VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 18, 2015) - NGEx Resources Inc. ("NGEx" or the "Company") (TSX:NGQ)(OMX:NGQ) is pleased to announce its operating and financial results for the year ended December 31, 2014 and to provide an update on results of work on its projects during the year.
HIGHLIGHTS AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
Los Helados Project, Chile
- On October 20, 2014, the Company announced the results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA" or the "Study") and an updated Mineral Resource estimate for its 60% owned Los Helados Project. The PEA considered the potential development of a standalone greenfields mining and milling operation comprising an underground block cave mine with a standard sulphide flotation processing plant and all the associated infrastructure. The Study indicates that Los Helados has the potential to become a large mine with low operating costs producing an annual average of 115,000 tonnes of copper, 133,000 ounces of gold, and 675,000 ounces of silver. The PEA highlighted a number of opportunities to potentially improve project economics. A number of studies including additional metallurgical test work and optimizations of the mining plan are underway. Although the PEA only contemplates the construction of a standalone operation the Company believes that there are good opportunities to improve project economics through realizing synergies with nearby deposits including Josemaria. Future studies will evaluate these possibilities.
- In December, 2014 the Company initiated a geotechnical drilling program to assess the block caving characteristics of the deposit. The holes test the high grade core of the deposit which would provide mill feed in the early years of production. The drill holes will also be used to upgrade a portion of the Indicated Resource to the Measured category.
- Baseline environmental studies continued throughout the year.
Josemaria Project, Argentina
- During the first quarter of 2014 the Company completed a 14 hole 7,302 metre drill program designed to test possible extensions and to fill in gaps in the existing drill pattern. The drilling largely defined the limits of the current resource although long intercepts of strong alteration and low grade copper suggest that the system may continue to the northwest. Highlights from the drilling include 0.54% copper and 0.11 g/t gold over 340 metres.
- Metallurgical test work continued through to the end of the year and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015
- Baseline environmental studies continued throughout the year.
- The Company is considering a scoping level study to evaluate the potential for a combined Los Helados-Josemaria operation
Filo del Sol Project, Argentina
- In the first quarter of the year the Company completed total of 8,208 metres of drilling in 23 holes. The drilling program was successful in delineating a zone of high grade copper and silver mineralization. Highlights included some of the highest copper and silver grades intercepted to date including an intercept of 5.80% copper over 22 metres, and 7.59% copper over 10 metres and 314.5 g/t silver over 12 metres.
- On December 2, 2014, the Company announced the initial mineral resource estimate for the Filo del Sol silver-copper-gold deposit. The resource is open in all directions and an 8,000 meter drill program to try to expand the resource is underway. The drilling is also targeting possible feeder zones to the mineralization that have been identified by recent geological mapping and geophysical surveys.
- On June 16, 2014, the Company completed its private placement and sold an aggregate of 17,412,935 common shares for gross proceeds of approximately $35 million.
- On June 19, 2014, the Company completed a secondary listing of its common shares and commenced trading in Sweden on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm.
- On October 23, 2014, the Company announced the acquisition of the 40% interest in the Filo del Sol Project held by its partner Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. ("PPC") for total cash consideration of US$7.0 million. The Company believes that the Filo del Sol Project has excellent exploration potential and has the potential to grow into a significant asset.
- On February 16, 2015, the Company signed a letter of intent to sell its 60% interest in the Assean Lake claims in Manitoba to VMS Ventures Inc. ("VMS").
LOS HELADOS PROJECT, CHILE
On October 20, 2014, the Company announced the results of a PEA completed on the Los Helados Project, together with an updated Mineral Resource Estimate. The proposed project concept is to develop a green-fields underground mine using block cave mining methods, followed by (Semi-Autogenous Grinding) SAG milling and conventional sulphide flotation producing a copper concentrate containing significant gold and silver with all deleterious elements below penalty levels. Further studies are planned during the next 12 months which will focus on opportunities to improve project returns by seeking ways to reduce initial capital costs through realizing potential synergies with other deposits in the region, as well as opportunities to increase the tonnage mined, and potentially to improve metallurgical recoveries. Work is ongoing and a variety of potential development scenarios continue to be considered.
For more detailed information on the PEA and the Resource Estimate refer to the National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report summarizing the results of the PEA and updated Mineral Resource Estimate which can be found on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and on the Company's website (www.ngexresources.com). The PEA was prepared by AMEC International Ingeniería y Construcción Limitada ("AMEC") of Santiago, Chile, under the direction of Anthony George, Project Manager (NGEx Resources).
