Rupert Resources Ltd. [RUP-TSXV] shares rallied Monday after the company announced results from a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for its 100%-owned Rupert Lapland Project, including the Ikkari gold discovery and Pahtavaara mine and mill located in northern Finland.
Investor reaction sent the shares up 11.9% or 50 cents to $4.70. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $6.77 and $3.53.
Ikkari is part of the Rupert Lapland Project, which also includes the Pahtavaara gold mine, mill, and exploration permits, plus concessions, which are located in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt. Pahtavaara operated between 1996 and 2014, producing almost 450,000 ounces of gold, and still contains an inferred resource of 474,000 ounces, according to a NI 43-101 technical report released in April, 2018.
The PEA is described as a de-risking event that envisages an open-pit operation at Ikkari in the first 11 years, transitioning to Ikkari underground (years 10-23) and Pahtavaara concentrate (years 12 to 24).
The 22-year life of mine includes recovered gold of 4.25 million ounces with average annual production of 200,000 ounces and a total initial capital expenditure of US$404.6 million. The open pit operation is expected to support average annual production of 220,000 ounces in years one to 11.
Rupert says the operation will feature an expected lowest-quartile all-in-sustaining cost of US$759 an ounce over the life of mine, and US$596 per ounce during the open pit operation.
“In only three years, we’ve gone from discovery hole to a preliminary study outlining an after-tax NPV of $1.6 billion, anchored by Ikkari,’’ said Rupert CEO James Withall. “What excites us is that we still have room to grow at Ikkari and other satellite targets that we will be drill testing this winter,” he said. “We have a real opportunity to not only advance Ikkari as outlined in our PEA, but systematically develop a cornerstone asset in a significant new gold camp over time.’’
Rupert reported an updated Ikkari mineral resource estimate that is based on 73,000 metres of drilling to April, 2022. The estimate maintains the 2.5 g/t average grade initially reported in September, 2021 maiden resource estimate and upgrades 84% of the resource to the indicated category. Ikkari’s 100%-owned mineral resource is now reported to include 46.4 million tonnes at 2.5 g/t for 3.68 million indicated ounces and 11.8 million tonnes at 1.9 g/t for 710,000 inferred ounces.
Ikkari is located 30 kilometres from the town of Sodankyla and is accessible via a 30-kilometre tarmac road as well as 5.0 kilometres of forestry gravel roads.
The deposit was discovered using systematic exploration that initially focused on geochemical sampling of bedrock/till interface through glacial till deposits of 5.0 metres to 40 metres thickness. No outcrop is present, and topography is dominated by low-lying swamp areas.