UPDATE: Allied Nevada Says Evaluating Phased Approach to Hycroft Mill Expansion
Allied Nevada Gold Corp. (NYSE: ANV) is providing an update to the following: Hycroft Mill Expansion The Company's plans to complete and operate a 130,000 ton per day ("tpd") mill by early 2015 are under review. Currently we believe there is value in phasing construction of the mill starting with a 75,000 tpd plant in 2015 and increasing to 130,000 tpd once the initial phase is operating according to plan. We expect that, once engineering is optimized, we will be able to show lower initial capital costs, initially processing only higher grade oxide and transition ore through the mill, leaching that ore on site and only producing sulfide concentrate as per demand. We are currently evaluating a number of options for onsite beneficiation of that concentrate. We expect the reserves will be unaffected and remain as stated in the Company's most recently filed Form 10-K. As of March 31, 2013, we had spent or committed $723.5 million, which represents approximately 58% of the previously stated capital cost of $1.24 billion. Included in the $723.5 million spent or committed at March 31, 2013, were purchase obligations totaling $315.7 million, a portion of which are expected to be financed through capital leases. We estimate that 2013 capital expenditures at the Hycroft Mine for the expansion projects will total approximately $394.9 million; however, such amount may change if we determine our expansion project will include a stage with a smaller than originally planned mill, as discussed above. Heap Leach Expansion Developments The heap leach expansion is well underway and we expect to complete the crushing facility, North Leach Pad and new Merrill-Crowe plant this year. Recent major developments include: *T -- Construction of the lower cells of the North Leach Pad has been completed and we expect to begin loading ore during the first week of May. Upon completion, the North Leach Pad will increase our total leach pad space from 12.0 million square feet to 20.0 million square feet. -- The first wire rope shovel is expected to begin commissioning during the second week of May 2013, ahead of schedule. *T During the first quarter of 2013, we continued construction on the primary, secondary, and tertiary crushers and expect to commission the gyratory crusher in the middle of the third quarter of 2013. The new 21,500 gpm Merrill-Crowe processing facility remains on track to -- Cash provided by operating activities totaled $5.8 million, cash used in investing activities was $103.5 million and cash used in financing activities was $6.3 million, resulting in a cash balance of $243.1 million at March 31, 2013. *T Key statistics for the Hycroft Mine for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, are as follows:(1) *T Three months ended March 31, ----------------------------- 2013 2012 -------------- -------------- Ore tons mined 000s 9,587 4,008 Stockpiled ore tons mined 000s 649 - Waste tons mined 000s 7,319 7,450 -------------- -------------- Total tons mined 000s 17,555 11,458 -------------- -------------- -------------- -------------- Excavation tons mined 000s 3,127 - -------------- -------------- -------------- -------------- Ore mined grade - gold oz/ton 0.011 0.016 Ore mined grade - silver oz/ton 0.142 0.524 Ounces produced - gold 38,019 32,473 Ounces produced - silver 188,000 166,156 Ounces sold - gold 27,256 20,347 Ounces sold - silver 174,766 128,306 Average realized price - gold $/oz $ 1,613 $ 1,715 Average realized price - silver $/oz $ 30 $ 34 Average spot price - gold $/oz $ 1,632 $ 1,691 Average spot price - silver $/oz $ 30 $ 33 Total adjusted cash costs(1) 000s $ 16,584 $ 10,805 Adjusted cash costs per ounce(1) $ 608 $ 531 *T Hycroft had no lost time accidents or significant environmental incidents in the first quarter of 2013. As of April 25, 2013, Hycroft had achieved 236 days without a lost time accident. Ore tons mined more than doubled in the first quarter of 2013 to 9.6 million tons, compared with the same period in 2012 (4.0 million tons), and were consistent with expectation. The excavation tons mined during the 2013 quarter related entirely to the mill site excavation. Mined ore grades in the first quarter were also as per expectation and contained ounces placed on the leach pads were approximately 106,500 ounces of gold, 64% higher than in the first quarter of 2012, and approximately 1.4 million ounces of silver. The ratio of silver ounces sold to gold ounces sold was in-line with expectations and comparable in both periods (6.4:1 in the 2013 quarter and 6.3:1 in the 2012 quarter). Production from Hycroft in the first quarter of 2013 was an increase of 17% for gold and 13% for silver as compared to the first quarter of 2012. Sales in the first quarter of 2013 surpassed that of the same period in 2012 by 34% for gold and 36% for silver. When compared to the first quarter of 2012, our 2013 adjusted cash costs(1) were negatively impacted by increased mining and processing costs and lower realized silver prices. Due to uncommonly inclement weather experienced in January and increased mining costs due to Hitachi shovel maintenance, the ounces were placed on the leach pads at higher than expected costs and negatively impacted our production costs and adjusted cash costs per ounce(1). We also consumed higher than expected lime and cyanide as we worked to improve leach pad solution properties, which also increased our production costs and adjusted cash costs(1). The first 73 cubic-yard electric wire rope shovel is expected to be operational ahead of schedule in May of 2013 which we anticipate will benefit our future mining costs. During the first quarter of 2013, we successfully commissioned the first new set of 2,500 gallons per minute (gpm) carbon columns, and with the second set having been commissioned early in the second quarter of 2013, we have significantly increased our solution processing capacity. We also commissioned a second retort which we expect will allow us to process all precipitate generated from the Merrill-Crowe plant. Prior to this retort's commissioning we experienced processing limitations which prevented us from selling approximately 7,200 ounces of gold and 43,000 ounces of silver that remained in in-process inventories at quarter end. In addition to our planned second quarter 2013 sales, we expect to process and sell the metal that remained in precipitate at the end of the first quarter during the second quarter.
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