Capstone Extends Pinto Valley Mine Life to 2026
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –
(all amounts in US dollars)
Capstone Mining Corp. (“Capstone”) (TSX: CS) today announced the results of the
Pre-Feasibility Study – Mine Life Extension (“PV2 PFS”) for its wholly owned Pinto Valley
Mine in Arizona, US, which extends the mine life by 8 years from 2018 to 2026.
- Average annual production for the first five years is 128.4 million pounds of copper contained in concentrate and 6.6 million pounds of copper cathode. Life of Mine ("LOM") annual production of 119.5 million pounds of copper contained in concentrate plus 6.3 million pounds of cathode copper, and 1.4 million pounds of molybdenum and 235,000 ounces of silver credited to concentrate annually. - After-tax net present value (NPV), discounted at 8%, of $738 million. - Expected LOM C1 cash costs are estimated to be $2.00 per pound of payable copper (net of copper cathodes, molybdenum and silver by-product credits). - The LOM strip ratio is 0.65:1. - Total sustaining capital costs estimated to be $187.9 million over 12.3 years. - Pinto Valley Mine will operate to 2026 under the PV2 PFS parameters, including Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves of 232 million tonnes at 0.33% copper. - With an economic cut-off grade ("COG") of 0.18% copper, the Mineral Resource has increased by 61% to 1,563 million tonnes at 0.30% copper from 968 million tonnes at 0.35% copper with a 0.25% COG published in December 2013. The contained copper within the Mineral Resource increases by 40%. - Capstone believes there is potential to extend the operational life beyond the PV2 reserve life if Mineral Resources not included in the PV2 mine plan can be successfully converted into Mineral Reserves. Capstone intends to commence engineering and economic studies to consider all remaining current Mineral Resources not included in the PV2 mine plan and their potential for development beyond 2026.
“The Pinto Valley PFS has validated the purchase price and confirms our position as a
leading intermediate copper producer,” said Darren Pylot, President and CEO of Capstone.
“Completion of the PV2 PFS extends the mine life to 2026 and provides us with the platform
to stabilize operations, gain efficiencies and gives us the opportunity to take a
longer-term view towards the future of the Pinto Valley Mine in Arizona.”
“The PV2 PFS does not include all the projected impact of the process improvements
that are underway at the mine, which we expect to generate cost savings in the years
ahead,” continued Mr. Pylot. “As well as pursuing operating efficiencies, we have started
the work required to evaluate a possible mine life extension beyond 2026 and a potential
increase in throughput.”
1. This is an alternative performance measure; please see “Alternative Performance
Measures” at the end of this release.
The PV2 PFS project was directed by Capstone with contributions from Kirkham
Geosystems Ltd. (geology, Resource estimation), Independent Mining Consultants Inc.
(reserve, geotechnical, mine design and schedule, equipment selection), KWM Consulting
Inc. (metallurgy, mill operation), AMEC Environment & Infrastructure Inc. (tailings),
Stantec (Infrastructure and PFS report compilation), SRK (US), Inc. (environmental), and
Adam M Consulting Inc. (financial modelling). Personnel from each of these companies will
be signing off as a Qualified Person (“QP”) as defined in National Instrument 43-101
Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects of the Canadian Securities Administrators
(“NI 43-101″) for their specific responsibilities.
The Pinto Valley Mine is a conventional open pit operation, with drilling, blasting,
loading and hauling. The mill operation consists of a primary, secondary, tertiary
crushing system, six ball mills, and flotation concentration. The mill produces a copper
and molybdenum concentrate. Copper cathodes are produced through a SX/EW plant by leaching
of run of mine (“ROM”) material above 0.10% copper and below 0.18% copper grade.
The mine has been in operation since 1974 with three shutdown periods. Most recently
the mine was restarted in December 2012. The mine is operated in imperial units (US) with
production statistics converted to metric for reporting purposes.
