Northern Vertex Mining Corp. (CVE:NEE) provided Thursday an update on its construction plans for its Moss gold-silver mine project in Arizona, saying the first phase of the three-stage development process is progressing on time and on budget.
The company's amended preliminary economic assessment report reconfirmed key metrics and recommendations for the project, including the construction of pilot plant ponds and processing facilities, also known as phase I.
An engineering, procurement and construction management contract has already been awarded. The junior explorer said that the initial loading of fine crushed mineralized material occurred at the end of last month -- ahead of schedule -- with the target for initial treatment of solution for heap leaching later in July.
The company also said it has finished a 700 by 300 foot leach pad.
Last month, Northern Vertex filed an amended preliminary economics report, with phase II of the project showing an IRR of almost 118 per cent pre-tax and before royalties, and a net present value of US$110 million, at a 5 per cent discount rate. The phase II, or full operation, economics were calculated using gold prices of US$1,500 an ounce and $30 per ounce of silver. The payback period was seen at 15 months, with capex costs estimated at US$26.6 million. Cash costs were projected at just US$490 an ounce.
The company intends to continue with phase I activities, including the evaluation of test mining, heap leach processing and gold and silver recovery. The pilot scale mining and processing will be carried out on about 90,000 tonnes of mineralized rock, at a rate of 1,000 tonnes per day, by Tri-R Construction.
The total amount of mineralized material in the first phase is expected to be placed onto the leach pads by September 15, Northern Vertex said.
The company anticipates that the acquifer protection permit for phase I, the last permit to be received, will be in hand by mid-July. It has already received a mined land reclamation permit, as well as other permitting requirements.
"We are very pleased with the PEA's strong economic fundamentals for Phase I and Phase II of the Moss Mine Gold-Silver Project, and now, after commencing construction, we will continue to advance the project forward towards production," said president and CEO Dick Whittington.
"Based on the in-field metallurgical results from the Pilot Plant, sufficient financing being available and necessary permitting, we hope to capitalize on the economic and social opportunities that full operations in Phase II will allow."
Indeed, the company has already begun strengthening its operations team in Arizona to help capitalize on the opportunity, making eight key additions in the last few months, including chief metallurgist Cindy Jones, and safety director David Kinsey.
Northern said that it will hire further with each successive phase of its development plan, and will aim to hire and train locally.
Shares of Northern were unchanged at 65 cents on Thursday.
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