Tyhee Gold Corp.
TSX VENTURE : TDC

Tyhee Gold Corp.

August 15, 2012 09:00 ET

Tyhee Gold Corp. Announces Positive Feasibility Study for Yellowknife Gold Project, Northwest Territories

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 15, 2012) - Tyhee Gold Corp. ("Tyhee" or the "Company) (TSX VENTURE:TDC) is pleased to announce the positive results from an independent Feasibility Study ("FS") on its Yellowknife Gold Project (YGP) in Canada's Northwest Territories. The Executive Summary of the full FS, prepared by SRK Consulting, Knight Piésold and Lyntek Inc. out of their Denver, Colorado offices, will be available shortly on the Company's website and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com.) A National Instrument 43-101-compliant summary of the FS will be available on the Company's website and on SEDAR within 45 days. (All dollar ($) figures are in U.S. currency.)

Highlights @ $1400/oz. gold price1
NPV $ 216 million
CAPEX (incl. 10% contingency) $ 193 million
Avg. Annual gold production (first 8 years) 104,000 oz./yr.
Plant throughput (nominal) 4,000 tpd
Reserves:
Open Pit
Tonnes 17,633,000
Ounces gold 1,042,000
Grade 1.84 g/t
Underground
Tonne 2,801,000
Ounces gold 291,000
Grade 3.24 g/t
Mine life 15 years
Payback 42 months
Cash cost
LOM $854/ oz. gold
First 8 full years $797/ oz. gold
Operating Profit (pre-tax)
LOM $659 million
First 8 Years Avg. ˜ $60 million / yr.
1Approximate 36 month rolling average gold price.

Overview

At a base-case gold price of $1,400 per ounce ("/oz.") and a projected 4,000 tonnes-per-day ("tpd") processing plant comprised of a conventional gravity-flotation-cyanide process and incorporating open-pit and underground mining methods on the Ormsby, Bruce Lake, Clan Lake and Nicholas Lake deposits, the YGP is estimated to return a pre-tax net present value ("NPV") at a 5% discount rate of approximately $216 million and an internal rate of return ("IRR") of 20% based on initial estimated capital cost of $193 million (including a 10% contingency).

At the current gold price of approximately $1,600 per oz., the YGP would have an NPV of $375 million, an IRR of 28% and a payback period of 30 months.

Gold Price Sensitivity $1,300 $1,400 $1,500 $1,600 $2,500
NPV (US$000s) 136,010 215,724 295,438 375,152 1,092,578
IRR 16 % 20 % 24 % 28 % 52 %
Payback (months) 50 42 34 30 13

Final Engineering and Procurement are slated to begin 4th quarter, 2012, continuing through 2013. Construction is proposed to begin 1st quarter, 2014 subject to ongoing permitting, with production estimated to commence 3rd quarter 2015. (See Timeline Targets)

Commenting on the results of the study, Brian Briggs, P. Eng., President and CEO of Tyhee, said, "I am very pleased with the results of the Feasibility Study. It is a dramatic improvement on the Prefeasibility Study and demonstrates that this project is operationally feasible and once in operation will generate a significant cash flow for the Company, benefiting our shareholders. As we now move into final engineering, we will evaluate the opportunities identified in this study to further enhance the economics of the project. These include process changes that could lead to sharply improved recoveries on Nicholas Lake as well as further optimization of mine scheduling."

Added Denis Taschuk, Chairman, "I would like to thank Brian and his dedicated team for the exceptional work they have done to bring us to this final stretch; but, I would also like to thank our loyal shareholders for their support, which we hope and believe will soon be more appropriately rewarded."

Reserves:

Proven and Probable mineral reserves for the YGP are estimated at 20,433,000 million tonnes ("Mt") at an average grade of 2.03 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold, containing 1,334,000 ounces of gold, resulting in a mine-life of approximately 15 years:

Quantity
('000s)
Average
Grade
Contained
Metal ('000s)
Deposit
Type
Deposit Area Resource Category Tonnes Au (g/t) Au Oz.
Ormsby Proven 6,347 1.75 357
Subtotal Proven 6,347 1.75 357
Ormsby 10,502 1.86 627
Open Pit Bruce Probable 390 1.70 21
Clan Lake 394 2.93 37
Subtotal Probable 11,286 1.68 685
Ormsby Probable 772 3.49 87
Underground Nicholas Lake 2,029 3.14 205
Subtotal Probable 2,801 3.24 291
Total Proven and Probable 20,433 2.03 1,334
  • The mineral reserve estimate for the YGP is shown below and was calculated by Bret C Swanson BE (Min), Principal Consultant, of SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Effective Date of July 1, 2012.
  • Reserves are inclusive of mineral resources.
  • Reserves are based on a gold price of US$1,400/oz.
  • Open pit reserves assume full mine recovery.
  • Open pit reserves are not diluted (Further to dilution inherent in the resource model and assume selective mining unit of 3m x 3m x 3m).
  • Underground reserves assume planned dilution, 5% unplanned dilution at Nicholas Lake and 9% at Ormsby.
  • In situ Au Ounces do not include metallurgical recovery of 92% for Ormsby, Clan Lake and Bruce or 82% for Nicholas Lake.
  • An open pit Cut-off grade (CoG) of 0.6g/t-Au was applied to open pit resources constrained by the final pit design.
  • An underground CoG of 2.0 g/t-Au was applied to underground resources constrained by a final underground design.
  • Mineral resource tonnage and contained metal have been rounded to reflect the accuracy of the estimate, and numbers may not add due to rounding.