Mineral Resource Estimate, March 2014, at a 0.18% Cu Cut-off Grade, Metric Contained Contained Tonnes Copper Molybdenum Copper Molybdenum millions % % M lbs M lbs Measured (M) 660.4 0.34 0.008 5,014.3 119.4 Indicated (I) 902.5 0.28 0.006 5,491.8 123.4 Total M&I 1,563.0 0.30 0.007 10,506 242.8 Inferred 58.2 0.23 0.005 298.5 6.8
1) Mineral Resources are reported inclusive of Mineral Reserves. 2) Totals may not sum exactly due to rounding.
The March 2014 Mineral Resource was estimated by Kirkham Geosystems Ltd. The updated
Mineral Resource statement, based on additional drill hole information not included in the
previous Mineral Resource Estimate, increased the Mineral Resource by 75.0 million tonnes
from the last Mineral Resource Estimate completed in December 2013. The Mineral Resource
Estimate includes the Mineral Reserve.
Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic
viability. Mineral Resource Estimates do not account for mineability, selectivity, mining
loss and dilution. These Mineral Resource Estimates include Inferred Mineral Resources
that are normally considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations
applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is
also no certainty that these Inferred Mineral Resources will be converted to Measured and
Indicated categories through further drilling, or into Mineral Reserves, once economic
considerations are applied.
The Mineral Reserve evaluation is constrained by the permitted capacity of existing
tailings facilities, thereby limiting the mine life to 12.3 years. The Mineral Reserve was
developed by tabulating the contained measured and indicated (proven and probable)
material inside of the designed pit at the mill cut-off grades.
Mineral Reserve Estimate, January 1, 2014,, Contained Contained Classification Ore Cu Moly Copper Molybdenum M tonnes % % M lbs M lbs Proven 218.97 0.33 0.008 1,593.1 38.6 Probable 13.25 0.33 0.008 96.4 2.3 Proven + Probable 232.22 0.33 0.008 1,689.5 41.0
1) Economic inputs to the block model were $2.75 per pound copper, mining $2.02 per tonne moved, mill $5.50 per tonne processed, G&A $1.65 per tonne processed and an average copper recovery of 88%. 2) Cut-off Grade - 0.18% Cu 2014-2022, excess ore below 0.20% Cu was stockpiled for processing in 2025-2026. An internal cut-off grade of 0.17% Cu was applied in 2023-2025. 3) QP - John Marek, Independent Mining Consultants Inc.
The mine design was completed using standard open pit assumptions and slope design
angles as defined by geotechnical consultants.
Mine Production Schedule
The PV2 project will extend production at the Pinto Valley Mine to 2026 from the BHP
Billiton Ltd. (“BHPB”) published Mineral Reserve which was being mined under a plan that
operated until 2018. Mine production will increase from 22.6 million metric tonnes in 2014
to approximately 42.3 million metric tonnes in 2016 to 2019 and then decrease through to
