Orezone Gold Corporation

Orezone Gold Corporation

June 20, 2011 09:31 ET

Orezone Bomboré Gold Project Has Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 20, 2011) - Orezone Gold Corporation (TSX:ORE) is pleased to announce the results of a positive NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment (the "Study") that evaluates the potential of both open pit heap leach (HL) and carbon-in-leach (CIL) scenarios for its 100% owned Bomboré Gold Project in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The Study demonstrates that both scenarios are potentially economically feasible if inferred resources can be substantially upgraded to the indicated category and more extensive technical studies confirm the preliminary information available for the Study. The Base Case financial model yields an after tax IRR of 9.9% (HL) and 6.9% (CIL) to Orezone, using Whittle pit shells based on a $1000/oz gold price, revenues based on a $1100/oz gold price, $80/bbl oil and all other costs being current market. The after tax IRR improves to 27.8% (HL) and 19.7% (CIL) from revenues at a $1500/oz gold price, $120/bbl oil and the same $1000/oz Whittle pit shells. The results of the Study provide confidence for Bomboré to move forward with a target for production in 2015, and a $24 million drilling and feasibility budget approved for 2011/12.

Orezone is currently completing a major 170,000 m infill and expansion drill program to increase and upgrade the Bomboré resources. This program is approximately 33% complete and represents a 140% increase in the total drilling on the project. By month end, the Company will have six drills on the project working around the clock. The current drill program should be complete by Q1-2012 and the next complete resource update is Q2-2012. The pit shells hosting the current resources span over 11 km, are based on an average drill depth of only 60 m, and exhibit 35,000 oz of gold per vertical meter above a lower cut-off of 0.35 g Au/t. Drill results from the 2011 program are broadly in line with the current model and confirm that the resources can be expanded near surface and at depth. Although the plan is to complete a full feasibility study in 2012, drilling will continue as long as resources continue to expand.

The Study was completed by G Mining Services Inc. of Montreal, Canada ("G Mining"), and is based on the NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate reported in Orezone's press release dated October 19, 2010 (http://orezone.com/news/press-releases/2010/10/orezones-bombor%C3%A9-gold-project-has-substantial-increase-size-and-grade), which includes 60.9 million tonnes of indicated mineral resources at a grade of 0.81g/t for 1.6 million oz of gold plus 60.6 million tonnes of inferred mineral resources at a grade of 0.96g/t for 1.9 million oz. (based on all drill data to August, 2010). G Mining was not mandated and did not audit the NI 43-101 resources previously prepared, audited and reported. The CIL scenario is based on the indicated and inferred resources in saprolite, transition or saprock, and fresh rock; the HL scenario is limited to the saprolite and transition resources because the fresh rock indicates relatively poor heap leach gold recoveries.

Summary of Base Case Financials:

The financial models for both the HL and CIL scenarios used the $1000/oz pit shells with the Base Case assumptions of a gold price of $1100/oz and a Brent crude oil price of $80/bbl, but incorporated current reagent, labor and mining costs from local and similar operations as of Q1-2011. The financial highlights for both Base Case scenarios are as follows:

Base Case Financials
Heap LeachCIL
Mineral Resource used in
Mine Plan (ounces)
Average Grade (g/t)0.830.94
Processing Throughput (Mt/yr)5.89.3
Mine Life (years)8.09.1
Average Annual Production (ounces)118,000240,000
Gold Production (ounces recovered)949,0002,185,000
Waste to Ore Strip Ratio2.443.54
Gross Revenue ($M)$1,043.8$2,404.0
Direct Cash Cost ($/oz)$669$694
Operating Cost ($/oz)$713$738
Initial Capital ($M)$204.7$499.5
Sustaining Capital ($M) $25.6$42.5
Closure Costs ($M)$12.0$25.0
Total Project
NPV (0%) ($M)$166.7$320.3
NPV (5%) ($M)$88.3$124.8
Orezone (1)
NPV after tax (0%) ($M)$105.0$207.6
NPV after tax (5%) ($M)$42.0$43.7
IRR after tax9.9%6.9%
Government (2)
NPV (0%) with taxes ($M)$61.7$112.7
NPV (5%) with taxes ($M)$46.3$81.1
(1) Represents Orezone's Burkina Faso subsidiary cash flows net of royalties and local taxes. The Government of Burkina Faso benefits from its 10% free-carried shareholding, the gold royalty, corporate tax and withholding taxes.
(2) Government cash flows are underestimated as customs fees and duties on imports and indirect taxes built into the delivered fuel price have not been incorporated.
All figures in USD.
Exchange Rates: 1 USD = 1.00 CDN; 1 USD = 0.7143 EUR

