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Golden Arrow Announces Positive Pre-Feasibility Study for the Chinchillas Project Joint Venture With Silver Standard

Golden Arrow Resources
|
Friday, March 31st

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Golden Arrow Resources Corporation (TSX-V: GRG, FRA: GAC (WKN: A0B6XQ), “Golden Arrow” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the results of a pre-feasibility study of the Chinchillas project (“Chinchillas” or the “project”) located in the Jujuy Province, Argentina for the joint-venture development of the project with Silver Standard Resources Inc. (NASDAQ: SSRI) (TSX: SSO) (“Silver Standard”) pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement between the parties dated September 30, 2015, as outlined in the Company’s news release dated March 31, 2017. The pre-feasibility study envisions a satellite open pit mining operation at the Chinchillas project with ore processing undertaken using the existing mill and concentrator facility at the Pirquitas mine property (“Pirquitas”), which has the capacity to accept and process Chinchillas ore, located approximately 42 kilometers west of Chinchillas.

Pre-Feasibility Study Highlights

(All financial results are in U.S. dollars and all technical data are presented on a 100% project basis.)

  • Average annual silver equivalent production of 8.4 million ounces over an eight-year mine life at a 4,000 tonne per day plant throughput.
  • Robust operating margins based on cash costs of $7.40 per payable ounce of silver sold over the life of mine.
  • Post-tax net present value of $178 million using a 5% discount rate and metal prices of $19.50 per ounce silver, $0.95 per pound lead and $1.00 per pound zinc.
  • Attractive post-tax internal rate of return of 29%.
  • Near-term production based on construction beginning in the third quarter of 2017, subject to permitting, followed by ore delivery to the Pirquitas mill in the second half of 2018.
  • Low capital intensity based on initial capital expenditures, including owner’s costs and contingency, estimated to be $81 million.
  • Mineral Reserves of 11.7 million tonnes containing 58 million ounces of silver at a grade 154 g/t, 310 million pounds of lead at a grade of 1.20% and 127 million pounds of zinc at a grade of 0.49%.
  • Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources (inclusive of Mineral Reserves) of 29.3 million tonnes containing 96 million ounces of silver at a grade 101 g/t, 581 million pounds of lead at a grade of 0.90% and 386 million pounds of zinc at a grade of 0.60%.
  • Capital cost estimates assume utilizing certain property, plant and equipment from the Pirquitas mine. All costs incurred prior to the declaration of commercial production are considered capital costs.

Project Overview

The Chinchillas project is a silver-lead-zinc deposit, located in the Puna region of northwestern Argentina, in the Jujuy Province. Chinchillas is approximately 42 kilometers by road from the Pirquitas mine owned and operated by Silver Standard and 280 kilometers from the provincial capital of San Salvador de Jujuy. The project is composed of three contiguous claims, totaling 2,043 hectares. The project is accessed by paved road to the town of Abra Pampa via National Route No. 9 and an additional 66 kilometers west across public gravel roads, through the village of Santo Domingo, with similar road conditions presently utilized to service the Pirquitas mine. Santo Domingo is equipped with electricity, natural gas, and water services.

Mineral Resources Estimate

This updated Mineral Resources estimate is based on all available data for the Chinchillas deposit as at October 2, 2016.

Table 1: Chinchillas Mineral Resources Estimate (as at October 2, 2016)

CategoryTonnesAgEqAgPbZnAgEqAgPbZn
(Mt)(g/t)(g/t)%%(Moz)(Moz)(Mlb)(Mlb)
Measured3.11601280.600.4116134128
Indicated26.2148980.940.6212483540358
Total (M+I)29.31491010.900.6014096581386
Inferred20.994500.540.816334250374

View the full table here.

