Condor Gold (AIM: CNR; TSX: COG) is pleased to announce its results for the year ended 31 December 2019 (“Annual Report and Accounts”). A copy of the Annual Report and Accounts, along with a Notice of AGM, will be posted to Shareholders in due course and a further announcement made at that stage which will include details of the time and date for the AGM. A copy of the Annual Report and Accounts is available on the Company’s website, at www.condorgold.com and on Sedar at www.Sedar.com. Extracts are set out below.
Highlights for the year ended 31 December 2019:
• In January 2019, Condor announced a Mineral Resource update on La India Project totalling 9.85 million tonnes (“Mt”) at 3.6 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold for 1,140,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 8.48Mt at 4.3g/t gold for 1,179,000 oz gold in the Inferred category;
• This includes an open pit Mineral Resource of 8.58 Mt at a grade of 3.3 g/t gold, for 902,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 3.01 Mt at a grade of 3.0 g/t gold, for 290,000 oz gold in the Inferred category, together with an underground Mineral Resources of 1.27 Mt at a grade of 5.8 g/t gold, for 238,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 5.47 Mt at a grade of 5.1 g/t gold, for 889,000 oz gold in the Inferred category;
• Of note is the new open pit Mineral Resource on Mestiza of 92 thousand tonnes (“Kt”) at a grade of 12.1 g/t for 36,000 oz contained gold in the Indicated category and 341 Kt at a grade of 7.7 g/t gold for 85,000 oz contained gold in the Inferred category. The four satellite open pits outside the main, permitted La India open pit have combined open pit resources of 206Kt at 9.9 g/t gold for 66,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 2.127 Mt at 3.23 g/t gold for 221,000 oz gold in the Inferred category;
• In February 2019, the Company raised £1.75 million by way of a private placement of new Ordinary Shares;
• In March 2019, the Company announced it was permitting the Mestiza and America satellite feeder pits, which have the potential to increase production to 120,000 oz gold per annum for a seven year life of mine. The Mestiza and America open pits have, in aggregate, 206 Kt at a grade of 9.9 g/t (66,000 oz contained gold) in the Indicated category and 1,018 Kt at 4.6 g/t (152,000 oz contained gold) in the Inferred category;
• In July 2019, a 132km², 25-year exploration and exploitation concession, the “Cerro Los Cerritos concession” was awarded. It is adjacent to current La India concession package and potentially hosts the strike extension of the gold mineralisation at La India. It expands La India Project concession area to 588 km2;
Additional private placement closed in July of 20,192,520 new shares at a price of 20p per share to raise £4,038,504 including a Directors and CFO subscription for 6,350,000 shares and 9,842,520 shares subscribed by Nicaragua Milling Company Ltd.
• Additional positive metallurgical test results on La India and satellite deposits announced in November;
• In November 2019, Condor submitted Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (“ESIAs”) to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (“MARENA”) for the Environmental Permits for the development and extraction of contained gold from the America and Mestiza open pits;
• In December 2019, Condor sold the non-core Potrerillos exploration and exploitation concession to Nicoz Resources S.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mako Mining Corp. (TSX-V: MKO) for a gross cash consideration of US$ 600,000.
• Post Period Highlights
• In January 2020, appointed SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP as sole Broker to the Company;
• Extension granted until 27 July 2021 to complete the conditions of the key Environmental Permit to develop and extract ore from La India open pit;
• In March 2020, the Company announced a high-grade open pit mining scenario as part of on-going mining dilution studies.
I am pleased to present Condor Gold Plc’s (“Condor”, the “Company” or the “Group”, www.condorgold.com) annual report for the 12-month financial year to 31 December 2019. The Company’s twin strategy remains the construction and operation of a base case processing plant with capacity of up to 2,800 tonnes per day (“tpd”) capable of producing approximately 100,000 oz of gold per annum, increasing this production capacity, and proving a major Gold District at the 588km² La India Project, in Nicaragua.
The Company’s main focus during 2019 has been on fulfilling the conditions of an Environmental Permit granted in August 2018 by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (“MARENA”) for the development, construction and operation of an open pit mine, a 2,800 tpd or 1.0 Mt per annum CIL processing plant and associated infrastructure at the La India Project, Nicaragua. The permitted La India open pit is estimated to produce between 80,000 oz to 100,000 oz gold per annum or a total of 600,000 oz gold over a 6 to 7-year period.
