Benz Capital Corp.

TSX VENTURE : BZ


May 22, 2014 17:46 ET

Benz Completes San Javier Project Preliminary Economic Assessment

Study confirms mine life of 8 years with yearly average copper production of 20 million pounds at an average all-cash-in cost of $1.60/lb of payable copper

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2014) -

NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER OF THE SECURITIES DESCRIBED HEREIN.

Benz Capital Corp. (the "Corporation" or "Benz") (TSX VENTURE:BZ) today announced the results of an independent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the San Javier project (the "Project") located near the village of San Javier, Sonora, Mexico. Benz has entered into an option agreement with Tusk Exploration Ltd. pursuant to which it may acquire up to a 100% interest in the Project (the "Transaction").

The PEA, prepared by JDS Energy and Mining Inc. ("JDS"),was initiated to apply economic considerations to the Project's recently announced mineral resource in order to convert it to a National Instrument 43-101 compliant ("NI 43-101") PEA that estimates the Project's technical and economic potential.

Highlights

  • Mine life of eight and a quarter years with an average of 20 million pounds of payable copper production per year;
  • Net present value ("NPV"), at a constant US$3.05/pound copper price and a 7.0% discount rate, of $67 million ("M");
  • Pre-Tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR"), at a constant US $3.05/pound copper price, of 23%, and Post-Tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 18%;
  • Mineral Resources of 28.5 million tonnes grading 0.30% copper head grade (Acid Soluble + Cyanide Soluble), for a contained 192 million pounds of copper;
  • Life of mine ("LOM") capital cost of $113 million, including 20% of contingency;
  • LOM all-in cash cost of US$1.60/pound of payable copper (including project and the Mexican mining royalties);
  • Pay-back period of 3 years.

"The San Javier Project PEA represents a key milestone for Benz to complete its detailed due diligence and continue developing the project towards full feasibility study and construction. The PEA details an optimized mine plan with strong cash flow considering any of the last four-years copper prices scenarios," stated Miloje Vicentijevic, Benz President and CEO.

Assuming an average copper price of $3.05/lb, San Javier has an estimated $130 M pre-tax cash flow, $67 M pre-tax net present value ("NPV") at a 7% discount rate and an $82 M pre-tax NPV at a 5% discount rate. The PEA cash flow is presented at the project level and does not include any other corporate obligation.

Mineral Resources

The mineral resource estimate which forms the basis of the PEA is as follows:

Open Pit Resource Metric Tonnes
(M)
Cu (AS+CN) Grade
(%)
%
Cerro Verde Indicated 26.10 0.298 98%
Inferred 0.61 0.241 2%
Total 26.71 0.297
La Trinidad Indicated 0.00 0%
Inferred 1.77 0.433 100%
Total 1.77 0.433
Total Indicated 26.10 0.298 92%
Inferred 2.38 0.384 8%
Total 28.48 0.305 100%

The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes 8% of inferred mineral resources in the mine plan that are 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 the preliminary economic assessment will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Pit Optimization - Summary of Whittle Parameters/Inputs used for PEA

Item Unit Value
Metal Price
Copper US$/lb 2.85
Costs
Reference Mining Cost US$/mined tonne 1.61
Processing Cost US$/milled tonne 3.31
G&A US$/milled tonne 0.39
Processing
Acid Soluble Recovery % 90
Cyanide Soluble Recovery % 90
Other Parameters
Pit slope angles degrees 45
Mining Recovery % 100
Annual Plant Throughput Mtpa 3.5
Discount Rate % 8

Mine Planning

The San Javier mine plan is designed to recover a total of 28.5 million tonnes of mineralized material containing 192 million lbs of copper over an eight year period. Recovery of copper continues into year 9 as the leaching process is completed. Key projected production schedule, at the mining rate of 10 kt per day of plant feed material, are summarized below.