Notes:

  1. Mineral Resources estimate was prepared in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Counsel – Definitions adopted by the CIM Counsel on May 10, 2014 (the “CIM Standards”) and reported in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) under the direction of Robert Sim, P.Geo, SIM Geological Inc., a qualified person.
  2. Mineral Resources estimate has been generated from drill hole sample assay results and the interpretation of a geologic model relating to the spatial distribution of silver, lead and zinc. Interpolation characteristics were defined based on the geology, drill hole spacing, and geostatistical analysis of the data. Grade estimates using ordinary kriging are made into model blocks measuring 8 x 8 x 5 metres (LxWxH). Mineral Resources were classified according to their proximity to sample data locations.
  3. Mineral Resources are contained within a pit shell generated using a silver equivalent grade derived from the following formula: AgEq = Ag g/t + (Pb% 30.49) + (Zn% * 33.54). Mineral Resources estimate is based on metal price assumptions of $22.50/oz silver, $1.00/lb lead and $1.10/lb zinc.
  4. The base case cut-off grade, which reflects the transport and processing of ore at Pirquitas, is estimated to be 60 g/t AgEq based on projected operating costs and metal prices listed above.
  5. Metallurgical recoveries, used in the generation of the pit shell, are assumed to be 85% silver, 93% lead and 80% for zinc.
  6. Mineral Resources are reported inclusive of Mineral Reserves. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
  7. The quantity and grade of reported Inferred Mineral Resources are uncertain in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to classify these Inferred Mineral Resources as Indicated or Measured Mineral Resources. We intend to conduct further exploration to upgrade the Inferred Mineral Resources; however, due to the uncertainty that may be attached to Inferred Mineral Resources, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource will be upgraded to an Indicated or Measured Mineral Resource as a result of continued exploration.
  8. Figures may not total exactly due to rounding. All ounces reported represent troy ounces, and “g/t” represents grams per tonne.

Mineral Reserves Estimate

The Mineral Reserves estimate herein is based on all available data for the Chinchillas deposit.

Table 2: Chinchillas Mineral Reserves (as at December 31, 2016)

CategoryTonnesAgPbZnAgPbZn
(Mt)(g/t)%%(Moz)(Mlb)(Mlb)
Proven1.61800.750.4292715
Probable10.11501.270.5048282111
Total11.71541.200.4958310127

Notes:

  1. Mineral Reserves estimate was prepared in accordance with the CIM Standards and reported in accordance with NI 43-101 under the direction of Anoush Ebrahimi, P.Eng, Ph.D., SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., a qualified person.
  2. Mineral Reserves estimate is based on metal price assumptions of $18.00/oz silver, $0.90/lb lead and $1.00/lb zinc.
  3. Mineral Reserves estimate is reported at a cut-off grade of $32.56 per tonne net smelter return.
  4. All figures include dilution. The average mining dilution is calculated to be 11%.
  5. Ore loss is estimated at 2%.
  6. There is an estimated 54.89 Mt of waste in the ultimate pit. The strip ratio is 4.69 (waste:ore)
  7. Processing recoveries vary based on the feed grade. The average recovery is estimated to be 85% for silver, 95% for lead and approximately 80% for zinc.
  8. Metals shown in this table are the contained metals in ore mined and processed.
  9. This Mineral Reserves estimate assumes that all required permits, as discussed under the heading “Environment, Communities and Permitting” will be obtained.
  10. Figures may not total exactly due to rounding. All ounces reported represent troy ounces, and “g/t” represents grams per tonne.

Mining and Processing

The pre-feasibility study evaluates the development and construction of an open-pit mine and supporting infrastructure, which will supply ore to the Pirquitas processing facilities over an eight-year active mining period.

Chinchillas will be mined by conventional drill, blast, truck, and loading open pit mining methods. A fleet of 35-tonne road haul trucks will transport ore approximately 42 kilometers to the Pirquitas processing facilities. Haul trucks, loading equipment and drills at the Pirquitas mine will be transferred to Chinchillas, allowing the project to leverage existing equipment and infrastructure for capital cost savings and a shorter time to production.

The Pirquitas processing facility has been in continuous operation since 2009. It will process ore from the Chinchillas project using standard crush, grind and floatation at a rate of 4,000 tonnes per day. Minor modifications to the Pirquitas plant are expected and the associated capital costs are included in the capital cost estimate provided in Table 5. Over the life of mine, the plant is expected to produce a silver/lead concentrate and a zinc concentrate. The two concentrates will be shipped internationally to smelters for processing. A tailings storage facility will be located on the Pirquitas property and is included in the capital cost estimate. Selected operating and production statistics are presented in Table 3.