In January 2019 Condor announced an updated Mineral Resource on the La India Project totalling 9.85 Mt at 3.6 g/t gold for 1,140,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 8.48 Mt at 4.3 g/t gold for 1,179,000 oz gold in the Inferred category. The Mineral Resource update includes 8,222 m of drilling since the Mineral Resource update in September 2014. The new Mineral Resource Estimate was prepared by SRK Consulting (UK) Limited (“SRK”) and uses the terminology, definitions and guidelines given in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (“CIM”) Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (May 2014). The total open pit Mineral Resource is 8.58 Mt at a grade of 3.3 g/t gold, for 902,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 3.01 Mt at a grade of 3.0 g/t gold, for 290,000 oz gold in the Inferred category. Total underground Mineral Resources are 1.27 Mt at a grade of 5.8 g/t gold, for 238,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 5.47 Mt at a grade of 5.1 g/t gold, for 889,000 oz gold in the Inferred category.
Of note also is the new open pit Mineral Resource on Mestiza of 92 Kt at a grade of 12.1 g/t for 36,000 oz contained gold in the Indicated category and 341 Kt at a grade of 7.7 g/t gold for 85,000 oz contained gold in the Inferred category. The four satellite open pits outside the main, permitted La India open pit have combined open pit resources of 206 Kt at 9.9 g/t gold for 66,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 2.127 Mt at 3.23 g/t gold for 221,000 oz gold in the Inferred category.
Considerable progress has been made completing the conditions of the Environmental Permit for the development of La India open pit. The mine schedule, waste dump schedule, water and sewage management studies for the processing plant offices and accommodation have been completed. Tierra Group Inc of Denver, USA are fully engineering the Tailing Storage Facility and completing designs for the surface water management system required for the operation of the mine. Condor has doubled the land acquisition team; four in-house lawyers and several members of the social team are working on acquiring the land required for the mine site infrastructure. Offers have been made to all landowners, over 50% have accepted. Designs for the fuel service station for back-up power to support the processing plant are almost finalised. National grid electricity pylons are located 700 meters from the processing plant. The national electricity company has confirmed that the Government is building a new electricity sub-station 12km from the processing plant; designs for supplying grid power via the new sub-station are underway. An updated forestry inventory has been completed. The compensation plan under the local law is to replace every tree removed with 10 new trees - this study has also been completed. In the last 12 months, Condor initiated a tree nursery which currently has approximately 6,200 trees.
In April 2019, the Company announced it had conducted additional metallurgical tests. B2 Gold’s personnel took two 23 kg samples from within the La India open pit and conducted metallurgical tests at the El Limon and La Libertad mine laboratories. The high-grade samples, producing an average head grade of 12.1 g/t gold, were taken from the principal La India Vein and produced exceptional gold recoveries of 95.4%. It is invaluable to conduct metallurgical test work at two nearby producing gold mines whose laboratories are set up to replicate the metallurgical recoveries at the mines. This assists Condor in deciding on a final mine design and metallurgical process as the La India Project progresses to the construction phase.
In November 2019, Condor announced that it had received the final results of further metallurgical tests on La India, Mestiza and America deposits from SGS Laboratories, Lakefield, Ontario. Condor has been actively pursuing the addition of the open-pit portions of the America and Mestiza deposits (the “Satellite Pits”) to the existing planned and permitted production from the La India open pit. During August 2019, Condor assembled six new master composites from La India, America and Mestiza deposits for grindability and leaching tests. Additionally, four variability composites from La India were selected to refine the understanding of the power consumption and abrasion characteristics of the La India ores. In summary, the results were:
• The new SGS results corroborate the initial findings on the abrasion, ball mill and SAG mill work indices as presented in the 2014 prefeasibility study (“PFS”) that was conducted by Inspectorate (subsequently acquired by Bureau Veritas). The SGS results, while slightly different than the 2014 PFS values, are within the same statistical range.
• Gold extraction from the La India samples confirm the results of the PFS study, demonstrating that the estimated average gold recovery of 91% from the PFS remain valid for the La India deposit.
• Gold extraction from the America and Mestiza samples are similarly comparable to the original metallurgical results, and clearly show that the satellite pits will be amenable to treatment through the proposed CIL or CIP flowsheet.
• The Abrasion / SAG mill / Bond ball mill work indices suggest that the open pit ores from America and Mestiza, while still hard, are not as hard or as abrasive as the La India ores.
