Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 1, 2021, Orea Mining Corp. (“Orea”) (OREA: TSX) (OREAF: OTCQX) (3CG: FSE) is pleased to announce an optimised project design with a remarkable reduction in the environmental impact of the Montagne d’Or Gold Project, located in French Guiana, France. In response to the public debate held in 2018, the Montagne d’Or joint venture (owned 44.99% by Orea and 55.01% by operator Nord Gold plc) (the “JV”) has selected a new project design based on Best Available Techniques (“BAT”) resulting in a 32% reduction in surface footprint and an 80% reduction in estimated total equivalent C02 emissions (“TECO2”).
Rock Lefrançois, President and CEO of Orea, commented “The JV’s success in optimizing the design of the Montagne d’Or mine, significantly reducing its environmental impact, is the culmination of over two years of additional technical and environmental studies in response to public consultations”. He added, “This is undoubtedly a pivotal step for the acceptability and development of an exceptional gold deposit.”
The JV completed a comprehensive analysis of the initial Bankable Feasibility Study (“BFS”) project design, taking numerous alternatives into consideration before selecting the option that best addressed the concerns brought forth by the public debate. The alternative designs were scored on environmental, technical and economic criteria with weighting factors of 60, 20 and 20, respectively. The option with the highest score was chosen for the new project design.
The new project design takes into account all environmental and safety requirements and is a testament to the JV’s commitment to moving forward with a project that adheres to the highest standards of responsible mining. The significant reduction in environmental impact was mainly driven by an alternate power generation solution.
Project Modification Highlights:
- Power will be generated by an on-site hybrid power plant capable of 80% solar-based energy resulting in a reduction in estimated total equivalent C02 emissions (TECO2) of 469,000 tonnes per year.
- The hybrid power plant will reduce the surface footprint of the project, and consequently, reduce the total equivalent C02 emissions (TECO2) by an additional 41,600 tonnes per year.
- The Tailings Storage Facility (“TSF”) was optimised for safety and durability.
- Two sections of the 120-kilometer access road were redesigned in order to bypass the town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and improve road safety and facilitate heavy vehicle traffic while complying with environmental requirements. The modifications will also shorten the distance to the mine site.
- Quarry sites exclusive to the mining project will be developed to meet the heavy demands for construction material and project timelines and reduce the environmental impact related to the transport of material.
- The project’s occupancy of the forest land has been significantly reduced. The total land impacted has been reduced by 32% compared to the initial project, notably a 44% reduction of impacted mature forests.
The initial project provided for the connection to the public power grid and the JV assumed all costs of construction of a 106-kilometer 90 kV overhead power line between the town of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and the mine site.
In consideration of the difficulty of the public power grid in meeting local electricity needs and the concern expressed during the public debate on the suitability of connecting the mine site to the grid, the JV gave priority to on-site renewable energy production and abandoned the construction of the power line, which makes it also possible to significantly reduce the environmental impacts linked, in particular, to land clearing.
The multicriteria analysis compared the initial option of connecting the mine site to the public power grid and on-site power generation from a hybrid solar/diesel power plant with lithium-ion battery storage capacity. It was also compared to on-site diesel power plant, biomass plant and solar panels with battery storage. The selected hybrid solution developed is attributable to major technical developments in renewable energy production and energy storage which allows for 80% solar-based energy production and 20% energy production from diesel-powered generators to ensure the security of constant power supply. As a result, the estimated total equivalent C02 emissions (TECO2) will be reduced by 469,000 tonnes per year, a reduction of 93% compared to sourcing from the power grid.
The selected site for the solar panel park is located along the access road on already deforested land, reducing the surface footprint. The hybrid power plant will require 70% less land clearing than that of a connection by power line and reduces estimated total equivalent C02 emissions (TECO2) by an additional 41,600 tonnes per year, a reduction of 47% compared to the construction of a power line.
Tailing Storage Facility (TSF)
The JV undertook new technical studies in order to review and complete the initial design of the TSF in consideration of the concerns raised during the public debate related to the risks of dam rupture associated climatic hazards. The tailings dams will be built sequentially in parallel with mining and planned to be raised in 4 phases.
