(Aris Gold, 31.Mar.2021) — Aris Gold Corporation announces fourth quarter (Q4) and full year 2020 financial results from its wholly owned Marmato mine in Colombia. The company’s 2020 Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) and Financial Statements have been filed under the company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and are available on the company’s website at www.arisgold.com.
Since the launch of the company in February 2020, significant achievements and rapid progress has been made, including:
- Completed a Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) for the expansion of the Marmato mine, which focused on the development of the Marmato Deep Zone (MDZ) mineralization, construction of a new 4,000 tonne per day (tpd) plant, new dry stack tailings storage facilities and the use of efficient mechanized mining methods.
- Established a new Life of Mine plan for the Marmato mine based on a total Mineral Reserve1 of 2.0 million contained ounces (oz) gold from exploration drilling results to mid-March 2020.
- Launched a 35,000-metre drill program at Marmato which commenced in May 2020, with the principal objective of converting Inferred Mineral Resources to Indicated Mineral Resources while also testing several newly discovered areas. Drilling results during 2020 included high-grade mineralization over broad widths demonstrating potential to extend the 13-year mine life outlined in the PFS. As of March 2021, this drill program was approximately 50% complete.
- Acquired the Juby Gold Project in July 2020, an advanced stage exploration project in northeastern Ontario, and completed an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (the Juby MRE). which is included in the Juby Technical Report (as defined below). The Juby MRE included Indicated Resources of 770,000 contained oz gold based on 21.3 million tonnes at an average grade of 1.13 g/t and Inferred Resources of 1,488,000 contained oz of gold based on 47.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.98 g/t.
- Completed three financings for gross proceeds of $186.5mn, which included:
- C$50mn ($37.4mn) bought deal financing
- $83.1mn senior secured Gold-Linked Notes (GLN) financing
- C$85mn ($66mn) private placement led by the current Board and management
- Arranged a $110.0 million precious metals streaming financing, the completion of which is subject to certain customary conditions.
- Achieved the revised 2020 gold production guidance at the Marmato Upper Zone mine despite challenges associated with COVID-19 (See Q4 and Full Year 2020 Financial and Operating Highlights).
- Negotiated a 30-year extension of the mining title at the Marmato mine to October 2051, which included an agreement with the Agencia Nacional de Mineria (ANM) for the creation of a social investment fund with a defined contribution formula based on gold production rates.
|(1)||The net proceeds from the C$85mn private placement and the $83mn of gold-linked notes were released from escrow on 4 February 2021|
|(2)||The company has entered into a definitive Precious Metals Purchase Agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals International Ltd., the closing of which is subject to certain customary conditions. On closing, $38mn will be paid to the company with the remaining amount to be paid in tranches upon achievement of completion of * 50% and (y) 75%, of the Marmato Deep Zone expansion project construction.|
|(3)||For full details on cash costs, AISC and adjusted EBITDA calculations, see “Non-IFRS Measures” on pages 24 to 26 of the company’s MD&A, available on SEDAR and on the Company’s website at www.arisgold.com. The company has changed its methodology of calculating cash costs and AISC. Historical amounts have been updated for the purposes of comparison|
|(4)||The difference between Income from mining operations and Net (loss) income for the full year is primarily related to one-time expenses of $75.3mn included in Losses on financial instruments ($44.8mn), RTO Transaction Expense ($16.7mn), and Financing fees and expenses ($13.8mn)|
The key achievement of 2020 was the creation of Aris Gold as an independent public company with a strong financial platform to fund growth. During 2021, the focus shifts to improving the operating performance of the Marmato Upper Zone mine and to start realizing the potential of the Marmato Deep Zone by starting the development of a new MDZ underground mine and constructing a new processing facility in Q4.
Marmato – Upper Zone Operations
During 2021, Aris Gold expects steady improvements of Marmato’s current operations through implementation of comprehensive workforce training and redirecting site-level operations management while concurrently improving health, safety, and environmental performance.
During the ongoing modernization and expansion phase of the Marmato mine, the company anticipates elevated AISC per oz due to increased investments in sustaining capital. During 2020, sustaining capital expenditures totalled $6.4mn or $268 per oz sold, and included $4mn or $168 per oz sold related to mine infrastructure improvements and equipment. The Marmato mine has been in operation since 1991 and investments are planned to refurbish Upper Zone operations in advance of the large-scale MDZ expansion project expected to start in Q4 2021.
Marmato – Developing the MDZ
During 2021, Aris Gold’s primary focus is the scheduled start of the Marmato Deep Zone project in Q4. The Marmato project team is implementing a comprehensive development plan that includes completing optimization studies, completing the 35,000-metre drill program and subsequently updating the mineral resource and reserve estimates, engaging an EPCM contractor, completing FEL3 design, amending the environmental management plan and continuing to advance health, safety, and community support programs.
Corporate Growth Strategy
On 4 February 2021, the company changed its name to Aris Gold Corporation in association with the appointment of the current Board and management team and the expansion of the corporate growth strategy with the vision of building Aris Gold into their next globally relevant gold producer.
Aris Gold is pursuing a growth strategy of acquiring operating gold mines and projects nearing construction with the goal of creating value through adding scale and diversification. Aris Gold has a solid foundation and experienced team to implement its growth plans.
The scientific disclosure and technical information included in this Press Release is based upon information included in the technical reports listed below that were prepared in compliance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).
- Marmato Technical Report entitled “Revised NI 43-101 Technical Report Pre-Feasibility Study Marmato Project Colombia” dated 18 September 2020 with an effective date of 17 March 2020. The Marmato Technical Report was prepared by Ben Parsons, MSc, MAusIMM (CP), Eric J. Olin, MSc Metallurgy, MBA, SME-RM, MAusIMM, Fernando Rodrigues, BS Mining, MBA, MAusIMM, MMSAQP, Jeff Osborn, BEng Mining, MMSAQP, Joanna Poeck, BEng Mining, SME-RM, MMSAQP, Fredy Henriquez, MS Eng, SME, ISRM, Breese Burnley, P.E., Cristian A Pereira Farias, SME-RM, David Hoekstra, BS, PE, NCEES, SME-RM, David Bird, PG, SME-RM, Mark Allan Willow, MSc, CEM, SME-RM, and Tommaso Roberto Raponi, P.Eng, each of whom is independent of the company within the meaning of NI 43-101 and is a “Qualified Person” as such term is defined in NI 43-101.
- Juby Technical Report entitled “Technical Report on the Updated Mineral Resource Estimate for the Juby Gold Project” dated 5 October 2020 with an effective date of 14 July 2020. The Juby Technical Report was prepared by Joe Campbell, B.Sc., P.Geo., Alan Section, M.Sc., P.Geo., Duncan Studd, M.Sc., P.Geo. and Allan Armitage, Ph.D., P.Geo., each of whom is independent of the company within the meaning of NI 43-101 and is a “Qualified Person” as such term is defined in NI 43-101