Skyline Gold Corporation

Skyline Gold Corporation

February 19, 2009 12:26 ET

Skyline Gold Announces Positive Results From Bronson Slope Gold-Copper-Silver Deposit Preliminary Assessment Report

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2009) - Skyline Gold (TSX VENTURE:SK) is pleased to announce results of its Preliminary Assessment (PA) technical report on its Bronson Slope deposit in north western British Columbia's 'golden triangle'. The report comprises an economic analysis of the deposit and includes a mine plan and project cost estimate showing positive economics and a basis for further advancement of the project.

The Bronson Slope deposit is located 500 meters from the historic Snip Gold Mine, 70 km west of Highway 37 (Stewart-Cassiar Highway), approximately 45 km west of the Eskay Creek Gold Mine along the Iskut River Valley and 80 km east of Wrangell Alaska in a moderated climate influenced by the coastal climate zone.

The site can be accessed via the 1,700 m Bronson Creek airstrip, for which Skyline Gold has a license of occupation. The airstrip is located 100 m above sea level and approximately 750 m from the Bronson Slope deposit. Access roads currently extend to within 30 km of the site and Skyline Gold has preliminary studies and cost estimates for the construction of an access road extending from a currently existing spur road which runs approximately 5 km west of the Eskay Creek Forest Service Road operated by Barrick Gold Corp.

The PA was prepared by Leighton Asia Ltd. ('Leighton'), a division of The Leighton Group, Australia's largest project engineering, construction, and mining contractor with annual revenues exceeding USD 14 billion.

Since 1990, more than 30 geological, engineering, design, and environmental reports, including the N.I. 43-101 compliant resource, have been prepared on the Bronson Slope deposit and serve as a technical baseline for the PA. The N.I. 43-101 compliant resource for Bronson Slope contains an estimated 2.6 million oz. of gold in a 225 million tonne Measured and Indicated resource grading an average of 0.36 g/t gold, 2.22 g/t silver, 0.14% copper, and 0.0077% molybdenum utilizing a (USD) $9.00/tonne cut-off of Net Recoverable Metal Value at metal prices of $650/oz. gold, $2.00/lb. copper, $10/oz. silver, and $12/lb. Molybdenum (Burgoyne & Giroux, April 30, 2008 - report filed on SEDAR).

Preliminary Assessment Technical Report

David Jensen, P.Eng., President of Skyline Gold, comments, "We are encouraged by the results of this Preliminary Assessment report indicating the potential for economic development of the Bronson Slope gold-copper-silver deposit. In the increasingly strong gold and silver market, the Bronson Slope deposit having the potential for low electrical energy costs through either extension of the Northern Transmission Line grid power or self-generation of power with the development of Skyline Gold hydro license applications, is enhanced as an attractive potential future gold, copper, and silver producing asset for our company. Canada's stable geopolitical climate is another attractive aspect of the Bronson Slope project. I look forward to further systematic advancement of this asset and Skyline Gold."

The PA provides an economic analysis of the Bronson Slope project based upon an open pit operation with in-pit crushing and an electrically powered conveyor system descending approximately 500 m from the pit to a 15,000 tonne per day copper flotation and gravity gold separation processing plant. Tailings will be carried to the tailings facility by tailing pipeline.

The PA mine plan and economic model for the base case includes a mine production schedule of 93.5 million tonnes of mill feed, 78.5 million tonnes of waste and an average strip ratio of 0.83 over an 18.4 year mine life. Metal recoveries from mill feed utilized in the PA are based upon prior metallurgical studies of the Bronson Slope deposit and are Gold: 85.4%, Copper: 86.6%, Silver: 63.7%.

PA power costs are based on grid tariff power prices and set at CAD 0.055 per kilowatt hour. Power is assumed to be supplied at Highway 37 from the proposed Northern Transmission Line for which the environmental permitting process is underway. Skyline Gold has also submitted hydro license applications in 7 regional catchments with a total potential generation capacity of 72 MW of power. Preliminary hydro-generation studies on two sites covered by the applications, which are within 10 km of the Bronson Slope deposit, have indicated the two sites have the potential capacity to generate a combined total of 29 MW of power. These sites have been further studied to determine the potential amount of electrical generation with storage added and indicate, on a preliminary basis, an ability to provide the power required by the Bronson Slope project. Further detailed technical studies and a feasibility study are required to confirm capacity and viability of these hydro power projects.

It is estimated that the Bronson Slope project will provide 201 jobs during years 1 to 8 of operation and 184 jobs during years 9 to 18.

The base case project annual and total metal production is estimated at:

Year 1 - 8 Year 9 - 18 Life of Mine
Average Average Yearly Total
Production Production Average Production
Gold 73,400 oz. 54,400 oz. 62,600 oz. 1.15 million oz.
Copper 16.1 million lb. 14.5 million lb. 15.2 million lb. 279 million lb.
Silver 272,800 oz. 224,300 oz. 245,100 oz. 4.51 million oz.

