TWST: What is Minefinders?
Mr. Bailey: Minefinders is currently considered a junior exploration company primarily looking for gold and silver. We have been actively exploring in Mexico since 1994, but have been most active since 1995.
We have made two discoveries in Mexico. One is called Dolores, which is a gold and silver deposit that we are presently advancing to production. It is our most significant discovery to date. The second discovery is called La Bolsa, which is also a gold deposit, although a smaller discovery. Between the two of them, we have been successful in the last eight years with the discovery of over 3 million ounces of gold and 165 million ounces of silver.
Dolores is our most successful exploration, with a proven and probable reserve of 1.95 million ounces of gold and 104 million ounces of silver. It will be an open pit, heap leach mine with production targeted at 18,000 tonnes per day and a mine life of 11.5 years. The additional measured and indicated gold and silver ounces at Dolores are outside of the currently designed pit, either peripheral to it or beneath it. We are presently conducting drill programs on that mineralization to elevate it into a P&P category and to further expand the overall deposit.
The Dolores deposit remains open in all directions, with the potential to double in size. We have never found the bottom of mineralization. Our deepest drill hole has encountered good underground grades of 12-30 g/t gold over intervals of 2 to 10 meters in width. So Dolores is a world-class deposit and will become a very profitable mine in the near future.
We have completed a bankable feasibility and have just filed our environmental impact study and mining permits, our blasting permits and our change of land use permits. We expect to have all of these in hand by March. We are in the process of arranging project financing and have term sheets from six different banks divided into three syndicates. We will give a mandate to one of the syndicates by December 15 to go forward to arrange our project financing by March.
Our target is to start mine construction in March 2006, which will put us in full production by the summer of 2007. Capital costs to bring Dolores into production are currently estimated to be approximately $126 million.