SOURCE: Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

April 20, 2015 17:00 ET

Turquoise Hill Announces First Quarter 2015 Production

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - April 20, 2015) - Turquoise Hill Resources today announced the first quarter 2015 production for Oyu Tolgoi.

Concentrate production in Q1'15 decreased approximately 30% over Q4'14. Production was impacted by lower mill head grades as well as a planned shutdown to reline both SAG mills and undertake modification and improvement work. The shutdown was completed on time and with no injuries.

Material mined in Q1'15 increased approximately 16% over Q4'14 mainly due to improvements driven by a range of productivity initiatives in the open pit partially offset by longer haul distances.

Head grades declined in Q1'15 as high-grade material from the open pit was largely processed in Q4'14. Open-pit development for 2015 is proceeding to schedule with higher-grade material expected to be processed by the concentrator starting in Q2'15. Concentrator milling rates increased through Q1'15 as improvements started to take effect, particularly in the pebble crushing circuit.

As previously disclosed, the Company expects production distribution to be relatively similar to 2014, with production levels significantly higher in the second half of 2015. Based on the current mine schedule, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes of copper and 600,000 to 700,000 ounces of gold in concentrates in 2015.

Concentrate sales in Q1'15 exceeded production, despite slowing during the Lunar New Year when border and customs operations were closed for an extended period.

 
Oyu Tolgoi Production Data
All data represents full production and sales on a 100% basis
       
  1Q
2014
2Q
2014
3Q
2014
4Q
2014
1Q
2015
Full Year
2014
             
Open pit material mined ('000 tonnes) 21,621 16,861 19,493 18,944 21,999 76,919
Ore treated ('000 tonnes) 5,560 7,778 7,029 7,505 7,512 27,872
Average mill head grades:            
 Copper (%) 0.52 0.53 0.59 0.74 0.52 0.60
 Gold (g/t) 0.49 0.60 0.80 1.46 0.48 0.86
 Silver (g/t) 1.52 1.57 1.64 1.65 1.16 1.60
Concentrates produced ('000 tonnes) 102.9 140.0 134.1 186.7 130.9 563.6
 Average concentrate grade (% Cu) 24.6 25.8 27.3 26.9 25.7 26.3
Production of metals in concentrates:            
 Copper ('000 tonnes) 25.3 36.2 36.6 50.3 33.6 148.4
 Gold ('000 ounces) 66 113 132 278 86 589
 Silver ('000 ounces) 163 229 216 286 184 893
Concentrate sold ('000 tonnes) 48.2 202.5 220.3 262.7 167.7 733.7
Sales of metals in concentrates:            
 Copper ('000 tonnes) 13.1 51.6 53.6 67.6 42.1 185.8
 Gold ('000 ounces) 28 126 144 263 200 561
 Silver ('000 ounces) 78 309 323 383 219 1,093
Metal recovery (%)            
 Copper 87.9 87.6 89.3 90.7 86.8 89.1
 Gold 75.5 74.8 74.8 78.6 71.6 76.6
 Silver 59.3 58.6 58.6 71.6 65.4 62.3
       

About Turquoise Hill Resources

Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ)(NASDAQ: TRQ)(TSX: TRQ) is an international mining company focused on copper-gold and coal mines in Mongolia. The Company's primary operation is its 66.0% interest in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in southern Mongolia. Turquoise Hill also holds a 45.8% interest in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources (TSX: SGQ)(HK: 1878).

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Forward-looking statements
Certain statements made herein, including statements relating to matters that are not historical facts and statements of the Company's beliefs, intentions and expectations about developments, results and events which will or may occur in the future, constitute "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking information and statements relate to future events or future performance, reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and are typically identified by words such as "anticipate", "could", "should", "expect", "seek", "may", "intend", "likely", "plan", "estimate", "will", "believe" and similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook. These include, but are not limited to, statements respecting anticipated business activities; planned expenditures; corporate strategies; the evolution of discussions with the Government of Mongolia; and other statements that are not historical facts.

Forward-looking statements and information are made based upon certain assumptions and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements or information. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies and the environment in which the Company will operate in the future, including the price of copper, gold and silver, anticipated capital and operating costs, anticipated future production and cash flows, the ability to complete the disposition of certain of its non-core assets, the ability and timing to complete project financing and/or secure other financing on acceptable terms, and the evolution of discussions with the Government of Mongolia on a range of matters including the implementation of the Investment Agreement, project development costs, operating budgets, the payment of taxes and taxation matters, management fees and Oyu Tolgoi LLC internal governance. Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and information include, among others, copper, gold and silver price volatility, discrepancies between actual and estimated production, mineral reserves and resources and metallurgical recoveries, mining operational and development risks, litigation risks, regulatory restrictions (including environmental regulatory restrictions and liability), activities or assessments by governmental authorities, currency fluctuations, the speculative nature of mineral exploration, the global economic climate, dilution, share price volatility, competition, loss of key employees, additional funding requirements, capital and operating costs for the construction and operation of the Oyu Tolgoi mine and defective title to mineral claims or property. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements and information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. All such forward-looking information and statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company's management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. These statements, however, 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 information or statements.