2025. The PV2 LOM strip ratio is 0.65.
Pinto Valley Mine Schedule LG Stockpile at 0.18 to Mill Ore 0.20% Cu LG Year Cut-off Ore Cu Moly Stkp Cu Moly M M Cu% tonnes % % tonnes % % 1 2014 0.22 18.25 0.39 0.008 1.090 0.20 0.007 2 2015 0.22 18.25 0.34 0.008 4.296 0.20 0.007 3 2016 0.20 18.98 0.38 0.008 1.809 0.19 0.004 4 2017 0.20 18.98 0.33 0.008 0.847 0.19 0.008 5 2018 0.20 18.98 0.33 0.009 3.781 0.19 0.007 6 2019 0.19 18.98 0.32 0.010 2.674 0.18 0.006 7 2020 0.20 18.98 0.33 0.011 2.350 0.19 0.005 8 2021 0.20 18.98 0.33 0.008 1.782 0.19 0.005 9 2022 0.18 18.98 0.32 0.006 - - - 10 2023 0.17 18.98 0.31 0.006 - - - 11 2024 0.17 18.98 0.35 0.007 - - - 12 2025 0.17 6.27 0.34 0.007 TOTAL 213.59 0.34 0.008 18.629 0.19 0.006
Pinto Valley Mine Schedule Leach at 0.10 to 0.18% Cu Waste Total LG Year Leach M Cu Material Material tonnes % M tonnes M tonnes 1 2014 2.185 0.15 1.048 22.573 2 2015 5.435 0.14 4.332 32.312 3 2016 9.106 0.15 12.379 42.275 4 2017 9.141 0.13 13.307 42.275 5 2018 8.548 0.15 10.965 42.275 6 2019 15.231 0.15 4.361 41.246 7 2020 7.355 0.14 0.788 29.474 8 2021 3.933 0.15 0.610 25.304 9 2022 3.746 0.14 0.309 23.035 10 2023 4.814 0.13 0.977 24.772 11 2024 1.129 0.14 - 20.110 12 2025 6.270 TOTAL 70.623 0.14 49.076 351.919
Low grade ore (0.18-0.20% copper) will be stockpiled from 2014 to 2022 for planned
processing in 2025 and 2026. In 2023 to 2025 a breakeven cut-off grade of 0.17% copper is
used. Material grading 0.10% to 0.18% copper (leach) will be stockpiled and leached. The
leach solution will be sent to the existing SX/EW plant for the production of copper
cathode. Waste material below 0.10% copper will be stored separately.
Ore production in the PV2 PFS is constrained, first by the permitted capacity of the
tailings dam, and eventually would become further constrained by the surface ownership.
There is a significant amount of additional Mineral Resource that could potentially be
mined if the constraints were removed.
The PFS has identified the need for additional mining equipment from 2014 to 2017 to
meet the increased production requirements, costing approximately $48 million.
Major Mining Equipment Current Additional Fleet Fleet Drills 2 1 Cat 994 Loaders 3 - Hydraulic Shovel - 2 Cat 789 15 4
Additional auxiliary fleet will also need to be purchased, which is included in the
Ore feed to the mill is planned to continue at 50,000 metric tonnes per day, or 18.2
million metric tonnes per year for the first two years followed by an increase to 52,000
metric tonnes per day or 18.9 million metric tonnes per year for the remaining life of the
mine. Low grade ore that will be stockpiled earlier in the mine life will be processed in
2025 and 2026. Metal recoveries average 88.0% for copper and 42.8% for molybdenum.
Mill Ore Year Cut-off Ore Cu Moly Cu% M tonnes % % 1 2014 0.22 18.250 0.39 0.008 2 2015 0.22 18.250 0.34 0.008 3 2016 0.20 18.980 0.38 0.008 4 2017 0.20 18.980 0.33 0.008 5 2018 0.20 18.980 0.33 0.009 6 2019 0.19 18.980 0.32 0.010 7 2020 0.20 18.980 0.33 0.011 8 2021 0.20 18.980 0.33 0.008 9 2022 0.18 18.980 0.32 0.006 10 2023 0.17 18.980 0.31 0.006 11 2024 0.17 18.980 0.35 0.007 12 2025 Pit-Stk 18.980 0.24 0.006 13 2026 0.18 5.918 0.19 0.006 Total 232.219 0.33 0.008
Payable copper production will vary from 115 million pounds to 140 million pounds per
year, averaging 119.4 million pounds per year, until processing of lower grade ore begins
in 2025. Silver metal in concentrate will average 212,000 payable ounces annually.