Period Material Mined Grade Contained
Leachable
Copper
Resource Waste SR AS+CN Total
(year) Tonnes Tonnes W : R % Mlbs
-1 0.88 3.15 3.61 0.433 8.4
1 3.50 5.93 1.69 0.408 31.5
2 3.50 5.94 1.70 0.309 23.8
3 3.50 5.96 1.70 0.335 25.9
4 3.50 4.46 1.28 0.283 21.8
5 3.50 3.00 0.86 0.260 20.1
6 3.50 2.51 0.72 0.262 20.2
7 3.50 2.50 0.72 0.258 19.9
8 3.10 2.81 0.90 0.291 19.9
Total 28.48 36.26 1.27 0.305 191.5

Mining Operations

A standard truck and shovel, open pit mine plan was developed for the San Javier Project to deliver 3.5 million tonnes of ore per year at a strip ratio of 1.27. For a typical year the total material movement is about 7.6 million tonnes and varies between 6 and 9.4 million tonnes. The mine will operate 24 hours per day for 350 days per year. It is currently assumed that each day will consist of two twelve hour shifts. Four mining crews will be required to cover the operation.

The mining operation will be conducted by conventional open pit mining methods, including drilling and blasting the mineralized and waste rock, loading the material with hydraulic shovels or wheel loaders, and hauling with fixed frame mining trucks. Dozers, graders, and water trucks will maintain working areas at the loading faces and waste dumps and also maintain haulage roads.

The mining equipment will be contractor owned operated.

Metallurgy and Processing

Testwork to date consisting of bottle roll and column tests have supported a recovery of 90% of both Acid and Cyanide soluble Copper. A total recovery of 87% was estimated to account for the scale factor to commercial production. Acid consumptions have been estimated at 20 kg per tonne based on the column test results.

Mill feed material is planned to be mined and processed at a rate of 10,000 metric tonnes per day. Primary crushing is planned to be done with a gyratory crusher, followed by secondary and tertiary crushers to a final particle size of 80% passing 12 mm. Crushed material will be agglomerated with a solution containing sulfuric acid and water and then placed on a lined single-use pad via grasshopper conveyors. Pregnant solution containing the recovered copper will be collected and processed through a solvent extraction plant where the copper will be recovered from the leach solution into a recirculating organic stream. Raffinate from the solvent extraction - electrowinning plant (SXEW) will be recycled to the heap leach. Copper will be transferred from the loaded organic stream by contact with a strip solution in the stripping section of the solvent extraction plant. Copper cathode of high purity will be recovered from the filtered strip solution by electrolysis.

Life of Mine Production and Processing Schedule

Parameter Unit Value -2 -1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
ROM Mined Mt 28.5 0.9 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.1 0.0
Waste Mined Mt 36.3 3.2 5.9 5.9 6.0 4.5 3.0 2.5 2.5 2.8 0.0
Total Mined Mt 64.7 0.0 4.0 9.4 9.4 9.5 8.0 6.5 6.0 6.0 5.9 0.0
Plant Throughput ktpd 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0
Strip Ratio W:O 1.27 3.61 1.69 1.70 1.70 1.28 0.86 0.72 0.72 0.90
Cu Head Grade AS % 0.23 % 0.25 % 0.28 % 0.24 % 0.29 % 0.23 % 0.19 % 0.18 % 0.20 % 0.22 %
Cu Head Grade CN % 0.07 % 0.18 % 0.12 % 0.07 % 0.04 % 0.05 % 0.07 % 0.08 % 0.06 % 0.07 %
Cu Cathode
Cu AS Recovered % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 %
Mlbs 126.2 0 4.2 19.1 16.3 19.8 15.5 12.5 12.4 13.4 13.0 0.0
Cu CN Recovered % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 % 87 %
Mlbs 40.5 0 3.1 8.4 4.4 2.8 3.5 4.9 5.2 3.9 4.4 0.0
Payable Cu Mlbs 166.6 27.8 22.4 22.1 19.9 17.8 17.5 17.4 17.3 4.3

Capital Costs

The following table summarizes capital expenditures including sustaining capital for leach pad expansion and closure costs. It is assumed that mining would be done with an open pit mining contractor rather than an owner operated production. Opportunities to further reduce initial capital cost may include the incorporation of locally available used plant equipment.