The JV selected the safest construction method by detailing the initial TSF design with BAT. The TSF will be built by the downstream raising method, namely that its rise in height will be made by means of shoulders made from the downstream of the facility. Unlike the other two methods commonly encountered in the construction of tailings impoundments (upstream method and central axis method), the downstream method does not involve consolidated tailings in the overall stability of the structure. The safety of the structure is thus clearly dissociated from the mechanical characteristics of the processing residues to be stored and their evolution over time, which constitutes a strong point for the durability of the structure. The downstream method and the improved design provide a more stable configuration especially with regard to seismic risk and climatic hazards by reducing the overall height and increasing the strength of the dams.
About Montagne d’Or
Montagne d’Or is a permitting-stage open pit gold deposit that hosts Measured Mineral Resources of 10.3 Mt at 1.804 g/t (600,000 oz), Indicated Mineral Resources of 74.8 Mt at 1.350 g/t (3.25 Moz) and additional Inferred Mineral Resources of 20.2 Mt at 1.48 g/t gold (960,000 oz), prepared in accordance with the requirements of National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”). The Mineral Resources are confined within a pit shell defined by a gold price of US$1,300/oz and a cut-off grade of 0.4 grams per tonne gold. Mineral Reserves have also been defined with Proven Mineral Reserves of 8.25 Mt at 1.99 g/t (530,000 oz) and Probable Mineral Reserves of 45.87 Mt at 1.50 g/t (2.2 Moz). The Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves were estimated using a gold price of US$1,200 per ounce at varied cut-off grades from 0.552 to 0.665 grams per tonne gold, dependent on lithological rock types, economics and estimated metallurgical recovery. Montagne d’Or ore can be readily processed to recover the contained gold and silver values using unit operations considered standard to the industry. It is a large and unique Paleoproterozoic gold-rich volcanogenic sulfide deposit, presently drill-defined over a strike extent of 2,300 meters and to a vertical depth of 200 to 250 meters.
Nord Gold plc (“Nordgold”) first earned a 50.01% interest in the project in September 2017 by spending US$30 million and completing a Bankable Feasibility Study (“BFS”). Nordgold then acquired an additional 5% interest pursuant to a share purchase agreement.
The 2017 BFS contemplates an open pit operation over a 12-year mine life. Highlights of the BFS at a gold price of US$1,250 per ounce are as follows:
- After-tax Net Present Value (NPV) at a 5% discount rate: US$370 million
- After-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR): 18.7%
- After-tax payback period: 4.1 years
- Average annual gold production for years 1 to 10: 237,000 ounces
- Average gold grade for years 1 to 10: 1.73 grams per tonne gold
- All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) for years 1 to 10: US$749 per ounce of gold
- Initial capital expenditures (after surplus tax credit): US$361 million
The BFS economic model gold price sensitivity shows that the after-tax project NPV at a 5% discount rate changes approximately US$1.24 million for every US$1 change in gold price. At a gold price of US$1,500 per ounce, the NPV and IRR increase respectively to US$681 million and 26.7%.
Upside Potential of Montagne d’Or
There are several opportunities to increase the current Mineral Reserves and mine life within the designed resource pit. Approximately 2 million ounces of Mineral Resources are not converted to Mineral Reserves, which include Inferred Mineral Resources of 960,000 ounces of gold at average grade of 1.48 grams per tonne gold. Infill drilling has the potential to convert some of these Inferred Mineral Resources to higher resource classification categories.
There is also the potential to lower the cut-off grade used for the Mineral Reserve estimates, in consideration of the current higher gold price, which could convert some additional Indicated Mineral Resources into Mineral Reserves.
Limited drilling has been carried-out outside the resource pit. The 2017 drilling program was successful in confirming gold mineralization up to 400 meters on strike to the west (0.56 g/t gold over 58.1 meters, including 2.32 g/t gold over 9.0 meters) and at depth, 100 meters below the resource pit (0.92 g/t Au over 41.2 meters, including 1.92 g/t Au over 17.7 meters) (see Orea’s news release dated August 15, 2017).
