Mr. Rodrigo Barbosa reports
AURA MINERALS COMPLETES FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE MATUPA GOLD PROJECT
Aura Minerals Inc. has released the results of the feasibility study for the wholly owned Matupa gold project located in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Matupa will be an open-pit gold mine and is situated in the Alta Floresta gold province, a prolific region with large companies operating and exploring in the area, such as Anglo American, Codelco, Nexa Resources, Iamgold and Yamana Gold. The technical report titled "Feasibility Study for the Matupa Gold Project, Matupa Municipality, Mato Grosso, Brazil," prepared by Aura, will be filed within 45 days of this press release.
After-tax total investment estimated at approximately $107-million (U.S.);
After-tax net present value (NPV) of $96-million (U.S.) when using the weighted average consensus gold prices for the projected period of $1,664 (U.S.) per ounce (oz);
Average annual gold production is estimated at 54,779 ounces from years one to four, with an estimated life of mine (LOM) of seven years, based on mineral reserves estimated in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards for Disclosure for Minerals Projects;
Matupa gold project feasibility study includes updated mineral resource and reserve estimates for the X1 deposit comprising proven and probable reserves of 309,150 ounces gold (Au);
Potential remains to expand LOM with two additional deposits being drilled with high-grade results.
Rodrigo Barbosa, president and chief executive officer of Aura, commented: "With the completion of the feasibility study, we are another step closer to reaching our total production goal of over 400,000 GEO [gold equivalent ounce, annually] from all of our projects. Matupa's X1 deposit has 309,000 oz in proven and probable reserves, which generates 49.9 per cent* of leveraged return to our shareholders. It also has compelling economics with all-in sustaining costs at $710 [U.S.]/oz between years one to four; the project is in line with our strategic goal to generate cash flows while expanding our mineral footprint. More importantly, while we advance X1, we continue to drill in nearby areas with high geological potential, including follow-up drilling at Serrinhas, where we hit 81 metres at 3.89 g/t [grams per tonne] Au and additional 59 metres with 3.14 g/t Au. Our strategy is to move to construction as soon as possible with the highest ESG (environmental, social, governance) standards, while we continue to uncover the exploration potential property wide."
*Considering 50 per cent of leverage and $1,664 (U.S.) gold price.
Matupa gold project
The project encompasses an area surrounding the municipalities of Matupa and Guaranta do Norte, approximately 700 kilometres north of Cuiaba, the Mato Grosso state capital, and 200 km north of Sinop, an important commercial centre and fourth largest city in the state in terms of total population.
Aura acquired the project in 2018 as a result of the merger with Rio Novo Gold Inc., and restarted exploration activities in 2019. The project was owned by Vale from 1999 to 2006, and in 2003, the X1 anomalous area was discovered through initial diamond core drilling.
The company has increased its mineral rights position in 2020 and 2021 from 28,674 hectares to 62,506 hectares, holding the mineral rights for nine properties, of which three of those cover an area of 15,000 hectares located within the existing mining concession (X1, Guaranta Ridge and Serrinhas deposits). Another six properties totalling 47,000 hectares are under exploration permit, all in the prolific Juruena-Teles Pires gold province, where many gold deposits and occurrences exist.
The company believes Matupa has the potential to increase mineral resources and mineral reserves in certain areas within its existing permits with additional exploration activities. Such potential increases have not been incorporated in the feasibility study.
Results from the table entitled "Financial Key Performance Indicators expected for the Project" are shown assuming that the project is financed with 100 per cent equity, in compliance with NI 43-101. However, the company has established a target to leverage the project, aiming for between 50 per cent to 70 per cent debt/total capex (capital expenditures).
Sensitivity analyses were conducted in order to simulate project financial performance according to different scenarios of gold price, as well as capital structure with debt on total capital.
Mineral resource and reserve estimates
The feasibility study includes updated mineral resource and reserve estimates for the X1 deposit. A summary of the X1 mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates which are used in feasibility study and expected to be included in the technical report are shown in the tables entitled: "Matupa gold project mineral resources (M&I) summary" and "Matupa gold project mineral reserves (P&P) summary."
Opportunities for adding value
As published on April 13, 2022, at SEDAR (Aura reports significant drill intersections at Serrinhas area, Matupa gold project, Mato Grosso, Brazil), Aura is developing an exploration campaign at Serrinhas deposits, located 27 km from X1 by paved highway, having intersected 80.58 metres at 3.89 g/t Au and another 59 metres at 3.14 g/t Au, indicating the existence of a higher-grade zone within a new extension of MP2 target. Serrinhas property is a 10-kilometre-long mineralized zone, with 10 different exploration targets. In terms of comparison, X1 deposit is a 350-metre-long, single target.
On Serrinhas property, the company drilled 20 DDH (diamond drill holes) in 2021, totalling 4,740 m, and has drilled 52 DDH in 2022, totalling 11,523 m, as of the date of this press release. Aura's objective is to continue the environmental licensing during 2022 to 2023. In parallel, Aura is investing to increase resources and reserves at the Matupa gold project with the exploration program.
Homero Delboni, PhD, MAusIMM - CP metallurgy, independent consultant, Farshid Ghazanfari, PGeo, geology and mineral resources director for Aura Minerals and Luiz Pignatari, PEng, principal mining engineer at EDEM Consultants, Sao Paulo, Brazil, are qualified persons as defined by NI 43-101, and prepared or supervised the preparation of the information that forms the basis for the scientific and technical contents of this press release.
Mr. Ghazanfari has reviewed the sampling and QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control) procedures, and results thereof, as verification of the sampling data disclosed above, and approved the information contained in this news release.
QPs are not aware of any known political, legal, environmental or other risks that could materially affect development.
Quality assurance/quality control
Analytical work was carried out by SGS Lab, Geosol laboratory in Vespasiano, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Drill core samples were crushed, pulverized and homogenized at SGS Geosol laboratory in Goiania, Goias, Brazil, then pulp samples were shipped to SGS Lab in Vespasiano. All samples were analyzed for gold values determined by fire assay method (code FAA505) with atomic absorption spectrometry finish on 50-gram aliquots. SGS has routine quality control procedures which ensure that every batch of 20 prepared samples includes one sample repeat, three commercial standards and blanks. SGS QA/QC measures are independent of Aura. Aura established a standard QA/QC procedure for the drilling programs at Serrinhas by inserting one blank, one standard and one duplicate for every 40 samples.
About Aura Minerals Inc.
Aura is focused on mining in complete terms -- thinking holistically about how its business impacts and benefits every one of its stakeholders: its company, its shareholders, its employees, and the countries and communities it serves. Aura calls this 360-degree mining.
Aura is a mid-tier gold and copper production company focused on the development and operation of gold and base metal projects in the Americas. The company's producing assets include the San Andres gold mine in Honduras, the Ernesto/Pau-a-Pique gold mine in Brazil and the Aranzazu copper-gold-silver mine in Mexico. In addition, the company has three additional gold projects in Brazil, Almas, Borborema and Matupa, and one gold project in Colombia, Tolda Fria.
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