The additional metallurgical tests include grinding and abrasion studies for the America and Mestiza satellite pits that were not included in the metallurgical tests which formed part of the PFS on La India open pit. The studies are essential as we finalise the size of the processing plant ahead of a construction decision. Both satellite pit ores are less abrasive than the La India ore, which could be reflected in lower costs for wear materials when processing these ores. The most recent iteration of metallurgical studies represents the latest of Condor’s efforts to expand the district-wide potential of our concession package, while further de-risking the Project. The consistent amenability of the district ores to the planned CIP processing plant lends further evidence that the Project can achieve higher throughput for a longer period of time than has been considered in our previous studies.
On 21 November 2019, Condor submitted Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (“ESIAs”) to MARENA for the Environmental Permits for the development and extraction of contained gold from the America and Mestiza open pits. The ESIAs are very detailed, containing 18 technical, environmental and social studies and are each approximately 600 pages. Permitting the high-grade Mestiza and America satellite feeder pits has the potential to increase annual production from open pit material by 50% (compared to the PFS) to 120,000 oz gold p.a. for a seven year life of mine. The feeder pits have in aggregate 206 thousand tonnes (“Kt”) at a grade of 9.9 g/t (66,000 oz contained metal) in the Indicated category and 1,018Kt at 4.6 g/t (152,000 oz contained gold in the Inferred category). The addition of the feeder pits will mean over 1 million oz gold mineral resource will be permitted for production. The feeder pits complement the main, fully permitted La India open pit with Mineral Reserves of 6.9 million tonnes (“M tonnes” or “Mt”) at 3.0 g/t for 675,000 oz gold, which demonstrates annual production of 79,300 oz gold and lower quartile all-in-sustaining cash costs (“AISC”) of US$690 per oz gold. The higher grade feeder pits have the potential to materially enhance the Project NPV, IRRs, reduce the payback period and reduce the already low AISC as detailed in the PFS.
The intention is to permit the underground Mineral Resource after open pit mining begins. Total underground Mineral Resources are 1.27 Mt at 5.8 g/t gold, for 238,000 oz gold in the Indicated category and 5.47 Mt at 5.1 g/t gold, for 889,000 oz gold in the Inferred category.
Exploration activities during 2019 took second place to the key objective of completing the technical studies which are a condition of the Environmental Permit for La India open pit. Nonetheless, during 2019 our geologists continued their efforts to prove a 5.0 Moz gold district. It is worth noting that the re-log of 207 drill holes at La India and America was completed to help understand the shape of ore shoots and identify new ones. New wireframes have been constructed, and new drill targets generated. These are both down dip of known high grade ‘shoots’ and an exciting new target has been identified in the hanging wall of the America vein set.
Secondly, Cacao (about 6.0 km east of La India) is a top priority for drilling. It has the best potential to add ounces to the global resource. Mapping and drilling demonstrate it has a long strike length (> 3.0 km) and that the entire epithermal system is preserved. Drill intercepts reported in 2017 include 7.85 m at 3.75 g/t gold, 7.85 m at 2.95 g/t gold and 17.1 m at 1.74 g/t gold. The vein becomes more like La India vein at depth and is as thick, or thicker.
Thirdly, the Andrea East target (about 8.0 km north of La India) is now drill-ready and shows excellent grades at surface. It is a high priority for drilling. Trenches along it demonstrate significant width and grades. Best intercepts are observed at LICT15 (4.0 m at 1.79 g/t gold), LICT20 (5.6 m at 1.65 g/t gold) and LICT21 (3.0 m at 3.6 g/t gold). Grab samples give up to 9.7 g/t gold. Vein textures are very similar to La India and very encouraging.
Lastly, Condor sampled an average grade of over 13.5 g/t gold from 41 artisanal mining sites on the America and Mestiza vein sets which is a further reminder that the La India Project is a high-grade gold deposit. There are so many veins in the district that the Company is effectively ‘drowning’ in targets and a major issue is how to prioritise exploration. As the land package, mapping and sampling coverage grow, it allows us to understand the big picture. We can then focus on those targets with the best chance of adding ounces to the permitted mine schedule.