Field work resumed in the fourth quarter of 2014 and is focused on limited infill drilling to convert a portion of the Indicated Resource to Measured as well as geotechnical drilling in the volume of the conceptual block cave. Baseline environmental programs, including a review of areas for potential infrastructure are ongoing. Field and desktop work in support of the environmental studies were carried out during the current quarter.
Mineral Resource Estimate
Los Helados has a current Mineral Resource at a base case 0.33% copper equivalent ("CuEq") cutoff, as follows:
- 2,099 million tonnes at a grade of 0.38% copper, 0.15 g/t gold, and 1.37 g/t silver for a copper equivalent grade of 0.48% (17.6 billion pounds of copper, 10.1 million ounces of gold, and 92.5 million ounces of silver) in the Indicated Resource category; and
- 827 million tonnes at a grade of 0.32% copper, 0.10 g/t gold, and 1.32 g/t silver for a copper equivalent grade of 0.39% (5.8 billion pounds of copper, 2.7 million ounces of gold, and 35.1 million ounces of silver) in the Inferred Resource category.
Copper Equivalent (CuEq) is calculated using US$3.00/lb copper, US$1,300/oz gold and US$23/oz Ag, and includes a provision for selling costs and metallurgical recoveries corresponding to three zones which vary with depth. The formulas used are: CuEq% = Cu% + 0.6264*Au (g/t) + 0.0047*Ag (g/t) for the Upper Zone (surface to ~ 250m); Cu% + 0.6366*Au (g/t) + 0.0077*Ag (g/t) for the Intermediate Zone (~250m to ~600m); Cu% + 0.6337*Au (g/t) + 0.0096*Ag (g/t) for the Deep Zone (> ~600m).
Mineral Resources are reported within a block cave underground mining shape based on US$13.07/tonne operating costs and including a provision for capital expenditure. The base case cutoff grade of 0.33% CuEq was derived through an economic evaluation of several block cave shapes developed over a range of different cutoff grades and is the cutoff grade which results in a zero NPV.
The Mineral Resource estimate for the Los Helados Project has an effective date of September 19, 2014 and was prepared by Gino Zandonai, B.Sc., M.Sc. Registered Member of the Comision Calificadora de Competencias en Recursos y Reservas Mineras (Chilean Mining Commission), Senior Associate of Behre Dolbear International Ltd. in accordance with NI 43-101. Mr. Zandonai is the Qualified Person for the estimate and is independent of the Company. For more information about the current resource estimate refer to the technical report "Los Helados Cu-Au Deposit Atacama Region III, Chile, NI 43-101 Technical Report on Preliminary Economic Assessment", dated November 25, 2014.
FILO DEL SOL PROPERTY, ARGENTINA
The Filo del Sol Project is an exploration project located approximately 17 kilometres south of Los Helados in San Juan Province, Argentina. A total of 8,208 metres of drilling in 23 holes was completed during the 2013/2014 season which ended on March 5, 2014.
Filo del Sol is a high sulphidation epithermal copper-gold-silver system that overlies a porphyry copper-gold system. Filo del Sol is a very large mineralized system, with minimum dimensions, based on wide spaced drill holes, of 2.8 kilometres in a north-south direction and 1 kilometre in an east-west direction. Overlapping mineralizing events combined with weathering effects, including supergene enrichment, have created several different styles of mineralization at Filo del Sol, including copper-gold porphyry, structurally-controlled gold, manto-style high-grade silver (+/- copper) and high-grade supergene copper enrichment.
On December 3, 2014 the Company announced the initial resource estimate for the deposit. The total Inferred Resource for the Filo del Sol deposit, at a 0.30% CuEq cutoff grade is 280.5 million tonnes at a grade of 0.38% copper, 0.32 g/t gold, 9.7 g/t silver and 54 ppm molybdenum for a copper equivalent grade of 0.66% (2.3 billion pounds of copper, 2.9 million ounces of gold, and 87.8 million ounces of silver). This resource remains open to expansion in all directions. A step out drill program expected to total around 8,000 metres began in December and is expected to continue until early March.
The resource estimate was completed by James N. Gray, P.Geo. of Advantage Geoservices Ltd., an Independent Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Further details of the estimation methods and procedures are described in the Technical Report "Initial Mineral Resource Estimate for the Filo del Sol Property, Region III of Atacama, Chile and San Juan Province, Argentina" dated December 14, 2014 which is available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com or on the Company's website.
