0.North Vancouver, B.C., September 25, 2020 – Lion One Metals Limited (TSX-V: LIO) (OTCQX: LOMLF) (ASX: LLO) (“Lion One” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has completed an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (the “Report” or the “PEA”) for the Company’s 100% owned Tuvatu Gold Project (“Tuvatu” or the “Project”) located on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. The Report has been prepared in connection with the Company’s Annual Information Form for the year ended June 30, 2020.
The Report represents an update of the Project to comply with applicable disclosure regulations and is not the attainment of a new milestone for the development of the Project. In particular, the mineral resource estimate used in the PEA is from 2018 and does not include any new drilling completed by the Company in its 2019 – 2020 drill programs. Furthermore, the potential development model set out in the PEA is confined to the current mineral resource inside the permitted mine lease area (SML 62) and does not reflect the expanded Project area following the grant of the adjoining Navilawa Caldera tenement (SPL 1512) in 2019.
“The PEA for Tuvatu demonstrates robust economic potential for a low-cost, high-grade gold operation with low upfront capital costs, enabling rapid payback of capital even at a gold price of US $1,400 per ounce ,” stated Lion One Chairman and CEO Walter Berukoff. “We are encouraged about Tuvatu’s potential for a near-term development and production opportunity, with further exploration and expansion potential as we continue our current drill programs to extend the known mineralization of Tuvatu and the surrounding Navilawa Caldera.”
PEA Highlights (all amounts are quoted in USD utilizing a base case gold price of $1,400 per oz.):
- Pre-tax Net Present Value (“NPV”) of $155.8 million (5% discount rate)
- Pre-tax Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 60.3%
- Operating costs of $503 per oz.; All-in sustaining costs (AISC) of $586 per oz. (pre-tax)
- 5 year payback period (pre-tax) on $66.8 million capex
- Gold production of 331,369 oz. at an average grade of 8.6 g/t Au
Summary Economics at USD$1,400 per oz. Gold Price
A PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
Sensitivity of NPV and IRR to Variations in Gold Price
Tetra Tech prepared an economic evaluation of the Project using the gold price of US$1,400/oz (base case), the following financial parameters were calculated:
- Pre-tax IRR of 60.3% and After-tax IRR of 50.9%
- Pre-tax NPV of $155.8 million and After-tax NPV of $121.7 million (5% discount rate)
- 5-year payback (pre-tax) and 1.7-year (after-tax) on $66.8 million of initial capital
The economic evaluation of the Project includes a sensitivity analysis to variations in gold price (see table below). At $2,000 per Au oz., the following financial parameters were calculated:
- Pre-tax IRR of 99.3% and After-tax IRR of 85.0%
- Pre-tax NPV of $307.9 million and After-tax NPV of $243.4 million (5% discount rate)
- 0.88-year payback (pre-tax) and 1.04 year (after-tax) on $66.8 million of initial capital
The Mineral Resource models and estimates, and the site visit were conducted by Mr. Ian Taylor, B.Sc. (Hons), G.Cert. Geostats, M.AusIMM (CP) (Qualified Person [QP]) of Mining Associates Pty Ltd. (“MA”). The Mineral Resource estimate was completed in January 2018 following the completion of the 2016/2017 diamond drilling program and field exploration. This Mineral Resource estimate does not include the 2019-2020 diamond drilling program.
The Mineral Resource has been estimated for each vein individually using Ordinary Kriging (OK) of width and grade, the latter using accumulations, into a three-dimensional (3D) block model. The Mineral Resource has been estimated for each vein individually based on the current drill hole database, historic block models, and geological wireframes. The effective date for the Mineral Resource estimate is January 8, 2018 (See sensitivity of Mineral Resource to cut-off grade in Table Below).
The reader is cautioned that the Report includes the use of Inferred Mineral Resources, which are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves, and as such, there is no certainty the economic results presented in the Report will be realized. The PEA is preliminary in nature and uses Inferred mineral resources.