Resources:

Thus far, Tyhee's technical team has identified six separate gold deposits in the YGP, including Ormsby, Bruce Lake, Clan Lake, Nicholas Lake and Goodwin Lake (see Project Location Map). These areas have a combined Measured and Indicated resource estimated to total 1,715,000 ounces of gold contained in 27,115,000 tonnes at an average grade of 1.97 g/t, and Inferred resources of 487,000 ounces of gold contained in 5,774,000 tonnes at 2.62 g/t.

Quantity
(000s)
Average
Grade
Contained
Metal (000s)
Deposit
Type
Deposit Area Resource Category Tonnes Au (g/t) Au Oz.
Ormsby Measured 7,339 1.59 376
Subtotal Measured 7,339 1.59 376
Ormsby 13,295 1.68 718
Bruce Indicated 749 1.59 38
Clan Lake 1,266 1.68 69
Open Pit Subtotal Indicated 15,310 1.68 825
Subtotal Measured and Indicated 22,649 1.65 1,201
Ormsby 218 1.23 9
Bruce Inferred 60 1.56 3
Clan Lake 1,964 2.46 155
Goodwin Lake 875 1.15 32
Subtotal Inferred 3,117 1.99 199
Ormsby 1,662 3.30 176
Bruce Indicated 440 3.17 45
Clan Lake 110 2.77 10
Nicholas Lake 2,255 3.91 283
Underground Subtotal Indicated 4,466 3.58 514
Ormsby 113 2.89 11
Bruce Inferred 71 2.47 6
Clan Lake 1,784 2.80 161
Nicholas Lake 689 5.00 111
Subtotal Inferred 2,658 3.37 288
All Total Measured and Indicated 27,115 1.97 1,715
Total Inferred 5,774 2.62 487
  • The mineral resource for the YGP shown above was estimated by Jeff Volk, P. Geo. of SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. Effective Date of July 1, 2012.
  • Open pit resources stated as contained within a potentially economically minable open pit above a 0.50 g/t Au cut-off.
  • Pit optimization is based on an assumed gold price of US$1,500/oz., metallurgical recovery of 90%, mining cost of US$2.00/t and processing and G&A cost of US$23.00/t.
  • Underground resources stated as contained within potentially economically minable gold grade shapes above a 1.50 g/t Au cut-off.
  • Mineral resource tonnage and contained metal have been rounded to reflect the accuracy of the estimate, and numbers may not add due to rounding.
  • Mineral resource tonnage and grade are reported as undiluted and reflect a potentially minable bench height of 3.0m.
  • Contained Au ounces are in-situ, and do not include metallurgical recovery losses.
  • Mineral resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves.

Exploration:

The potential exists for the development of additional gold resources from the Ormsby, Nicholas Lake, Goodwin Lake and Clan Lake properties. These deposits are open laterally and / or vertically and additional diamond drilling is planned.

The resource potential of the Ormsby deposit is limited laterally, but unbounded vertically. Diamond drilling that defines the Ormsby gold resource demonstrates geological continuity to the bottom of the known gold resource, approximately 400 m below surface. Two deep diamond drill holes show the amphibolite and gold mineralization occur 650 m below the surface. The nearby Discovery Mine deposit, which produced 1,000,000 oz. of gold from stopes as deep as 1,240 m below surface, suggests a possible vertical extension to the Ormsby deposit.

Diamond drilling limits the lateral extent of the Nicholas Lake deposit but the deposit is unbounded below the bottom of Nicholas Lake resource, approximately 360 m below surface. Likewise, the Clan Lake Main Zone gold deposit is unbounded both laterally and vertically. Considering only the immediate vicinity of the Clan Lake Main Zone gold deposit, diamond drill programs have been conducted on only 25% to 30% of the area that surface prospecting has demonstrated to contain gold mineralization.