On October 23, 2014, the Company announced the acquisition of the 40% interest in the Filo del Sol Project held by its partner PPC for total cash consideration of US$7.0 million effective September 1, 2014. The consideration is payable in two installments: US$3.5 million paid in November 2014 and US$3.5 million by the earlier of November 1, 2015 or upon completion of an administrative restructuring of certain exploration licenses. As a result, the Company holds a 100% interest in the Filo del Sol Project. In addition the Company holds an option to acquire a 100% interest in the Tamberias Project which is located across the international border in Chile and hosts the extension of the Filo del Sol mineralization.
On February 16, 2015, the Company signed a letter of intent to sell its 60% interest in the Assean Lake claims in Manitoba to VMS. In accordance with the terms of the letter of intent, the Company will receive:
- Upon approval by the TSX Venture Exchange, a cash payment of $15,000 and 600,000 common shares of VMS;
- Upon the earliest to occur of the completion of a preliminary economic assessment, a prefeasibility study or a feasibility study, a further 600,000 common shares of VMS; and
- Upon the commencement of commercial production from Assean Lake, a further 600,000 common shares of VMS.
The Company's interest in the Assean Lake claims were written off to nil in the financial statements in previous years.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The Company's net loss for the year ended December 31, 2014 was $23.4 million or $(0.13) per share as compared to a loss of $28.4 million or $(0.17) per share for the year ended December 31, 2013. Net loss from continuing operations was $23.3 million or $(0.13) per share compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $28.3 million or $(0.17) per share for 2013.
The decrease in net loss from continuing operations of $5.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 was primarily due to a reduction in exploration and project investigation expenditures of $3.4 million, a one-time write-down of mineral property interests in 2013 of $1.2 million and a loss on investments in 2013 of $0.7 million. Exploration and project investigation expenditures were lower during the year ended December 31, 2014 at the Los Helados Project and the Josemaria Project compared to 2013. This was offset by increased exploration activity at the Filo del Sol Project.
The net loss from discontinued operations for the year ended December 2013 and 2012 resulted from the Company's decision to divest its non-core African properties and the eventual sale of the Hambok mineral property to Bisha Mining Company in 2012.
The operating losses are a reflection of the Company's status as a non-revenue producing mineral exploration company. As the Company has no source of income, losses are expected to continue.
The costs reported by the Company for the Los Helados Project and the Josemaria Project represent 60% of actual expenditures. In addition to expenditures reported by the Company, each of PPC and JOGMEC fund its 40% pro-rata share of expenditures at the Los Helados Project and Josemaria Project, respectively under joint exploration agreements.
The Company's business is driven by seasonal trends through increased exploration activity during the summer months in South America as well as the achievement of project milestones such as the achievement of various technical, environmental, socio-economic and legal objectives, including obtaining the necessary permits, preparation of engineering designs, as well as receipt of financings to fund these objectives.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
At December 31, 2014, the Company had cash and working capital of $28.5 million and $17.7 million, respectively, as compared to cash and working capital of $21.3 million and $14.2 million, respectively, at December 31, 2013. The increase in cash and working capital is primarily a result of proceeds from the private placement completed in June 2014 offset by exploration expenditures incurred and general and administrative expenses.
Net cash used in operating activities was $23.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 and consisted primarily of the loss from operations of $23.4 million, which included exploration expenditures of $19.3 million and was adjusted for the impact of non-cash items and changes in non-cash working capital items.
Net cash used in investing activities was $4.6 million consisted of the first US$3.5 million payment to acquire PPC's interest in the Filo del Sol Project and expenditures relating to mineral property option payments and equipment purchases.
Cash flow from financing activities was $34.3 million, which comprised of proceeds from the private placement completed in June 2014 and exercise of stock options.
The Company anticipates that its current financial position will provide sufficient working capital to fund its share of planned exploration and project investigation expenditures, which are discretionary, and corporate expenses for the next twelve months. As the Company is an exploration company and has no sources of revenue, additional funding from equity financing, joint ventures or disposition of mineral properties and investments may be required to fund further exploration and corporate expenses.
There can be no assurance that such financing will be available to the Company in the amount required at any time or for any period or, if available, that it can be obtained on terms satisfactory to the Company.
