LONGUEUIL, Quebec, Sept. 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX:SWY) (the “Corporation” or “Stornoway”) is pleased to announce an update to the Renard Diamond Project Mineral Resource estimate.
- A 16% increase in the Indicated Mineral Resources of Renard 2 to 21.6 million carats achieved through the conversion of Inferred Mineral Resources to 700 meters depth.
- An 11% increase in the total Indicated Mineral Resources of the project (inclusive of the Mineral Reserve) to 30.2 million carats
- New Inferred Mineral Resources at Renard 2 defined to 850 meters depth.
- The inclusion of over 4 million tonnes of lower grade Renard 2 Country Rock Breccia (“CRB”) material in the Indicated Mineral Resource category for the first time.
- Substantial new exploration potential at Renard 2 and Renard 3 identified to 1,250 meters depth, where both kimberlites are interpreted to retain sizeable widths and remain open.
- Updated mine plan now under development to incorporate increased Indicated Mineral Resources.
Matt Manson, President and CEO, commented “Midway through our construction of the Renard Diamond Project, we are pleased to be reporting today continued growth in the project’s overall Indicated Resources. As we explore these ore bodies at depth, we are delineating new Mineral Resources that represent potential mine production well past the current 11 year Mineral Reserve based mine life. Our drilling has shown that while Renard 2 at 600 meters depth is moderately smaller in cross-section than we had previously estimated, it is continuing downwards to a depth and on a scale that makes it unique amongst Canadian kimberlites. In a development that is particularly exciting, we now see the potential to mine the high grade Renard 3 kimberlite deeper than we had previously thought possible, following its re-discovery during the drilling at 1,000 meters depth, 500 meters below the previous drill intersection. The successful addition of over 4 million tonnes of lower grade CRB material at the top of Renard 2 into the Indicated category also now allows us to contemplate additional diamond production potential in both the open pit and underground mine, where CRB was previously designated as either zero grade stripping waste or zero grade mining dilution. We will now incorporate all of these Mineral Resource changes into an updated mine plan due for completion in the second calendar quarter 2016 prior to our production start-up.”
Support materials that illustrate the updated Renard Mineral Resource Estimate can be found on Stornoway’s website at www.stornowaydiamonds.com/English/our-business/renard-project/technical-resources/default.aspx. Stornoway will file a Technical Report for the Renard Diamond Project under National Instrument (“NI”) 43-101 – Standards for Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) within 45 days of this release.
September 2015 Mineral Resource Estimate
Changes to the Mineral Resources and exploration potential of the Renard 2 kimberlite were derived from a deep directional drill program completed in 2014. In total, 12,493 meters of new drilling was completed at Renard 2, with the deepest kimberlite intersection being at 1,012 vertical metres below surface. In support of this work approximately 4.8 tonnes of Renard 2 samples were processed for microdiamond analysis by caustic dissolution and 57.4 tonnes of samples processed for macrodiamond analysis by dense media separation, with additional thin section analysis, indicator mineral characterization, geochemical analysis, density determinations, dilution measurements and geological modeling.
Table 1: Renard NI 43-101 2015 Mineral Resource Estimate
Changes from July 2013 Mineral Resource estimate shown in italics
|Indicated Mineral Resources(1,2,4)|
|Tonnes (millions)||Grade (cpht)(3)|
|Renard 2, All Units||21.58||+15.6%||25.70||+38.3%||84||-16.4%|
|Renard 2, w/o CRB-2A, CRB||20.39||+11.0%||20.52||+15.9%||99||-4.3%|
|Total Indicated Mineral Resources||30.17||+11.4%||42.63||+20.2%||71||-7.4%|
|Inferred Mineral Resources(1,2)|
|Tonnes (millions)||Grade (cpht)(3)|
|Renard 2, All Units||3.88||-48.0%||6.59||-44.0%||59||-7.2%|
|Renard 2, w/o CRB||3.36||-46.1%||4.08||-22.0%||82||-30.9%|
|Total Inferred Mineral Resources||13.35||-20.8%||24.49||-17.5%||54||-4.0%|
1 Resource categories follow the CIM Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves.
2 Totals may not add due to rounding.
3 Carats per hundred tonnes. Estimated at a +1 DTC sieve size cut-off.
4 Diamond valuation data utilized for the test of prospects of reasonable economic extraction are derived from a diamond valuation exercise undertaken in March 2014 (see Stornoway Annual Information Form dated July 2015).
