TVI Pacific Inc.
TSX : TVI

TVI Pacific Inc.

July 17, 2008 08:30 ET

TVI Pacific Receives Balabag Scoping Study

Scoping Study Recommends Undertaking Comprehensive Exploration and Full Feasibility Work Program to Enable a Development Decision in Respect of the Balabag Project

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 17, 2008) - TVI Pacific Inc. (TSX:TVI) or the "Company") announced today that it has received a comprehensive scoping study (prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects) respecting the Balabag epithermal gold project, which is located near the municipalities of Bayog, Zamboanga Del Sur, and Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines. A copy of the study will be filed within 45 days of this News Release with certain securities regulatory authorities in Canada and will be available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. The study, entitled Scoping Study of the Balabag Project, was prepared by Genivar Limited Partnership of Montreal, Quebec, Canada ("Genivar").

Certain statements in this News Release constitute forward-looking statements, including statements concerning the estimated time required to undertake certain feasibility work at Balabag and estimates of the time required to undertake construction activities at Balabag in the event a production decision is reached by the Company in respect of the project. Readers should refer to the cautionary statement that appears at the end of this News Release.

The purpose of the Scoping Study was to assess the mining potential of a stand-alone commercial scale mining operation centered on the currently delineated Balabag deposit and to provide an order of magnitude of its economic potential. Management and the Board of Directors of the Company are encouraged by the Balabag Scoping Study, which supports their conclusion that the preparation of a comprehensive exploration and feasibility work program is warranted - to further assess the resource and reserve models and to provide additional engineering, environmental, socio-political and commercial site studies.

Significant information and assumptions (base case models) set out in the Balabag Scoping Study include the following:



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(US$) Base Case 1 Base Case 2
(O/P & U/G)(1) (O/P & U/G)(1)
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Total Capital
costs: $38.8 M (10% contingencies) $58.1 M (10% contingencies)
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Avg. Production
rate: 1,300 / 6 yrs 1,450 / 5 yrs
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Cut-off grade: 0.48 gpt AuEq 0.44 gpt AuEq
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Ore production: 2,803,729 tonnes (O/P & U/G) 2,579,052 tonnes (O/P & U/G)
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Average grade
(diluted): 3.94 gpt AuEq; (O/P & U/G) 3.95 gpt AuEq; (O/P & U/G)
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Gold Price: 650.00 $/oz 900.00 $/oz
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Silver Price: 13.00 $/oz 17.00 $/oz
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Discount Rate: 10 % 10 %
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Cash costs per Oz Au Eq: 312 $/oz AuEq 397 $/oz AuEq
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Total Operating Costs: $96.1 M $110.7 M
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Total Income (Before Tax): $100.5 M $134.5 M
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Net Project CF (Aft Tax): $45.0 M $58.1 M
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Net Present Value (Aft Tax): $19.8 M $36.1 M
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Internal Rate of return: 31.9 % 45.8 %
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Payback Period: 3.1 years 2.2 years
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(1) O/P means open pit mining operations; U/G means underground mining
operations.
Gold Equivalent ("AuEq") values were calculated using $650/oz Au and
$13/oz Ag for Base Case 1 and $900/oz Au and $17/oz Ag for Base Case 2.
The foregoing is a summary only of certain information contained in the
Balabag Scoping Study. Readers should refer to that report, when filed,
for additional details concerning the information set out in this News
Release.


Readers are cautioned that the Balabag Scoping Study is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the Balabag Scoping Study assessment will be realized and actual results may vary substantially.

"We are very pleased with the results of the Balabag Scoping Study, which provides additional support for management's high priority view of the project," said Clifford M. James, TVI President and CEO. "This preliminary assessment, based on mineralization found on the Balabag property to date, reinforces our conclusion that further work should be undertaken to examine the potential for a stand-alone, commercially viable mining operation and perhaps the second production project for the Company. We intend to move quickly towards a full feasibility study, which will be required to enable us to make a production decision on the project."

Additional Information

The tenements covering the Balabag property comprise a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement ("MPSA") originally held by Zamboanga Minerals Corporation ("ZMC") and covering a total area of 4,779 hectares. TVI Pacific, through its Philippine affiliate TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Ltd. ("TVIRD"), has since exercised its option to purchase, and has purchased from ZMC, the full rights and obligations of the Balabag property.

