Dundee Precious Metals has announced the results of a prefeasibility study focused on the development of the oxide and transitional portions of its Timok gold project in Serbia, as well as the decision to go ahead with a feasibility study. The PFS is confirms Timok’s potential as an attractive organic growth opportunity within the Company’s portfolio.
The latest engineering study outlines an 8-year, approximately 6,925 tonne-per-day heap leach open pit mine, producing an average of 80,000 gold oz. annually in its first six years of operation. All-in sustaining costs are estimated to average US$693 per oz. over the life of the mine, with US$211 million required in initial capital. Using a gold price assumption of US$1,500 per oz., the after-tax net present value estimate for this development stands at US$135 million, with a 21% internal rate of return. Mining would take place over 7 years, with residual gold production from the heap leach in year eight.
“The Timok project continues to advance as a potential future growth opportunity for DPM,” David Rae, president and CEO of Dundee Precious Metals, said in a release. “With additional optimization opportunities to enhance the project and very encouraging exploration results, we believe Timok represents an attractive opportunity to provide organic growth in a region where we have had a presence for many years.”
The prefeasibility is based on mining of oxide and transitional material from the Bigar Hill, Korkan and Korkan West deposits, and incorporates three-stage crushing and material stacking onto a valley heap leach. Based on a 17-month construction and start-up timeline, Dundee currently expects a production start-up in the first quarter of 2026. The feasibility is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022. Work is also underway on baseline environmental assessments for deliverables required under the Serbian permitting process. These include a Strategic Environmental Assessment, a site layout design, and a report on reserves. Once the Timok exploration license expires in July, these studies will be required to secure site exploitation rights. Dundee has also started baseline studies for the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA); the process is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2024. Permits for mine facilities constriction would then follow in the fourth quarter. Optimization opportunities for the feasibility include potential for capital costs reduction, as well as an assessment of mining additional oxide, transitional and sulphide mineralization.
Probable reserves at Timok total 19.2 million tonnes at 1.07 gram gold per tonne, for a total of 662,000 gold ounces. This includes an oxide component of 15.8 million tonnes grading 1.08 gram gold. Additional resources, outside of reserves, feature 32.3 million indicated tonnes at 1.27 gram gold and 900,000 inferred tonnes at 1.5 gram gold. With 14,000 metres of drilling planned for 2021, Dundee will focus exploration efforts on defining shallow oxide resources at the Chocolate and Chocolate South targets around Bigar Hill, with additional work planned for sulphide targets.
Highlights from infill and extension drilling completed at the Chocolate target in the last quarter of 2020 include 37 metres of 0.82 gram gold and 8 metres of 2.96 grams gold. Notable intercepts from Chocolate South include 40.5 metres of 2.83 grams gold and 20 metres of 1.47 gram gold.