The Indicated Mineral Resources at Renard 3 have also been revised to accommodate changes in the shape of the kimberlite at surface following the discovery of ore earlier than expected during pre-stripping. The exploration potential of Renard 3 has increased due to implications for a deep extension that arose during the 2014 drilling. Additionally, the processing of 0.9 tonnes of Renard 4 samples for microdiamond analysis by caustic dissolution has prompted a revision of the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource grades for this kimberlite. Geological modeling and related work is ongoing for Renard kimberlites 1, 7 and 10 with a view to assessing their exploration potential for future Mineral Resources. This work is nearing completion and will be reported separately.
This updated Mineral Resource estimate for the Renard Diamond Project was completed in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves as incorporated by NI 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. It comprises the integration of kimberlite volumes, density, petrology and diamond content data derived from 101,078 meters of diamond drilling (497 holes), 6,151 meters of large diameter reverse circulation (RC) drilling (36 holes), 23.7 tonnes of samples submitted for microdiamond analysis, 196 carats of diamonds (3,107 stones) recovered from drill core, 605 carats of diamonds (7,181 stones) recovered from RC drilling and 4,404 carats of diamonds (40,521 stones) recovered from underground bulk sampling and 5,273 carats of diamonds (53,224 stones) recovered from surface and trench sampling. The estimate also incorporates information derived from additional drill holes, surface test pits and trenches undertaken for geotechnical, hydrogeological and infrastructure construction purposes.
Table 2: Renard Targets for Further Exploration
Changes from July 2013 shown in italics
|Target for Further Exploration(1,2)|
|Tonnes (millions)||Grade (cpht)(3)|
|Renard 2, All Units||3.7||to||15.5||6.1||to||15.5||60||to||100|
1 Target for Further Exploration: represents potential upside that can be reasonably assumed given the nature and grade of material within the current 2015 Mineral Resource. The Renard 2 shape has been projected 250m below the deepest kimberlite intersection at 1,000m depth. Tonnage and grade ranges are not directly applicable to potential total carats.
2 Totals may not add due to rounding.
3 Carats per hundred tonnes. Potential at a +1 DTC sieve size cut-off.
The reader is cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. In addition, the potential quantity and grade of any exploration target is conceptual in nature, there has been insufficient information to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in it being delineated as a mineral resource.
Changes Compared to the 2013 Mineral Resource Estimate
The total Indicated Mineral Resources at Renard 2 are estimated to have increased 16%, or 2.92 million carats, to 21.58 million carats at a depth cut-off of 700m (comprising 25.70 million tonnes at a grade of 84 carats per hundred tonnes, or “cpht”). This estimate includes 0.90 million carats (comprising 4.28 million tonnes at a grade of 21 cpht) derived from CRB material between surface and 200 meters depth, which was previously categorized as Inferred Mineral Resources and which forms a distinct halo around the higher grade units. The inclusion of this material in the total estimate is the principal reason for the reduction in overall Indicated Resource grade from 100 cpht to 84 cpht. Of note, the grades and proportions of the underlying Kimb2a and Kimb2b geological units, which comprise the bulk of the Renard 2 Indicated Resource from surface to 700 meters depth and which were re-sampled in the new drilling, have not changed materially from the previous estimate.
Table 3: Renard 2 Average Mineral Resource Grades, by Geological Unit
Changes from July 2013 Mineral Resource estimate shown in italics
|Within the Indicated Mineral Resources|
|Kimb 2a (“Blue”)||76||+3.0%||52||-0.9%|
|Kimb 2b (“Brown”)||145||+1.0%||30||-0.9%|
|Kimb 2c (HK)||229||+0.5%||12||-3.1%|
|Within the Inferred Mineral Resources|
|Kimb 2a (“Blue”)||67||-2.4%||65||+9.2%|
|Kimb 2b (“Brown”)||145||+0.3%||30||+1.5%|
|Kimb 2c (HK)||229||+0.5%||12||-3.1%|
1 Carats per hundred tonnes. Estimated at a +1 DTC sieve size cut-off.
2 Represents the average amount of non-diamond bearing country rock estimated within each geological unit.
3 The Kimb 2c (Hypabyssal Kimberlite, or “HK”) unit is a constituent component of each of the Kimb2a, Kimb2b, CRB and CRB-2a units.
