Vancouver, B.C. - Bear Creek Mining (TSX Venture: BCM) (“Bear Creek” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on progress made on optimization studies at its Corani Silver-Lead-Zinc deposit as the project advances towards detailed engineering and permitting. The optimization studies, involving three engineering firms led by Global Resource Engineering of Denver, Colorado, have been underway for six months and trade-off studies have identified several design modifications enhancing the project performance that will now be carried forward into the detailed engineering. The project optimizations are not expected to require a new Environmental and Social Impact study (“ESIA”) and it is expected that the Corani project can be moved forward with modifications to the ESIA approved in September, 2013 (see News Release dated September 25, 2013). The modifications, targeting reductions in initial and sustaining CapEx while maintaining low OpEx (very low cash costs/ounce Ag on a by-product basis) and expected high annual silver output, include:
- In-pit tailings deposition beginning as early as year 5 of operations combined with dry-stacking filtered tailings at start-up, either eliminating the tailings dam requirement entirely or, at a minimum, reducing the footprint. This design, for which technology has advanced significantly over recent years, is expected to substantially reduce the CapEx while expected to only marginally increase OpEx. In addition to the economic benefits, permitting is expected to be facilitated by this design as the project footprint (impact area) will be reduced and mine-closure procedures and associated costs are expected to be reduced.
- Tailings pumping over the 22 year projected mine life are expected to be reduced or eliminated improving operating efficiencies and reducing OpEx, more than off-setting the expected increase in OpEx related to tailings filtration and dry stacking.
- Water demands will be reduced as opposed to conventional wet-tailings disposal, eliminating the need for a fresh-water storage dam, which is expected to reduce CapEx by as much as $30M.
- New data regarding acid generating potential indicates that over 50% of the waste rock is not acid generating which allows for in-pit disposal of waste material, reducing haulage distances, CapEx (smaller mine fleet equipment) and OpEx.
- Smaller SAG and ball mill components have been identified for the 22,500 tonnes per day throughput rate while not impacting the metal output of 13.4M ounces silver per year as stated in the 2011 feasibility study filed on SEDAR by the Company on December 22, 2011 entitled “Corani Project, Form 43-101F1 Technical Report, Feasibility Study” (the “FS” or “Feasibility Study”).
- Further studies are underway to consider contract mining for the first 3-5 years. Trade-off studies will consider CapEx savings versus OpEx increases. Innovations in contract mining agreement structures will consider if purchasing the fleet in Year 5 can improve financial performance of the Corani project.
Andrew Swarthout, CEO and President, stated “we are very encouraged by the optimization phases of the detailed engineering which have identified significant opportunities that are expected to maintain the project CapEx in the $600M range of 2011 feasibility, maintain very low operating costs and minimize the environmental footprint. To be able to negate the capital cost creep of the last four years, and preserve the very low cash costs per ounce of silver expected to be produced net of base metal credits (negative for the first seven years of the projected 22 year mine life) is a very important achievement for our Company. The driving factor is that we can minimize, or even potentially eliminate, the tailings impoundment dam, which is the largest capital and sustaining cost item in the 2011 Feasibility Study. These opportunities are being verified by ongoing engineering test work and will be incorporated into the detailed engineering and revised mine plan immediately for preparation of an updated Feasibility Study, expected to be completed by year-end 2014. The improved project design, as well as enhancing the project economics, is also expected to facilitate permitting by defining a lower impact project.”
All scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Andrew Swarthout, P.Geo., the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, who is a “qualified person” within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”).
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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Cautionary Note regarding Technical and Scientific Disclosure and Forward-Looking Statements:
Please refer to the NI 43-101 technical report dated December 22, 2011 entitled “Corani Project, Form 43-101F1 Technical Report, Feasibility Study” available under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com, as well as the Company’s news releases dated November 9, 2011 and January 4, 2012, for further details of the mineral reserves, mineral resources and the Feasibility Study in respect of the Company’s Corani project.
Cautionary Note regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
This document contains “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. This information and these statements, referred to herein as “forward-looking statements” are made as of the date of this news release or as of the date of the effective date of information described in this news release, as applicable. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, without limitation, statements with respect to: (i) modifications, if any, and timing of the ESIA; (ii) the planned development of the Corani project or any of the Company’s other projects, including the timing thereof, and (iii) preparation of a updated Feasibility Study, including the timing thereof. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “projects”, “estimates”, “envisages”, “assumes”, “intends”, “strategy”, “goals”, “objectives” or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s or its consultants’ current beliefs as well as various assumptions made by and information currently available to them. These assumptions include, without limitation: (i) the presence of and continuity of metals at the project at modeled grades; (ii) the capacities of various machinery and equipment; (iii) the availability of personnel, machinery and equipment at estimated prices; (iv) exchange rates; (v) metals and minerals sales prices; (vi) appropriate discount rates; (vii) tax rates and royalty rates applicable to the proposed mining operation; (viii) financing structure and costs; (ix) anticipated mining losses and dilution; (x) metals recovery rates, (xi) reasonable contingency requirements; and (xiii) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms and in the timeframes expected by the Company, including, without limitation, in relation to a modified ESIA or updated Feasibility Study, if any. Although management considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. Many forward-looking statements are made assuming the correctness of other forward looking statements, such as statements of net present value and internal rate of return, which are based on most of the other forward-looking statements and assumptions herein. The cost information is also prepared using current values, but the time for incurring the costs will be in the future and it is assumed costs will remain stable over the relevant period.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, but specifically include, without limitation, risks relating to variations in the mineral content within the material identified as mineral reserves and mineral resources from that predicted; variations in rates of recovery and extraction; developments in world metals and minerals markets; risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar relative to other currencies; increases in the estimated capital and operating costs or unanticipated costs; difficulties attracting the necessary work force; increases in financing costs or adverse changes to global market conditions and the terms of available financing, if any; tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; changes in development or mining plans due to changes in logistical, technical or other factors, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; risks relating timing and to receipt of regulatory approvals; adverse changes to government approval processes; the effects of competition in the markets in which the Company operates; operational and infrastructure risks; and the additional risks described in the Company’s Annual Information Form, annual financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2013 and in the feasibility study entitled “Corani Project, Form 43-101F1 Technical Report, Feasibility Study” filed by the Company on December 22, 2011 filed on the SEDAR website in Canada (available at www.sedar.com). The foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.
When relying on our forward-looking statements, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Company or on behalf of the Company, except as required by law.