With respect to specific forward-looking information concerning the construction and development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the Company has based its assumptions and analyses on certain factors which are inherently uncertain. Uncertainties and assumptions include, among others: the timing and cost of the construction and expansion of mining and processing facilities; the impact of the decision announced by the Company to delay the funding and development of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine pending resolution of outstanding matters with the Government of Mongolia associated with the development and operation of the Oyu Tolgoi mine and to satisfy all conditions precedent to the availability of Oyu Tolgoi Project Financing; the approval of the underground feasibility study by Oyu Tolgoi LLC's shareholders, the impact of changes in, changes in interpretation to or changes in enforcement of, laws, regulations and government practices in Mongolia; the availability and cost of skilled labour and transportation; the availability and cost of appropriate smelting and refining arrangements; the obtaining of (and the terms and timing of obtaining) necessary environmental and other government approvals, consents and permits; the availability of funding on reasonable terms; the timing and availability of a long-term power source for the Oyu Tolgoi mine; delays, and the costs which would result from delays, in the development of the underground mine (which could significantly exceed the costs projected in the underground feasibility study and in the 2014 Oyu Tolgoi Technical Report); projected copper, gold and silver prices and demand; and production estimates and the anticipated yearly production of copper, gold and silver at the Oyu Tolgoi mine.

The cost, timing and complexities of mine construction and development are increased by the remote location of a property such as the Oyu Tolgoi mine. It is common in new mining operations and in the development or expansion of existing facilities to experience unexpected problems and delays during development, construction and mine start-up. Additionally, although the Oyu Tolgoi mine has achieved commercial production, there is no assurance that future development activities will result in profitable mining operations. In addition, funding and development of the underground component of the Oyu Tolgoi mine have been delayed until matters with the Government of Mongolia can be resolved and a new timetable agreed. These delays can impact project economics.

The Company's MD&A also contains references to estimates of mineral reserves and mineral resources. The estimation of reserves and resources is inherently uncertain and involves subjective judgments about many relevant factors. The mineral resource estimates contained in the MD&A are inclusive of mineral reserves. Further, mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The accuracy of any such estimates is a function of the quantity and quality of available data, and of the assumptions made and judgments used in engineering and geological interpretation (including future production from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the anticipated tonnages and grades that will be achieved or the indicated level of recovery that will be realized), which may prove to be unreliable. There can be no assurance that these estimates will be accurate or that such mineral reserves and mineral resources can be mined or processed profitably. See the discussion under the headings "Language Regarding Reserves and Resources" and "Note to United States Investors Concerning Estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources" in Section 20 of the MD&A. Such estimates and statements are, in large part, based on the following:

  • Interpretations of geological data obtained from drill holes and other sampling techniques. Large scale continuity and character of the deposits will only be determined once significant additional drilling and sampling has been completed and analyzed. Actual mineralization or formations may be different from those predicted. It may also take many years from the initial phase of drilling before production is possible, and during that time the economic feasibility of exploiting a deposit may change. Reserve and resource estimates are materially dependent on prevailing metal prices and the cost of recovering and processing minerals at the individual mine sites. Market fluctuations in the price of metals or increases in the costs to recover metals from the Company's mining projects may render mining of ore reserves uneconomic and affect the Company's operations in a materially adverse manner. Moreover, various short-term operating factors may cause a mining operation to be unprofitable in any particular accounting period;
  • Assumptions relating to commodity prices and exchange rates during the expected life of production, mineralization of the area to be mined, the projected cost of mining, and the results of additional planned development work. Actual future production rates and amounts, revenues, taxes, operating expenses, environmental and regulatory compliance expenditures, development expenditures, and recovery rates may vary substantially from those assumed in the estimates. Any significant change in these assumptions, including changes that result from variances between projected and actual results, could result in material downward revision to current estimates;
  • Assumptions relating to projected future metal prices. The prices used reflect organizational consensus pricing views and opinions in the financial modeling for the Oyu Tolgoi mine and are subjective in nature. It should be expected that actual prices will be different than the prices used for such modeling (either higher or lower), and the differences could be significant; and
  • Assumptions relating to the costs and availability of treatment and refining services for the metals mined from the Oyu Tolgoi mine, which require arrangements with third parties and involve the potential for fluctuating costs to transport the metals and fluctuating costs and availability of refining services. These costs can be significantly impacted by a variety of industry-specific and also regional and global economic factors (including, among others, those which affect commodity prices). Many of these factors are beyond the Company's control.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information or statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, which contribute to the possibility that the predicted outcomes will not occur. Events or circumstances could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those estimated or projected and expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements are included in the "Risk Factors" section of the MD&A.

Readers are further cautioned that the list of factors enumerated in the "Risk Factors" section of the MD&A that may affect future results is not exhaustive. When relying on the Company's forward-looking information and statements to make decisions with respect to the Company, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Furthermore, the forward-looking information and statements contained in the MD&A are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update or to revise any of the included forward-looking information or statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. The forward-looking information and statements contained in the MD&A are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

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