SAGUENAY, QUÉBEC– (October 24, 2013) – Arianne Phosphate Inc. (the “Company” or “Arianne”) (TSX VENTURE:DAN) (FRANKFURT:JE9N) (OTCBB:DRRSF) is pleased to announce the positive results of the feasibility study (“Feasibility Study” or “FS”) for its Lac à Paul Phosphate Rock Project (“Lac à Paul” or “the Project”), located north of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean in Québec, Canada.
The FS outlines an open pit mine, a concentrator producing a high quality apatite product and a transport system delivering the product to a year round deepwater port on the Saguenay River. The study was prepared by Cegertec WorleyParsons with contributions from Dessau for tailings storage and impoundment and water management, and SGS Canada Inc. and Ernst & Young for financial modeling and economic analysis. Additional technical elements of the study have been authored by Genivar (waste rock dump design and Environmental Impact Assessment), Hydro Ressources, Journeaux Associates, CRU International and Integer Research Ltd. The FS relies on a certified National Instrument (“NI 43-101”) compliant Mineral Resource authored by Goldminds Geoservices Inc. and published by Arianne on March 7th, 2013. In addition, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Jacobs) and COREM have conducted the metallurgical test work including pilot test work for the process design. L. Nardella Associates Ltd also supported Cegertec WorleyParsons in cost estimating and project execution planning. (All dollars amounts expressed in US dollars unless otherwise indicated and all tonnes are metric tonnes)
- Net Present Value (“NPV”) of US$ 1,910.1 million at an 8% discount rate.
- Gross revenue, in real terms, of US$ 16,124.8 million and operating cash flow of US$ 7,379.6 million.
- Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 20.7% with a capital payback of 4.4 years before taxes and mining duties.
- A 25.75 year mine life (excluding pre-production) with an average annual phosphate concentrate production of 3 million tonnes with a grade of 38.6% P2O5 and with average mill recovery of 90.0%
- The Initial Capital Cost of the Project is US$ 1,214.7 million comprising US$ 982.5 million for the mine and US$ 232.2 for the concentrate transport system that delivers product to the deepwater Port of Saguenay open 365 days per year.
- The All-In Cost onboard the Ship in the Port of Saguenay is US$ 93.7/tonne life of mine (LOM) (i.e. FOB Port of Saguenay), yields an operating margin of 56% with an average selling price of $213/tonne at the port.
- Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources in the Paul Zone alone of 590 million tonnes grading an average of 7.1% P2O5 at a 4.0% cut-off grade (does not include 164 million tonnes of Manouane Zone mineral resources).
- 75.7 million tonnes of saleable concentrate at 38.6% P2O5 in Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves reported at 3.5% P2O5 cut-off grade of 472.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 6.9 % P2O5 (taken from the Paul Zone Mineral Resource).
- Confirmed power availability of 115MWatt at the Chute des Passes power plant located 30 km from the mine.
Brian Kenny, the CEO of Arianne commented: “We are extremely pleased with the results of the Feasibility Study, showing Lac a Paul to truly be a world class asset. It is important to note that, as opposed to Arianne’s 2012 Pre Feasibility Study (PFS) that combined both the Paul and Manouane zones to get a mine life of 17 years, the FS considers only the Paul Zone. As a result of subsequent drilling through 2011 and 2012, the mine life from just the Paul Zone alone stands at 25.75 years for the FS. The Manouane resource could potentially provide an additional 8 years of mine life based on the 2012 PFS study. The FS study conclusively demonstrates an excellent long life project with high margins and low operating costs that will produce a low-contaminant, high-quality phosphate concentrate. Additionally, our optimised transport solution provides a low all-in cost on the ship in the deep-water Port of Saguenay for export 365 days per year to the global market making the product commercially competitive with its peers. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in the development of our Lac-a-Paul Project, the world’s largest greenfield phosphate rock project.
Jean-Sébastien David, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Arianne commented: “Where the FS has successfully shown the attractive scope, size and economics of the Project, Arianne has also been busy on other important aspects of project development including environmental, permitting and community relations. Meetings and consultations with the First Nations and other communities have been a major focus for Arianne. In addition, discussions with the various regulatory agencies are proceeding. Arianne filed its Environmental Impact Assessment in June of this year. We are pleased to operate in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region where the regional population has been supportive of the Project and encouraging for some time. Over the coming months, we plan to stay in close contact with the population, regional government agencies and other stakeholders, and continue to work closely with them to develop the Project and maximise the economic benefits for the region.”
