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Press Releases
 Mon May 14, 2012
Sunridge Gold Announces Positive Feasibility Study For The Debarwa Deposit, Asmara Project, Eritrea

 Sunridge Gold Corp. (SGC:TSX.V/SGCNF:OTCQX) is pleased to announce the completion and positive results of an independent feasibility study (the "Study") by lead engineer SENET (Pty) Ltd. ("SENET") for its 100% owned Debarwa volcanogenic-massive-sulphide (VMS) copper-gold-zinc deposit, part of the Asmara Project, Eritrea. The Study has concluded that operating Debarwa as a stand-alone mining operation is economically viable. The recently commenced feasibility study on the Asmara North deposits will also examine the integration of the Debarwa deposit with the Asmara North deposits into one operation.

On May 2, 2012, Sunridge announced the positive results of a pre-feasibility study on the Asmara North deposits which integrated the Debarwa deposit into a single mining and processing operation. The pre-feasibility study considered the trucking of ore from the Debarwa deposit approximately 40 kilometers south of Emba Derho to a centralized operating facility located near the Emba Derho deposit. The pre-feasibility study showed very robust economics with a Net Present Value of $555 million using a 10% discount rate. This Debarwa feasibility study, in contrast, considers the technical and economic viability of operating Debarwa as a stand-alone operation with its own processing plant and ancillary facilities. Based on the results of the feasibility study now underway (known as the "Asmara Project Feasibility Study") Sunridge will make the decision as to whether Debarwa would be best be operated as a stand-alone mine or as ore feed to the proposed central milling facilities near Emba Derho.

Debarwa Feasibility Study Base Case Highlights:
  • Net Present Value ("NPV") of $71 million at a 10% discount (pre-tax base case) (NPV @ 0% discount - $129 million)
  • Internal rate of return (IRR) -- 41%
  • Payback -- 1.1 years (from start of production)
  • Base Case metal prices used - US$3.28/lb copper, US$1,111/oz gold, US$21.00/oz silver
  • Initial capital cost estimate - $140 million including contingency and owner's costs
  • On site operating costs - $73.09 per tonne average through life of mine
  • Average annual metal production -
    • 35.1 million pounds (15,932 tonnes) of copper
    • 16,500 ounces of gold
    • 271,000 ounces of silver
  • Total metal production --
    • 116 million pounds (52,576 tonnes) of copper
    • 78,000 ounces of gold
    • 1.3 million ounces of silver
  • Life of Mine -- 4.7 years (from start of production)
  • A Debarwa stand-alone operation provides the Company the opportunity of generating cash flow earlier than if Debarwa were integrated with the Asmara North deposits. The ultimate decision will be made when the Asmara Project Feasibility Study is completed in 2013.
Michael Hopley, President and CEO of Sunridge Gold states, "The completion of the Debarwa feasibility study demonstrates that the Debarwa deposit can be operated as an economically viable stand-alone open-pit mine. The choice to advance Debarwa separately from the northern deposits provides Sunridge the opportunity for earlier production and cash-flow from the high-grade copper ore at Debarwa. Management will review all options upon completion of the Asmara Project Feasibility Study which is being conducted concurrently with the application for permitting and a mining license at Debarwa."

Mining

Based on a series of trade-off studies the Study has concluded that Debarwa is best mined by open-pit methods up to a maximum rate of 7.5 million tonnes of rock (ore and waste) per annum of open pit mining. The open pit is estimated to contain 1.3 million tonnes of ore and 18 million tonnes of waste rock at an overall strip ratio of 14.3:1 waste tonnes to ore tonnes.

Open pit mining of pre-strip waste rock and stockpiling of Oxide and Transitional gold bearing ores commences 15 months prior to Phase I process plant production start-up and the costs of pre-stripping are included in the capital costs. Mining is completed at the end of year 3 of the process schedule.

Production

Mining and production (processing) at Debarwa takes place over 4.7 years and is divided into 2 phases as follows:
  • Phase I, DSO, Supergene and Primary copper ores (Year 1 -- Year 3.3)
  • Phase II Oxide and Transitional gold and silver ores (Year 3.3 to Year 4.7)
Phase I production has direct shipping ore (DSO) and Supergene ore mined and processed concurrently followed by Primary ore. DSO is a high grade zone of the supergene ore, averaging 16% copper. The DSO is crushed to minus three quarter inch (-20mm) and directly shipped to a smelter. Supergene and Primary ores are processed using conventional flotation to produce a copper concentrate with gold and silver credits. No zinc is recovered in the process as the zinc resources currently do not warrant a zinc recovery plant. Phase I processing will utilize the same crushing and ball milling circuit which includes primary and secondary crushing followed by ball milling.

Phase II processing of stockpiled Oxide and Transitional ores uses the same crushing and milling circuit followed by carbon-in-leach (CIL) processing to produce a gold and silver doré for shipping to a refinery.

Management estimates that initial production and shipping of DSO ore at Debarwa could commence in the fourth quarter of 2014. This allows time for completion of the required environmental work, publication of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), permitting, financing, waste rock pre-stripping and construction.

