Ms. Jody Kuzenko reports
TOREX GOLD REPORTS 2020 YEAR END MINERAL RESERVES & RESOURCES FOR EL LIMON GUAJES COMPLEX
In 2020, total proven and probable gold reserves for Torex Gold Resources Inc.'s El Limon Guajes complex (ELG) declined 15 per cent year over year primarily due to depletion, with continuing exploration success driving a 15-per-cent increase in underground reserves, and ore processed resulting in a 20-per-cent decline in open-pit reserves.
Jody Kuzenko, president and chief executive officer of Torex, stated:
"The year-over-year decline in gold reserves at the Morelos property is consistent with the mine plan that has the ELG open pits concluding at the end of 2023. The decline in reserves at Morelos is expected to reverse when the feasibility study for Media Luna brings Media Luna resources into reserves. That study is expected to be published in Q1 of 2022.
"In term of this year's update, the processing of 487,000 ounces of gold contained in ore in 2020 was partially offset by continued underground reserve growth of 53,000 ounces, after mine depletion. Reserve growth in the ELG underground can mostly be attributed to the infill drill program adding 93,000 ounces, with the application of a lower underground cut-off grade adding 26,000 ounces. The lower cut-off grade in the open pits resulted in an additional 28,000 ounces of reserves. The lower cut-off grades reflect a reserve gold price assumption of $1,400 per ounce versus the previous assumption of $1,200 per ounce.
"The ELG underground is expected to remain a key value driver for Torex and its shareholders over the coming years. Since the initial Subsill reserve of 180,000 ounces was published in early 2018, the underground mine has delivered approximately 212,000 ounces of gold to the processing plant, with a further 413,000 ounces of reserves in place at year-end from both Subsill and El Limon Deep. With a sizable resource base outside of reserves, multiyear stepout and infill drilling programs under way, and mineralization open at depth, we remain confident in our ability to extend the life of the ELG underground beyond the 4.5 years implied by reserves, which remains a key enabler to delivering a smooth transition from ELG to Media Luna."
YEAR-OVER-YEAR COMPARISON OF MINERAL RESERVES AND RESOURCES FOR THE EL LIMON GUAJES COMPLEX
Dec. 31, 2020 Dec. 31, 2019
Tonnes Au Au Tonnes Au Au
(mt) (g/t) (koz) (mt) (g/t) (koz)
Proven and probable reserves
Open pit (including stockpiles) 18.48 2.54 1,510 21.40 2.76 1,898
Underground 2.03 6.32 413 1.72 6.51 360
Total 20.51 2.92 1,923 23.12 3.04 2,258
Measured and indicated
Open pit 18.28 2.91 1,710 24.85 2.97 2,370
Underground 3.26 7.31 770 2.87 7.07 650
Total 21.55 3.57 2,480 27.73 3.39 3,030
Open pit 1.93 1.75 110 2.42 1.88 150
Underground 2.88 5.65 520 2.44 5.69 450
Total 4.81 4.08 630 4.86 3.79 590
Notes to mineral reserve and resource comparison table:
(1) The reader is cautioned not to misconstrue this tabulation as a mineral resource statement.
Listed grades and tonnes are shown for comparison purposes only.
(2) The gold price used to estimate mineral reserves at year-end 2020 was $1,400 per ounce
compared with $1,200 per ounce at the end of 2019. The gold price used to estimate mineral
resources was unchanged at $1,550 per ounce.
(3) Year-end mineral reserves and resources are subject to rounding.
Mineral resources are classified in accordance with the 2014 CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum) Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves and the 2019 CIM Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice Guidelines.
ELG mineral reserves
Proven and probable reserves (contained gold) declined to 1,923,000 ounces at an average grade of 2.92 grams per tonne from 2,258,000 oz at 3.04 g/t at the end of 2019.
The 15-per-cent decrease in contained gold primarily reflects mine depletion of 554,000 oz at 2.94 g/t, including 487,000 oz at 3.64 g/t processed, with the remainder stockpiled. The impact of processing higher-than-reserve-grade ore in 2020 was a key contributor to the 4-per-cent decline in the average gold reserve grade year over year.
Continuing success from the stepout and infill exploration programs within the ELG underground deposits resulted in underground reserves increasing 53,000 oz net of mine depletion of 86,000 oz. Infill drilling resulted in growing underground gold reserves by 93,000 oz. Open-pit reserves declined 388,000 oz, primarily reflecting approximately 400,000 oz of open-pit reserves processed during the year.
