International Tower Hill Mines (ITH) (TSE:ITH) says that as the feasibility study on its Livengood gold project in Alaska nears completion, it will consider potential strategic alliances to help with permitting and development costs.
The update came as the company released its first quarter financial results, which saw substantially narrowed net losses of $4.06 million, or 4 cents per share, as operating expenses declined. Total cash and equivalents at the end of the period stood at $24.68 million, with total assets of $80.78 million.
The feasibility study for the Livengood project, which has been underway since early last year, is being led by Samuel Engineering and AMEC, with "signficant progress" made on the report in the latest period, the company said.
So far, it has finished metallurgical test programs, geotechnical work, and large diameter well drill programs, among other activities. It has also advanced engineering and environmental studies, and says it is now focused on the review of capital, sustaining capital and operating costs to be included in the report.
During the quarter, several alternatives to the large mill concept were developed, it said Thursday, and are being analyzed to determine if they can improve the economics of the project compared to the high tonnage base case.
"These alternatives include varying mill feed rates, stand-alone heap leach, and mill and heap leach combinations. Optimized mine plans were developed to utilize stockpile management strategies in order to maintain higher grade feed to the process plant," ITH said in its management discussion and analysis that accompanied the release of its financial statements.
The company has said that it has also developed an alternate work program at its flagship Livengood gold project - termed by the company "North America's greatest gold opportunity" -- in preparation of the possibility of on-going lower gold prices.
Indeed, the gold development company revised its 2013 program to limit spending to the engineering and analysis required to support the completion of the base case feasibility study and the environmental baseline work needed to continue to advance the project toward the permitting stage.
It expects a review of its budgetary and financing options will include the consideration of a future strategic alliance.
The Livengood gold project, with a resource size of 16.5 million ounces in the measured and indicated categories and another 4.1 million ounces in the inferred category, ranks as among the largest gold deposits discovered globally in decades.
The project not only has the distinction of having large gold resources in a mining-friendly jurisdiction, it also has the advantage of being close to the city of Fairbanks, a mere 70 miles distant, and - crucially -- is accessible by paved highway. Other items of necessary infrastructure are available to the site in the shape of power, water, and a nearby highly skilled labour force in an area with a storied history of mining.
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