Brian Kenny summarized: “The FS shows Lac à Paul to be a project with great economic potential, with open horizons for additional resources and a clear path to permitting in one of the world’s best mining jurisdictions.”
Arianne will host a conference call on the Lac à Paul FS on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time. To participate in the call, dial 1-800-732-6870 (Canada/United States) or 416-641-6202 (International) callers. A live webcast of the call can be accessed through our website at www.arianne-inc.com.
If you are unable to participate in the conference call, a replay will be available starting October 25, 2013 at 13:00 pm EST by dialing 1 800-558-5253 (Canada and United States) or 416-626-4100 (International), until December 25, 2013. The passcode is 21682126.
This Feasibility Study was conducted subsequent to the updated Pre-Feasibility Study, which included the 164 million tonnes M&I resources of Manouane Zone, published by Arianne on July 1, 2012. The FS includes a mineral resource estimate and a mine plan based only on the Paul Zone resources. The results of the FS establish the technical and economic feasibility of an open pit mining operation based on the Paul Zone resources, crushing, grinding and flotation concentration of the phosphate ore, and its transport to a deepwater port based on the Saguenay River which is open 365 days per year.
This Feasibility Study demonstrates a profitable project with strong economics, based on a milling rate of 55,000 tonnes per day with an average 18.6 Mt/year of run of mine ore supplied to the process plant when full production is reached. The study shows that the pre-tax IRR is 20.7% and the pre-tax NPV is $1,910.1 million at an 8% discount rate and the payback period is 4.4 years. The following table is a summary of the key assumptions, operating highlights and project economics.
Based on all operating costs outlined in the Feasibility Study, the phosphate concentrate annual operating cost FOB Port of Saguenay is US$ 93.7/tonne. Table 3 shows a breakdown of operating cost per tonne.
The capital cost in Table 5 is for the Lac à Paul Project based on a milling rate of 55,000 tonnes per day, and is based on Cegertec WorleyParsons’ standard methods applicable for a Feasibility Study.
All duties and taxes are excluded from the capital cost, but are considered in the economic analysis. Escalation and interests incurred during construction are excluded from the capital cost. The effective date for the cost estimate is September, 2013.
The pre-production initial capital cost for the mine and ore processing facility is US$M 982.5, of which US$M 73.9 is contingency. The pre-production initial capital cost for the mine-to-port transportation scope is US$M 232.2, of which US$M 18.1 is contingency.
The open pit mine development, the ore processing facilities and all on-site infrastructure and services necessary to support the mine operation have an estimate accuracy of +/- 15%.
Capital cost for the transport system is estimated at an accuracy of +/- 25%.
The Lac à Paul average price in US$/tonne over a 25.75 year LOM is US$ 213/tonne. The base case phosphate concentrate price model is based on cost input data from marketing studies by CRU International (price forecast base date May, 2013) and Integer Research Ltd (price forecast base date July, 2013).
The CRU “Benchmark FOB Morocco US$/tonne” is used as a basis to then calculate the Lac a Paul average price. The Lac a Paul average price is derived from the CRU Benchmark FOB Moroccan price plus a weighted average premium. The weighted average premium is based on the predicted sales tonnage by location and sales type, high purity rock customer or fertiliser customer, multiplied by the relevant premium for each customer group. The premium data by location for the high purity sales was derived from the Integer market study and the premium data for the fertiliser sales was derived from the CRU market study.
A sensitivity analysis has been carried out, with the base case described above as a reference point, to assess the impact of changes in phosphate concentrate price, total pre-production capital costs and operating costs on the project’s NPV @ 8% and IRR. Each variable is examined independently. An interval of ±40% with increments of 5% was used for all three variables.
The before-tax NPV and IRR are most influenced by price, followed by operating costs and finally capital costs. A 10% increase in the sales price results in an increase of US$M 602.9 in the before-tax NPV at 8%, whereas a 10% increase in either operating costs or construction costs results in decreases of US$M 271.3 and US$M 116.4, respectively.
MINERAL RESOURCES AND MINERAL RESERVES
The anorthositic rock of the Lac-Saint-Jean area represents an assembly of scales (or sheets) that straddle the older gneissic units. Anorthositic massifs are particularly abundant in the Grenville Province. Its economic potential is usually limited to deposits of Fe-Ti-P. The Lac à Paul project contains igneous Fe-Ti-P rich rocks.