The gold price used to estimate year-end reserves increased to $1,400 per ounce from $1,200 per ounce in the year prior, which led to a modestly lower open-pit cut-off grade for the ELG low-grade portion of reserves (0.8 g/t Au versus 0.9 g/t prior) and lower underground cut-off grade (3.1 g/t Au versus 3.7 g/t prior). The application of lower cut-off grades resulted in 54,000 oz increase in total gold reserves at an average grade of 1.3 g/t (28,000 oz impact on ELG low-grade reserves and 26,000 oz impact on underground reserves). The incremental open-pit reserves attributed to the lower cut-off grade will be mined, stockpiled and processed postdepletion of open-pit reserves and following processing of higher-grade stockpiled material.
ELG mineral resources
Measured and indicated gold resources decreased 18 per cent to 2.48 million oz at an average grade of 3.57 g/t at year-end 2020 compared with 3.03 million oz at 3.39 g/t at the end of 2019. Continuing exploration success within the ELG underground (resource increased 18 per cent) helped offset a portion of depletion, which was the key driver of the year-over-year decline in measured and indicated gold resources.
Inferred gold resources increased 7 per cent to 630,000 oz at a grade of 4.08 g/t from 590,000 oz at 3.79 g/t. The increase primarily reflects updates to the open-pit resource model and continued exploration success within the ELG underground, with the inferred underground resource up 16 per cent year over year.
The gold price used to estimate open-pit and underground mineral resources was $1,550 (U.S.) per ounce, consistent with the gold price used to estimate mineral resources at the end of 2019.
Quality assurance/quality control and qualified persons
Torex maintains an industry-standard analytical quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) and data verification program to monitor laboratory performance and to ensure high-quality assay results. Results from this program confirm reliability of the assay results. All sampling is conducted by Torex Gold with analytical work for exploration programs at ELG performed by SGS de Mexico SA de CV in Durango, and by SGS in Nuevo Balsas, Mexico (each lab is independent of the company). Gold analyses comprise fire assays with atomic absorption or gravimetric finish.
External check assays for QA/QC purposes are performed by ALS Chemex de Mexico SA de CV (independent of the company). The analytical QA/QC program at ELG is currently overseen by Carlo Nasi, chief mine geologist for Minera Media Luna SA de CV.
The scientific and technical data contained in this news release pertaining to mineral resources have been reviewed and approved by Lars Weiershauser, PhD, PGeo. Dr. Weiershauser is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, and he is a member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (APGO No. 1504), has experience relevant to the style of mineralization under consideration, and is an employee of Torex. Dr. Weiershauser has verified the data disclosed, including sampling, analytical and test data underlying the drill results, and he consents to the inclusion in this release of said data in the form and context in which they appear.
The scientific and technical data contained in this news release pertaining to mineral reserves have been reviewed and approved by Clifford Lafleur, PEng, who is a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101 and an employee of the company. Mr. Lafleur is a registered member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and has worked the majority of his career in underground hardrock mining in Canada and Mexico in progressively senior engineering roles with relevant experience in mine design and planning, mining economic viability assessments, and mining studies.
Additional information on ELG, including but not limited to, sampling and analyses, analytical labs, and methods used for data verification is available in the company's most recent annual information form and the technical report entitled "Morelos Property, NI 43-101 Technical Report, ELG Mine Complex, Life of Mine Plan and Media Luna Preliminary Economic Assessment, Guerrero State, Mexico," with an effective date of March 31, 2018 (filing date Sept. 4, 2018) filed on SEDAR and the company's website.
About Torex Gold Resources Inc.
Torex is an intermediate gold producer based in Canada, engaged in the exploration, development and operation of its 100-per-cent-owned Morelos gold property, an area of 29,000 hectares in the highly prospective Guerrero gold belt located 180 kilometres southwest of Mexico City. The company's principal assets are the El Limon Guajes mining complex comprising the El Limon, Guajes and El Limon Sur open pits, the El Limon Guajes underground mine including zones referred to as Subsill and El Limon Deep, and the processing plant and related infrastructure, which is in the commercial production stage as of April 1, 2016, and the Media Luna deposit, which is an early-stage development project, and for which the company issued an updated preliminary economic assessment in September, 2018. The property remains 75 per cent unexplored.
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