In July 2019, the Government of Nicaragua granted Condor Gold the 132.1 km2 Cerro Los Cerritos concession, a major exploration and exploitation concession adjacent to the La India Project. This confirms that the government of the country is pro-mining, open for business and supportive of Condor. It follows the grant of the 142.6 km2 Las Cruces concession in December 2018. The Cerro Los Cerritos concession expands the La India Project area by 29%. Cerro Los Cerritos was available for grant by the government under a 25-year exploration and exploitation concession. We remain convinced that the La India Project is a major gold district with the potential to host over 5 million ounces of gold. Condor’s geologists have identified two major north-northwest-striking mineralised basement feeder zones traversing the Project, the “La India Corridor”, which hosts 90% of Condor’s gold mineral resource and the “Andrea Los Limones Corridor”. Both mineralised basement feeder zones can be projected north-northwest into Cerro Los Cerritos. Numerous geophysics, soil geochemistry and surface rock chips indicate the possibility for further mineralisation along strike.
As a British company, Condor believes in, and promotes, constructive dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the current political uncertainty in Nicaragua. Condor continues to have very constructive meetings with key Ministries that granted the Environmental Permit for La India open pit and are overseeing the application for the Environmental Permit for the development and extraction of ore from the Mestiza and America open pits. During 2019, the Company has focused on supporting its 80 direct and indirect employees, and their families, who confirmed their desire to continue to work and maintain stability within their communities. Condor has been operating in Nicaragua since 2006 and, as a responsible gold exploration and development company, continues to add value to the local communities and environment by generating sustainable socio-economic and environmental benefits. The new mine would potentially create approximately 1,000 jobs during the construction period, with priority given to the local community. The upfront capital cost of approximately US$110 million would have a significant positive impact on the economy. The Government and local communities would benefit significantly from future royalties and taxes.
In November 2019, Mr Ian Stalker joined Condor as a non-executive Director. As the Company moves towards a construction decision for new gold mine at Mina La India, Ian’s significant construction and operating experience in a number of producing gold mines world-wide will be an invaluable guide to Condor Gold. Ian Stalker is a senior international mining executive with over 45 years of experience in resource development. He has directed over twelve major gold, base metal, uranium and industrial minerals projects at various phases, from initial exploration drilling to production.
In December 2019, Condor sold the non-core Potrerillos exploration and exploitation concession to Nicoz Resources S.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mako Mining Corp. (TSX-V: MKO) for a gross cash consideration of US$ 600,000.
Turning to the financial results for the year 2019, the Group’s loss for the year was £1,542,781 (2018: £2,299,329). The Company raised £5.8 million during the financial period. The net cash balance of the Group at 31 December 2019 was £2,903,556 (2018: £220,975).
The key objective for 2020 is to start the site preparation before year end. This will involve completing the purchase of all surface rights within the mine site infrastructure (approximately 50% has been purchased to date) and completing the technical studies required by MARENA ahead of a construction decision. Offers have been made for all the surface rights. Production from the permitted La India open pit is expected to be approximately 600,000 oz gold. In November 2019, the Company submitted the ESIAs applying for the Environmental Permit to develop and extract ore from the high grade America and Mestiza open pits. This has the potential to increase production to 120,000 oz gold per annum (compared to the PFS) for a seven year life of mine. The Mestiza and America open pits have, in aggregate, 206 Kt at a grade of 9.9 g/t (66,000 oz contained gold) in the Indicated category and 1,018 Kt at 4.6 g/t (152,000 oz contained gold) in the Inferred category. Simultaneously, the Company has conducted technical mining studies to see if it is possible to generate production much earlier by mining a “mini pit” within the permitted La India open pit and trucking the mineralised ore to a nearby processing plant to be processed. However, at the time of writing it is uncertain whether a toll milling agreement can be reached. There are significant benefits of transitioning Condor from an exploration and development company to a gold producer in the near future. The most obvious for shareholders is the generation of revenues and cashflow and the experience Condor will gain from managing contract miners together with bulk metallurgical tests and an advanced understanding of the geology. Maintaining a social licence to operate is highly important and Condor will continue with its extensive social programmes in the local community. The historic mine at Mina La India closed in 1956, resulting in a high level of poverty in the village of La Cruz de la India. Adding a higher average open pit grade of 4.7 g/t gold from the satellite feeder pits to the mill feed from the permitted La India open pit of 3.0 g/t gold will enhance the Project NPV, IRRs, reduce the payback period and reduce the already low All In Sustaining Cash Cost of US$690 per oz gold as detailed in the PFS.
M L Child
Chairman & CEO
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