The mineral resource estimate incorporates the results of drilling programs undertaken in 2011 and 2012 on the lateral and depth extensions of the Paul Zone. In total, 153 holes, totaling 39,371 meters, have now been drilled on the Paul Zone. The highlights are:
- A cut-off grade of 4.0% P2O5 was used;
- The measured and indicated mineral resource (M+I) of the Paul Zone amounts to 590.24 Mt at 7.13% P2O5 and;
- The mineral resource estimate was calculated according to NI 43-101.
In addition to the mineral resources present in the Paul Zone, NI 43-101 compliant resources have already been estimated for Zones 2 and Manouane in the Lac à Paul property. These resources, released in November 2011 in the NI 43-101 technical report by SGS Geostat (available on SEDAR under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com), have not been updated because no additional drilling has been carried out on these zones since 2011. They are summarized as follows:
It is important to emphasize the very strong growth potential of the Lac à Paul Project. The Paul Zone has considerable potential for extension and is open at depth. In addition, during the exploration and drilling programs conducted in the last three years, six other mineralized sectors were discovered. None of these six sectors (Lise, Lucie, Nicole, Traman, Turc and Traverse) have NI 43-101compliant resource estimates.
In the Paul Zone Proven and Probable mineral reserves are reported to be 472.09 Mt at an average grade of 6.88 % P2O5 with a 3.5% P2O5 cut-off grade. This includes allowance for 2% mining dilution and 97% ore recovery. The stripping ratio for the first 4 years is 0.87 and 1.14 over the mine life. A total of 75.7 million tonnes of saleable concentrate grading at 38.6% P2O5 is defined.
The Lac à Paul FS is based on a single open pit and utilizes only Measured and Indicated mineral resources contained within the Paul Zone, which were considered for the development of mineral reserves.
Cegertec WorleyParsons completed the mining engineering technical work for the FS. The mining work was completed using a block model that was provided to Cegertec WorleyParsons by Claude Duplessis of Goldminds Geoservices Inc. Pit optimizations were performed on the Measured and Indicated resources in the model; the pit design yields a LOM of 25.75 years at a 3.5% P2O5 cut-off grade with average grade of 6.88% P2O5. The final pit takes into account operational parameters such as ramps, recommended geotechnical configurations, and the LOM of 25.75 years (excluding pre-production period). The mineral reserves within the pit are presented in Table 9.
The Paul Zone pit will be mined using conventional methods including drilling, blasting, loading and hauling using shovels and trucks.
METALLURGY AND PHOSPHATE CONCENTRATE QUALITY
The results of the metallurgical test work were that a scale-up to a commercial facility will produce a 38.6% P2O5 product at 90% recovery. Chemical analysis of a representative sample of the final concentrate from the process verification test is given in Table 10.
Overall, the Lac à Paul phosphate concentrate is very high quality for the following reasons: ξ Low CaO/P2O5 ratio leading to low sulfuric acid consumption rates;
- High P2O5 recovery and high gypsum filtration rates are expected with this rock when used as a feed for conventional wet process phosphoric acid production;
- The low CaO/P2O5 ratio will generate low amounts of gypsum; and
- The low MER (minor element ratio) should facilitate easy production of high quality granular fertilizer products, such as MAP and DAP.
The Project is located 200 km north of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region in Quebec, Canada, an industrial region with a high-quality labour pool and good existing infrastructure. Existing infrastructure includes hydropower generating stations with sufficient capacity for the Project, road and rail networks and a deepwater port.
The Lac à Paul Project will be powered by Hydro-Québec through Rio Tinto Alcan’s power system from the Chute-des-Passes generating station which is located less than 30 km from the Project. A 345-kV to 161-kV step down substation will be built at Chute-des-Passes. This new substation will supply the power through a 161-kV transmission line.
Construction of a permanent camp, a fresh process water system and pumping station, tailings impoundments and a water treatment station is planned during the preproduction phase. Waste rock dump will be built in the course of mining operations.
A tailings storage facility, located only 2 km away from the concentrator, was selected to store and manage the tailings for the 25.75 years LOM of the Lac à Paul Project .
PHOSPHATE CONCENTRATE TRANSPORT
The phosphate concentrate will be transported by truck from the mine site on an existing logging road to a deepwater port located on the Saguenay river. As a result of the spring thaw period, the FS assumes road transport will operate at a reduced rate for 30 days. Consequently 30 days of product storage (250,000 tonnes) has been included at the Port and 21 days of storage (200,000 tonnes) at the mine. This efficient solution will allow the product to be transported directly from the mine to the deepwater Port of Saguenay which is open 365 days a year.
