SOURCE: Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.

October 28, 2014 18:42 ET

Turquoise Hill Files 2014 Oyu Tolgoi Technical Report

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 28, 2014) - Turquoise Hill Resources today filed an updated compliant independently-prepared technical report under National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure of Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") relating to the Oyu Tolgoi Project (the "Project"). Prepared by OreWin Pty Ltd, the 2014 Oyu Tolgoi Technical Report (2014 OTTR), updates the Oyu Tolgoi Technical Report dated March 25, 2013 (2013 OTTR). On September 22, 2014, Turquoise Hill announced that the 2014 Oyu Tolgoi Feasibility Study (the "Feasibility Study") had been finalized and presented to the Board of Directors of Oyu Tolgoi LLC. The Feasibility Study contains two production cases -- the 2014 Reserve Case and the 2014 Life of Mine (LOM) Case.

The 2014 Reserve Case includes mineral reserves from the Southern Oyu Tolgoi open pit and the Hugo North Lift 1 block cave. Oyu Tolgoi's large resource base represents significant opportunities, not only as an exceptionally long-life project but also for production expansion. The potential development flexibility that exists with respect to later phases of Oyu Tolgoi will continue to be studied as part of the overall project strategy. Separate development decisions will need to be made based on future prevailing conditions and the experience obtained from developing and operating the initial phases of the Project.

In August 2013, development of the underground mine was delayed to allow matters with the Government of Mongolia to be resolved.

The 2014 OTTR updates the Project's mineral resources and mineral reserves and is now available under Turquoise Hill's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Highlights of the 2014 OTTR are as follows:

  • An updated mineral resource model and estimate for the Hugo North deposit. The updated mineral resource estimate is similar to and confirms the previous estimates contained in the 2013 OTTR. Mineral resource models for the other Oyu Tolgoi deposits have remained unchanged.
  • Updated mineral reserve estimates are broadly in line with previous estimates. The open pit allows for depletion from 2013 and modified underground dilution and mining loss assumptions resulting in lower grades and mining recovery.
  • Underground ore handling will be conveyed to surface via decline, which opens the Project to additional production flexibility and future optionality. The new mine plan will make use of the existing shafts and the planned shafts that were defined in the 2013 OTTR.
  • The reduced Project NPV is the result of delay (NPV8% US$0.8 billion) and a reduction due to more cautious cave performance assumptions, which led to a reduction in recovered metal and a slowing of ramp-up of the cave (NPV8% US$1.5 billion).
  • Underground block cave mine production remains at 95,000 tonnes per day.
  • The plant rate remains the current nominal 100,000 tonnes per day.
  • Expansion capital of US$4.9 billion for the underground project, which is in line with the US$5.1 billion estimate contained in the 2013 OTTR (excludes US$0.5 billion of capital spent in 2013 and 2014).

Pursuant to discussions with Turquoise Hill's principal regulator following the filing of the Company's press release on September 22, 2014 titled Oyu Tolgoi Finalizes Underground Feasibility Study, and in order to comply with the requirements of NI 43-101, the 2014 OTTR does not present the economic analysis of the 2014 LOM Case or economic analysis for any potential expansion options that would include inferred resources.

The following tables present summary production and financial results and mineral reserve information.

 
Table 1: 2014 Reserve Case Summary Production and Financial Results
Description Units 2014 Reserve Case
Mineral Reserves
Total Processed Bt 1.5
Cu Grade % 0.85
Au Grade g/t 0.32
Ag Grade g/t 1.94
Copper Recoverable Billion lb 24.9
Gold Recoverable Moz 11.9
Silver Recoverable Moz 78.0
Life Years 41
Expansion Capital US$B 4.9
NPV (8%) After Tax US$B 7.43
IRR After Tax % 29%
Payback Period Years 9
   

Notes:

  • Metal prices used for calculating the financial analysis are as follows: long term copper at $3.08/lb; gold at $1,304/oz; and silver at $21.46/oz. The analysis has been calculated with assumptions for smelter refining and treatment charges, deductions and payment terms, concentrate transport, metallurgical recoveries and royalties.
  • For mine planning the metal prices used to calculate block model Net Smelter Returns were copper at $3.01/lb; gold at $1,250/oz; and silver at $20.37/oz. For the open pit processing and general administration, the following operating costs have been used to determine cut-off grades: Southwest at $8.37/t, Central Chalcocite, Central Covellite, and Central Chalcopyrite at $7.25/t and the underground costs are based on $15.34/t.
  • For the underground block cave, all Mineral Resources within the shell have been converted to Mineral Reserves. This includes low grade Indicated Mineral Resources. It also includes Inferred Mineral Resources, which have been assigned a zero grade and treated as dilution. The SOT Open Pit Mineral Reserves are Mineral Reserves in the pit at 1 January 2014. It does not include stockpiles.
  • For SOT only Measured Mineral Resources were used to report Proven Mineral Reserves and only Indicated Mineral Resources were used to report Probable Mineral Reserves. For Hugo North Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources were used to report Probable Mineral Reserves.
  • The Mineral Reserves reported above are not additive to the Mineral Resources.
  • Economic analysis has been calculated from the start of 2015 and excludes 2014. Costs shown are real costs not nominal costs. Expansion capital includes only direct project costs and does not include non-cash shareholder interest, management payments, tax pre-payments, forex adjustments, or exploration phase expenditure.

Table 2: 2014 Mineral Reserves

           
Deposit Ore
(Mt)
Cu
(%)
Au
(g/t)
Ag
(g/t)
Recovered Metal
Copper
(Mlb)
Gold
(koz)
Silver
(koz)
Southern Oyu Tolgoi       
Proven 410 0.54 0.42 1.38 3,829 3,952 13,768
Probable 621 0.40 0.24 1.13 4,363 3,233 17,122
Mineral Reserve (Proven + Probable) 1,031 0.45 0.31 1.23 8,192 7,186 30,890
Hugo Dummett       
Probable (Hugo North - OT LLC) 464 1.66 0.34 3.37 15,592 4,199 43,479
Probable (Hugo North - EJV Shivee Tolgoi) 35 1.59 0.55 3.72 1,121 519 3,591
Mineral Reserve (Probable) (All Hugo North) 499 1.66 0.35 3.40 16,713 4,717 47,070
Oyu Tolgoi Project Mineral Reserve       
Proven 410 0.54 0.42 1.38 3,829 3,952 13,768
Probable 1,120 0.96 0.29 2.14 21,075 7,951 64,192
Mineral Reserve (Proven + Probable) 1,530 0.85 0.32 1.94 24,905 11,903 77,960
        

Notes:

  • Metal prices used for calculating the financial analysis are as follows: long term copper at $3.08/lb; gold at $1,304/oz; and silver at $21.46/oz. The analysis has been calculated with assumptions for smelter refining and treatment charges, deductions and payment terms, concentrate transport, metallurgical recoveries and royalties.
  • For mine planning the metal prices used to calculate block model Net Smelter Returns were copper at $3.01/lb; gold at $1,250/oz; and silver at $20.37/oz.
  • For the open pit processing and general administration, the following operating costs have been used to determine cut-off grades: Southwest at $8.37/t, Central Chalcocite, Central Covellite, and Central Chalcopyrite at $7.25/t and the underground (including some mining costs) costs are based on $15.34/t.
  • For the underground block cave, all Mineral Resources within the shell have been converted to Mineral Reserves. . This includes Indicated Mineral Resources below the resource cut-off grade. It also includes Inferred Mineral Resources, which have been assigned a zero grade and treated as dilution.
  • The SOT Open Pit Mineral Reserves are Mineral Reserves in the pit at 1 January 2014. It does not include stockpiles.
  • For SOT only Measured Mineral Resources were used to report Proven Mineral Reserves and only Indicated Mineral Resources were used to report Probable Mineral Reserves. For Hugo North Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources were used to report Probable Mineral Reserves.
  • EJV is the Entrée Joint Venture. The Shivee Tolgoi Licence and the Javkhlant Licence are held by Entrée. The Shivee Tolgoi Licence and the Javkhlant Licence are planned to be operated by OT LLC. OT LLC will receive 80% of cash flows after capital and operating costs for material originating below 560 m, and 70% above this depth.
  • The Mineral Reserves reported above are not additive to the Mineral Resources.
  • Totals may not match due to rounding.

