TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 7, 2013) - Colossus Minerals Inc. (the "Company" or "Colossus") (TSX:CSI)(OTCQX:COLUF) is pleased to provide a development update for its 75% owned Serra Pelada gold-platinum-palladium Mine. The Serra Pelada Mine is a joint venture between Colossus and Cooperativa de Mineração dos Garimpeiros de Serra Pelada ("COOMIGASP") located in the State of Pará, Brazil.
- The Company remains on track to start initial production early in the second half of 2013 at an initial rate of 250 tonnes per day ("tpd") and continue the ramp up phase throughout the remainder of 2013 to 500 tpd. The current plan envisages two active mining faces for 250 tpd of production, three to five mining faces for 500 tpd of production and six to nine mining faces for 1,000 tpd of production. The Company expects to achieve 1,000 tpd of production by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
- Underground development is progressing well with a number of infrastructure projects necessary to support full-scale mining now complete or well underway. Development at the face continues through the mineralized zone.
- The rock quality during collection of the bulk sample remains within expected parameters from geotechnical work completed prior to first access to the mineralized zone. The Company continues with systematic and cautious development as this is the first time accessing the mineralized zone and it is providing valuable geotechnical information ahead of initial production.
- Dewatering is progressing well from both surface and underground while dewatering of the historic pit to within five metres of the solids level is 95% complete. Underground water inflow rates remain within expectations.
- Process plant construction remains on schedule for commissioning to begin early in the second half of 2013; the total project is currently 60% complete. More than 95% of engineering & procurement is complete, 55% of concrete has been poured and structural steel erection will commence by the middle of February.
- Other critical infrastructure construction also remains on schedule. The power line and power house are on track to be commissioned early in the second quarter of 2013 while the tailings dam is expected to be ready in conjunction with mill commissioning.
Claudio Mancuso, Chief Executive Officer commented, "We are now within six months of commencing our commissioning phase. Both underground development and infrastructure construction are progressing well towards our initial production target of early in the second half of 2013. Going forward, the Company will provide development updates monthly so that construction and development progress can be tracked as we strive towards our most important milestone; production at Serra Pelada."
David Anthony, President & Chief Operating Officer further commented, "Mobilization of the site construction team is now advanced. All principle materials and resources are in place to enable completion of the process plant and infrastructure projects as scheduled. Our mining team is pleased to have started collection of the bulk sample. Planning and preparations have been made to start mining operations during the third quarter of this year."
Construction and Development at the Serra Pelada Project
As announced on December 31, 2012, the Company reached mineralization in its secondary development and the bulk sample collection process is ongoing with all material being assayed and sorted on surface on the stockpile pad. Geologic controls and assaying of material continue to guide the bulk sampling process. Ground conditions and ground water flow into the mine remain manageable. Development of this secondary access will continue and management expects extraction and sampling of the bulk sample to be complete in the first quarter. The Company is progressing cautiously and prudently, as the bulk sample process is also being used to collect comprehensive geotechnical information and to test different extraction methods. Geotechnical assessment and monitoring indicates that full scale mining operations will be sustainable at planned rates of production.
Underground development is now ramping up and focusing on the development of infrastructure necessary to support initial production early in the second half of 2013. In addition to developing the main decline while developing the bulk access drive, a number of infrastructure projects are well underway or completed. Two new drill bays have been established in the bulk-sample access drive, allowing the Company to drill much shorter holes (maximum total length of 150 metres) resulting in better targeting of the areas the Company plans to include in its first resource/reserve estimate at the beginning of the second quarter of 2013. These drill bays are also being used to gather geotechnical information which will be used in the development of the Company's mine plan.
Former drill bays have now been converted into permanent underground infrastructure to support mining operations. The first underground drill bay has been converted into an electrical substation and a former sump has been converted into a second electrical substation. The second underground drill bay has been converted into a refuge station which was commissioned in January 2013. Work continues on the refurbishment of an artisanal shaft which will be used to provide underground ventilation. This shaft will be enlarged in the second quarter of 2013 and the ventilation system will be upgraded to support expansion of mining operations.
The Company also continues to develop its mine plan. While the geological and geotechnical information gathered during the collection of the bulk sample is yet to be incorporated, the Company believes its ramp-up plans are conservative and achievable. The Company is currently planning an additional 600 metres of development between now and the end of June in order to start initial production at 250 tpd in the second half of the year. This estimate assumes a development rate of three metres per day per development crew. During 2012, the Company achieved improvements in rates of advance as additional equipment and more experienced underground mine personnel were mobilized to site. Development rates for the period from January to July 2012 were two metres per day however an average of three metres per day was consistently achieved during the period from August 2012 to January 2013.
In February and March, the Company will have one development crew and will ramp to two in April once ventilation upgrades have been made and additional mining equipment, scheduled for March delivery, arrives on site. Initial production will begin from two active mining faces and the Company anticipates having a 10,000 tonne stockpile once production begins in the second half of 2013. Ramp-up activities will continue throughout the remainder of 2013 as the Company anticipates having four development crews by August and expects to be at 500 tpd by the fourth quarter of 2013 and 1,000 tpd by the end of the first quarter of 2014. The current plan envisages two active mining faces for 250 tpd of production, three to five mining faces for 500 tpd of production and six to nine mining faces for 1,000 tpd of production. Geotechnical information gathered during the bulk sample process suggests that these production rates may be achievable with less active mining faces than currently planned and the Company is in the process of testing different extraction methods in the bulk sample access drive prior to incorporating these results into its preliminary mine plan.
