48% (based on $1,250/oz. gold and $20/oz. silver), the mine is slated to become one of Arizona’s newest high margin, low-cost producers. The Moss mine plan features a targeted phased expansion program, designed to support profitable gold production through 2027.
Under continuous development by Northern Vertex since 2011, the Moss Mine project contains an easy to access, outcropping epithermal gold-silver vein system that extends over 1500 meters on surface. Multi-phase development on the former small-scale historic producer included over 675 drill holes and 22,000 metres of drilling to define the project’s current contained gold-silver resource.
Once the resource was established and verified, in 2014 Northern Vertex conducted a comprehensive pilot production program on Moss. The program was considered a major success, yielding higher than expected 82-84% recovery rates, while producing over 4,000 oz.’s of gold and 20,000 oz.’s of silver.
“The pilot program played an important role in de-risking the project by verifying the returns that can be expected once in production.” Berry says, “As a result, we were able to effectively secure the necessary financing to meet the mine’s estimated $33m costs to capitalize the project, while along the way, attract support from major finance groups, such as Sprott Lending and Greenstone Resources.”
Facing a challenge head on is nothing new for Ken Berry. After playing collegiate hockey for the University of Denver, Berry enjoyed a successful 12-year professional hockey career that took him from stints with Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League, to the German elite league in Europe. In between, Berry was a two-time Olympic participant for Canada’s National hockey team, first at the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. and then again at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. Each time a gold medal would prove to be elusive for the former Canadian team captain and player.
In his post hockey career, Berry, B.Comm, turned to his business training and leadership skills to begin assisting start-up public companies in finance and development. Since that time, Berry has helped to raise in excess of $400 million in venture capital financings for various emerging projects, including over $75 million raised over the past six years advancing the Moss Mine project in Arizona.
Berry believes that there are many parallels in business and sports that underscore the fine line that exists between success and failure.
“From the outset, the most critical factor is assembling the right team that gives you the best chance to succeed,” says Berry. “In the case of Northern Vertex, we have been fortunate to attract some of the top professionals in our field. The experience of this group has allowed us to move the Moss Mine project forward quickly, while avoiding a host of potential pitfalls along the way.”
Berry adds that the pilot production program on Moss was first initiated by board members such as James McDonald, one of the original founders of Alamos Gold, now a mid-tier gold producer, along with Gordon Ulrich, the CEO of Luscar Ltd., when the company had 11 producing mines, and David Farrell, formerly with Endeavour Financial where he worked hand in hand with mining entrepreneur Frank Giustra.
“These guys understand what it takes to succeed,” says Berry. “We wanted to show the market in clear terms how the mining processes would work and remove any questions as to its future potential returns. It has been a smooth transition thanks to our team’s diligence.”
In other developments, Northern Vertex recently announced that site civil works has been completed for the Moss mine and construction of the heap leach pad and main facility is advancing on schedule. The news follows the Company’s recently released updated mine optimization plan for Moss, which the Company says will result in improved infrastructure and profits from the sale of waste rock.
The updated plan is also expected to further boost the mine’s after-tax IRR from its current 48%, providing over $16 million in operational savings over a 5 year period.
For Northern Vertex these are all important milestones that the company expects will lead to its first gold pour in 2017 and a golden year for the Moss Mine project.
Not surprisingly, Berry draws from past experiences when pointing out that despite the abilities of any given team, taking a project from an early stage of development to fruition still requires the highest degree of focus, execution and commitment.
“In the case of Northern Vertex and the Moss Mine project, we started out with a former small-scale producer with a sporadic history of production,” says Berry, “In less than five years, through systematic drilling and development, we built Moss into a substantial gold-silver resource. We successfully completed our pilot plant test phase and we are now preparing to enter commercial production. Moreover, we are supported by a mine plan that boasts some of the highest potential returns in the industry. It is a testament to the focus and execution of our entire team.”
Berry believes that it is equally important to be proactive and to include the local stakeholders of the community as the Moss Mine prepares to enter production.
“Ultimately, we are fortunate to be operating in a proven mining jurisdiction, with the support of a local community that has embraced our project with open arms.” says Berry, “Once in production, Moss will be a robust gold-silver producer that is expected to employ over 100 local workers, providing much needed jobs and a boost to the local economies of Bullhead City and Mohave County.”
For former Olympian and Northern Vertex CEO Berry, it appears the long quest for gold is finally within reach. He is sure to tell you, it has been well worth the wait. Disclaimer: Resource Review is an information service that features mining and resource companies from around the world. Content contained within is believed to be sourced from reliable information but is not guaranteed for its accuracy. This article does not purport to be an offer to buy or sell securities. Investors should conduct their own due diligence prior to purchasing any security. Please note: From time to time, Resource Review or its employees may purchase securities in companies featured and was compensated for advertising on its site on behalf of Northern Vertex. This document may contain forward-looking statements.
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