Kore Mining outlines low-cost heap leach development at Long Valley

KORE's second California project, the Long Valley gold project. Credit: KORE Mining.KORE's second California project, the Long Valley gold project. Credit: KORE Mining.

Kore Mining (TSXV: KORE; US-OTC: KOREF) has released the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its wholly owned Long Valley gold deposit in California’s Mono County, which suggests low costs, both in terms of the up-front capital required, as well as during operations.

In a news release, Kore highlights how the PEA has the “potential to generate strong returns while being in full compliance with California’s stringent operating and reclamation standards.”

The early-stage study suggests a seven-year shallow open-pit, heap-leach operation, producing an average of 100,000 oz. gold annually at all-in sustaining costs (AISCs) of US$732 per ounce. With an initial capital cost estimate of US$158 million, the after-tax net present value estimate for the project comes in at US$263 million with a 40% internal rate of return, at a 5% discount rate, based on US$1,600 per oz. gold.

The initial capital cost estimate includes a 25% contingency. According to the company, infrastructure costs are low due to the proximity of road, water and power infrastructure.

Operating costs break down to a total of US$7.62 per ton processed on-site. According to Kore, the AISCs estimate falls in the second quartile of the World Gold Council’s AISCs curve.

In the press release, Marc Leduc, Kore’s chief operating officer, noted that the company now plans to “grow Long Valley by drilling oxide and sulphide targets while further defining silver potential.”

Scott Trebilcock, Kore’s chief executive, observed how Long Valley complements the company’s Imperial project, also in California, where a PEA earlier this year outlined an eight-year heap-leach mine.

“Kore has the unique advantage of having two simple, low-cost heap-leach development projects in one company and can manage capital needs for growth, permitting and construction to maximize shareholder value,” Trebilcock said in a statement. “The Long Valley PEA is a key milestone towards Kore’s becoming a significant North American producer, envisioning production of 250,000 oz. of gold a year from our U.S. projects.”

Additional opportunities to improve project economics include assaying for silver in future drilling to add silver to the resources, metallurgical testing to establish an optimal crush size, and drilling to target additional oxide and deeper sulphide resources.

Going forward, Kore plans to explore the targets on strike with and adjacent to the current oxide mineralization. The company is permitting drill pads with the U.S. Forest Service, with drilling currently expected to start in the first half of next year.

Along with the PEA, Kore also released an updated resource for Long Valley, with an updated resource model. Updates include lithology-specific densities and revised pit shell optimization parameters.

There are 63.7 million indicated tonnes at Long Valley grading 0.58 gram gold per tonne for a total of 1.2 million oz. gold. A further 22.1 million inferred tonnes at 0.65 gram gold contain 456,000 ounces. Within this inventory, there are 32 million indicated oxide tonnes at 0.62 gram gold, and 8.2 million inferred tonnes of oxides at 0.69 gram gold.

At press time in Toronto, Kore was trading at $1.55 per share within a 52-week range of 15¢ and $1.96.

The company has about 106 million common shares outstanding for a $164-million market capitalization.

— This article first appeared in The Canadian Mining Journal. The Northern Miner and The Canadian Mining Journal are part of Glacier Resource Innovation Group.


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