Table 3: Operating and Production Statistics

 UnitsAnnual AverageTotal
Total Material MinedMt7.866.6
Waste RemovedMt6.354.9
Ore to Process PlantMt1.511.7
Strip Ratiowaste:ore-4.7
Processing Ratetpd4,000-
Mine Lifeyears-8
Silver Gradeg/t154-
Silver Recovery%88%-
Lead Grade%1.20%-
Lead Recovery%95%-
Zinc Grade%0.49%-
Zinc Recovery%85%-
Silver ProductionMoz6.151.0
Lead ProductionMlb35.0295.8
Zinc ProductionMlb12.3107.4
Silver Eq ProductionMoz8.471.0

Notes:

  1. Silver equivalent production is calculated based on metal prices of $19.50/oz silver, $0.95/lb lead, $1.00/lb zinc.
  2. Processing rate excludes the first two quarters of year one, when the processing rate is lower due to ramp up. See Table 4 for additional details.
  3. Annual averages are straight average, calculated over the active mining period commencing in year one (after pre-strip) and ending in year eight.
  4. Total production is calculated on a weighted average basis including eight years of active mining and one year of processing activities in year nine, with the exception of the strip ratio which is stated on a life of mine basis including pre-stripping.

Table 4: Annual Operating Statistics

Year-1123456789
Ore Mined71,1771,3671,4561,6071,4611,4051,5091,721-
Waste Mined4,3329,2389,1468,9598,0688,3353,5071,7971,505-
Total Material Mined (kt)4,33910,41510,51310,4159,6749,7964,9123,3063,226-
Strip Ratio (Waste:Ore) 7.8x6.7x6.2x5.0x5.7x2.5x1.2x0.9x-
Silver head grade (g/t) 12518316915616416615913794
Lead head grade (%) 0.87%0.94%1.28%1.24%1.39%1.41%1.44%1.15%0.85%
Zinc head grade (%) 0.68%0.48%0.53%0.58%0.52%0.26%0.27%0.63%0.53%
Tonnes milled (tpd) 2,8134,1144,0004,0004,0004,0004,0004,0004,000
Tonnes milled (kt) 9851,4401,4001,4001,4001,4001,4001,400886
Silver recovery (%) 86%90%89%88%89%89%88%87%83%
Lead recovery (%) 93%94%96%96%96%96%97%95%93%
Zinc recovery (%) 85%85%85%85%85%85%85%85%85%
Silver production (koz) 3,3867,5996,7636,1946,5536,6416,3175,3592,221
Lead production (klbs) 17,50128,13738,04736,61041,24941,87243,03333,86515,503
Zinc production (klbs) 12,56712,88813,96815,16813,5736,7586,96716,6898,844
Silver equivalent production (koz) 4,8839,6309,3338,7569,2599,0278,7717,8653,430

View the full table here.

Note: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding. Silver equivalent figures are calculated based on metal prices of $19.50/oz silver, $0.95/lb lead, $1.00/lb zinc.

Capital Costs Summary

Capital cost estimates assume utilizing certain property, plant and equipment from the Pirquitas mine. All costs incurred prior to the declaration of commercial production are considered capital costs. Ore delivery to the Pirquitas mill is expected in the second half of 2018. The total capital required to construct the mine and associated infrastructure is $81 million. A summary of expected capital costs is presented in Table 5.

Table 5: Summary of Capital Costs

Capital CostsValue ($M)
Site Infrastructure$10
Mining Equipment$12
Pre-stripping Capital$11
Plant and Tailings$16
Owner’s Costs$10
Other$5
Contingency$16
Total$81

Note: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.

Capital costs incurred after the start of commercial production are considered sustaining capital costs. The sustaining capital, excluding capitalized stripping, is expected to be $44 million, including a $9 million contingency. A summary of expected sustaining capital costs is presented in Table 6.

Table 6: Summary of Sustaining Capital Costs

Sustaining Capital CostsValue ($M)
Mining Equipment$29
Other$7
Contingency$9
Total$44

Note: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.

Capitalized stripping during the operating period of a three phase open pit is estimated at $62 million.