Debarwa Phase I - DSO, Supergene and Primary Copper Ore (Year 1 -- Year 3.3)
  • DSO mined and shipped at a rate of 90,000 tonnes per year for 1.4 years
  • DSO operating costs average $57.87 / tonne (includes mining, crushing, bagging, assay and G&A)
  • Supergene and primary copper ores processed at a rate of 270,000 tonnes per year using flotation for 3 years
  • Phase I Supergene ore recoveries average 86% copper, 57% gold, 59% silver
  • Phase I Supergene operating costs average $77.07 / tonne (includes mining, process, assay and G&A)
  • Phase I Primary ore recoveries average 66% copper, 36% gold, 44% silver
  • Phase I Primary operating costs average $74.24 / tonne (includes mining, process, assay and G&A)
  • Phase I copper concentrate average -- 23% copper, 6.9 g/t gold, 187 g/t silver
  • Phase I production rate averages 35.1 million pounds of copper, 11,200 ounces of gold and 281,000 ounces of silver per year
  • Phase I operating costs average $71.59 / tonne (includes mining, process, assay G&A) for combined DSO, Supergene and Primary production
Debarwa Phase II - Oxide and Transition Gold and Silver Ores (Year 3.3 to 4.7)
  • CIL processing at a rate of 270,000 tonnes per annum
  • Phase II recoveries average 87% gold and 78% silver
  • Phase II operating costs average $76.72 / tonne (includes mining, process, assay G&A)
  • Phase II production averages 29,200 ounces of gold and 250,000 ounces of silver per year
Table 1 is a summary of the Production Schedule for Phase I and Phase II.

Table 1: Production Schedule
 
Phase I
Phase II
 
Year 1 -
Year 3.3
Year 3.3 -
Year 4.7
Tonnes per year
270,000
270,000
Million pounds copper per year
35.1
-
Ounces of gold per year
11,240
29,181
Ounces of silver per year
280,600
250,401


Financial Analysis (all $ equals US dollars)

The base case uses constant metal prices of $3.28/lb copper, $1,111/oz gold and $21.00/oz silver, which are derived from the 5 year average prices as of April 25, 2012.

Table 2: Sensitivity to Metal Prices
 
Base Case Prices
5 year Average
3 year Average
Metal Prices
Current Metal Prices
April 25 2012
NPV @ 10% discount (Pretax)
$71 million
$97 million
$135 million
IRR @ 10%
41%
50%
62%
NPV @ 0% discount (Pretax)
$129 million
$169 million
$226 million
Payback (from start of production)
1.1 years
1.0 years
0.9 years
Mine Life (from start of production)
4.7 years
4.7 years
4.7 years
 
 
Metal Prices
 
Copper
$3.28/lb
$3.47/lb
$3.75/lb
Gold
$1,111/oz
$1,335/oz
$1,629/oz
Silver
$21/oz
$25/oz
$30.18/oz


Operating Costs

On site operating costs average $73.09 per tonne through life of mine.

Table 3: Average Operating Costs ($ per tonne ore processed)
 
Phase I              
Phase II
 
Year 1 -
Year 3.3
Year 3.3 --
Year 4.7
Mining ore processed
$27.47
$27.47
Process ore processed
$31.75
$35.80
Assay & G&A  ore processed
$12.37
$13.44
TOTALS
$71.59
$76.72


Capital Costs

Initial capital costs are projected at $140.5 million (including pre-strip mining of $27.3 million, owner's costs of $15.1 million and a contingency of $7.8 million). The expansion capital for Phase II (gold CIL plant) is an additional $18.8 million, this is included as part of sustaining capital requirements.

Closure costs are estimated at an additional $16.5 million.

Table 4: Capital Costs
 
Phase I
Phase II 
 
Capital costs
Expansion capital
costs funded by cash
flow
 
Year 1 --
Year 3.3
Year 3.3 --
Year 4.7
 
$ million
$ million
Mining equipment
10.3
-
Pre-strip mining
27.3
Copper circuit facility
34.6
-
CIL plant
-
9.8
Site development, utilities and facilities
9.4
0.1
Tailings facilities
9.3
-
Off-plant water facilities, roads and fencing
10.1
-
Engineering, procurement, construction management (EPCM)
15.3
6.9
First fills (i.e. fuel etc)
1.3
-
Owner’s costs
15.1
-
Contingency
7.8
2.0
TOTALS
140.5
18.8


Project Ownership

The study was completed on a 100% project basis, however when the mining license for Debarwa is granted the Government of Eritrea will have a right to a 10% carried interest in the project and the additional option to purchase up to a 30% working interest. It is not known at this time what level of interest the government intends to acquire in Debarwa.

Mineral Reserves

The Study used the recently completed estimate of Measured and Indicated Resources for the Debarwa deposit as reported in the Company's press release dated August 18, 2011 (see news release for additional details).

Tables 5 and 6 below summarize the Mineral Reserves included in the Study broken down by both ore type and classification.