The Balabag mineral prospect is located on a 1.5 km by 1 km ridge, defining a structurally controlled area consisting of a series of vein bodies occurring in tuffaceous agglomerate and andesitic rocks, bordered to the north and south by NW-SE regional faults. Data collected to date suggests a system of veins running east-westerly and gently dipping 30 degrees- 40 degrees to the north. The Tinago vein system appears to be the largest and most strongly mineralized structure. The existing data indicates that mineralization is strongest from section 4E to 4W (some 400m along strike) where the vein swell is most prominent. The latest interpretation based on detailed mapping and infill drilling suggests that the Miswi vein is likely the eastern extension of the Tinago system which appears truncated and displaced by post mineralization faulting. The Miswi vein appears to remain open to the east and at depth. The Lalab vein system, occurring some 200m west of Miswi, appears to be smaller and thinner, and somewhat sub-parallel to the Tinago vein. The Tinago and Lalab veins are interpreted to remain open to the west and at depth, yet appear to decrease progressively further west. The geometry and emplacement of mineralization suggest the use of an open pit approach, to be developed along side Balabag Hill, coupled with minimal underground development to reach the deeper ore shoots not included in the pits.

A mineral resource estimate, prepared by P.J. Lafleur Geo-Conseil Inc. ("PJLGCI") in 2007, was based on the 69 drill hole program first completed to the end of March 2007. Indicated resources were estimated by PJLGCI at 1.37 million tonnes ("Mt") averaging 2.9 grams per tonne ("gpt") Au and 84.3 gpt Ag, or 203,700 gold equivalent ounces ("AuEqOz"), with additional Inferred resources amounting to 1.96 Mt averaging 2.6 gpt Au and 55.2 gpt Ag, or 234,200 AuEqOz, using a greater than 0.5 g /t cut-off. An updated National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") Technical Report, detailing the project and Mineral Resource estimate protocols, was filed on SEDAR on August 9, 2007, and readers are referred to that technical report for additional information. Readers are cautioned that mineral resources that have not been classified as mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

In the Balabag Scoping Study, Genivar considered two "base cases".

The first base case ("BC1") considers an open pit mining approach complemented with underground operations for the deeper Tinago and Miswi vein system. The economic assessment prepared by Genivar assumes a mine plan that was configured using a block model provided by PJLGCI and utilizes data from TVIRD's Canatuan operation and empirical data from Genivar's project database for CAPEX and OPEX.

Several pit shells where generated using different gold and silver price values and initial mining /milling estimated operating costs. Dilution factors were impounded on the resources ranging from zero to +50%. For the purposes of BC1, ore production and milling rates were initially assumed to be 1,200 tonnes per day ("tdp") and averaging 1,300 tpd over the life of the mine. A pit shell using a 30% factor of dilution to the resources was utilized as being the most optimal pit. Annual ore production was assumed to be approximately 438k tonnes, starting in the third quarter of "Year -1", for total assumed production of 2.80M tonnes over a period of six years. The open pit overall stripping ratio is estimated at 4.5 to 1.

An alternative scenario ("BC2") was also prepared based on the same estimated resources and using the same optimized pit configuration as BC1, but integrating updated cost factors and metal prices and utilizing an increased assumed production rate of 1,450 tpd, resulting in a project mine life of about 5 years. BC2 provides a comparative financial analysis, using updated modeling criteria, resulting in improved economics and allowing a test of the sensitivity of the project to varying factors and parameters. Total production from the BC2 mining scenario was assumed to be approximately 2.58M tonnes over a period of 5 years, with an overall stripping ratio of 4.5 to 1.

Both base cases are preliminary in nature and a definitive feasibility assessment will need to be completed to enable the management and board of directors of the Company to make a production decision in respect of the Balabag Project. This feasibility work is expected to entail (i) additional exploration drilling, resources /reserves modeling and pit optimization; (ii) detailed engineering bids and costing reviews; and (iii) geotechnical, environmental and socio-political baseline studies (to document EIS work and ECC applications). Management estimates that it will take between 16 and 24 months to complete such feasibility work. Genivar has recommended that such feasibility work be undertaken at the earliest opportunity in order to secure all necessary operating permits and to enable the Company to reach a production decision in a timely manner.