Operating Costs Summary

Total operating costs are presented in Table 7. These costs were developed based on actual operating experience and are adjusted where appropriate to characteristics specific to the Chinchillas project.

Table 7: Summary of Operating Costs

Operating CostsUnitsValue
Mining$/t mined$2.88
$/t milled$15.34
Processing$/t milled$14.72
General and Administrative$/t milled$7.00
Ore Transport to Plant$/t milled$7.86
Tails Management$/t milled$0.43
Total$/t milled$45.34

Cash costs, which include cost of inventory net of capitalized stripping, and treatment and refining costs, total $7.40 per payable ounce of silver sold net of by-product revenues and estimated capitalized stripping over the life of mine. All-in sustaining costs, which include sustaining capital, capitalized stripping and reclamation, total $9.75 per payable ounce of silver sold net of by-product revenues over the life of mine.

Financial Analysis

Chinchillas is expected to generate $178 million in post-tax NPV using a 5% discount rate over the life of mine. Key financial estimates presented in Table 8 are based on the key economic assumptions presented in Table 9. Argentine peso-denominated cost estimates have been converted into U.S. dollar terms based on prevailing exchange rates in the third quarter of 2016. Going forward, Argentine inflation rates in excess of U.S. inflation rates are assumed to be offset by a corresponding devaluation of the Argentine peso against the U.S. dollar, resulting in no changes to Argentine peso-denominated costs in U.S. dollar terms.

Table 8: Key Financial Estimates

 UnitsTotal
Net Revenue$M$1,062
Mining Costs$M($272)
Processing Costs$M($177)
General Administration Costs$M($82)
Royalties and Other$M($37)
Operating Cash Flow$M$495
Net VAT$M($10)
Puna Credits$M$24
Stamp Duty$M($16)
Change in Net Working Capital$M$0
Operating Cash Flow $M$494
Development Initial Capex$M($81)
Sustaining Capex$M($44)
Reclamation and Severance$M($17)
Pre-Tax Cash Flow$M$351
Tax$M($84)
Post-tax Cash Flow$M$267
Pre-Tax NPV (5%)$M$239
Pre-Tax NPV (10%)$M$162
Pre-Tax IRR%35.2%
Post-Tax NPV (5%)$M$178
Post-Tax NPV (10%)$M$115
Post-Tax IRR%29.1%
Payback years3.5

Notes: Figures may not total exactly due to rounding.

Table 9: Key Economic Assumptions

AssumptionUnitsValue
Silver Price$/oz$19.50
Lead Price$/lb$0.95
Zinc Price$/lb$1.00

Sensitivity Analysis

The operation provides significant leverage to silver and lead prices. NPV sensitivities for key operating and economic metrics are presented in the following tables.

 

Table 10: NPV Sensitivity Analysis: Lead and Silver Price

Post-tax NPV (5%) Sensitivities ($M)
  Silver Price ($/oz)
  $16.00$18.00$19.50$22.00$25.00
Lead
Price
($/lb)
$0.85$57$119$162$229$307
$0.95$75$136$178$244$321
$1.05$93$152$194$259$336
$1.15$110$169$209$274$351
$1.25$128$185$225$289$366

Table 11: NPV Sensitivity Analysis: Capital Expenditure and Operating Costs

Post-tax NPV (5%) Sensitivities ($M)
  Capex (% change)
  -20%-10%0%+10%+20%
Opex(% change)+20%$170$162$155$148$140
+10%$181$174$166$159$152
0%$192$185$178$170$163
-10%$203$196$189$182$174
-20%$214$207$200$193$185

Opportunities

Several opportunities to improve the economics of the Chinchillas project have been identified.

The Pirquitas mill has demonstrated operating throughput of up to 5,000 tonnes per day. Opportunity exists to sustainably increase the rate mining and transport of ore from the Chinchillas project above 4,000 tonnes per day, the rate utilized in the pre-feasibility study. This would increase annual production levels.

Further opportunity exists for Mineral Resource discovery and conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves. Significant Mineral Resources in excess of Mineral Reserves exist on the Chinchillas property. Through additional drilling, higher metal prices or lower costs, there would be an opportunity to convert Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves, thereby extending the operating life of the Chinchillas project. Additionally, more detailed drill testing in the areas surrounding and to the south-east of Socavon would have potential to add further Mineral Resources at the Chinchillas property.