The Lac à Paul Project is located within the Fjord-du-Saguenay Regional County Municipality (RCM). According to the RCM’s applicable zoning regulation, the Feasibility Study area overlaps the 20-2F zone, where industrial mining extraction is authorized.
Arianne holds an exclusive lease to all surface rights for the area covering the Project. The project footprint avoids lakes and the fish habitat encroachment has been minimized. The Project will have easy access to water and will take advantage of the topography to construct the tailings impoundment in a highly secured manner at a location approximately 2 km from the concentrator. According to Ministère du développement durable, de l’environnement, de la faune et des parcs (MDDEFP) Directive 019, Arianne’s materials are classified as low risk waste based on leachate results for waste rock, tailings and ore, which will facilitate waste management.
As part of the summer 2011 environmental assessment of the Lac à Paul Project, Arianne began its baseline study. The data acquisition was completed in spring 2013. It was immediately followed by the preparing and filing of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with the MDDEFP in June 2013. The Company is currently working on providing answers and complementary information to the MDDEFP’s requests. Once this process has been completed, Arianne will be able to move on to the next step, the BAPE public hearings (Bureau d’Audiences Publiques en Environnement). The Company’s goal is to finalize the entire process by H2 2014, resulting in a Ministerial Decree.
Based on a federal communication to Arianne dated August 8th, 2013, the Lac a Paul Project is not subject to a federal environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency CEAA (2012) and the Regulations Designating Physical Activities. In addition, considering the non-metal nature of the ore mined, the Project is not subject to Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). However, Arianne must obtain permits from the federal authorities in pursuance of the Explosives Act and the Fisheries Act.
In 2009, Arianne undertook a voluntary sustainable development process. It implemented a Sustainable Development Policy and a Sustainable Development Strategy/Action Plan. As a key element of the strategy action plan Arianne has been since 2011 organizing meetings with local communities. Also the Company has established an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Arianne is one of the few companies of its size to publicly disclose its GHG emissions in its annual and quarterly reports. The Lac à Paul project is on the Nitassinan of three First Nations: the Innu of Mashteuiatsh, Essipit and Pessamit. Arianne has had an ongoing relationship with the Mashteuiatsh nation since 2008 and with the Pessamit nation since 2010. Discussions with the Essipit nation are planned.
COMPARISON FEASIBILITY STUDY AND PRE–FEASIBILITY STUDY
The approach to project development in the FS is very different than that taken in the PFS for many important reasons. Among the major differences is the focus in the FS of requiring only the development of the Paul resource due to the fact that the resource was greatly expanded during the 2011 and 2012 drilling campaigns. This has allowed a single production pit, the crusher to be located closer to the pit limit and for the development of a single tailings impoundment-area. The metallurgical testing campaigns at both JACOBS and COREM have allowed for the development of a concentrator flow sheet which is significantly more evolved than in the PFS. In addition the concentrator has been sized for a 55,000 tonnes/day run of mine throughput versus 50,000 tonnes/day. Additional changes in the concentrator include choice of more precise flotation reagents and the migration from fossil fuel drying to an electric dryer for the final concentrate product. The PFS treatment of the transport system was limited and rudimentary and in the FS this major project challenge has been studied exhaustively to determine the most reliable and low cost solution for the Project. The solution with a shipping dock located on the Saguenay river is very different from the PFS solution. The result of these major improvements and development of project requirements has resulted in a successful FS which however is only very indirectly comparable to the PFS. Bearing this fact in mind Arianne still wishes to provide some comparative data between the previous studies and the current FS.
All of the following Qualified Persons have reviewed and approved the contents of this press release for which they are responsible:
Mr. Frédéric Côté, eng. member of OIQ, working for L. Nardella Associates Ltd., is the independent Qualified Person responsible for capital cost estimate.
Mr. Claude Duplessis, eng. member of OIQ, working for Goldminds Geoservices Inc., is the independent Qualified Person responsible for resource estimate and market studies.
Mr. Gaston Gagnon, eng. member of OIQ, working for SGS Canada Inc., is the independent Qualified Person responsible for financial analysis.
Mr. Michael Kelahan, QP member of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America (MMSA), working for Phosphate Consulting LLC, is the independent Qualified Person responsible for mineral processing and metallurgical testing.
