The Renard Project’s initial Feasibility Study was released in November 2011 and described a commercially viable combined open pit and underground mining operation. In January 2013, Stornoway released an updated Feasibility Optimization Study that incorporated certain design and cost optimization exercises. These included the deferral of shaft access for the underground mine and a modified underground mining sequence and draw point design. As a result of these design changes, project operating and capital cost estimates were restated, and a revised production schedule established. The Optimization Study also contained an updated project development schedule and financial model incorporating, among other things, the terms of the March 2012 Mecheshoo Agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority, and the November 2012 Renard Mine Road financing agreement with the Government of Québec.
In March 2016, Stornoway released an Updated Mine Plan and Mineral Reserve Estimate that incorporated the Mineral Resource estimate increases in 2013 and 2015, as well as updating the life of mine operating cost estimates and diamond price assumptions for the project to reflect the current environment
Highlights of the Updated Mine Plan were:
- An increase in the Mineral Reserve based mine life from 11 to 14 years;
- Average diamond production in years 1 – 10 of 1.8 million carats per year, compared to 1.6 million per year previously, with forecasts of 1.9 million carats produced and 1.4 million carats sold to the end of 2017, increases of 24% and 57% respectively;
- A scheduled increase in processing rate from 2.2 million tonnes per annum (6,000 tonnes per day) to 2.5 million tonnes per annum (7,000 tonnes per day) in 2018;
- Initial capital cost estimate of $775 million within life of mine capital cost estimate of $1,045 million;
- Life of mine average operating costs of $56.20/tonne, or $84.37/carat;
- Net revenue of $4,555 million, yielding a real term cash operating margin of $2,677 million or 59%, or $120 per carat, after allowance for royalty, taxes and the Renard diamond streaming agreement; and
- Unlevered, stream affected, after tax NPV (7%) of $974 million as of January 1st 2016 calculated in real terms. NPV is calculated on Probable Mineral Reserves only, excluding any resource upside, utilizing “mark-to-market” diamond price estimates and before consideration for potential large diamond recovery.
In compliance with Canadian reporting standards, the Updated Mine Plan does not include Inferred Mineral Resources or Indicated Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves. However, the project’s design, processed kimberlite storage capacity, permits and Mining Lease contemplate the eventual mining of all NI 43-101 Mineral Resources over an extended mine life. In addition to the Mineral Resources, 33.0 to 71.1 million carats of non-resource exploration upside (76.2 to 113.2 million tonnes at grades ranging from 20 to 168 cpht) has been estimated for the Renard Project.
Readers are cautioned that the potential quantity and grade of any such exploration target is conceptual in nature, and that there has been insufficient exploration to define a Mineral Resource; it is uncertain whether further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a Mineral Resource.