Year
Area Unit Value -2 -1 4 9
Mine Development US$ M 6.21 6.21
Mine Contract Mob/Demob US$ M 0.24 0.24
Plant and Infrastructure US$ M 44.12 8.82 35.30
Leach Pad US$ M 16.86 3.06 7.13 6.68
Crush/Stack Initial Ore US$ M 1.98 1.98
Indirects US$ M 21.37 2.14 19.23
Closure US$ M 3.00 3.0
Total Pre-Contingency Capital Costs US$ M 93.8 14.0 70.1 6.7 3.0
Contingency (20%) US$ M 18.8 2.8 14.0 1.3 0.6
Total Capital Costs US$ M 112.5 16.8 84.1 8.0 3.6

Operating Costs

Average Life of Mine Unit Operating Costs by Major Area:

Area Unit Cost Estimate
Mining Cost $/tonne mined $1.54
Processing Cost $/tonne processed $3.47
SX-EW $/Cu lb $0.20
G&A $/tonne processed $0.44
Total Operating Costs $/tonne processed $8.30

Economics

The following table summarizes the economic and production assumptions associated with the PEA:

Item Unit LOM Value
Cu Price $/lb 3.05
Mineralized Material Mined M tonnes 28.5
Waste Mined M tonnes 36.3
Total Mined M tonnes 64.7
Plant Throughput ktpd 10
Strip Ratio W:O 1.27
Cu Head Grade AS % 0.23%
Cu Head Grade CN % 0.07%
Recovery to Cu Cathode
Cu AS Recovered M lbs 126.2
Cu CN Recovered M lbs 40.5
Payable Cu M lbs 166.6
Cu Revenues from Cu Cathode $ 508.2
Freight Shipping & Refining $/Cu lb 0.03
M $ 5.00
Royalty Cost % Gross Value 1.0%
M $ 5.03
NSR M $ 498.2
$/tonne 17.49
$/pay lb 2.99
Total Operating Costs M $ 236.3
$/tonne 8.30
Net Operating Income M $ 261.9
$/tonne 9.20
EBITDA Royalty (7.5%) M $ 19.6
Total Capital Costs M $ 112.5

The following table summarizes the economic key performance indicators associated with the Cerro Verde and La Trinidad open pit designs, with the PEA:

Net Pre-Tax
Cash Flow
Net After-Tax
Cash Flow
Pre-Tax
NPV 7%
After-Tax
NPV 7%
Pre-Tax
IRR
After-Tax
IRR
(US$ M) (US$ M) (US$ M) (US$ M)
129.7 92.3 67.2 42.3 23.3% 18.1%

Risk and Opportunities

The major risk areas identified in the PEA are

  1. Copper price. The economics are most sensitive to metal price and recovery;
  2. Process recovery and acid consumption must be verified with additional Metallurgical testing;
  3. Securing an adequate water supply;
  4. Cyanide soluble copper recovery timing;
  5. Capital overruns for the pad construction based on availability of suitable construction material.

Several opportunities to improve the project include:

  1. Optimization of the mine plan with additional input of geotechnical information to maximize pit slopes;
  2. Reduction of capital costs by sourcing local capital equipment.
  3. Location and definition of additional nearby resources to increase throughput.
  4. Purchasing used equipment to reduce initial capital cost.

Technical Report

A NI 43-101 compliant Technical Report related to the mineral resources reported herein, will be filed under Benz's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com within 45 days.

Quality Assurance and NI 43-101 Compliance

Wayne Corso, P.E., JDS VP Engineering and an independent "Qualified Person" under NI 43-101 has verified the technical and scientific information and prepared economic analysis included in this news release. There are no known legal, political, environmental, or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the Project.

Transaction Remains Conditional

At this time, the Transaction remains subject to a number of conditions and approvals, including completion of due diligence investigations to the satisfaction of Benz by June 15, 2014, acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange and approval of the shareholders of Benz.

About the Corporation

Benz is a junior mining company focused on the exploration and development of mineral properties located in the Americas. Its strategic vision is to become a profitable mining producer providing value for all stakeholders. For more information, please refer to the Company's website at www.benzcapital.com.

This news release contains statements about the Corporation's expectations regarding the Transaction and the Project that are forward-looking in nature and, as a result, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Although the Corporation believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on them as actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements and there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include failure to complete the Transaction for any reason whatsoever, including that the shareholders and/or regulators may not approve the Transaction, and the potential development of the Project to a producing mine may not occur as planned or at all. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof, and the Corporation undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

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.

Contact Information

  • Benz Capital Corp.
    Miloje Vicentijevic
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    604.689.9266
    604.689.9232 (FAX)
    www.benzcapital.com