CHIHUAHUA, Mexico MINEFINDERS CORP. of Toronto could conceivably raise all the capital it needs from equity if necessary to build a mine at its flagship Dolores gold-silver property in northern Mexico, said company president and CEO Mark Bailey.
"We're looking at equity-debt scenarios now," he said. "I think we could probably do it all with equity if necessary, unless the market goes sour very quickly."
The company has some US$50 million in the bank now, bolstered by a share offering last December that netted gross proceeds of US$33 million. Bailey will take a group of interested US and UK banking representatives to the Dolores site in Mexico's Chihuahua state this month, which may lead to favourable financial negotiations.
Currently Minefinders has three rigs at Dolores carrying out infill drilling and metallurgical test work, part of the data needed to complete the bankable feasibility study, which is due in the second quarter of this year. Later drilling will gather geotechnical data and determine where to place surface buildings and leach pads.
Engineering consultants are due to present cost estimates this quarter. While Bailey could not give a figure yet, he said the costs will be greater than forecast and "bigger than US$100 million."
Dolores has a resource of 3.5 million ounces of gold, 160 million ounces of silver and remains open at depth. Further drilling should upgrade some of the inferred resources to the measured and indicated categories. The open pit zone contains an estimated 2.5 million ounces of gold and 120 million ounces of silver. The rest could be mined by underground methods in the future. Mine production is estimated at 15,000-20,000 tonnes/day, including 8,000-10,000 tonnes/day of high-grade ore going to the mill, with the rest being sent to a low-grade heap leach.
The complete story of the Dolores property is available at www.minefinders.com.