Stornoway Reports Filing of NI 43-101 Technical Report for Renard Preliminary Assessment
December 15, 2008
Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX-SWY) is pleased to announce the filing on SEDAR on December 12, 2008 of a National Instrument ("NI") 43-101 technical report on the Renard Project located at the Foxtrot Property in North Central Québec. The Foxtrot Property is a 50:50 joint venture with SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM"). The independent technical report has been prepared by Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (Scott Wilson RPA) and is the qualifying report relating to the Renard Preliminary Assessment. AMEC Americas Limited (AMEC) and SENES Consultants Limited (SENES) have prepared or contributed to sections of this technical report. The technical report includes improved estimates of project economics resulting from certain conceptual mine plan efficiencies identified since the initial results of the preliminary assessment were disclosed by Stornoway on October 28th, 2008. The improved economics are highlighted as follows:
- Pre-tax IRR on a "Base Case" economic assessment utilizing a 5.9 million carat mineral resource from Renard kimberlites 2, 3 and 4 has increased marginally to 14.2% (12.1% after tax) from 13.9% (11.8% after tax). Pre-Tax NPV (calculated before tax at an 8% discount rate) increases to C$56m from C$52m.
- Pre-tax IRR on an "R4-R9 Price Sensitivity" economic assessment has increased to 17.5% (14.9% after tax) from 16.4% (13.9% after tax), with pre-tax NPV increasing to C$93m from C$78m. This upside economic assessment utilizes an expanded 6.2 million carat mineral resource from Renard kimberlites 2, 3, 4 and 9 and is predicated upon the application of an alternate diamond price to both of the Renard 4 and Renard 9 kimberlites.
The Renard Preliminary Assessment comprises a National Instrument ("NI") 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate and a diamond processing plant design prepared by AMEC Americas Limited ("AMEC"). A conceptual mine plan, capital and operating cost estimate, and an economic assessment were prepared by Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited ("Agnico") and reviewed and accepted by Scott Wilson RPA. The economic assessment is based, in part, on Inferred Mineral Resources, and is preliminary in nature. Inferred Mineral Resources are considered too geologically speculative to have mining and economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. There is no certainty that the Preliminary Assessment will be realized.
Since the results of the Preliminary Assessment were initially reported on October 28th, 2008, no changes have been made to the mineral resource statement or estimate of potential mineral deposits. However, additional inferred mineral resource from the Renard 2 kimberlite has been added to the conceptual mine plan resulting in a marginally increased IRR under the base case economic assessment. In addition, an additional 540,000 tonnes of inferred mineral resource in the Renard 9 kimberlite has been added to the conceptual mine plan in the economic assessment scenario that applies the Renard 2 and 3 diamond price to the Renard 4 and Renard 9 kimberlites. This additional Renard 9 mineral resource has had a more significant impact on the project economics under this upside scenario. Estimates of project capital cost, operating cost and mining method remain the same, as does the mineral resource statement and the assumptions used in the financial model.
Overview of the Mineral Resource Statement, Estimate of Potential Mineral Deposit, and Conceptual Mine Plan.
The NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource at Renard comprises 7.0 million carats of Indicated Resources (11.6 million tonnes at an average grade of 60 carats per hundred tonnes, or "cpht") and 4.5 million carats of Inferred Resources (7.2 million tonnes at an average grade of 63 cpht). Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. Extensive upside has been identified in the form of an additional 9 to 21 million carats classified as potential mineral deposit (14 to 32 million tonnes ranging from 31 to 164 carats per hundred tonnes). The potential quantity and grade of any potential mineral deposit is conceptual in nature, and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a mineral resource. Consequently, the economic assessment, in both "Base Case" and "R4-R9 Price Sensitivity" scenarios, does not incorporate any of this non-resource, conceptual material. The evaluation of the large quantity of potential mineral deposit at Renard will be the prime focus of the joint venture in the coming year. If confirmed as additional mineral resource, it offers the potential to significantly extend the preliminary mine life and enhance the project's economics prior to a formal production decision.
The conceptual mine plan combines open pit mining and sublevel, open stope underground mining. The mining sequence and design were determined by optimizing the pit depth and underground stopes to achieve a production rate of 3,500 tonnes/day or 1.3 million tonnes per annum. The capital expense is estimated to be $308 million, including $73 million for a diamond processing plant and including a contingency of $50 million. Operating costs (op-ex) are anticipated to average C$50.35/tonne, including $14.06/tonne for open pit mining, $22.74/tonne for underground mining, C$14.92/tonne for processing and C$16.13/tonne for surface services and general administration. Capital and operating costs were estimated between April and July 2008 through contractor quotes or real-case unit costs derived from current Agnico operations. Site access is based on the assumed availability of an all-season road from the south.