Economics:

Description Units Value Unit Cost
(US$/oz.-Au)
Production
Ore Processed kt 20,434 -
Gold Recovered koz. 1,207 -
Estimate of Cashflow
Gold Price US$/oz.-Au $ 1,400.00 -
Gross Revenue US$000s 1,689,522 -
Refinery Charge US$000s (8,448 ) $ (7.00 )
Freight US$000s (86 ) $ (0.07 )
Insurance US$000s (252 ) $ (0.21 )
NSR US$000s 1,680,736 $ 1,392.72
Nicholas Lake Royalty US$000s (5,259 ) $ (4.36 )
Net Revenue US$000s 1,675,477 $ 1,388.36
Operating Costs
OP Mining US$000s 362,004 $ 299.97
UG Mining US$000s 113,218 $ 93.82
Rehandle US$000s 16,612 $ 13.77
Processing US$000s 435,291 $ 360.70
G & A US$000s 89,271 $ 73.97
Total Operating Costs US$000s 1,016,396 $ 842.22
LoM Cash Cost US$/oz.-Au $ 853.86
Operating Profit US$000s 659,080 $ 546.14
Capital Expenditure US$000s (225,040 ) -
Capitalized Costs US$000s (40,198 ) -
Pre-Tax Cashflow US$000s 393,843 $ 326.35
NPV @5% US$000s 215,724 -
IRR % 20 % -

Capital Costs:


Description
Initial Capital
(US$000s)
Sustaining Capital
(US$000s)
LoM Cost
(US$000s)
Capitalized Costs
Open Pit Mining 7,213 2,269 9,482
Underground Mining 0 0 0
Rehandle 0 0 0
Processing 990 8,484 9,474
G & A 21,241 0 21,241
Subtotal $ 29,444 $ 10,753 $ 40,198
Capital Costs
Open Pit Mining 23,490 33,586 57,076
Underground Mining 0 9,480 9,480
Process Plant & Site Infrastructure 117,955 6,062 124,017
Tailings Containment Area 6,121 1,335 7,456
Owners Costs 4,149 0 4,149
Mine Closure 0 10,460 10,460
Project Contingency (@10% of Process and Infrastructure) 11,796 606 12,402
Subtotal $ 163,511 $ 61,529 $ 225,040
Total Capital $ 192,955 $ 72,283 $ 265,238

Operating Costs:

Description Unit Rate
(US$/t-RoM)
Unit Cost
(US$/t-Moved)
LoM Cost
(US$000s)
Open Pit Mining 17.716 1.807 362,004
Underground Mining 5.541 40.419 113,218
Rehandle 0.813 1.386 16,612
Processing 21.303 21.303 435,291
G & A 4.369 4.369 89,271
Total Opex $49.741 - $1,016,396

Feasibility Study vs. Prefeasibility Study:

On July 22, 2010, the Company released the results of a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) on the Yellowknife Gold Project. The following table summarizes the key differences between that report and the recently completed and more detailed FS.

Item PFS FS Difference (%) Diff
Resources
Measured + Indicated
Tonnes (000's) 17,446 27,115 9,669 55.42%
Au Oz (000's) 1,947 1,715 -232 ‐11.92%
Grade (g/T) 3.47 1.97 -1.50
Inferred
Tonnes (000's) 2,545 5,774 3,229 126.88%
Au Oz (000's) 269 487 218 81.04%
Grade (g/T) 3.29 2.62 -0.67
Reserves
Proven & Probable
Tonnes (000's) 7,558 20,433 12,875 170.35%
Au Oz (000's) 811 1,334 523 64.45%
Grade (g/T) 3.34 2.03 -1.31
Conversion of M&I Resources to P&P Reserves 41.7% 77.8% 36.1% 86.69%
Mine Life (years) 7 15 8 114.29%
Nominal Plant Throughput (tpd) 3000 4000 1000 33.33%
CAPEX ($ 000's) $173,640 $192,955 $19,315 11.12%
OPEX ($/processed tonne)
Open Pit Mining 32.77 17.72 -15.05 ‐45.93%
Underground Mining 49.00 5.54 -43.46 ‐88.69%
Rehandle N/A 0.81 0.81 N/A
Processing 12.37 21.30 8.93 72.22%
G&A 3.96 4.37 0.41 10.35%
Total OPEX 59.09 49.74 -9.35 ‐15.82%
NPV ($000's, @ 36 Mnth Average) $71,340 $215,724 $144,384 202.39%
IRR (%) 16.20% 20.00% 3.80% 23.46%

Environmental and Permitting:

The YGP will be environmentally sound, and will be developed using proven environmental management plans to ensure conformance with applicable environmental regulations and guidelines. Comprehensive environmental baseline studies have been carried out by Tyhee and its consultants between 2004 and 2011. In all cases, these studies have indicated that any potential adverse environmental effects can be satisfactorily mitigated, and that progressive reclamation and closure activities will return the mine and processing site to a landscape comparable to the surrounding area.