This Study constitutes a Preliminary Economic Assessment for NI 43-101 purposes that is considered preliminary in nature and uses inferred resources which are considered too speculative geologically to apply economic considerations that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves have not demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that these inferred mineral resources will be converted to measured and indicated categories through further drilling, or into mineral reserves, once economic considerations are applied. Thus, there is no certainty that the production profile concluded in the PEA will be realized.

"We're very pleased with the results of this study given the use of a conservative $1000 pit shell," said Ron Little, President and CEO of Orezone. "We could expect approximately a 20% increase in resources and a 15% decrease in the strip ratio just by using a $1200 pit shell. The study is in line with expectations and we are confident we can improve the overall economics with further drilling and engineering studies. The Company will continue with all ongoing baseline work including the social impact studies and all other critical path items that can be completed in parallel with the expanded drill program."

Mineral Resources used in the Mine Plan

The Study generated Whittle pit shells based on a long-term gold price of $1000/oz using the combination of both indicated and inferred resources. Final pits were then designed to account for access ramps and compatible pit slopes, which then produced the following total mineral resource to be used in the mine plan:

Mineral Resources used in Mine PlanHeap LeachCIL
Sap + LatTransitionTotalSap + LatTransitionFresh RockTotal
IndicatedTonnes (kt)21,8488,43930,28826,4968,50411,01746,016
Grade (g/t)0.800.860.820.74 0.93 1.16 0.87
In-situ koz5642327966262544101,290
InferredTonnes (kt)10,3913,28913,68014,9133,78118,27836,972
Grade (g/t)0.810.990.850.661.011.32 1.02
In-situ koz2701053753171237761,216

Estimated Annual Gold Production for Base Case

The HL scenario assumes a total mining rate of 18-21 M tonnes per year and a rate of ore placement on the leach pad of 5.8 M tonnes per year. The larger CIL scenario requires a total mining rate of 38-39 M tonnes per year to supply 9.3 M tonnes of ore per year to the mill. Gold production and operating costs for each scenario can be compared as follows:

Heap Leach
Gold Prod'n (koz)148129117124110117133664949
Head Grade (g/t)0.980.850.770.820.730.780.880.791.150.83
Gold Prod'n (koz)305255226253227222244234184342,185
Head Grade (g/t)1.170.970.840.970.880.850.940.910.871.300.94

Summary of Operating Costs

Heap LeachCIL
CategoryTotal CostsAvg. CostAvg. CostTotal CostsAvg. CostAvg. Cost
$M$/t milled$/oz$M$/t milled$/oz
General Services$91.6$2.08$97$229.0$2.76$105
Transport & Refining$2.4$0.05$3$5.5$0.07$3
Total (C1 Costs)$634.9$14.44$669$1,516.2$18.27$694
Total (C2 Costs)$676.6$15.39$713$1,612.4$19.43$738

Initial Project Capital Cost Estimates

Initial capital costs were estimated on the basis of Q1-2011 quotes on equipment and databases for similar projects in West Africa and South America adjusted for inflation. Power generation was from larger heavy fuel oil (HFO) thermal gensets for the CIL scenario and smaller light fuel oil (LFO) thermal gensets for the HL scenario.

