Scorpio Gold Corporation (TSXV:SGN) is a Canadian-based gold producer with mining assets located near Tonopah, Nevada.
Scorpio Gold’s primary asset is the Mineral Ridge gold mining operation, where it holds a 70% interest and is the operator. Scorpio Gold achieved commercial production at Mineral Ridge in January 2012 and as of April 2015 has surpassed 124,000 oz. in gold production. The Company forecasts production of 40,000-45,000 oz. gold in 2015 at estimated total cash cost of US$800-$850 per oz. of gold sold.
Scorpio Gold also holds a 100% interest in the advanced exploration-stage Goldwedge project in Manhattan, Nevada. Goldwedge includes a fully permitted and bonded underground mine with over 600 meters of development and a 400 ton per day mill facility with gravity circuit. The Company is currently processing high-grade Mineral Ridge ore at the Goldwedge plant.
- 2014 production: 40,814 oz. gold at US$845 cash cost per oz. gold sold.
- 2015 forecast: 40,000-45,000 oz. gold at an estimated total cash cost of US$800-$850 per oz. of gold sold.
- Cash flow to support exploration and development.
- Updated Life of Mine Plan incorporates development of multiple satellite deposits.
- Ongoing expansion and exploration drilling programs are fully expected to increase mine life.
Mineral Ridge Operation
Mineral Ridge is a conventional open pit heap leaching operation located 6 km northwest of the town of Silver Peak and 56 km west of Tonopah in Esmeralda County, Nevada. The project area encompasses 5,010 hectares (12,380 acres) and is host to multiple deposits at exploration, development and production stages. Prior to Scorpio Gold and dating back to the late-nineteenth century, the property historically produced an estimated 575,000 oz. of gold, including 170,000 oz. from open pit and 405,000 oz. from underground mining operations.
Scorpio Gold acquired a 70% interest in the Mineral Ridge project in March 2010. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Scorpio Gold is currently entitled to receive 80% of the cash flow generated.
Following major site rehabilitation and refinement of the heap leaching and processing operations, Scorpio Gold achieved commercial production status on January 1, 2012. The operation has steadily increased its annual gold production from 32,066 oz. in 2012 to 39,160 oz. in 2013 and 40,814 oz. in 2014, with total production as of April 2015 exceeding 124,000 oz.
All gold is unhedged and there are no underlying royalties in areas currently being mined.
Mineral Ridge Life of Mine Plan
The Mary deposit is currently the main producing pit at Mineral Ridge. Production from the Brodie and Wedge satellite pits is ramping up and the Mary LC deposit is under development. Scorpio Gold has received approval from the Bureau of Land Management for its Amended Plan of Operations at Mineral Ridge, allowing the Company to proceed with mining of the Bluelite and Solberry satellite deposits, scheduled to commence in Q2 2015. Unique to these deposits is that neither has been mined before, hence their high-grade core zones are preserved and expected to positively impact the grade of ore being processed at both Mineral Ridge and the Goldwedge mill facility.
Scorpio Gold’s updated Life of Mine Plan (“LOM”) reported in July 2014 incorporates the Drinkwater (now depleted), Mary and Mary LC deposits and five additional satellite deposits known as Brodie, Bluelite, Solberry, Oromonte and Wedge. The LOM projects the mine life at Mineral Ridge extending into Q3 2016, based on Probable Mineral Reserves of 2.1 million tons (Mt) grading 0.061 oz/ton gold (131,190 oz. contained gold) within Indicated Mineral Resources of 2.7 Mt grading 0.059 oz/ton gold (160,300 oz. contained gold). The effective date of the reserve and resources estimate is March 31, 2014. Scorpio Gold’s management fully expects that positive results from its 2014-15 expansion and exploration drilling program will increase mine life at Mineral Ridge.
Mineral Ridge Exploration
Over 145,000 ft of drilling completed in 2014 concentrated on infill and step-out drilling of the satellite deposits, step-out drilling along known mineralized corridors, and exploration drilling of new targets. The program met with much success, resulting in the potential for upgrading and increasing resources of the known deposits as well as defining new resources on the NW Brodie trend and at the newly discovered Physik target.
With no surface expression of gold mineralization, Physik represents the first “blind” discovery at Mineral Ridge and is the result of remote sensing techniques and sound geological interpretation by Scorpio Gold’s exploration team. This discovery bodes very well for future success in exploration property wide.
The Company’s 2015 planned exploration program includes 175,000 ft of infill, development and exploration drilling in over 525 RC holes targeting shallow mineralization that is amenable to open pit mining.
2014 Drilling Highlights:
|Physik Target||- 31.79 g/t gold over 4.57 meters|
|NW Brodie Trend||- 0.90 g/t gold over 47.24 meters|
|- 3.14 g/t gold over 10.67 meters|
|Bluelite Deposit||- 7.68 g/t gold over 6.10 meters|
|- 12.42 g/t gold over 4.57 meters|
|Brodie Deposit||- 2.75 g/t gold over 21.34 meters|
|- 10.34 g/t gold over 6.10 meters|
|Solberry Deposit||- 9.27 g/t gold over 13.72 meters|
|- 12.15 g/t gold over 19.81 meters|
The Goldwedge project is located 54 km north-northeast of the town of Tonopah within the Manhattan Mining District of south-central Nevada. Scorpio Gold holds a 100% interest in the project, with the property covering three separate claim blocks and encompassing the Goldwedge, Keystone and Jumbo gold deposits.