Contained and Payable Copper
Contained Copper Payable Copper Concentrate Concentrate Cathode Total Year M lbs M lbs M lbs M lbs 2014 140.0 135.1 6.2 141.3 2015 118.7 114.5 6.3 120.8 2016 141.9 136.9 6.7 143.6 2017 120.5 116.3 6.8 123.1 2018 120.9 116.7 7.1 123.8 2019 115.9 111.9 7.5 119.3 2020 122.2 117.9 7.7 125.6 2021 120.5 116.3 7.3 123.6 2022 118.0 113.9 6.8 120.7 2023 112.6 108.6 6.6 115.2 2024 129.7 125.2 6.4 131.6 2025 87.4 84.3 6.0 90.3 2026 21.6 20.9 5.5 26.4 2027 - - 5.3 5.3 2028 - - 5.2 5.2 2029 - - 5.0 5.0 2030 - - 4.9 4.9
The PV2 PFS assumes that the copper concentrate will be sold 10% domestically and 90%
internationally. Molybdenum production will average 1.4 million pounds per year in
concentrate through the life of the mine. This concentrate will be sold locally. Copper
cathode production will average 6.3 million pounds per year through the life of the mine.
Cathodes will be sold locally.
Pinto Valley Mine has existing infrastructure to support operational needs for the
existing and PV2 operations. Minor upgrades to mine maintenance facilities have been
identified to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the operation. In the open pit
operational area, explosives facilities, power lines, pipelines, and perimeter drainage
ditches will need to be relocated during 2014 and 2015.
Capital Cost Estimate
The total PV2 life of mine project sustaining capital cost estimate is summarized
PV2 PFS - Summary of Capital Costs $M 2014 Total LOM Mine Equipment 21.1 47.6 Mine Infrastructure and Mine Maintenance 5.4 13.0 Concentrator and SX/EW 8.5 23.5 Tailings and Water 2.7 41.3 Other Infrastructure 1.5 51.2 G&A and Engineering Studies 7.6 11.3 Total 46.8 187.9
Operating Cost Estimate
Summary of Average Life of Mine Operating Costs Opex Mining Cost $/tonne mined 2.18 Mining Cost $/tonne milled 3.48 Milling Cost $/tonne milled 5.35 G&A Cost $/tonne milled 1.53 Total $/tonne milled 10.36 SX/EW Cost $/lb Cu cathode 1.80
Summary of Inputs into Economic Model Key Assumptions Cu Price - average 2014-2022 $/lb 3.15 Cu Price - long-term (2023+) $/lb 2.75 Mo Price $/lb 12.5 Ag Price $/oz 20.0 Copper concentrate grade - Cu % 27.5% Copper payable % 96.5% Copper treatment charge $/dmt 85
Financial Analysis $M Copper Revenue 4,656 Moly Revenue 210 Silver Revenue 52 Total Revenue 4,918 Site Costs -2,600 Conc. Transport, TC/RCs -716 Operating Cash Flow 1,602 Sustaining Capital Costs -188 Closure Costs -129 Net Cash Flow, Pre-Tax, Undiscounted 1,285 NPV (8%) Pre-Tax 931 Taxes Payable -274 Net Cash Flow, Post-Tax, Undiscounted 1,011 NPV (8%) Post-Tax 738
Sensitivities Parameter or Variation After Tax NPV NPV @ 0% @ 8.0% ($M) ($M) Copper Price -20% 306 254 -10% 682 512 Base Case 1,011 738 10% 1,324 952 20% 1,620 1,155 Total Operating Costs -20% 1,415 1,011 -10% 1,221 880 Base Case 1,011 738 10% 785 585 20% 537 418
Extension in mine life for PV2 will require amendments to the existing Aquifer
Protection Permit (“APP”) issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
(“ADEQ”) to add proposed low grade and waste dumps as discharge facilities. A Plan of
Operations is currently under review with the US Forest Service related to a consolidation
of permit renewals required for the current operation of Pinto Valley. The scope of PV2
does not require any changes to this application. The impact on the closure plan will also
be considered as part of the review, but is not expected to be material.
The full PV2 PFS NI 43-101 Technical Report will be filed under Capstone’s profile on
SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com within 45 days of the date of this news release.
