Robust Economics Illustrate Potential for Very Profitable Project With Low OPEX and Fast Payback
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 3, 2015) - FISSION URANIUM CORP. ("Fission" or "the Company") (TSX:FCU)(OTCQX:FCUUF)(FRANKFURT:2FU) is pleased to announce the summary results of a National Instrument 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the high-grade uranium resource identified to date on the Triple R Uranium Deposit, at its 100% owned PLS property in Canada's Athabasca Basin region. The PEA was prepared by RPA Inc. ("RPA").
- Base case pre-tax Net Present Value ("NPV") of $1.81 billion, post-tax NPV of $1.02 billion (10% discount rate)
- Mine life of 14 years producing an estimated 100.8 million pounds of yellowcake at a metallurgical recovery of 95% with 77.5 million pounds of U3O8 recovered in the first 6 years of production
- Average annual production of 7.2 million lbs U3O8 over the life of mine
- Base case pre-tax Net Cash Flow over the proposed mine life of $4.12 billion, post-tax Net Cash Flow of $2.53 billion
- Base case pre-tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 46.7%, post-tax IRR of 34.2%
- Pay back estimated at 1.4 years (pre-tax), pay back at 1.7 year (post-tax)
- Estimated initial capital costs ("CAPEX") of $1.1 billion
- Average operating costs ("OPEX") of US$14.02/lb U3O8 over the life of mine
(Base case using US$65/lb U3O8 and an exchange rate of US$0.85:C$1.00). All values in C$ unless otherwise noted.
The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that the PEA will be realized.
The PEA study considers the PLS project as a stand-alone mine and mill operation, which includes development and extraction of the R00E and R780E zones (Triple R deposit). Due to the early stage of drill definition, the PEA does not include the recently discovered R600W zone.
The study envisions a combination of open-pit and underground mining, with a dyke system (dyke and slurry wall) for water control. High-grade mineralization (above 4% U3O8) is captured within the open pit, eliminating the need for expensive, specialized underground mining methods. This hybrid open pit and underground mining results in an OPEX cost of US$14.02/lb U3O8 over the life of mine, making Triple R potentially one of the lowest cost uranium producers in the world.
These results may be further enhanced with the addition of the R600W zone discovered 495m along strike to the west of R00E zone. Although not included in the PEA production schedule, definition drilling continues to expand the known mineralization since the discovery of high-grade mineralization within R600W zone during the winter 2015 drill program (see news release March 01, 2015).
Ross McElroy, President, COO, and Chief Geologist for Fission, commented,
"This PEA is an incredibly important milestone, and shows the viability of development and profitability of the unique, shallow, large and high-grade Triple R uranium deposit. The study confirms this unique deposit is a robust project with very strong economics. With anticipated operating costs of US$14.02/lb and a pre-tax IRR of 46.7%, we are looking at low cost production with a payback and highly profitable life of mine. It's also important to note that the recently discovered, high-grade R600W zone, which was not included in the PEA, has the potential to add a great deal to the bottom line as the Triple R continues to grow. Additionally, a mill at PLS has the potential to become a key centerpiece for the Western Athabasca Basin - with the potential to process ore from other high-grade projects in the region as they are taken into production."
PEA METHODOLOGY DETAILS
The PEA was prepared by independent consultants led by RPA Inc., who carried out resource estimation and mining work, assisted by BGC Engineering Inc. (geotechnical aspects), DRA Taggart (process and infrastructure), and Arcadis Canada Inc. (environmental and radiological considerations).
In addition to managing radiological issues common to high-grade uranium mining, a key technical challenge to developing the operation will be water control related to Patterson Lake and saturated sandy overburden. The PEA proposes a system of dykes and slurry walls - proven techniques successfully implemented at a number of Canadian mining operations, including the Diavik diamond mine and the Meadowbank gold mine. The development scenario does not require any new, untested, conceptual mining or construction methods.
- Three years of pre-production and 14 year mine life, processing nominally 1,000 tonnes per day (350,000 tonnes per year)
- Total Tonnes Processed: 4.8 million tonnes at 1.00% U3O8 average grade
- Open pit mining of 1.56 million tonnes at 2.21% U3O8
- Underground mining of 3.25 million tonnes at 0.42% U3O8
- Process recovery of 95%, supported by metallurgical testwork
- Production of 100.8 million lbs U3O8
- An average of 13 million lbs U3O8 per year for 6 years, followed by an average of 3 million lbs U3O8 per year for 8 years.
