SOURCE: Alderon Iron Ore Corp.

Alderon Iron Ore Corp.

April 05, 2017 09:00 ET

Alderon's Kami Project Will Generate Economic Impacts Canada Wide, Including an Estimated $7.6 Billion in Incomes to Workers and Businesses and $4.4 Billion in Federal and Provincial Government Revenues

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - April 05, 2017) - Alderon Iron Ore Corp. (TSX: IRON) ("Alderon" or the "Company") today released an independent Economic Impact Assessment ("EIA") of the Kamistiatusset ("Kami") Iron Ore Project that indicates significant economic benefits and positive implications for the economies of Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Canada. The Kami Project, which is located in the Labrador Trough, Canada's premier iron ore district, is expected to create more than 100,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs as well as generate $7.6 billion in incomes to workers and businesses, $4.4 billion in total revenue for federal and provincial treasuries and $19.5 billion in GDP over a 26-year period, which includes two years of construction activities. All dollar estimates are denoted in Canadian currency unless otherwise stated.

CEO Commentary

"The release of an independent economic impact assessment represents another significant milestone in our efforts to effectively re-boot the Kami Project and capitalize on improving iron ore market fundamentals," said Mark Morabito, Chairman and CEO of Alderon Iron Ore Corp. "The EIA results provide clear validation that Kami will have a positive economic impact in Labrador and beyond as demonstrated by the more than 100,000 per person years of employment that it is estimated to produce and an estimated $7.6 billion in total incomes expected over the life of the project.

"In Newfoundland and Labrador alone, we expect that Kami will create approximately 32,000 direct, and spinoff jobs, generate more than $2.2 billion in total incomes to workers and businesses and contribute more than $1.8 billion in much needed revenue for the provincial treasury."

The EIA was prepared by Strategic Concepts, Inc. (SCI) and Dr. Wade Locke of Memorial University on behalf of Alderon for the purposes of evaluating the economic impacts expected to emanate from the capital and operating expenditures associated with the development of the Kami Project. The Kami Project's economic impacts were analyzed for the economies for Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, the other Provinces of Canada and Canada as a whole.

Kami's Economic Impact Estimated for Newfoundland and Labrador

The EIA estimates that the Kami Project will, over the life of the project, generate the following benefits for the people, communities and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • $2.2 billion in direct, indirect and induced incomes to workers and local businesses;
  • Approximately 32,000 person years of direct, indirect and induced employment during construction and operations;
  • Approximately $1.8 billion in treasury contributions from total direct, indirect and induced taxes; and
  • $14 billion in contribution to the provincial GDP through incomes generation and the production undertaken.

Kami's Economic Impact Estimated for Quebec

The independent assessment anticipates that the Kami Project will generate the following benefits for the people, communities and the Government of Quebec:

  • $3.2 billion in direct, indirect and induced incomes to workers and local businesses;
  • 42,260 person years of direct, indirect and induced employment during construction and operations;
  • $459 million in treasury contributions through direct, indirect and induced taxes; and
  • $3.2 billion contribution to the provincial GDP.

Kami's Economic Impact Estimated for Canada

The independent assessment calculates that the Kami Project will generate the following benefits for the people, communities, provincial governments and the Government of Canada:

  • $7.6 billion in direct, indirect and induced incomes to workers and local businesses;
  • 100,405 person years of direct, indirect and induced employment during construction and operations;
  • $4.4 billion in total treasury contributions, including $2.0 billion in total contributions to the Federal treasury, through direct, indirect and induced taxes; and
  • $19.5 billion in contribution to the national GDP through income and production.

"Completion of the EIA now paves the way for the next phase of Kami's development," added Mr. Morabito. "Against a backdrop of improving iron ore sector fundamentals, our near-term focus will centre on gaining access to the idled Scully pit for use as a tailings facility and strengthening our leadership team."

The Economic Impact Assessment was based on the production profile, operating cost assumptions and capital cost projections included in the technical report entitled "Re-Scoped Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Kamistiatusset (Kami) Iron Ore Property, Labrador", dated effective February 28 2017 (the "PEA Report"). The economic impacts associated with the development of Kami were analysed from a number of perspectives, including cash-flow, employment, income, GDP, taxation and sensitivity to changes in commodity prices, capital and operating costs.

Wabush Update

The Company has submitted a binding offer (the "Offer") to purchase certain assets related to the Scully Mine that would be required for the Company to dispose of the tailings produced from the Kami Project as described in the PEA (the "Scully Assets"). As consideration for the Scully Assets, the Company has offered to pay $1,000,000 and assume certain liabilities and obligations associated with ownership and operation of the Scully Assets. The Company paid a deposit in the amount of $250,000 which shall be applied against the purchase price on closing.

The Offer was submitted in connection with formal sale procedures developed by Wabush Mines, Wabush Resources Inc., Wabush Iron Co. Limited, Wabush Lake Railway Company Limited (collectively, the "Vendors") in consultation with FTI Consulting Canada Inc. (the "Monitor"). In accordance with the sale procedures, all offers were due before 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on March 27, 2017. The Vendors, in consultation with the Monitor, will review all offers that were submitted and determine whether to accept any of the offers. In the event that the Company's Offer is rejected, the deposit shall be returned to the Company.

If the Company's Offer is accepted, the closing of any transaction related to the acquisition of the Scully Assets is subject to numerous conditions including the execution of a definitive agreement on terms acceptable to the Vendors and the Company, receipt of regulatory approvals, receipt of court approval, and other conditions customary to a transaction of this nature. There is no certainty that the Company's Offer will be accepted, or if the Offer is accepted, that a transaction to acquire the Scully Assets will be successfully concluded.