Project Capital AreaHeap LeachCIL
Infrastructure $13.6$19.5
Process Plant$34.9$98.4
Pre-production and General Services$29.0$103.1
Total Capital Costs ($M)$204.7$499.5

The project is most sensitive to the market prices for gold and oil as demonstrated in the following sensitivity analysis:

Sensitivities to Gold and Oil Price

Gold Price (per oz)$900$1000$1100$1200$1300$1400$1500$1700
Oil Price (per bbl)$60$70$80$90$100$110$120$140
Heap Leach (Orezone)
NPV (0%) After tax ($M)-41.036.2105.0157.6207.4257.0310.4417.4
NPV (5%) After tax ($M)-73.0-13.342.084.3123.6162.6204.5288.1
IRR After tax-4.1%3.5%9.9%14.8%19.2%23.427.8%36.2%
CIL (Orezone)
NPV (0%) After tax ($M)-150.320.8207.6322.8429.5536.9654.8892.6
NPV (5%) After tax ($M)-214.2-91.343.7130.8209.9288.7374.8547.8
IRR After tax-6.1%0.8%6.9%10.5%13.7%16.7%19.7%25.5%

Full details of the Preliminary Economic Assessment in the form of a NI 43-101 technical report will be filed on SEDAR within the next 45 days.

Development Timetable

Orezone expects to complete its 170,000 m drill program, more detailed metallurgical testing, a full social impact study and other critical path engineering items by Q1-2012. Although further expansion drilling will likely continue, a resource update will be performed early in 2012 targeting completion of a full feasibility study in Q3-2012. The full feasibility study may include a combination of the HL and CIL scenarios as part of a multi-phase project.

Qualified Person

The Preliminary Economic Assessment was prepared by G Mining under the supervision of Louis Gignac, who is a "qualified person" under the standards set forth in NI 43-101. [Mr. Gignac is independent of Orezone for purposes of NI 43-101.] Mr. Pascal Marquis, Senior Vice President Exploration, and Ron Little, President and CEO, are the Company's designated Qualified Persons for the purposes of the Study. All parties have reviewed and approved their respective content of this press release.

Conference Call / Web Meeting

Orezone will be hosting a conference call / web meeting on Monday June 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm EST where senior management (Ron Little and Pascal Marquis) and G Mining (Louis Gignac) will discuss the Study and be available to respond to questions from analysts and investors. Those interested in participating in the conference all should go to https://cc.callinfo.com/r/1g21iqvvcufgu, and dial in at 1.866.365.4406 (Canada, USA) access code: 2413699. An operator will direct participants to the call.

About Orezone Gold Corporation

Orezone is a Canadian company with a gold discovery track record of +10 M oz and recent mine development experience in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Bomboré, the Company's 100% owned flagship project, is the largest undeveloped gold deposit in the country and is situated 85 km east of the capital city, adjacent to an international highway. Resources are constrained within optimized open pit shells that span 11 km, and include 1.6 M oz indicated and 1.9 M oz inferred resources with an average drill depth of only 60 meters. The Company is currently completing a $24 M, 170,000 meter drill program to significantly expand resources and support the completion of feasibility studies in 2012. Orezone's goal is to develop Bomboré into a world-class deposit by 2012 and become a mid-tier producer by 2015.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION: This news release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are frequently characterized by words such as "plan," "expect," "project," "intend," "believe," "anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements in this release include statements regarding, among others, the completion of a 170,000m drill program; capital and operating cost estimates; gold production for the project; completion of a feasibility study in 2012; completion of a resource update in early 2012; commencement of production at the Bomboré Project; and completion of metallurgical testing and social impact studies.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS are based on certain assumptions, 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. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, the ability of contracted parties (including laboratories and drill companies to provide services as contracted); uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future and other factors. The Company 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. Comparisons between any resource model or estimates with the subsequent drill results are preliminary in nature and should not be relied upon as potential qualified changes to any future resource updates or estimates.

Readers are advised that National Instrument 43-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators requires that each category of mineral reserves and mineral resources be reported separately. Readers should refer to the annual information form of Orezone for the year ended December 31, 2010 and other continuous disclosure documents filed by Orezone since January 1, 2011 available at www.sedar.com, for this detailed information, which is subject to the qualifications and notes set forth therein.

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