Mr. Simon Latulippe, eng. member of OIQ, working for Genivar, is the independent Qualified Person responsible for permitting, environmental, social, waste rock dump design and closure plan considerations.
Mr. Alex Topalovic, Chartered Professional of AusIMM, working for Cegertec WorleyParsons, is the independent Qualified Person responsible for mine plan and reserve estimate.
Mr. Pascal Vallée, eng. member of OIQ, working for Cegertec WorleyParsons, is the independent Qualified Person responsible for operating cost estimate.
Mr. Ewan Wingate, Chartered Professional of AusIMM and a fellow of the SAIMM, working for Cegertec WorleyParsons, is the independent Qualified Person responsible for market studies and processing plant design.
NI 43-101 Disclosure
The Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates set out in this news release were classified according to the CIM Definition Standards – For Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (as adopted by CIM Council in November 2010).
Readers are advised that Mineral Resources not included in Mineral Reserves do not demonstrate 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 no certainty that Inferred Mineral Resources will be converted to Measured and Indicated categories through further drilling, or into Mineral Reserves, once economic considerations are applied.
Arianne Phosphate will file on SEDAR at www.sedar.com a NI 43-101 compliant technical report on the Lac à Paul FS within 45 days.
About Arianne Phosphate
Arianne Phosphate (“Arianne Phosphate Inc.”) (www.arianne-inc.com) is developing the Lac à Paul phosphate deposits located approximately 200 km north of the Saguenay/Lac St. Jean area of Quebec, Canada. These deposits will produce a high quality igneous apatite concentrate grading 38.6% P2O5 with little or no contaminant. The Company has 79.8 million shares outstanding.
Neither 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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This press release 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 press release and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of mineral resources and exploration targets; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) net present value and internal rates of return of the mining operation; (iv) assumptions relating to capital costs, operating costs and other cost metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (v) assumptions relating to gross revenues, operating cash flow and other revenue metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (vi) assumptions relating to recovered grade, average ore recovery and other mining parameters set out in the Feasibility Study; (vii) mine expansion potential and expected mine life; (viii) expected time frames for completion of permitting and regulatory approvals and making a production decision; (ix) future exploration plans; (x) future market prices for rough Phosphate Concentrate s; and (xi) sources of and anticipated financing requirements. 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”, “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.
Forward-looking statements are made based upon certain assumptions by Arianne Phosphate or its consultants and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performances or achievements of Arianne Phosphate to be materially different from future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies and the environment in which Arianne Phosphate will operate in the future, including the price of Phosphate Concentrate, anticipated costs and ability to achieve goals. Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performances or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) estimated completion date for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment; (ii) required capital investment and estimated workforce requirements; (iii) estimates of net present value and internal rates of return; (iv) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms within commonly experienced time frames; (v) the assumption that a production decision will be made, and that decision will be positive; (vi) anticipated timelines for the commencement of mine production; (vii) anticipated timelines for community consultations and the conclusion of an Impact and Benefits Agreement; (viii) market prices for rough Phosphate Concentrate and the potential impact on the Lac à Paul Project’s value; and (ix) future exploration plans and objectives.
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 risk 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, including the assumption in many forward-looking statements that other forward-looking statements will be correct, but specifically include, without limitation, (i) risks relating to variations in the grade, phosphate rock lithologies and country rock content within the material identified as mineral resources from that predicted; (ii) variations in rates of recovery and breakage; (iii) the greater uncertainty of exploration targets; (iv) developments in world Phosphate Concentrate markets; (v) slower increases in Phosphate Concentrate valuations than assumed; (vi) risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar; (vii) increases in the costs of proposed capital and operating expenditures; (viii) increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing if any; (ix) tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; (x) results of exploration in areas of potential expansion of resources; (xi) changes in development or mining plans due to changes in other factors or exploration results of Arianne Phosphate; (xii) changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; (xiii) risks relating to receipt of regulatory approvals or the conclusion of an Impact and Benefits Agreement with aboriginal communities; (xiv) the effects of competition in the markets in which Arianne Phosphate operates; (xv) operational and infrastructure risks; and (xvi) the additional risks described in Arianne Phosphate’s most recently filed Annual Report, annual and interim MD&A, and Arianne Phosphate’s anticipation of and success in managing the foregoing risks. Arianne Phosphate cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.
When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Arianne Phosphate, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Arianne Phosphate does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by Arianne Phosphate or on our behalf, except as required by law.