- Long term uranium price of US$65 / lb U3O8
- Exchange rate of 0.85 US$ / C$1.00
- Gross revenue of $7.71 billion
- Less Saskatchewan gross revenue royalties of $556 million
- Less product transportation charges of $34 million
- Net revenue of $7.12 billion
- Average OPEX of $16.50/lb (US$14.02/lb) U3O8 over the life of mine
- Unit Operating Costs of $346 per tonne processed
- Combined Mining $154 per tonne processed
- Processing: $114 per tonne processed
- Surface and G&A: $78 per tonne processed
- Operating cash flow of $5.45 billion
- Pre-Production capital costs of $1.1 billion
- Open pit mining $363 million (includes dyke, slurry wall, and overburden removal)
- Process plant $198 million
- Infrastructure $117 million
- Indirects $209 million
- Contingency $208 million
- Sustaining capital costs of $189 million (includes completion of overburden stripping, all underground mine capital costs, and tailings dam lifts)
- Reclamation and closure cost of $50 million
- Cash flow from operations of $4.12 billion
PLS Mineralized Trend & Triple R Deposit Summary
Uranium mineralization at PLS has been traced by core drilling approximately 2.31 km of east-west strike length in four separate mineralized "zones". From west to east, these zones are; R600W, R00E, R780E and R1620E.
The discovery hole of what is now referred to as the Triple R uranium deposit was announced on November 05, 2012 with drill hole PLS12-022, from what is considered part of the R00E zone. Through successful exploration programs completed to date, it has evolved into a large, near surface, basement hosted, structurally controlled high-grade uranium deposit.
The Triple R deposit consists of the R00E zone on the western side and the much larger R780E zone further on strike to the east. Within the deposit, the R00E and R780E zones have an overall strike length of approximately 1.2m with the R00E measuring approximately 125m in strike length and the R780E zones measuring approximately 900m in strike length. A 225 m gap separates the R00E zone to the west and the R780E zones to the east, though sporadic narrow, weakly mineralized intervals from drill holes within this gap suggest the potential for further significant mineralization in this area. The R780E zones are located beneath Patterson Lake which is approximately six metres deep in the area of the deposit. The entire Triple R deposit is covered by approximately 50m of overburden.
Mineralization remains open along strike both to the western and eastern extents. Mineralization is both located within and associated with a metasedimentary lithologic corridor, associated with the PL-3B basement Electro-Magnetic (EM) Conductor. Recent very positive drill results returning wide and strongly mineralized intersections approximately 495m west of the Triple R deposit, have significantly upgraded the R600W zone to a very prospective area for further growth of the PLS resource. The R600W zone is covered by approximately 100m of overburden.
Patterson Lake South Property
The 31,039 hectare PLS project is 100% owned and operated by Fission Uranium Corp. PLS is accessible by road with primary access from all-weather Highway 955, which runs north to the former Cluff Lake mine and passes through the nearby UEX-Areva Shea Creek discoveries located 50km to the north, currently under active exploration and development.
This News Release describes a PEA cash flow model based upon geological, engineering, technical and cost inputs developed by RPA. A National Instrument 43-101 PEA technical report will be filed on SEDAR and made available on the Company's website in conjunction with the mailing by Fission of an Information Circular to its shareholders in connection with its agreement with Denison (described below) expected in mid-September. The technical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with the Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed by Jason Cox, P.Eng. of RPA, an independent qualified person. On behalf of the company, the technical information in this news release was reviewed by Ross McElroy, P.Geol. President and COO for Fission Uranium Corp., a qualified person.
About Fission Uranium Corp.
Fission Uranium Corp. is a Canadian based resource company specializing in the strategic exploration and development of the Patterson Lake South uranium property - host to the world-class Triple R uranium deposit - and is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia. Common Shares are listed on the TSX Exchange under the symbol "FCU" and trade on the OTCQX marketplace in the U.S. under the symbol "FCUUF." Fission announced on July 6, 2015 that it had entered into an agreement whereby shareholders of Fission will receive, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement, 1.26 common shares of Denison Mines Corp. and $0.0001 per common shares of Denison Mines Corp. (the 'Transaction'). The Transaction is subject to conditions including approval by the Fission and Denison shareholders.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Ross McElroy, President and COO
Certain information contained in this press release constitutes "forward-looking information", within the meaning of Canadian legislation. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur", "be achieved" or "has the potential to". Forward looking statements contained in this press release may include statements regarding the future operating or financial performance of Fission including the net present value, metal recoveries, capital costs, operating costs, production, rates of return, payback and impact of the R600W zone on the operations which involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which may not prove to be accurate. Actual results and outcomes may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations. Among those factors which could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: market conditions and other risk factors listed from time to time in our reports filed with Canadian securities regulators on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made as of the date of this press release and the Company and Fission Uranium disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable securities legislation.