We hope you have enjoyed a restful and healthy holiday period. The new year is a good time for us to provide an update of onsite activities, as well as share some commentary about our current valuation and how we view the project. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach out to Scott Hicks (email link).
Site Activity Update
- 4,500m of new access trails and five new drill pads have been constructed so far
- Two temporary drill camps were constructed in the Gran Bestia area to minimize transport times of crews to the area
- Two drill rigs are continuing to drill the main Cangrejos pit
- A third rig has commenced drilling in the central part of Gran Bestia and a fourth is being mobilized to the ridgeline step-out targets
- A fifth and sixth rig will arrive in the next 4-6 weeks
- A seventh rig will be dedicated to geotechnical facility siting work
- Approximately 3,800m of the planned drill program has been completed
- The program is projected to be completed by June or July
- Holes 1 to 5 have been sent to the lab for assays; assay times are protracted across the industry right now, but Lumina expects to receive and start releasing results in February
- Eight geotechnical test pits to support pit slope design have been excavated at both deposits
- The metallurgical test work sampling program for the PFS has being initiated
We believe the project and company continue to offer a compelling valuation at these price levels, both versus our Ecuador peers (Table 1) and the broader development peer set (Chart 1). Our market capitalization and P/NAV multiple do not currently reflect the quality of the Cangrejos project.
Table 1 – Ecuador Mining Landscape
Chart 1 – Gold Developer P/NAV Valuations
Project Perspectives from Management
Cangrejos continues to be one of the largest undeveloped gold and copper projects in the world. We are working to further optimize and enhance the project through the Pre-feasibility work. We expect to complete the study in early 2023.
Potential areas for optimization:
The consulting engineering team is in place and optimization work has been initiated with the 2020 PEA as the baseline. The following value engineering or trade-off studies are expected to be undertaken over the next several months as Phase 1 of the PFS. The engineering consultant team in conjunction with Lumina will evaluating at a minimum the following tradeoffs:
- Overall review of metallurgical testwork with the aim to simplify the process flowsheet
- Gravity gold recovery circuit cost/benefit analysis and gravity gold treatment method
- Gold-copper extraction/recovery circuit optimization, including saprolite and sap-rock processing
- Molybdenum concentrate circuit cost/benefit analysis
- HPGR processing cost/benefit analysis vs SAG/ball mill circuit
- Process plant throughput optimization based on current information with aim to identify CAPEX and OPEX reductions versus 2020 PEA
- Process plant layout and siting with the aim of reducing the plant footprint
- Review of the 2020 PEA filter plant and dry stack tailings design and identify optimization opportunities including evaluating potential conventional slurry tailings sites
The biggest factors that we contend with when marketing the project are comments around grade, initial capex and jurisdiction. The reality of large-scale projects such as Cangrejos that produce almost 400koz of gold per year is that they are typically lower grade and, owing to the inherent fact that they are large, have a greater capex than smaller mines.
Grade in Perspective:
- Mining economics are driven by the amount of material you need to move and process to get a certain amount of metal
- Projects that have to move more material per oz will be more sensitive to operating cost inflation
- Cangrejos has the 2nd best mine plan grade to strip ratio across its development peers, despite having the lowest gold equivalent grade (see Chart 2)
Chart 2 – Open Pit Milling Gold Project Comparables
2021 Developments in Ecuador and 2022 Outlook:
- Ecuador has continued to improve for mining since Lumina Gold started working there in 2014
- President Guillermo Lasso has staked his success to making extractives -- in particular, responsible mining development, a pillar of Ecuador's economic growth
- In his first six months in office, Lasso successfully rolled out one of South America's fastest COVID vaccination campaigns and enacted tax reforms
- In 2022 the Government plans to focus on jumpstarting the economy by making Ecuador more attractive for investment through labor law reforms, free trade agreements and other pro-business initiatives
- Ecuador continues to be a new mining jurisdiction, and therefore can be expected to continue to have growing pains. Some concessions in the north of the country have been recently affected by protected forest issues. Cangrejos does not have such areas on its properties
- Cangrejos is a priority project for the administration; in November, Ecuador and Lumina Gold entered into a Mining Exploration Investment Protection Agreement
- Lumina has continued its engagement with local stakeholders and benefits from broad local community support
We would ask our fellow shareholders to help spread the word about Lumina Gold. Network effects and word of mouth are very important, and it would be great if all our shareholders help champion the company. You can find the latest version of our investor deck at this LINK.
We wish you much success in your investing in 2022 and hope the year treats you well.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Certain statements and information herein, including all statements that are not historical facts, contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking statements or information include but are not limited to statements or information with respect to the drill program, timing of results, PFS work and the timing of PFS completion. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements or information can be identified by the use of words such as "will" or "projected" or variations of those words or statements that certain actions, events or results "will", "could", "are proposed to", "are planned to", "are expected to" or "are anticipated to" be taken, occur or be achieved.
With respect to forward-looking statements and information contained herein, the Company has made numerous assumptions including among other things, assumptions about general business and economic conditions, the prices of gold and copper, and anticipated costs and expenditures. The foregoing list of assumptions is not exhaustive.
Although management of the Company believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that a forward-looking statement or information herein will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements and information by their nature are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. These factors include, but are not limited to: risks associated with the business of the Company; business and economic conditions in the mining industry generally; the supply and demand for labour and other project inputs; changes in commodity prices; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; risks relating to inaccurate geological and engineering assumptions (including with respect to the tonnage, grade and recoverability of reserves and resources); risks relating to unanticipated operational difficulties (including failure of equipment or processes to operate in accordance with specifications or expectations, cost escalation, unavailability of materials and equipment, government action or delays in the receipt of government approvals, industrial disturbances or other job action, and unanticipated events related to health, safety and environmental matters); risks relating to adverse weather conditions; political risk and social unrest; changes in general economic conditions or conditions in the financial markets; and other risk factors as detailed from time to time in the Company's continuous disclosure documents filed with Canadian securities administrators. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.