Preliminary Economic Assessment

Based on the PEA Report, it is estimated the Kami project will require approximately 29 months of construction, and is expected to produce 182 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate over a 24 year operational period. Alderon commissioned the PEA Report to identify capital and operational cost savings as a result of the recent state of the iron ore market.

The following highlights of the PEA Report demonstrate the improved market fundamentals of the project (all amounts in US$):

  • Estimated pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV) at 8% discount rate is US$1.377 billion based on an average production rate of 7.8 million tonnes per year of iron ore concentrate at a grade of 65.2% iron, over the life of the mine;
  • Total estimated capital cost (excluding sustaining capital) is US$897.5 million, reduced from US$1.3 billion in the 2012 Feasibility Study*;
  • Average estimated operating cost is US$31.08/tonne, reduced from US$42.17/tonne in the 2012 Feasibility Study*;
  • The FOB concentrate sales price used in the PEA is US$65.30 per tonne. This price was derived using an iron ore price that is well below the current spot price;
  • Internal rate of return (pre-tax) for the project is 23.8%; and
  • Projected payback period is 3.9 years.

*The 2012 Feasibility Study used an exchange rate of $1.00CDN = US$1.00 and was in constant Q4-2012 dollars. No escalation or inflation was applied to costs to bring them to Q1-2017 dollars. The exchange rate used in this current PEA is $1.00CDN = US$0.77.

On a post-tax basis, the PEA shows a NPV of US$712 million at a cash flow discount rate of 8%. The post-tax IRR for the project is 17.9% and the payback period is 4.7 years. The post-tax analysis is based on a number of assumptions fully set out in the Report.

The PEA Report was prepared under the supervision of Mr. Angelo Grandillo, P.Eng, of BBA, a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101, with contributions from Gemtec and WGM. Mr. Grandillo is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101 and Mr. Grandillo is independent of Alderon. Mr. Grandillo has reviewed and approved the technical information contained in this section of the news release. Mr. Grandillo has verified all the data underlying the technical information disclosed in this section of the news release.

Additional information regarding the Kami Project and results of the PEA can be found in the PEA Report which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com

Alderon is a leading iron ore development company in Canada. The Kami Project, owned 75% by Alderon and 25% by HBIS Group Co. Ltd. (formerly Hebei Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd.) ("HBIS") through The Kami Mine Limited Partnership, is located within Canada's premier iron ore district and is surrounded by two producing iron ore mines. Its port handling facilities are located in Sept-Îles, the leading iron ore port in North America. HBIS is Alderon's strategic partner in the development of the Kami Project and China's second largest steel producer.

For more information on Alderon, please visit our website at www.alderonironore.com

Alderon is part of the King & Bay West group of companies. King & Bay West is a merchant bank and management services company that specializes in identifying, funding, developing and managing growth opportunities in the resource and technology sectors.

ALDERON IRON ORE CORP.
On behalf of the Board
"Mark J Morabito"
Chairman & CEO

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and Canadian securities laws concerning anticipated developments and events that may occur in the future. Forward-looking information contained in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to (i) the details of the re-scoping of the Kami Project including potential capital and operating cost savings, (ii) the market and future price of iron ore and related products; (iii) expected infrastructure requirements; (iv) the ability to access or acquire the Scully Assets, (v) the results of the EIA; and (vi) the results of the PEA Report including statements about future production, future operating and capital costs, the projected IRR, NPV, payback period, construction timelines and production timelines for the Kami Project.

In certain cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words 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" suggesting future outcomes, or other expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, intentions or statements about future events or performance. Forward-looking information contained in this press release is based on certain factors and assumptions regarding, among other things, receipt of governmental and other approvals, the estimation of mineral resources, the realization of resource estimates, iron ore and other metal prices, the timing and amount of future development expenditures, the estimation of initial and sustaining capital requirements, the estimation of labour and operating costs, the availability of necessary financing and materials to continue to explore and develop the Kami Project in the short and long-term, the progress of exploration and development activities, the ability of the Company to gain access to the Wabush Scully Mine site, the ability of the Company to use the multi-user terminal facility at the Port of Sept-Îles, the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, the estimation of insurance coverage, assumptions with respect to currency fluctuations and exchange rates, environmental risks, title disputes or claims, and other similar matters. While the Company considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect.

Forward looking information involves 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 information. Such factors include risks inherent in the exploration and development of mineral deposits, including risks relating to changes in project parameters as plans continue to be redefined including the possibility that mining operations may not commence at the Kami Project, risks relating to variations in mineral resources, grade or recovery rates resulting from current exploration and development activities, risks relating to the ability to access rail transportation, sources of power and port facilities, risks relating to changes in iron ore prices and the worldwide demand for and supply of iron ore and related products, risks related to increased competition in the market for iron ore and related products and in the mining industry generally, risks related to current global financial conditions, uncertainties inherent in the estimation of mineral resources, access and supply risks, reliance on key personnel, operational risks inherent in the conduct of mining activities, including the risk of accidents, labour disputes, increases in capital and operating costs and the risk of delays or increased costs that might be encountered during the development process, regulatory risks, including risks relating to the acquisition of the necessary licences and permits, financing, capitalization and liquidity risks, including the risk that the financing necessary to fund the exploration and development activities at the Kami Project may not be available on satisfactory terms, or at all, risks related to disputes concerning property titles and interest, risks related to disputes with Aboriginal groups, risks related to a third party acquiring the Wabush Scully Mine site, risks related to insufficient capacity being available for the Company to access the multi-user terminal facility at the Port of Sept-Îles, environmental risks and the additional risks identified in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Information Form for the most recently completed financial year, or other reports and filings with applicable Canadian securities regulators. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The forward-looking information is made as of the date of this press release. Except as required by applicable securities laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information.

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