Table 5: Minerals Reserves by Ore Type
Ore stream
Rock type
Tonnes (kt)
copper (%)
gold
(g/t)
silver (g/t)
Phase I
DSO
125
16.0
2.9
77
 
 
 
 
 
 
Phase I
Supergene
665
5.0
1.8
43
 
Primary
134
3.2
1.6
35
 
 
 
 
 
 
Phase II
Oxide
50
-
2.8
14
 
Transition
330
-
4.0
40
 
 
Total tonnes
1,304
 
 
 


Table 6: Mineral Reserves by Classification
Reserve Classification
Rock type
Tonnes (kt)
copper (%)
gold
(g/t)
silver (g/t)
Debarwa Oxide
1
-
4.5
63
Debarwa Transition
72
-
5.3
105
Proven
Debarwa Supergene
320
10.9
2.6
64
Debarwa Primary
4
4.1
1.6
33
Subtotal
397
8.9
3.1
71
Debarwa Oxide
50
-
2.7
13
Probable
Debarwa Transition
257
-
3.7
22
Debarwa Supergene
470
3.9
1.6
37
Debarwa Primary
130
3.2
1.6
35
 
Subtotal
907
2.5
2.2
31
Debarwa Oxide
50
-
2.8
14
Total
Debarwa Transition
330
-
4.0
40
Debarwa Supergene
790
6.8
2.0
48
Debarwa Primary
134
3.2
1.6
35
 
Total tonnes
1,304
 
 
 


Note: The Study does not plan for zinc being processed and recovered at Debarwa and therefore zinc values are not included in the above Reserve tabulations. However, there is a zinc resource in the primary zone of 832,000 tonnes in the Measured and Indicated category with an average grade of 3.86% zinc.

The mineral reserves listed in Table 5 and 6 were estimated for the Debarwa deposit by generating Net Smelter Return (NSR) values (revenue minus transport, royalty and smelting/selling costs) for each metal using Measured and Indicated Resources only. Metal prices used to generate the mineral reserves were $2.85/lb copper, $1,150/oz gold and $18.50/oz silver. The net revenue of each block was compared to total cost. Each mining block becomes economical and included in the processing schedule if it is above the total cost of processing, general administrative and applicable transport.

Social and Environmental Studies

Social and environmental baseline studies and stakeholder engagement programs are well advanced for the Debarwa deposit. This work has been completed to comply with the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards for Social and Environmental Impact Assessment ("SEIA") Studies, as well as the Eritrean Government "National Environmental Assessment Procedures & Guidelines". The work is being carried out by the Sunridge social and environmental staff and consultants (both international and national) and it is anticipated that this will lead to the publication of an SEIA in June 2012.

Project Location and Access

The Debarwa deposit is located within a 30 minute drive on paved roads south of the capital city of Asmara with close proximity to a labour force, power, water and an international airport. In addition, the Red Sea port city of Massawa is 120 kilometers east of Asmara via paved road.

Project Opportunities

Opportunities to further enhance the economic value of the Debarwa deposit will be investigated before start of production. The following opportunities could significantly enhance the value of the project:
  • availability of lower cost power from national grid for operation of process facilities (the study currently plans for power to be generated on-site);
  • movement of DSO and copper concentrate using bulk transport, loading and shipment from port of Massawa
  • expansion of zinc resources and/or reducing units costs for material mined and processed at Debarwa, could justify a zinc recovery circuit.
The Feasibility Study Report

The Debarwa Feasibility Study is NI 43-101 compliant and was completed by SENET (Pty) Ltd. and AMC Consultants Pty Ltd. ("AMC") with work by Knight Piesold Ltd. for tailings facility design and waste management and Blue Coast Metallurgy for metallurgical work. The report will be filed on the Company's profile on www.sedar.com within 45 days of the date of this press release.

Qualified Person

The Debarwa Feasibility study results were reviewed by SENET under the direction of Joint Managing Director, Neil Senior an Independent Qualified Person. The scientific and technical information in this release has been reviewed and approved by David Lee F.AusIMM of AMC, and Ken Brouwer, P. Eng., of Knight Piesold Ltd., both of whom are Independent Qualified Persons within the meaning of NI 43-101.

Michael Hopley, President and CEO of Sunridge Gold Corp. is the Company's Qualified Person responsible for the contents of this press release and has reviewed the information in the release and confirmed that it is consistent with that provided by the independent Qualified Person responsible for the Study.

About Sunridge:

Sunridge is a mineral exploration and development company focused on the acquisition, exploration, discovery and development of base and precious metal deposits on the Asmara Project in Eritrea and exploration properties in Madagascar. Sunridge currently has approximately 117 million shares outstanding and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol SGC. For additional information on the Company and its projects please view the slide show on our website at www.sunridgegold.com or call Greg Davis at the numbers listed below.

SUNRIDGE GOLD CORP.

"Michael Hopley"


Michael Hopley, President and Chief Executive Officer

For further information contact:

Greg Davis, VP Business Development

Email: greg@sunridgegold.com
Tel: 604-688-1263 (direct)

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on the Company's current expectations and estimates. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate", "suggest", "indicate" and other similar words or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from estimated or anticipated events or results implied or expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others: the actual results of current exploration activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans to continue to be refined; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; accidents, labor disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing; and fluctuations in metal prices. There may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.