Once a production (investment) decision has been reached, the construction time (pre-production period) for either of the base case scenarios is estimated to be approximately twenty four (24) months. Management of the Company believes that this period could be shortened, by as much as eight months, should a commitment be made by the Company to rehabilitate an existing logging road in order to provide access to the site much sooner.

To complete a definitive feasibility assessment on Balabag, Genivar recommends a number of follow up work programs which include (but are not limited to):

- Prepare a program and carry out infill drilling on the Tinago-Miswi deposits to assess whether "Inferred resources" can be recategorized as "Measured and Indicated resources";

- Pursue exploration and prepare and carry out condemnation drilling to assess the presence of any new zones of potential mineralization and avoid interference between the deposits and the proposed surface infrastructure (such as roads, milling facilities and tailings impoundment);

- Prepare and send RFP's to suppliers and mining contractors to obtain budget proposals;

- Carry out further metallurgical test work and assess the impact of those tests on estimated operating costs and metal recoveries;

- As a parallel side study, investigate the potential and feasibility of running commercial heap leaching operations at the site;

- Conduct tailings impoundment site selection and characterization, dam design and engineering studies;

- Prepare and document a Environmental Impact Statement and apply for and secure an Environment Compliance Certificate for the project;

- Prepare and document socio-political baseline studies and draft a "local community and IP - TVIRD Agreement" to seek and obtain clearances to build the project; and

- Develop a mine closure plan and comprehensive reclamation and rehabilitation program to be implemented after operations have been terminated.


About TVI Pacific Inc. (TSX:TVI)

TVI Pacific Inc. is a publicly traded Canadian mining company focused on exploring for and producing precious and base metals within district scale systems in the Philippines. The Company's interest in the Canatuan Mine and its other Philippine assets are held through its affiliate, TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Ltd. ("TVIRD").

Mr. Marc Beauvais, Eng, P. Eng. of Genivar Limited Partnership, has served as the "Qualified Person" (for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Deposits) in respect of the Balabag Scoping Study. Mr. Beauvais has reviewed this news release at the request of TVI. Mr. Beauvais is independent of TVI Pacific for purposes of National Instrument 43-101.

Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "seek", "anticipate", "plan", "continue", "estimate", "expect", "may", "will", "intend", "could", "might", "should", "believe" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based upon the opinions and expectations of management of the Company as at the effective date of such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that those expectations will prove to have been correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties (known and unknown) that could cause actual outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, such things as the volatility of prices for precious metals and base metals, commodity supply and demand, fluctuations in currency and interest rates, inherent risks associated with the exploration and development of mining properties, ultimate recoverability of mineral reserves, timing, results and costs of exploration and development activities, availability of financial resources or third-party financing, new laws (domestic or foreign), changes in administrative practices and changes in exploration plans or budgets. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance upon the forward-looking statements contained in this News Release and such forward-looking statements should not be interpreted or regarded as guarantees of future outcomes.

Forward-looking information respecting the time required to undertake certain feasibility work at Balabag is based upon the time required to undertake certain exploration activities at Balabag to date, management's experiences with other feasibility work programs undertaken in the Philippines and elsewhere, advice received from third-party advisors with respect to the timing of various components of the feasibility work program and the Company's current budget and overall strategy for Balabag, which plans, budget and strategy are all subject to change. Forward-looking information concerning the estimated time required to undertake construction activities at Balabag (in the event a production decision is reached by the Company in respect of the project) is based upon management's experiences with other construction projects in the Philippines and elsewhere, advice received from third-party advisors with respect to the timing of various components of the construction project, and the Company's current budget and overall strategy for Balabag, which plans, budget and strategy are all subject to change. The forward-looking statements of the Company contained in this News Release are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement. Various risks to which the Company is exposed in the conduct of its business (including exploration activities) are described in detail in the Company's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2007, which was filed on SEDAR on March 27, 2008 and is available under the Company's profile at www.SEDAR.com. Subject to applicable securities laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly revise the forward-looking statements included in this News Release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved of the information contained herein.

Contact Information

  • TVI Pacific Inc.
    Clifford M. James
    President and CEO
    (403) 265-4356
    (403) 264-7028 (FAX)
    or
    TVI Pacific Inc.
    Paul Moon
    Director, Corporate Communications
    (403) 265-4356
    (403) 264-7028 (FAX)
    Email: tvi-info@tvipacific.com
    Website: www.tvipacific.com