Press Release Source: Advanced Explorations Inc.
Advanced Explorations' Canadian Magnetite Project Indicates Potential US $2.76 Billion NPV in Preliminary Economic Assessment
* On Wednesday June 10, 2009, 9:05 am EDT
TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - Advanced Explorations Inc. (the "Company" or "AEI") today announced positive economics from a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") of its Roche Bay Magnetite Project located on the east coast of the Melville Peninsula in Nunavut, Canada.
- Annual production of 1 million tonnes of high value 96% - 98% Fe
direct-reduced iron ("DRI") nuggets.
- Forecast sale value of US $500 / tonne nugget, freight on board
- US $750 / tonne nugget assuming 70% of 2008 peak prices
- Operating Expenditure ("OPEX"): US $176 / tonne nugget
- Net Present Value ("NPV") before taxes at a 10% discount rate:
- US $1.16 billion at US $500 / tonne nugget
- US $2.76 billion at US $750 / tonne nugget
- Pre-tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR"):
- 24.4 % at US $500 / tonne nugget
- 39.5 % at US $750 / tonne nugget
- Capital Expenditure ("CAPEX"): US $1.11 billion.
- Project payback of approximately three to five years on base case
- Inferred Resource of 357 million tonnes grading 28.1 % total iron at
a 25 % iron cut-off for the C-Zone only.
- The historical and non NI 43-101 compliant resource of 700 million
tonnes from the proximal A, B and D-Zones was not included in this
report but is considered an excellent exploration target for
future drill programs.
- Three years of baseline environmental studies have been completed.
- The Project is located adjacent to a deep water ocean harbour
providing AEI with a wide range of efficient construction,
development and shipping options.
John Gingerich, President & CEO of AEI, commented:
"We are extremely pleased that the PEA confirms that we have
a very viable project with a projected operating cost less than
half of current spot prices. It's a long life project with
massive upside and it's located in Canada; always a safe
environment for investment. AEI believes that the PEA was
completed to the highest standards using conservative estimates.
Our base case forecast price is less than 50% of the peak prices
of 2008. The Company sees potential for a stronger market
recovery and growing demand for high quality electric arc furnace
product and believes prices of $750 / tonne are possible. Under
this circumstance the economics of a NPV of US $2.8 billion are
exceptional. Additionally, the Direct Reduction process plants are
modular and expandable in 500,000 tonne increments, while
preliminary analysis suggests that expanding to 1.5 million tonnes
per annum would provide even stronger economics. These scenarios
will be studied during the definitive feasibility study."
Jim Excell, Strategic Advisor for Project Development, said:
"Having built and operated a mine in the Canadian Arctic, this project has all the necessary elements to be a successful iron nugget mine in the Canadian North".
The PEA is based on the review of technical studies performed to this date and the AEI internal scoping study prepared by Dr. Florin Gheorghiu, Ph.D. Eng, AEI's VP Engineering & Technology. The PEA also includes expert contributions including Golder Associates, EBA Engineering and GTX Consulting and was overall reviewed for its technical content by Met-Chem Canada under the direction of Mr. Alain Dorval, P. Eng. As the Company's Independent Qualified Person, Mr. Alain Dorval has also reviewed the contents of this release. Mr. Garett Macdonald, MBA, P.Eng of GTX Consulting Inc. contributed the mining section and the economic modeling, while Richard Hoos M.Sc., of EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. authored the environmental component to the report. The resource and geology sections were provided by Dr. Bill Shaw P.Geo and Mr. Paul Palmer P. Eng & P.Geo from Golder Associates and are based upon AEI's most recent NI 43-101 Technical Report which Golder Associates authored and filed on SEDAR April 24th, 2009.
The selection of iron nuggets as a final product is based on the rigorous study of mineralogical, chemical and physical characteristics of Roche Bay magnetite ores, in relationship with enrichment process efficiency, investment cost of the project and steel market demand. The iron nugget, produced by the direct reduction of iron, is a high quality product used as a feedstock in electric arc furnaces.
The incorporation of a direct reduction ("DR") nugget process is expected to bring many strategic advantages to the Roche Bay Magnetite Project including:
- Reasonable CAPEX and OPEX costs.
- Iron nuggets are a higher profit value-add product than blast furnace
pellets or iron concentrates.
- Low-cost non-metallurgical coal is used as a reduction agent.
- High thermal efficiency of the DR process; the heat recovery from the
DR exhaust gas will produce all the electricity required to power the
Roche Bay site.
- Environmentally responsible process - very low CO2 and SO2 emissions.
The electric power required to produce the iron nuggets, estimated to be up to 30 Megawatts ("MW"), will be generated via a steam-based power plant. The steam will be produced by a recuperative heat exchanger placed on the exhaust gas circuit of the DR furnace. The highly energy-efficient DR process creates power at no additional cost for the project. Following electrical power generation, the remaining captured energy from the steam cooling will be used for the heating of industrial plant and camp buildings. An additional 10 MW of capacity is being considered for power supply to external customers.
John Gingerich, President & CEO of AEI, commented:
"A project of this scale will provide the base for a wide range of
economic and development options for the governments of Nunavut
and Canada. The project has the resources to last over fifty years
thus creating direct and indirect employment opportunities for the
entire Melville Peninsula for many generations. It is an
excellent fit with the social-economic strategy of both the
Federal and Nunavut governments providing a number of
collaborative opportunities. With the possibility of an additional
10 MW of electricity available, power could be provided to both
Hall Beach and Igloolik communities with still enough power
available for new business initiatives or a northern naval port
that would directly support Canada's claim of Arctic sovereignty".
The PEA is based on the following general assumptions:
- The 20 year starter pit will commence on the C-Zone North.
- The initial ore production rate is assumed to be 15,000 tonnes per
day, or 5.0 million tonnes per year.
- High-grade ore of 30% Fe outcropping on the surface is expected to
create a very low initial waste to ore strip ratio of 0.5:1.
- The C-Zone North open pit would be located 10 km west via road haul
to the stockpile and production facilities at Roche Bay.
- Production, port and ship loading facilities would be located
adjacent to the natural deep water harbour within Roche Bay.
- The shipping season for the current business model is 275 days a
- Currency exchange rate 1 CAD = 0.85 USD.
Positive Factors not considered in the PEA:
- The PEA did not consider the cost reductions associated with of
off-site construction and on-site assembly
- Study did not consider the potential benefits from the co-development
and sale of surplus power (up to 10 MW)
- Report did not consider collaborative and support opportunities
associated with both levels of Government (site Industrial park,
- The PEA did not consider the possible Kyoto credit associated with
the environmentally more responsible development/process.
For the past three years beginning in 2006, EBA has been retained to undertake the full range of appropriate environmental baseline studies needed for the preparation of the anticipated environmental assessment and regulatory documentation required to support regulatory approval of the project. Studies undertaken have addressed the following key environmental disciplines: Vegetation and Terrain; Water Quality and Hydrology; Freshwater and Marine Aquatic Resources; Terrestrial and Marine Wildlife Resources (mammals and birds); Archaeological Resources. Traditional Knowledge and Socio-economic Studies will be undertaken as part of future programs.
The PEA 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 reserves development, production and economic forecasts on which this PEA is based will be realized. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources. The issuer is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources, and the historical estimate should not be relied upon.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
John Gingerich, President & CEO