Project Economics

The project economic model utilizes base case life-of-mine (LOM) average metal prices of (USD) $700/oz. gold, $2.00/lb. copper, and $15/oz. silver and an exchange rate of 0.85 USD/CAD.

LOM gold cash cost, net of byproduct credits using base case metal prices, is (USD) $232/oz. With production costs distributed pro-rata by revenue generated by each metal produced, LOM average cash costs of production are:

Gold Copper Silver
(USD/oz.) (USD/lb.) (USD/oz.)
Project Cash Costs $428 $1.24 $9.28
Cash cost net of copper
and silver credits $232

LOM average operating costs are:

CAD / tonne USD / tonne
Milled Milled
Direct Mining Costs $ 3.14 $ 2.67
Overhead and Administration $ 0.98 $ 0.83
Processing Costs $ 5.23 $ 4.45
Total: $ 9.34 $ 7.94

Base case estimated project construction capital costs of CAD 237 million (USD 201.5 million) include a 15% contingency and with CAD 14 million in working capital give a total initial capital (peak investment) requirement of CAD 251 million (USD 213 million). Estimated life-of-mine sustaining capital is CAD 21.3 million excluding reclamation costs and salvage recovery of capital. Including reclamation costs (CAD 10 million) and salvage recovery of capital at closure, the life-of-mine sustaining capital requirement is CAD 15.7 million. The financial model assumes that the project is equity financed.

Project economic measures are:

Project IRR (before tax): 11%
Project IRR (after tax): 10%
Project NPV @ 7.5% discount (before tax): CAD 59.3 million
Project NPV @ 7.5% discount (after tax): CAD 38.3 million
Project NPV @ 0% discount (before tax): CAD 351.1 million
Project NPV @ 0% discount (after tax): CAD 279.4 million
Project Payback: 8.2 years
Mine life: 18.4 years


The report contains a number of recommendations to advance the project including the following two recommendations to increase the project's economic return:

1) Re-optimizing the Whittle model utilizing operating and capital cost details and an optimized mine plan generated during this PA of the Bronson Slope deposit identified the potential for enhanced returns. The following increased potential returns (increased IRR) and faster payback of a smaller, higher grade mined resource were identified by the Whittle model using updated inputs from the base case PA:

Optimized NPV
Using PA Mill (CAD; Mine
Derived Feed Waste 7.5% IRR Life Payback
Figures Scenario (tonnes) (tonnes) Discount) (%)(Years) (Years)
Initial PA 92 Mt 90 Mt $ 65.5 M 11.8 20.8 6.2
Base Equivalent
Case Pit
and Mine
Case B
Case B2 Case B 44.1 Mt 27.1 Mt $ 69.3 M 14.2 10.5 5.2
8 Mtpa
mining limit
Case B3 Case B 46.9 Mt 30.5 Mt $ 96.4 M 18.0 9.8 4.1
12 Mtpa
mining limit

2) Development of a magnetite resource component in the Bronson Slope N.I. 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate. The ability to produce a magnetite product from Bronson Slope mill feed offers the potential to increase the project's estimated economic returns.

Action Plan

- PA update by Leighton of smaller / higher grade resource for higher IRR project;

- Undertake a gap analysis to identify specific data requirements and level of effort to advance the project to Pre-Feasibility or Feasibility Study level;

- Initiate a Pre-Feasibility or Feasibility Study as recommended by gap-analysis. Such study to include magnetite and molybdenum recovery;

- Commence the Environmental Assessment permitting process;

- Negotiate a Participation Agreement with the Tahltan Band and Iskut First Nation;

- Prepare a Feasibility Study for Skyline Gold's local hydro license applications for self-generation hydro power for the Bronson Slope project;

- Further resource development this year with a focus on the addition of a magnetite component to the Bronson Slope deposit; and

- Acquisition of surface tenures for the construction of the Bronson Slope project.

The above plan is dependent upon the availability of financing and final Board approval.

Note: mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Qualified Persons

The PA was prepared by Qualified Person Julien A.R. Lawrence, MAUSIMM.

This news release was reviewed by Qualified Person R. Dennis Bergen, P.Eng.



David Jensen, P.Eng., President

Cautionary Statement

Statements in this release may be viewed as forward-looking statements. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. There are no assurances the Company can fulfill such forward-statements and the Company undertakes no obligation to update statements. Such forward looking statements are only predictions; actual events or results may differ materially as a result of risks facing the Company, some of which are beyond the Company's control.

The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Skyline Gold Corporation
    David Jensen, P.Eng.
    (604) 270-3878
    (604) 270-3858 (FAX)