Water management plans have been specifically designed for the YGP site to contain potentially contaminated water within a controlled Tailings Containment Area (TCA). Excess storage capacity allowances provide for additional operational flexibility and contingencies.

Water treatment facilities include a potable water treatment plant, a sewage treatment plant, a cyanide detoxification plant, and a TCA. These facilities are expected to produce water suitable for discharge into the downstream receiving water bodies. No planned discharges are expected from the TCA; however, should discharges be required, then water discharged from the TCA will meet the standards set out in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) or as specified in the YGP's water license.

Following implementation of mitigation measures, no effects on existing aquatic resources are expected from mining and milling operations at the YGP and monitoring of Narrow Lake is expected to be included in the YGP water license. Although the YGP is located within the Bathurst caribou herd's winter range, it is outside known migration corridors and the YGP is not expected to affect the migratory routes of the Bathurst caribou.

The YGP will incorporate a program of progressive reclamation that minimizes costs and allows timely monitoring of performance. Upon closure, some waste rock may be used as backfill material for the Ormsby pit and Nicholas Lake underground mining operations; other waste rock will remain in-situ. For closure, the waste rock material is assumed to be resistant to erosion and rilling at the design slope of 37°(1.3H:1.0V) and will not be re-graded. Natural, volunteer revegetation is expected to occur on the waste rock facility (WRF) surfaces. The WRFs will not need to be covered as a result of the operational management of the potential acid generating materials, and the gradation indicates gravel and cobble size material will not generate fugitive dust. A series of diversion ditches will collect surface runoff from the waste rock storage areas and redirect it to settling ponds or other appropriate containment structures.

All operating permits and licenses are to be issued by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board and Tyhee does not foresee any concerns in this regard, allowing the YGP to proceed as scheduled in the FS.

Community Relations and Social Responsibility:

The development of the YGP is expected to provide significant new employment and business benefits for indigenous people and regional communities, as well as the NWT and Canada. The YGP is located within the Chief John Drygeese traditional Territory of the Akaitcho Region of the NWT, where the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) is one of the primary aboriginal groups with which Tyhee liaises. The North Slave Métis Alliance is another indigenous people that may benefit from the YGP.

The development of the YGP is expected to provide significant new employment and business benefits, during its expected 15 year mine life. It is estimated that the YGP will employ up to 265 people depending on the mine phase, including construction, operations, and reclamation. During construction, an estimated 75 project personnel (not including contractors - estimated at 200) are required. It has estimated that up to 20% of the workforce during the construction phase could come from the NWT.

During operations, average personnel requirements are estimated at 220 people per year, with approximately 120 people on site at any one time. It is estimated that up to 50% of the workforce during the operations phase could come from the NWT.

In addition to the employment and business benefits, the Company's Social Responsibility Statement will guide Tyhee management, operations personnel and all contractors directing them to operate within the statement's guiding principles.

Mining:

Mining will include traditional open pit truck and shovel operations at Ormsby, Bruce Lake and Clan Lake combined with underground operations at Nicholas Lake and Ormsby. SRK has evaluated previous work and recommended new and appropriate geotechnical parameters that were utilized in both open pit and underground design. A complete first principle work up of operation and capital cost estimates for both underground and open pit operations was completed. SRK is of the opinion the mine plans are achievable and adequately costed for the purpose of this FS.

To view schematics, production chart, project location map and timeline chart, please visit: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/tdc15_Figs1-6.pdf.

About the Yellowknife Gold Project:

The YGP consists of 17 mining leases and 12 mineral claims that total 27,675 acres in the South Mackenzie Mining District of the NWT, Canada. The registered owner of all mining leases and mineral claims is Tyhee NWT Corp, a 100% owned subsidiary of Tyhee Gold Corp. A Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) was completed in July 2010 and showed economics supporting mine development with the then current 1.95 million ounce Measured and Indicated gold Resource. Management expects to develop a centralized processing operation to facilitate development of all zones. Permitting is in advanced stages.

The Company's shares trade on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "TDC". For additional information, please visit the Company's website, www.tyhee.com or www.sedar.com.

All statements in this news release, other than statements of historical facts, that address events or developments that the Company expects to occur, including statements regarding the closing of the non-brokered financing, the proposed use of funds, expectation of additional closings of the private placement, and the expected timing of completion of the feasibility study on the Yellowknife Gold Project, are "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results and future events could materially differ from those anticipated in such statements. Factors that may cause actual results to vary from those made in the forward looking statements described in this document include: changes in general economic conditions and conditions in the financial markets; changes in demand and prices for minerals; delays in obtaining approvals, litigation, legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; delays in completion of work necessary to complete the feasibility study, whether as a result of adverse weather conditions, contract or labour disputes, equipment failure, or response to regulatory enquiries in respect of permit applications; technological and operational difficulties encountered in connection with the activities of the company. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect the forward looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on the companies' forward-looking information. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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