New Gold Inc. [NGD-TSX, NYSE American] on Thursday February 13 released operational outlook for 2020, which includes a 34% reduction to $642 million in the life-of-mine capital requirement for its Rainy River Mine in Ontario, where the projected lifespan has been reduced to eight years from 13.
The company also posted a slightly higher than expected adjusted net loss from continuing operations in the 2019 fourth quarter of $28 million ($0.04 per share) and $47 million ($0.08) for the year.
On Thursday, New Gold shares fell 12.4% or 14 cents to 99 cents on volume of 2.34 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 82 cents and $2.03
New Gold is a Canada-focused intermediate gold mining company which produced 486,141 gold equivalent ounces in 2019 (comprised of 322,557 ounces of gold, 596,452 ounces of silver, and 79.4 million pounds of copper). Its key operating assets are the Rainy River Mine located northwest of Fort Frances, Ontario and the New Afton Mine west of Kamloops, British Columbia.
Of the gold equivalent ounces produced in 2019, 257,051 ounces came from Rainy River, while New Afton delivered 229,091 ounces.
New Gold’s portfolio also includes the Blackwater development project southwest of Prince George, B.C., which hosts 8.2 million ounces of gold and 60.8 million ounces of silver reserves.
“In 2019 we began a journey to reposition the company for long-term success and sustainable shareholder value creation and we are encouraged by the progress we made as we have delivered on all our key commitments that position the company for the future,” said New Gold CEO Renaud Adams.
“With the release of our updated life-of-mine plans, we now begin a new phase for the company as we position Rainy River for profitable operations that drive free cash flow generation by the end of 2020 that will sustain over the life of the mine,” he said.
“We will also focus on advancing development of the New Afton C-Zone and expand our exploration program at both operations.’’
This year, the company expects to produce between 465,000 and 515,000 ounces of gold equivalent at an all-in-sustaining cost of US$1,260 to US$1,340 an ounce.
“In future years, there remains the potential to extend the underground mine life [at Rainy River] beyond 2028 should the prevailing gold price support the development of additional mining areas during that period and or exploration efforts increase the resource inventory,” Adams said.
Meanwhile, New Gold also tabled results from underground exploration drilling at New Afton.
The company said a drilling program completed in 2019 has identified gold and copper mineralization within the newly defined East Zone directly beneath the sublevel cave (SLC) and to the east of the planned C-Zone block cave. The company said results to date confirm the East Extension as 300 by 40 metres in plan and a 700-metre down-dip target area.
Highlights from drilling include 108 metres of 1.82 g/t gold and 2.43% copper.
The zone has been subdivided based upon different styles of alteration and mineralization in two distinct zones defined as upper and lower East Extension, which appears to represent the down-plunge extension of the Afton pit, East cave and SLC Zone.
Upper East Extension encompasses the higher 250 metres of the area with the lower East Extension representing the down-plunge continuity of it. Both zones are open to the east.
The New Afton Mine occupies the site of the historic Afton Mine and includes an open pit, underground workings, historic support facilities, a new concentrator and recently constructed tailings facility. The New Afton deposit extends to the southwest from immediately beneath the Afton Mine open pit.
The New Afton delineation and exploration programs completed in 2019 include three key initiatives:
- Underground drilling to delineate and expand mineral resources within and beneath the SLC Zone, located to the east of the planned B3 block cave;
- Underground exploration drilling of the D-Zone target to test the potential for additional mineral resources down plunge of the C-Zone block cave mineral reserve;
- Surface geophysical and geochemical surveys along the prospective Cherry Creek trend located within 3 km of the New Afton mill.
From June, 2019, the company completed 13 holes totalling 7,160 metres in the East Extension zone. A follow-up drilling program has been designed for 2020 to define the extension of the mineralization in this area and to delineate a mineral resource that may be incorporated into the company’s 2020 year-end mineral reserve and mineral resource update.