For more information, see Orea’s news release titled “Columbus Gold Announces Positive Bankable Feasibility Study for Montagne d’Or Gold Project, French Guiana” dated March 20, 2017 and filed on SEDAR and the technical report prepared in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101 titled “NI 43-101 Technical Report, Bankable Feasibility Study – Montagne d’Or Project, French Guiana” by SRK Consulting for Columbus Gold (now Orea Mining) and Nordgold with an Effective Date of March 6, 2017, and a report date of April 28, 2017, which was filed on SEDAR on April 28, 2017.
Rock Lefrançois, President & Chief Executive Officer of Orea and Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed this news release and is responsible for the technical information herein, including verification of the data disclosed.
About Orea Mining Corp.
Orea is a leading gold exploration and development company operating in a prospective and underexplored segment of the Guiana Shield, South America. Its mission is to develop gold deposits with a reduced environmental footprint using innovative technologies, upholding the highest international standards for responsible mining. In French Guiana, Orea holds a major interest in the world-class Montagne d’Or mine development project and is also advancing the Maripa gold exploration project.
For more about Orea visit the company’s website at www.oreamining.com
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD:
President & CEO
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Certain statements made herein, including statements relating to matters that are not historical facts and statements of the Company’s beliefs, intentions and expectations about developments, results and events which will or may occur in the future, constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation (“forward-looking statements”). Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance, reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and are typically identified by words such as “anticipate”, “could”, “should”, “expect”, “seek”, “may”, “intend”, “likely”, “budget”, “plan”, “estimate”, continue”, “forecast”, “believe”, “predict”, “potential”, “target”, “would”, “might”, “will”, and similar words, expressions or phrases (including negative variations) suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook. These include, but are not limited to, statements and information regarding: the Company’s plans to construct and develop the Montagne d’Or project, including anticipated timing thereof; the satisfaction of regulatory requirements in respect of the permitting and construction of the Montagne d’Or project, including but not limited to, the submission and processing of mine permit applications, the timing thereof; the Company’s ability to renew the concessions for the Montagne d’Or project and to comply with the conditions thereof; economic analysis for the Montagne d’Or project and related exploration objectives and plans; the conversion of mineral resources into mineral reserves and the conversion of inferred mineral resources into higher resource classification categories; the upside potential of the Montagne d’Or Project, if any; the Company’s objective of become an emerging gold producer; the acquisition of exploration projects including terms of acquisition, exploration or development plans, intentions to acquire additional exploration or development interests and the implications thereof; the production capacity and potential of future plant and equipment; future exploration and mine plans, objectives and expectations and corporate planning of the Company, future studies and environmental impact statements and the timetable for completion and content thereof and statements as to management’s expectations with respect to, among other things, the matters and activities contemplated in this news release.
Forward-looking statements are made based upon certain assumptions and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Such assumptions and analyses are made by the Company’s management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. All assumptions and analyses are those of the Company’s. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies, local and global economic conditions, and the environment in which the Company will operate in the future, including compliance by the Company with regulatory and permitting requirements applicable in French Guiana, the sufficiency of Company’s working capital; the Company’s ability to secure additional funding for the continued exploration and development of its properties; the price of gold and other metals; and the Company’s ability to retain key personnel. You are hence cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, among others, political and economic risks in France, political and economic risks in French Guiana, risks related to the renewal applications for the Concessions and the possible outcomes thereof; possible negative outcomes of any appeals from the decision of the Administrative Court of Cayenne in French Guiana; regulatory risk including but not limited to unforeseen changes in regulatory requirements, the Company’s ability to enforce its contractual and other legal rights to explore and exploit its properties, risks related to exploration and development, permitting and licensing risk, the estimation of mineral resources and mineral reserves and related interpretations and assumptions, future profitability of the Company, the ability to obtain additional financing on a timely basis, the price of gold and marketability thereof, government regulations including with respect to taxes, royalties, land tenure and land use, title to the Company’s properties, currency exchange rates and fluctuations, environmental risks, dilution resulting from the issuance of additional securities of the Company, joint venture risks, reliance on Nord Gold SE as operator of the Montagne d’Or project, the availability of equipment, conflicts of interest, competition in the mining industry, uninsured risks, market fluctuations, global financial conditions, credit risk and risks arising from pandemics and epidemics such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. These statements, however, are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
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