BRITISH COLUMBIA – Abacus Mining and Exploration of Vancouver has filed its feasibility study for the Ajax gold-copper mine 10 km southwest of Kamloops. The study supports a 60,000-t/d open pit mine and conventional concentrator that would produce a copper-gold concentrate containing 25% Cu and 18 g/t Au.
The base case of the pre-tax economic model has an internal rate of return (IRR) of 14.5% and a net present value (NPV) of US$416 million at an 8% discount rate, with payback of the initial capital of 7.8 years. Copper production would be 2.5 billion lb and gold production 2.28 million oz during a 23-year mine life. Cash costs per pound of copper are expected to be US$1.28 net of gold credits.
The initial capital cost will be US$796 million, including a US$87-million contingency. Total proven and probable reserves are 503 million tonnes averaging 0.27% Cu and 0.17 g/t Au.
The Ajax mine is a joint venture of Abacus (49%) and the Polish miner KGHM Polska (51%). KGHM has 90 days to acquire a further 29% in the joint venture for US$35. If KGHM does not exercise its option, Abacus would have 90 days to buy out its partner’s 51% for US$37 million.
The Ajax feasibility study can be read at AMEmining.com.