Between 500 and 600 meters depth the new drilling shows Renard 2 to be 1.55 hectares in dimension compared to 1.89 hectares in the previous estimate, below which the kimberlite appears to taper gently with depth on a slight easterly plunge. New Indicated Mineral Resources have been added between 600 and 700 meters, representing conversion from the previous Inferred Mineral Resources. All Mineral Resources above 700 meters depth are expected to be accessible for mining utilizing the underground mine infrastructure currently under construction at the project.
Inferred Mineral Resources of 3.88 million carats (comprising 6.59 million tonnes at 59 cpht) have been estimated between 700 and 850 meters depth, including 0.53 million carats derived from additional CRB material below 200 meters depth (comprising 2.51 million tonnes at 21 cpht). The Inferred Mineral Resources have an estimated grade of 82 cpht (after removal of the effect of the CRB unit) compared to 99 cpht in the overlying Indicated Mineral Resources (as calculated on the same basis) due to a larger proportion of the Kimb2a unit over Kimb2b in this section of the kimberlite. It might be expected that the ratio of Kimb2a to Kimb2b within Renard 2 will continue to vary with depth, a feature now recognized as characteristic of this ore body.
Exploration potential exists at Renard 2 in the form of a Target for Further Exploration (“TFFE”) to 1,250 meters depth at between 3.7 and 15.5 million carats (comprising 6.1 to 15.5 million tonnes between 60 and 100 cpht). Each of the four principal geological units of Renard 2 (kimb2a, kimb2b, kimb2c and CRB) have been intersected to the base of the current drilling, indicating that the kimberlite is maintaining its emplacement style over at least 1,000 meters of vertical depth. At this level Renard 2 is interpreted to maintain a substantial cross sectional area of between 0.62 and 1.38 hectares (based on the “low” and “high” range interpretations of the TFFE) and to remain open to depth. There is no indication that the kimberlite’s “root zone” has been reached.
The total Indicated Mineral Resources at Renard 3 are estimated to have increased modestly by 2% to 1.86 million carats at a depth cut-off of 255 meters (comprising 1.82 million tonnes at a grade of 102 cpht). No change has been made to the Inferred Mineral Resources. The exploration potential of Renard 3 is interpreted to have increased considerably after the discovery of a 126.6 meter intersection of kimberlite in drill hole R2-81J between 942.2 and 1,068.8 meters downhole that appears to represent the deep extension of Renard 3 over a true width of 47 meters on a slight westerly plunge. No drilling exists between the base of the Inferred Mineral Resources at 405 meters depth and this new intersection. This represents over 500 meters of untested exploration potential and a new TFFE for Renard 3 of between 3.6 and 6.4 million carats (comprising 3.4 to 3.8 million tonnes between 105 and 168cpht). No mining has previously been contemplated at Renard 3 below the existing Inferred Mineral Resources. The potential for new high grade resources at mineable widths so close to the Renard 2 underground mine infrastructure makes Renard 3 a priority for future exploration drilling. With the Renard 2 and Renard 3 kimberlites now appearing to plunge towards each other, a potential convergence is implied in the high range TFFE models at approximately 1,000 meters depth.
The total Indicated Mineral Resources at Renard 4 are estimated to have increased modestly by 3% to 4.44 million carats at a depth cut-off of 250 meters (comprising 7.25 million tonnes at a grade of 61 cpht). Inferred Mineral Resources are estimated to have increased by 4% to 2.46 million carats at a depth cut-off of 390 meters (comprising 4.75 million tonnes at a grade of 52 cpht). These changes arise from an adjustment to the interpreted grade of the Kimb4c geological unit following the processing of additional samples collected from archived drill core. No changes have been made to other Renard 4 units compared to the previous estimate.
Next Steps: Updated Mine Plan
The September 2015 Mineral Resource Estimate will now be incorporated into an updated mine plan for the Renard Project. The new plan will contemplate extended mine production from the new Mineral Resources, a deepening of the Renard 2-Renard 3 open pit, the commensurate deepening of the underground mine infrastructure, the inclusion of Indicated Mineral Resources at Renard 65 for open pit mining, and an optimized schedule for plant commissioning and ramp-up. This work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2016 and will include a revised statement of project Mineral Reserves, if warranted.