Capital Cost Estimates
Tetra Tech prepared a capital cost estimate for the PEA with inputs from Entech, Wood, and Lion One. Tetra Tech established the capital cost estimate using a hierarchical work breakdown structure. The accuracy range of the estimate is +35%/-30%. The base currency of the estimate is Canadian dollars. The total estimated initial capital cost for the design, construction, installation, and commissioning of the Project is USD$66.8 million (CDN$89.1 million), including an average contingency of approximately 16% of the total direct costs. See Estimated Capital Costs table below:
Estimated Initial Capital Costs
Operating Cost Estimates
The on-site average operating costs, at a mill feed rate of 1,000 t/d were estimated to be USD$97.35/t (CDN$129.81/t) of material processed. The operating costs are defined as the direct operating costs including mining, processing, site servicing, and G&A costs, including related freight costs.
The cost estimates in this section are based on the consumable prices and labour salaries/wages from Q2 2020, or information from Tetra Tech and other consulting firms’ in-house database. The expected accuracy range of the operating cost estimate is +35%/-30%. It is assumed that operation personnel will reside in towns or villages nearby. There will be no accommodation or catering services provided at site. Personnel will be bussed to site by the Owner. The operating costs exclude shipping and refining charges for the doré produced; these costs are included in the financial analysis.
Operating Cost Estimates (per tonne milled)
Preliminary Economic Assessment Parameters – Cautionary Statement
A PEA should not be considered a prefeasibility or feasibility study, as the economics and technical viability of the Project have not been demonstrated at this time. A PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the conclusions or results reported in the Technical Report will be realized. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
The Report is based on low accuracy level technical and economic assessments and is insufficient to support estimation of mineral reserves or to provide assurance of an economic development case at this stage; or to provide certainty that the conclusions of the Preliminary Economic Assessment will be realized.
The scientific and technical content of this news release has been reviewed, prepared, and approved by Mr. Stephen Mann, P. Geo, Managing Director of Lion One, who is a qualified person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI-43-101).
About Lion One Metals Limited
Lion One’s flagship asset is 100% owned, fully permitted high grade Tuvatu Alkaline Gold Project, located on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. Lion One envisions a low-cost high-grade underground gold mining operation at Tuvatu coupled with exciting exploration upside inside its tenements covering the entire Navilawa Caldera, an underexplored yet highly prospective 7km diameter alkaline gold system. Lion One’s CEO Walter Berukoff leads an experienced team of explorers and mine builders and has owned or operated over 20 mines in 7 countries. As the founder and former CEO of Miramar Mines, Northern Orion, and La Mancha Resources, Walter is credited with building over $3 billion of value for shareholders.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of
Lion One Metals Limited
Chairman and CEO
For further information Leo Karabelas
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This press release may contain statements that may be deemed to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are forward looking information. Generally, forward-looking information may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “proposed”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases, or by the use of words or phrases which state that certain actions, events or results may, could, would, or might occur or be achieved. This forward-looking information reflects Lion One Metals Limited’s current beliefs and is based on information currently available to Lion One Metals Limited and on assumptions Lion One Metals Limited believes are reasonable. These assumptions include, but are not limited to, the actual results of exploration projects being equivalent to or better than estimated results in technical reports, assessment reports, and other geological reports or prior exploration results. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Lion One Metals Limited or its subsidiaries to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and other factors may include, but are not limited to: the stage development of Lion One Metals Limited, general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; the actual results of current research and development or operational activities; competition; uncertainty as to patent applications and intellectual property rights; product liability and lack of insurance; delay or failure to receive board or regulatory approvals; changes in legislation, including environmental legislation, affecting mining, timing and availability of external financing on acceptable terms; not realizing on the potential benefits of technology; conclusions of economic evaluations; and lack of qualified, skilled labour or loss of key individuals. Although Lion One Metals Limited has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Lion One Metals Limited does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.