2014 Operating and Capital Guidance – Pinto Valley
Following is the 2014 production and capital guidance table for Pinto Valley and for
Capstone total production revised now to include Pinto Valley. Capstone expects to produce
102,000 tonnes (plus or minus5%) of copper in concentrates from its Pinto Valley, Cozamin
and Minto mines.
Pinto Valley Cozamin Minto Total Tonnes milled (millions) 18.2 1.2 1.4 20.8 Copper grade (%) 0.39 1.85 1.49 0.55 Copper recovery (%) 88.5 93.4 92.4 89.0 Production (contained in concentrates) Copper (tonnes) 63,500 20,000 18,500 102,000 Copper cathode (tonnes) 2,800 - - 2,800 Zinc (tonnes) - 9,000 - 9,000 Molybdenum (000s lbs) 660 - - 660 Lead (tonnes) - 1,700 - 1,700 Silver (million ounces) 0.3 1.6 0.2 2.1 Gold (ounces) - - 17,670 17,670 C1 cash costs per pound of payable copper produced net of by-product credits and selling costs $1.90-$2.00 $1.30-$1.40 $2.45-$2.55 $1.90-$2.00
1) This is an alternative performance measure please see "Alternative Performance Measure" at the end of this release.
2014 Capital Expenditure Guidance $M Pinto Valley Cozamin Minto Total Sustaining $22.0 $18.0 $17.4 $57.4 PV2 Capital 24.8 - - 24.8 Brownfield Exploration - 3.0 - 3.0 Total 2014 Budgeted Capital Expenditures $46.8 $21.0 $17.4 $85.2
1) Does not include Santo Domingo or Kutcho development projects or greenfield exploration.
Major sustaining capital expenditures at Pinto Valley in 2014 include $8.4 million for
mill and SX/EW, $7.4 million for studies, IT and accounting system changes and other, $2.7
million for tailings and water management and $3.5 million for mining equipment and
sustaining. The implementation of all recommendations in the PV2 PFS are budgeted to be
$24.8 million in 2014, subject to board approval.
About Capstone Mining Corp.
Capstone Mining Corp. is a Canadian base metals mining company, committed to the
responsible development of our assets and the environments in which we operate. We are
focused on copper, with three producing mines; the Pinto Valley copper-molybdenum mine
located in Arizona, US, the Cozamin copper-silver-zinc-lead mine in Zacatecas State,
Mexico and the Minto copper-gold-silver mine in Yukon, Canada. In addition, Capstone has
two development projects; the large scale 70% owned Santo Domingo copper-iron-gold project
in Region III, Chile, in partnership with Korea Resources Corporation, and the 100% owned
Kutcho copper-zinc-gold-silver project in British Columbia, Canada, as well as exploration
properties in Chile and Mexico. Using our cash flow and strong balance sheet as a
platform, Capstone’s strategy is to continue to grow with Mineral Resource and Reserve
expansions and exploration, and through acquisitions in politically stable,
mining-friendly regions. We will pace our growth with our financial capacity, ensuring we
retain, as a priority, sufficient financial flexibility to meet the requirements of our
existing operations and our committed development projects, while maintaining an adequate
cushion to deal with market volatility and operating risks inherent in the mining
industry. Our headquarters are in Vancouver, Canada and we are listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange (TSX). Further information is available at http://www.capstonemining.com
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This document may contain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian
securities legislation and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United
States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (collectively, “forward-looking
statements”). These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document
and Capstone Mining Corp. (the “Company”) does not intend, and does not assume any
obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required under
applicable securities legislation.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect
Company management’s expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are
not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of Mineral Reserves and Mineral
Resources, the realization of Mineral Reserve Estimates, the timing and amount of
estimated future production, costs of production, capital expenditures, success of mining
operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or
claims and limitations on insurance coverage. In certain cases, forward-looking statements
can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is
expected”, “outlook”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”,
“anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and
phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”,
“might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved” or the negative of these terms or
comparable terminology. In this document, certain forward-looking statements are
identified by words including “may”, “future”, “expected”, “intends”, “guidance” and
“estimates”. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown
risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or
achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results,
performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such
factors include, among others, risks related to changes in project parameters as plans
continue to be refined; future prices of resources; possible variations in ore Reserves;
grade or recovery rates; accidents; dependence on key personnel; labour pool constraints;
labour disputes; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the
completion of development or construction activities; our ability to integrate new
acquisitions into our operations; counterparty risks associate with sales of our metals;
foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; accuracy of Mineral Reserve Estimates;
changes in general economic conditions; increased operating and capital costs; operating
in foreign jurisdictions with risk of changes to governmental regulation; compliance with
government regulation; reliance on approvals, licenses and permits from governmental
authorities; impact of climatic conditions; limitations inherent in our insurance
coverage; land reclamation and mine closure obligations; increasing energy prices and
other risks of the mining industry as well as those factors detailed from time to time in
the Company’s interim and annual financial statements and management’s discussion and
analysis of those statements, all of which are filed and available for review under the
Company’s profile on SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com. 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. The
Company provides no assurance that forward-looking 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
Quality Assurance and National Instrument 43-101 Compliance
Gregg Bush, P. Eng., Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Capstone, a
QP under NI 43-101, reviewed and approved all Technical Information in this news release.
The following QP’s will author the technical report: Mel Lawson, P.E. of Stantec, Garth
Kirkham, P.Geo. of Kirkham Geosystems Ltd., John Marek P.E. of Independent Mining
Consultants, Inc., Ken Majors P.Eng. of KWM Consulting Inc, Tony Freiman, P.E. of AMEC
Inc., Adam Majorkiewicz, P.Eng of Adam M Consulting Inc. and Cori Hoag C.P.G. of SRK.
Based on the Mineral Resource Estimate, a standard methodology for pit limit analysis,
mining sequence, and cut-off grade optimization, including application of mining dilution,
process recovery, economic criteria and physical mine and plant operating constraints, has
been followed to design the Pinto Valley pit and determine the Mineral Reserve Estimate
summarized in the Mineral Reserve table.
Alternative Performance Measures
The item marked with (1) “C1 Cash Cost per Pound of Payable Copper Produced” is an
Alternative Performance Measure. This performance measure is included because this
statistic is a key performance measure that management uses to monitor performance.
Management uses this statistic to assess how the Company is performing to plan and to
assess the overall effectiveness and efficiency of mining operations. This performance
measure does not have a meaning within IFRS and, therefore, amounts presented may not be
comparable to similar data presented by other mining companies. This performance measure
should not be considered in isolation as a substitute for measures of performance in
accordance with IFRS.
Cautionary Note to United States Investors
This news release contains disclosure that has been prepared in accordance with the
requirements of Canadian securities laws, which differ from the requirements of US
securities laws. Without limiting the foregoing, this news release may refer to technical
reports that use the terms “Indicated” and “Inferred” Resources. US investors are
cautioned that, while such terms are recognized and required by Canadian securities laws,
the SEC does not recognize them. Under US standards, mineralization may not be classified
as a “Reserve” unless the determination has been made that the mineralization could be
economically and legally produced or extracted at the time the Reserve determination is
made. US investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of Indicated Resources
will ever be converted into Reserves. US investors should also understand that “Inferred
Resources” have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and as to whether they
can be mined legally or economically. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of
“Inferred Resources” will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Therefore, US investors
are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of Inferred Resources exist, or that
they can be mined legally or economically. Accordingly, information concerning
descriptions of mineralization and resources contained in this news release may not be
comparable to information made public by US companies subject to the reporting and
disclosure requirements of the SEC.
For further information: Cindy Burnett, VP, Investor Relations and Communications +1-604-637-8157 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Capstone Mining Corp.