The Goldwedge project includes a fully permitted underground mine with over 600 meters of development and a 400 ton per day mill facility with gravity circuit. Scorpio Gold completed rehabilitation of the plant and surrounding infrastructure and in 2014 conducted batch processing of high-grade ore from Mineral Ridge to optimize the milling circuit for recovery of coarse gold. Scorpio Gold continued to process high-grade ore from Mineral Ridge at Goldwedge in Q1 2015 with the processing of 1,392 tonnes of Mineral Ridge ore grading on average 8.87 g/t gold.
The Goldwedge deposit is situated on the southern periphery of the Manhattan Caldera, approximately 16 kilometers south of the +10 million oz. Round Mountain Mine. Historic mining in the Manhattan Mining District dates back to the nineteenth century, with district-wide gold production estimated at 566K oz. The largest gold production came from the Manhattan Mine East & West pits located within a kilometer south of the Goldwedge deposit, where Echo Bay Mines reportedly produced an estimated 236K oz.
Scorpio Gold drilled four oriented surface core holes in 2014, which combined with historical data provided for an updated geological model on the controls to mineralization at Goldwedge. The Company recently commenced a 5,000 ft (1,524 m) underground drilling program encompassing a planned 23 NQ diameter core holes drilled from 7 underground stations.
Also included in the Goldwedge property are the Jumbo and Keystone deposits, located 3.8 km and 4.3 km southeast respectively from the Goldwedge deposit. Scorpio Gold considers both deposits to have considerable exploration merit given their style of mineralization, location along strike of the regionally significant northwest trending Reliance Fault Zone and both have been previously mined on a small scale via open pit method.
Scorpio Gold is now in its fourth year of production at Mineral Ridge, having achieved year-over-year increases in production while maintaining total cash cost per ounce of gold sold within forecast limits.
The Company is very proud to have an exceptionally dedicated team that is committed to pursuing operational improvements and constraining costs in all sectors.
An updated Life of Mine Plan for Mineral Ridge, which incorporates the development of multiple satellite deposits, projects mine life at Mineral Ridge extending into Q3 2016. The Company accelerated its exploration and delineation drilling program in 2014 to further upgrade and increase the resource base and ultimately increase mine life. The program met with great success and is fully expected to increase resources of the known deposits and potentially define new resources on the NW Brodie trend and at the newly discovered Physik target.
An aggressive drilling campaign in 2015 is directed at further delineation as well as exploration drilling of new targets derived from a combination of geophysical signatures, geological interpretation from oriented drill core, field mapping and soil and rock chip anomalies.
Scorpio Gold also owns 100% of the fully permitted Goldwedge mine and mill facility in nearby Manhattan, Nevada, where a systematic surface and underground exploration program is planned in order to assess the potential for future production opportunities. Scorpio Gold commenced processing of high-grade Mineral Ridge ore at the Goldwedge plant in 2014.
Peter J. Hawley, BSc, BEng, PGeo – President, CEO, Director
Peter Hawley has 30 years of mining-industry experience that spans grassroots exploration through to development and production, and has worked extensively with a large number of intermediate and senior mining companies including Teck, Noranda, Placer Dome and Barrick Gold. He is the founder of Scorpio Mining Corporation and served as CEO of that company from 1998 through 2010 and is currently a director. Mr. Hawley is also highly experienced in private and public company financing and corporate administration.
Gilbert Comtois, CPA, CA – Chief Financial Officer
Gilbert Comtois was appointed CFO of Scorpio Gold Corporation in May 2007. He joined Scorpio Mining Corporation as Controller in July 2006 and was the CFO of Scorpio Mining from September 2007 to April 2011. Prior to July 2006, he worked 18 years with Deloitte in auditing of private and public companies, including junior exploration and operating mining companies.
Peter Brieger – Director
Mr. Brieger, HBA, CFA, is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He has over 50 years’ experience in Canadian investment business as a securities research analyst, market strategist and portfolio manager in Toronto, London, England and New York. In 1988, he co-founded GlobeInvest Capital Management Inc. and built it into a nationally recognized portfolio management firm where he is currently CEO and Managing Director. Peter has been a regular guest on Business News Network (BNN) and an occasional guest on the CTV News Channel. Mr. Brieger has also served as a guest lecturer on international investing at Queen’s University and the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Brian Lock – Director
Mr. Lock has over 30 years of experience in the operations, feasibility, design engineering and construction of numerous precious metals and base metal mining projects around the world. In 1985 he founded Proton International Engineering Corp., a Canadian engineering and construction company devoted to the development of small- and medium-sized mining projects. He was an officer of Frontier Pacific Mining Corporation from early 2006 until its take-over in July 2008. Mr. Lock has managed and/or served as a director of several Canadian public and private companies.
Luc Pelchat – Director
Mr. Pelchat is the founder and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in North Mexico. Following 24 years with a Canadian multinational company operating in the construction industry, Mr. Pelchat formed a number of his own companies and has realized multiple projects in the construction industry in Mexico. He has extensive business, financial and human resources experience in Canada, Mexico and Africa.
David Smalley – Director
Mr. Smalley is owner of David Smalley Law Corporation, prior to which he was a partner at Fraser and Company LLP in Vancouver, BC. He has been a director and officer of public companies for over 13 years.
Andrew Lee Smith – Director
Mr. Smith is a Professional Geologist with over 25 years of experience successfully exploring, developing and operating North American base and precious metals mining projects. He is currently a director and Interim CEO for East Africa Metals as well as President, CEO and a director of Tigray Resources and a director of True North Gems.
Janet Horbulyk – Corporate Secretary
Janet Horbulyk has 30 years of experience with securities and stock exchange regulatory matters including seven years with the listings department of the Vancouver Stock Exchange.