All equipment required to achieve the development and mining rates discussed above have been ordered and are on their way to site. Three new Atlas Copco scoop trams and two haulage trucks will be delivered to site by mid-March. Two other haulage trucks will be delivered in May and August, respectively. A third rockbolter will arrive at site in June and a fourth jumbo in July.
Process Plant Construction
Process Plant construction remains on schedule for commissioning to begin early in the second half of 2013; the total project is currently 60% complete. The various phases of the processing plant construction, along with respective percentage completion, are presented in the table below.
|Ball mill refurbishment
|Structural Steel Fabrication
|Structural, Mechanical, Piping & Electrical Installation
Civil construction is progressing well and has not been significantly impacted by the seasonal rainfall. Concrete placement is ahead of schedule at 55% complete and this team is fully mobilized, with completion scheduled for mid-April. Sub-grade concrete placement is complete for all process plant buildings and structures and above grade concrete is progressing slightly ahead of schedule. Structural steel for the process plant will begin to arrive by the middle of February and steel erection will begin shortly thereafter. Ball mill refurbishment will be complete in early February with delivery to site expected in early March. Critical contracts for structural steel, plate work, piping fabrication and structural, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation installation have been awarded and site establishment is advanced.
Critical process plant equipment continues to be delivered to site. The tailings thickener was delivered to site in December 2012. The in-line leach reactors, gravity concentrators vibrating screens, vibrating feeder, hydrocyclones and reagent dosing pumps are landed at the port and will be delivered during February.
A pictorial update has also been provided with this press release (and can be accessed by clicking http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/csiphotos.pdf) to provide additional information regarding the progress of the processing plant and other infrastructure construction.
The 34.5 kV transmission line to bring power to site is currently under construction by Equatorial Energia S/A ("EE"), Brazil's second largest utility company, and is on track to be commissioned by early April. The power house to connect the site distribution lines to the EE transmission line is currently under civil works construction. Concrete placement and structural steel erection for the power house is substantially complete. Mechanical installation is scheduled to start in the middle of February. This facility will be available for use by the end of March. The power house will also be equipped with generators for backup power, which have already been purchased and are on site.
Basic engineering for the tailings dam is complete. Golder Associates are in the process of completing detailed engineering. The earthworks contract has been awarded and this contractor is mobilized to site. Bulk materials for construction are currently being procured and will begin to arrive in the middle of February. The tailings impoundment facility is on track to be ready to receive material by the end of July.
Dewatering activities from surface have proceeded for more than 18 months and the rate of water removal remains consistent. As development has continued into the mineralized zone, our underground dewatering has increased and is now in balance with the rate of production from surface. Dewatering activities remain manageable and these are integrated with the ground control program. Lastly, the water level in the historic pit has been drawn down by approximately twenty metres. The Company's plan is to dewater to within five metres of the solids level and this is now 95% complete.
Colossus is a development-stage mining company focused on bringing its 75% owned Serra Pelada gold-platinum-palladium Mine into production. The Serra Pelada Mine is a joint venture between Colossus and Cooperativa de Mineração dos Garimpeiros de Serra Pelada (COOMIGASP) located in the State of Pará, Brazil. Serra Pelada, located in the mineral prolific Carajas region in the State of Pará, is host to one of the highest grade gold and platinum group metals deposits in the world. Between 1980 and 1986 Serra Pelada was host to the largest precious metals rush in Latin American history. Colossus Minerals shares, warrants and notes trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbols CSI, CSI.WT.A and CSI.NT respectively and in the United States its Common Shares trade on the OTCQX under the symbol COLUF. The Company is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Forward-looking statements in this press release include statements regarding the timing and nature of future exploration and development programs that are dependent on projections that may change as drilling continues, or if unexpected ground conditions are encountered. The Company does not currently have any mineral properties that are in production or that contain a reserve as defined by National Instrument 43-101. In addition, areas of exploration potential are identified which will require additional drilling to determine whether or not they contain similar mineralization to areas that have been explored in more detail. Significant additional drilling is required at Serra Pelada to fully understand system size.
Except for statements of historical fact relating to Colossus, certain statements in this press release relating but not limited to the Company's exploration and development plans, activities and intentions, constitute "forward-looking information" within the meaning of the Securities Act (Ontario) or "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements represent management's best judgment based on current facts and assumptions that management considers reasonable. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "target", "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", believe", "anticipate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "appear to", "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. The factors include but are not limited to risks related to the joint venture operation, actual results of exploration activities, the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, delays in obtaining government approvals, the uncertainties of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future, the uncertainties inherent to conducting business in Brazil and the rest of Latin America, the availability of equipment and supplies, unexpected adverse climate conditions, the reliance on only a few key members of management, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Information Form filed with Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities and other regulatory filings which are posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Unless required by law, Colossus undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.