Silver Standard Considers Combining Projects
In mid-September, Silver Standard Resources released an NI 43-101 compliant technical report and preliminary assessment, examining the benefits of combining the Snowfield and Brucejack gold-copper projects into a single project. The report considered development of a combined project based on open-pit mines that would produce mill feed at a rate of 120,000 mt/d over a mine life of 27 years. The processing plant would produce a copper-gold-silver concentrate, a molybdenum concentrate and gold-silver doré. Average gold production, including gold in copper concentrate is estimated to be 960,000 oz/y over the first eight years of production and 700,000 oz/y over the life of the mine. Production of copper in concentrate is estimated at 39.5 million lb/y over the first eight years and 44.6 million lb/y life of mine.
Capital expenditures to develop the project, including $454 million for contingencies, are estimated at $3.5 billion. The project has an estimated internal rate of return of 12.4%, using an exchange rate of $0.92 = C$1 and base case metals prices of $878/oz gold, $14.50/oz silver, $17/lb molybdenum, $2.95/lb copper and $7,811/kg rhenium.
Silver Standard emphasized the preliminary nature of the assessment, which includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to allow them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Given that qualification, the estimated mining inventory for Snowfield- Brucejack totals 1,172 million mt at an average mill feed grade of 0.74 g/mt gold, 4.17 g/mt silver, 0.08% copper, 0.01% molybdenum and 0.42 g/mt rhenium, containing 27.8 million oz of gold, 157.2 million oz of silver, 2.14 billion lb of copper, 198.1 million lb of molybdenum and 487 mt of rhenium.