At Los Helados, the completion of the PEA helped identify a number of opportunities to potentially improve the project economics. These include:
- Exploring regional synergies for capital and operating cost reductions;
- Through potential synergies and cooperative development plans with other regional operators to utilize spare capacity of process plants and infrastructure, including desalination plants, water pipeline routes and ports;
- A scoping study on the potential to develop a combined Los Helados-Josemaria operation;
- Through expanding the resource base within our regional land package which includes the Josemaria and Filo del Sol Projects - all within 20 kilometres of the Los Helados deposit;
- Extending the life of mine and project cash-flow of the Los Helados resource through the application of a variable cut-off grade which has the potential to add tonnage to the proposed mine plan;
- Increasing metallurgical recoveries with further test work and optimization;
- Evaluating the use of seawater in the process plant reducing capital and operating costs for the desalination plant;
- Reviewing the suitability of High Pressure Grinding Roll technology (HPGR) which has the potential to reduce overall power use and costs; and
- Delineating more or higher-grade feed material for the process plant through continued exploration.
An infill drilling program started in December 2014 in order to upgrade a portion of the Los Helados mineral resource to the Measured Category and to build upon our geotechnical understanding of the resource volume. Baseline environmental programs will continue.
The Company plans to incorporate the results of the 2013/2014 Josemaria drill program into an updated resource estimate which will be reported in conjunction with completion of the metallurgical test work that is currently underway.
Drilling was also initiated at the Filo del Sol Project in December 2014, designed to expand the resource and infill key areas particularly of the high-grade silver zone. Drilling is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2015 and the new data will be used to update the resource estimate.
NGEx is a Canadian mineral exploration company with exploration projects in Chile, Argentina, and Canada. The Company's shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stockholm under the symbol "NGQ". The Company's focus is on advancing its South American projects which include several large copper-gold systems including the Josemaria, Los Helados, and Filo del Sol projects, located on a land package that the Company holds in Chile's Region III and adjacent San Juan Province, Argentina. Los Helados is part of a joint venture in which the Company holds 60% and Pan Pacific Copper Co., Ltd. holds 40%. Josemaria is part of a joint venture in which the Company holds 60% and Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) owns 40%. In addition, NGEx holds a 100% interest in Filo del Sol amongst an extensive portfolio of other 100% owned early stage exploration projects located in Chile and Argentina. It also owns a 100% interest in the GJ copper and gold project located in British Columbia Canada. The GJ project is optioned to Teck Resources who have earned a 51% interest.
On behalf of the board
Wojtek Wodzicki, President and CEO
The disclosure of scientific and technical information in this news release regarding NGEx's projects, has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Bob Carmichael, B.A.Sc, P.Eng., Vice President, Exploration for the Company, who is a Qualified Person in accordance with the requirements of National Instrument 43-101. For a description of the quality assurance program and quality control measures applied by NGEx, please see NGEx's Annual Information Form dated March 31, 2014 available at http://www.sedar.com.
NGEx's consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014 and related management's discussion and analysis are available on NGEx's website at www.ngexresources.com or under its profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation, concerning the business, operations and financial performance and condition of NGEx Resources Inc. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the timing and nature of any potential development scenarios, opportunities to improve project economics, estimation of commodity prices, mineral resources, costs, the success of exploration activities, expectations with regard to adding to mineral resources through exploration, permitting time lines, currency exchange rate fluctuations, requirements for additional capital, government regulation of mining activities, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims and limitations on insurance coverage. Generally, this forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative connotations thereof. All such forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of the relevant management as of the date such statements are made and are subject to important risk factors and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company's ability to control or predict.
Forward-looking information is necessarily based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: risks and uncertainties relating to, among other things, the inherent uncertainties regarding cost estimates, changes in commodity prices, currency fluctuation, financing, unanticipated resource grades, infrastructure, results of exploration activities, cost overruns, availability of materials and equipment, timeliness of government approvals, taxation, political risk and related economic risk and unanticipated environmental impact on operations as well as other risks and uncertainties described under "Risks Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com and the Company's website.
Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that would 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. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All of the forward-looking information contained in this document is qualified by these cautionary statements. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information.
Forward-looking information is provided for the purpose of providing information about management's current expectations and plans and allowing investors and others to get a better understanding of the Company's operating environment. These factors are not, and should not be construed as being, exhaustive. Statements relating to "mineral resources" are deemed to be forward-looking information, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the mineral resources described can be profitably produced in the future. The forward-looking information contained in this press release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.