Financial models have been prepared using a US dollar 3-year historical exchange rate of C$1.146 and assuming a 3% diamond marketing cost. Diamond prices are as of an open market valuation exercise undertaken by WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. ("WWW") in March 2008 (Stornoway press release dated April 28th 2008) and an annual diamond price escalation factor of 2.5% has been applied. The diamond price escalation factor does not commence until 2011, and extends through the life of mine, consistent with a consensus of recent diamond industry price forecasts.
The two adjusted economic assessment scenarios are summarized as follows:
Table 1: Renard Preliminary Assessment1
|"Base Case"||"R4-R9 Price Sensitivity Case"|
|Carats Recovered (m)||5.89||6.19|
|Tonnes Processed (m)||7.50||8.04|
|Mine Life (years)||7||7|
|Total Cap-ex (C$m)||$307.70||$308.21|
|Average Op-ex (C$/tonne)||$50.35||$50.00|
|Total Revenue (C$m)||$879||$974|
|Undiscounted Pre-Tax Cash Flow (C$m)||$194||$264|
|(with sensitivities of 6.8% to 21.1%)||(with sensitivities of 10.2% to 24.2%)|
|(with sensitivities of 6.1% to 18%)||(with sensitivities of 8.8% to 20.7%)|
|(with sensitivities of C$35m to C$96m)||(with sensitivities of C$66m to C$143m)|
1The preliminary assessment 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, and there is no certainity that the preliminary assessment will be realized. The cash flow considers the Project from the time of the construction decision and does not include costs for permitting, prefeasibility, and feasibility studies. The mine production, economic analysis and cash flows represent forward-looking information. Assumptions have been made for diamond prices, values and grades. Forecasts of diamond grades and valuation are based on limited sampling that may not be representative of actual diamond production.
2Based on a 2.5% annual diamond price escalation starting in 2011. Sensitivities are shown at 0% and 5% for the purposes of this release, and are not contained within the independent technical report.
3Based on a 8% discount rate with sensitivities of 10% and 5%.
Qualified Persons for the NI 43-101 Report
The authors of the NI 43-101 technical report are Mr. Normand Lecuyer (ing.) and Dr. William E. Roscoe (P.Eng.) of Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates Inc., Mr. Randall Cullen (P.Geo.) and Ms. Alexandra Kozak (P.Eng.) of AMEC Americas Ltd. and Mr. Gerd Wiatzka (P.Eng) of SENES Consultants Limited. Mr. Cullen is the independent Qualified Person responsible for the preparation of the mineral resource estimate for the Renard Diamond Project. Mr. Normand Lecuyer (ing.) and Dr. William E. Roscoe (P.Eng.) of Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. have reviewed and accepted the conceptual mine plan, capital and operating cost estimates, and the preliminary economic analyses developed by Agnico and are the independent Qualified Persons for these aspects of the study. Details regarding data verification, exploration information, and the mineral resource estimates for the Renard Project are included in the technical report, which is titled "Technical Report on the Preliminary Assessment of the Renard Project, Quebec, Canada" NI 43-101 Report dated 12 December 2008, as filed on SEDAR.
Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Stornoway Diamond Corporation is one of Canada's leading diamond exploration and development companies, involved in the discovery of over 200 kimberlites in seven Canadian diamond districts. The Company benefits from a diversified diamond property portfolio, a strong financial platform and management and technical teams with experience in each segment of the diamond "pipeline" from exploration to marketing.
SOQUEM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Société générale de financement du Québec ("SGF"). The SGF, the Québec industrial and financial holding company, has as its mission to undertake economic development projects in the industrial sector in cooperation with partners and in compliance with the economic development policies of the Government of Québec.
On behalf of the Board
STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORPORATION
/s/ "Eira Thomas"
Chief Executive Officer
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This document may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management's expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral reserves and resources, the realization of mineral reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, costs of production, capital expenditures, success of mining operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims and limitations on insurance coverage.
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These factors include, but are not limited to, developments in world diamond markets, changes in diamond valuations, risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar, changes in exploration, development or mining plans due to exploration results and changing budget priorities of Stornoway or its joint venture partners, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore reserves, grade or recovery rates; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, the effects of competition in the markets in which Stornoway operates, the impact of changes in the laws and regulations regulating mining exploration and development, judicial or regulatory judgments and legal proceedings, operational and infrastructure risks and the additional risks described in Stornoway's most recently filed Annual Information Form, annual and interim MD&A, and Stornoway's anticipation of and success in managing the foregoing risks. Stornoway cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive. When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Stornoway, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Stornoway does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by Stornoway or on our behalf.