Project Schedule

The permitting process for the Chinchillas project continues to advance with positive support from the local communities and government authorities. The Chinchillas Environmental and Social Impact Assessment has been prepared and submitted to the Argentine regulatory authorities, and is in the consultation process. Work with local communities on social programs and understanding of the Chinchillas project is advancing positively.

Subject to permitting, we expect construction at Chinchillas to begin during the third quarter of 2017 with ore delivery to the Pirquitas mill expected in the second half of 2018.

Qualified Persons

The scientific and technical information contained in this news release pertaining to Chinchillas has been reviewed and approved by the following qualified persons under NI 43-101:

  • Anoush Ebrahimi, P.Eng, Ph.D., SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc.;
  • Ken Kuchling, P. Eng., P&E Mining Consultants Inc.; and
  • Robert Sim, P.Geo, SIM Geological Inc.

Technical Report

A National Instrument 43-101 technical report will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days of this news release and will be available at that time on the corporate website.

About TSX Venture 50™

The TSX Venture 50™ are the top 10 companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, in each of the five major industry sectors – mining, oil & gas, clean technology & life sciences, diversified industries and technology – based on a ranking formula with equal weighting given to return on investment, market cap growth, trading volume and analyst coverage. All data was as of December 31, 2016.

About Golden Arrow:

Golden Arrow Resources is a Vancouver-based exploration company focused on creating value by making precious and base metal discoveries and advancing them into exceptional deposits at its more than 200,000 hectares of properties in Argentina. The Company’s pre-feasibility level Chinchillas Silver-Lead-Zinc Project is moving towards production via a joint venture with Silver Standard Resources Inc. Golden Arrow is now actively exploring the new Antofalla silver-gold-base metal project, an exciting new exploration opportunity with similarities to Chinchillas.

Golden Arrow was recognized as a TSX Venture 50™ company in 2017. TSX Venture 50™ is a trademark of TSX Inc. and is used under license.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

“Joseph Grosso”

_______________________________
Mr. Joseph Grosso,
Executive Chairman, President and CEO

For further information please contact:

Corporate Communications
Tel: 1-604-687-1828
Toll-Free: 1-800-901-0058
Email: info@goldenarrowresources.com

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. Readers are encouraged to refer to the Company's public disclosure documents for a more detailed discussion of factors that may impact expected future results. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

This news release includes Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources classification terms that comply with reporting standards in Canada and the Mineral Reserves and the Mineral Resources estimates are made in accordance with NI 43-101. NI 43-101 is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators that establishes standards for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral projects. These standards differ significantly from the requirements of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) set out in Industry Guide 7. Consequently, Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources information included in this news release is not comparable to similar information that would generally be disclosed by domestic U.S. reporting companies subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of the SEC. Under SEC standards, mineralization may not be classified as a “reserve” unless the determination has been made that the mineralization could be economically produced or extracted at the time the reserve determination is made. In addition, the SEC's disclosure standards normally do not permit the inclusion of information concerning “Measured Mineral Resources,” “Indicated Mineral Resources” or “Inferred Mineral Resources” or other descriptions of the amount of mineralization in mineral deposits that do not constitute “reserves” by U.S. standards in documents filed with the SEC. U.S. investors should understand that “Inferred Mineral Resources” have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. Moreover, the requirements of NI 43-101 for identification of “reserves” are also not the same as those of the SEC, and reserves reported by us in compliance with NI 43-101 may not qualify as “reserves” under SEC standards. Accordingly, information concerning mineral deposits set forth herein may not be comparable with information made public by companies that report in accordance with U.S. standards.

This news release includes certain terms or performance measures commonly used in the mining industry that are not defined under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”), including cash costs and all-in sustaining costs per payable ounce of silver sold. Non-GAAP financial measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS and, therefore, they may not be comparable to similar measures reported by other companies. The data presented is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

The securities being offered have not been, nor will they be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or state securities laws and may not be offered or sold within the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, U.S. persons absent U.S. federal and state registration or an applicable exemption from the U.S. registration requirements. This release does not constitute an offer for sale of securities in the United States.

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