About the Renard Diamond Project
The Renard Diamond Project is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region of north-central Québec. On July 8th 2014 Stornoway announced the completion of a $946 million1 project financing transaction to fully fund the project to production, and construction commenced on July 10th, 2014. First ore is scheduled to be delivered to the plant in the second half of 2016 with commercial production scheduled for the 2nd quarter of 2017. In January 2013, Stornoway released the results of an Optimized Feasibility Study at Renard which highlighted the potential of the project to become a significant producer of high value rough diamonds over a long mine life. Probable Mineral Reserves, as defined in NI 43-101, stand at 17.9 million carats. Total Indicated Mineral Resources as at September 2015, inclusive of the Mineral Reserve, stand at 30.2 million carats, with a further 13.35 million carats classified as Inferred Mineral Resources, and 27.8 to 59.7 million carats classified as non-resource exploration upside. Average annual diamond production is forecast at 1.6mcarats/year over the first 11 years of mining, at an average valuation of US$190/carat based on a March 2014 assessment by WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. Readers are cautioned that the potential quality and grade of any target for further exploration is conceptual in nature, there has been insufficient exploration to define a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a Mineral Resource. All kimberlites remain open at depth. Readers are referred to the technical report dated February 28th, 2013 in respect of the January 2013 Optimization Study for further details and assumptions relating to the project. Disclosure of a scientific or technical nature in this press release was prepared under the supervision of Patrick Godin, P.Eng. (Québec), Chief Operating Officer and Robin Hopkins, P.Geol. (NT/NU), Vice President, Exploration, both “qualified persons” under NI 43-101. Darrell Farrow, PrSciNat, P.Geo.(BC), Ordre des geologues du Quebec (Special Authorisation # 332) of GeoStrat Consulting Services Inc. is the independent Qualified Person responsible for preparation of the mineral resource estimate for the Renard Diamond Project. GeoStrat Consulting Services Inc, a mineral resources consultancy, focuses on client interaction and involvement in developing resource models, and has experience in exploration, geological modeling, resource evaluation, production, resource reconciliation and accounting of diamond deposits around the globe. GeoStrat has verified the results disclosed herein with respect to the mineral resources, and has conducted appropriate verification on the underlying data, including visitations to the Renard site and the primary process laboratories.
About Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Stornoway is a leading Canadian diamond exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY and headquartered in Montreal. Our flagship asset is the 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, on track to becoming Québec’s first diamond mine. Stornoway is a growth oriented company with a world class asset, in one of the world’s best mining jurisdictions, in one of the world’s great mining businesses.
On behalf of the Board
STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORPORATION
/s/ “Matt Manson”
President and Chief Executive
This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. This information and these statements, referred to herein as “forward-looking statements”, are made as of the date of this press release and the Corporation does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements with respect to Stornoway’s objectives for the ensuing year, Stornoway’s medium and long-term goals, and strategies to achieve those objectives and goals, as well as statements with respect to Stornoway’s beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions. Although management considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of Mineral Resources and exploration targets; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) net present value and internal rates of return of the mining operation; (iv) assumptions relating to recovered grade, average ore recovery, internal dilution, mining dilution and other mining parameters set out in the 2011 Feasibility Study or the Optimization Study; (v) assumptions relating to gross revenues, operating cash flow and other revenue metrics set out in the 2011 Feasibility Study or the Optimization Study; (vi) mine expansion potential and expected mine life; (vii) expected time frames for completion of permitting and regulatory approvals related to construction activities at the Renard Diamond Project; (viii) the expected time frames for the completion of the open pit and underground mine at the Renard Diamond Project; (ix) the expected time frames for the completion of construction, start of mining and commercial production at the Renard Diamond Project and the financial obligations or costs incurred by Stornoway in connection with such mine development; (x) future exploration plans; (xi) future market prices for rough diamonds; (xii) the economic benefits of using liquefied natural gas rather than diesel for power generation; (xiii) sources of and anticipated financing requirements; (xiv) the effectiveness, funding or availability, as the case may require, of the Stream, the Senior Secured Loan, the COF and the Equipment Facility and the use of proceeds therefrom; (xv) the Corporation’s expectations regarding receipt of the remaining deposits under the Stream and its ability to meet its delivery obligations thereunder; and (xvi) the impact of the Financing Transactions on the Corporation’s operations, infrastructure, opportunities, financial condition, access to capital and overall strategy. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “projects”, “estimates”, “assumes”, “intends”, “strategy”, “goals”, “objectives”, “schedule” or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are made based upon certain assumptions by Stornoway or its consultants and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performances or achievements of Stornoway to be materially different from future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business prospects and strategies and the environment in which Stornoway will operate in the future, including the price of diamonds, anticipated costs and Stornoway’s ability to achieve its goals, anticipated financial performance, regulatory developments, development plans, exploration, development and mining activities and commitments. Although management considers its assumptions on such matters to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. Certain important assumptions by Stornoway or its consultants in making forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) required capital investment and estimated workforce requirements; (ii) estimates of net present value and internal rates of return; (iii) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms within commonly experienced time frames; (iv) anticipated timelines for completion of construction, commencement of mine production and development of an open pit and underground mine at the Renard Diamond Project, which heavily depend, among other things, on adequate availability and performance of skilled labour, engineering and construction personnel, performance of mining and construction equipment and timely delivery of components; (v) anticipated geological formations; (vi) market prices for rough diamonds and the potential impact on the Renard Diamond Project; (vii) the satisfaction or waiver of all conditions under each of the Stream, the Senior Secured Loan, the COF and the Equipment Facility to allow the Corporation to draw on the funding available under those financing elements for the completion of the development and construction of the Renard Diamond Project; (viii) Stornoway’s interpretation of the geological drill data collected and its potential impact on stated Mineral Resources and mine life; (ix) future exploration plans and objectives; and (x) the receipt of the remaining deposits under the Stream and the Corporation’s ability to meet its delivery obligations thereunder. Additional risks are described in Stornoway’s most recently filed Annual Information Form, annual and interim MD&A, and other disclosure documents available under the Corporation’s profile at: www.sedar.com.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important risk factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates, assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, including the assumption in many forward-looking statements that other forward-looking statements will be correct, but specifically include, without limitation: (i) risks relating to variations in the grade, kimberlite lithologies and country rock content within the material identified as Mineral Resources from that predicted; (ii) variations in rates of recovery and breakage; (iii) the uncertainty as to whether further exploration of exploration targets will result in the targets being delineated as Mineral Resources; (iv) developments in world diamond markets; (v) slower increases in diamond valuations than assumed; (vi) risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar; (vii) increases in the costs of proposed capital and operating expenditures; (viii) increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing, if any; (ix) tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; (x) uncertainty of results of exploration in areas of potential expansion of resources; (xi) changes in development or mining plans due to changes in other factors or exploration results; (xii) changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; (xiii) risks relating to the receipt of regulatory approvals or the implementation of the existing Impact and Benefits Agreement with aboriginal communities; (xiv) the effects of competition in the markets in which Stornoway operates; (xv) operational and infrastructure risks; (xvi) execution risk relating to the development of an operating mine at the Renard Diamond Project; (xvii) failure to satisfy the conditions to the effectiveness, funding or availability, as the case may require, of each of the Stream, the Senior Secured Loan, the COF and the Equipment Facility; (xviii) changes in the terms of the Stream, the Senior Secured Loan, the COF or the Equipment Facility; (xix) the funds of the Stream, the Senior Secured Loan, the COF or the Equipment Facility not being available to the Corporation; (xx) the Corporation being unable to meet its delivery obligations under the Stream; (xxi) future sales or issuances of Common Shares lowering the Common Share price and diluting the interest of existing shareholders; and (xxi) 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, and new, unforeseeable risks may arise from time to time.
1 For illustrative purposes. Assumes a C$: US$ conversion rate of $1.10. Actual proceeds of each financing tranche are measured at the C$: US$ exchange rate in effect the date the funds are received.
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Matt Manson (President and CEO) at 416-304-1026 x2101 or Orin Baranowsky (Director, Investor Relations) at 416-304-1026 x2103 or toll free at 1-877-331-2232 Pour plus d'information, veuillez contacter M. Ghislain Poirier, Vice-president Affaires publiques de Stornoway au 418-254-6550, email@example.com ** Website: www.stornowaydiamonds.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org **