Table 3: Hugo North Mineral Reserve Comparison 2013/2014

           
  Ore
(Mt)
Cu
(%)
Au
(g/t)
Ag
(g/t)
Recovered Metal
Copper (M lb) Gold (koz) Silver (koz)
2014 OTTR Probable  OT LLC 464 1.66 0.34 3.37 15,592 4,199 43,479
 EJV Shivee Tolgoi 35 1.59 0.55 3.72 1,121 519 3,591
 All Hugo North 499 1.66 0.35 3.40 16,713 4,717 47,070
2013 OTTR Probable  OT LLC 460 1.80 0.37 3.74 16,759 4,602 47,647
 EJV Shivee Tolgoi 31 1.73 0.62 3.74 1,090 521 3,229
 All Hugo North 491 1.80 0.39 3.74 17,849 5,123 50,877
Difference  OT LLC 5 -0.14 -0.04 -0.36 -1,167 -404 -4,168
   EJV Shivee Tolgoi 4 -0.14 -0.07 -0.02 31 -2 361
   All Hugo North 8 -0.14 -0.04 -0.34 -1,136 -406 -3,807
% Difference  OT LLC 1.0% -8.0% -9.6% -9.7% -7.0% -8.8% -8.7%
   EJV Shivee Tolgoi 11.7% -8.1% -11.3% -0.6% 2.8% -0.4% 11.2%
   All Hugo North 1.7% -8.0% -9.4% -9.1% -6.4% -7.9% -7.5%
          

Notes:

  • Table shows only part of the Mineral Reserve.
  • Metal prices used for calculating the financial analysis are as follows: long term copper at $3.08/lb; gold at $1,304/oz; and silver at $21.46/oz. The analysis has been calculated with assumptions for smelter refining and treatment charges, deductions and payment terms, concentrate transport, metallurgical recoveries and royalties.
  • For mine planning the metal prices used to calculate block model Net Smelter Returns were copper at $3.01/lb; gold at $1,250/oz; and silver at $20.37/oz.
  • For the open pit processing and general administration, the following operating costs have been used to determine cut-off grades: Southwest at $8.37/t, Central Chalcocite, Central Covellite, and Central Chalcopyrite at $7.25/t and the underground (including some mining costs) costs are based on $15.34/t.
  • For the underground block cave, all Mineral Resources within the shell have been converted to Mineral Reserves. This includes low grade Indicated Mineral Resources and Inferred Mineral Resources, which have been assigned a zero grade and treated as dilution.
  • EJV is the Entrée Joint Venture. The Shivee Tolgoi Licence and the Javkhlant Licence are held by Entrée. The Shivee Tolgoi Licence and the Javkhlant Licence are planned to be operated by OT LLC. OT LLC will receive 80% of cash flows after capital and operating costs for material originating below 560 m, and 70% above this depth.
  • The Mineral Reserves reported above are not additive to the Mineral Resources.
  • Totals may not match due to rounding.
  • For Hugo North Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources were used to report Probable Mineral Reserves.

Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this press release was prepared under the supervision of the following persons: Bernard Peters, B. Eng. (Mining), FAusIMM, employed by OreWin Pty Ltd (OreWin) as Technical Director - Mining, and Sharron Sylvester, B.Sc Geology, MAIG (RPGeo), employed by OreWin as Technical Director - Geology, both of whom are "qualified persons" for the purposes of NI 43-101.

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% interest in the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold-silver mine in southern Mongolia. Turquoise Hill also holds a 56% interest in Mongolian coal miner SouthGobi Resources (TSX: SGQ) (HKSE: 1878) and is in the process of divesting a majority of its stake.

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; 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 issues including the implementation of the Investment Agreement, project development costs, operating budgets, the payment of taxes and taxation matters, management fees and governance and the existence or filing of legal proceedings against the Company and its officers and directors. 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 issues 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 for the Oyu Tolgoi Project by Oyu Tolgoi'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 Feasibility Study and in the updated technical report to be filed; 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 Mongolian can be resolved and a new timetable agreed. These delays can impact project economics.

This press release 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 therein 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 the Company's MD&A filed on SEDAR and EDGAR.

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 in the Company's Annual Information Form dated as of March 26, 2014 in respect of the year ended December 31, 2013 (the "AIF").

Readers are further cautioned that the list of factors enumerated in the "Risk Factors" section of the AIF 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 herein are made as of the date hereof and Turquoise Hill 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 herein are expressly qualified by the cautionary statement.

Contact Information