TORONTO, Jan. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tanzanian Gold Corporation (TSX:TNX) (NYSE American:TRX) (TanGold or the Company) today announced results for the first quarter of 2022 (“Q1 2022”). Financial results for Q1 2022 will be available on the Company’s website and will be filed on SEDAR and provided on EDGAR on January 14, 2022.
During Q1 2022, the Company continued its successful execution towards a sustainable business plan in which cash flow from operations funds value creating activities, including exploration and sulphide project development.
Q1 Accomplishment and Highlights
- Production Growth: Positive operating cash flow at Buckreef Gold in December 2021 with 533 ounces of gold production, after successfully completing construction and substantial commissioning of 360 tonnes per day (“tpd”) processing plant. The 1,000+ tpd expansion is on track for calendar Q2/Q3 2022 with two additional ball mills already having arrived in Dar es Salaam.
- Exploration Upside: Drilling has recommenced at Buckreef Gold with the goal of expanding resources, discovering new resources and converting resources to reserves. To date, a total of six exploration holes (1,716 meters) have been completed, including three holes (758 meters) in the northeast extension of the Buckreef Main Zone. The Company plans to expand the exploration program in 2022, including a focus on the Anfield Zone.
- Sulphide Development Project Advancement: Advanced the metallurgical study, one of the longest lead items on the Sulphide Development Project, which contains approximately 90% of the Buckreef Gold resource. To date, a total of 19 holes (2,367 meters) have been completed for the metallurgical program. These metallurgical sample holes have been logged and are in preparation for shipment for metallurgical testing in Q2 2022. Exploration drilling will also focus on infill drilling Inferred Mineral Resources, which if successful, has the potential to increase tonnes to the Indicated Mineral Resource category and add, if economic, to the Mineral Reserves.
“It has been an extremely busy year. In conjunction with our Tanzanian colleagues, contractors and suppliers, we have successfully moved the Company to a position where we have proven we can execute on a mine plan, build plants and successfully produce gold to cover operating costs. As we continue to expand production in 2022, we will move to a position where value accretive activities including exploration and unlocking the value of the Sulphide Development Project, will be predominantly funded from anticipated positive operating cash flow. 2022 is setting up to be quite an exciting year, with a lot of activity focused on our goal of making everything “Bigger”: production growth, potential resource expansion through exploration and unlocking the significant value of the sulphide project by making it much larger than previously disclosed,” noted Stephen Mullowney, Chief Executive Officer of TanGold.
Q1 Accomplishments & Outlook
- Successfully completed construction and substantial commissioning of the expanded 360 tpd processing plant. Buckreef Gold was operating cash flow positive for the first time in December 2021. The Company continues to expect the 360 tpd throughput to increase production to 750-800 oz of gold per month1 at a total average Cash Cost2 of US$725-825/oz once steady state processing has been achieved in fiscal Q2/Q3 2022. The larger 1,000+ tpd processing plant is expected to be completed in calendar Q2/Q3 2022 and is forecast to produce 15,000 – 20,000 oz of gold per year.
- Exploration drilling has recommenced at Buckreef Gold and will be an increasing area of focus and expanded throughout fiscal 2022. To date a total of six exploration holes (1,716 meters) have been completed, including three holes (758 meters) in the northeast extension of the Buckreef Main Zone. These holes are following up on the northern-most intersection of 50.0 meters at 1.8 g/t in hole BMRCD308. TanGold believes that the property and immediate surrounding area is highly prospective for economic gold mineralization. Within the last six months the Anfield Zone was discovered. The Anfield Zone lies ‘on-trend’ between a historical mineral resource (the Eastern Porphyry) and an adjacent mining facility with nearly 3 kilometers (“km”) of untested shear zone located 500 meters to the east of the Buckreef Main Zone. High grade fresh rock samples were retrieved from an artisanal mine shaft. Geological assessment of the property and adjacent leases continues and will pick up pace throughout fiscal 2022.
- Following up on positive metallurgical results from the oxide operations (top of Buckreef Main Zone deposit) and the preliminary metallurgical testing for the sulphide portion of Buckreef Main Zone deposit (three bottom of pit samples), metallurgical testing for sulphide project development has moved to variability testing of the first 5-7 years of production and will continue into 2022 including tailing characteristics for dry stack tailings. Geotechnical and groundwater work will continue on identified areas (i.e. plant, tailings, waste rock storage facility). To date, a total of 19 holes (2,367 meters) have been completed for the metallurgical program. These metallurgical sample holes have been logged and are in preparation for shipment for metallurgical testing in Q2 2022.
Processing and Mining
- Buckreef Gold reported zero lost time incidents, two medical treatment incidents and had no COVID-19 related cases at site in Q1 2022. For the calendar year ended December 31st, 2021, including contractors, Buckreef Gold recorded a safety incident frequency rate of 4.9 (per million hours). Exclusive of contractors, Buckreef Gold recorded a safety incident frequency rate of 0 (per million hours).
- Q1 2022 reflected an important transition for Buckreef Gold, moving from a test plant to commissioning of Phase 1 of the 1,000+ tpd processing plant. Buckreef Gold successfully completed construction and substantial commissioning of the 360 tpd processing plant expansion. The expanded processing plant construction was completed in line with the scheduled completion date of September/October 2021 at a capital cost of US$1.6 million, within guidance. In-house construction was completed by the Buckreef Gold and TanGold teams in conjunction with key consultants/contractors, including: (i) Ausenco; (ii) Solo Resources; and (iii) CSI Energy Group.
- Buckreef Gold continued to operate the 120 tpd processing plant for the first two months of Q1 2022. Following successful commissioning of the first 360 tpd processing plant and associated processing circuit by October 31st, 2021, the existing 120 tpd processing plant was integrated into the new circuit as a ‘regrind mill’. Run-of-mine (“ROM”) mill feed commenced on November 6th, 2021 and management continues to ramp up throughput and improve efficiencies. The processing plant throughput continued to increase through the ramp-up and commissioning period, predominantly with lower grade ore, which is normal in the commissioning of any processing plant. Buckreef Gold produced 589 oz for Q1 2022.
- This upward trajectory continued into December 2021, with 533 oz of gold produced, of which 494 oz was sold. The rapid advance of production has resulted in Buckreef Gold becoming operating cash flow positive in December – the first month in Buckreef Gold’s history. The 360 tpd processing plant achieved the following in December 2021: (i) average throughput of 251 tpd; (ii) plant availability of 86.5%; (iii) average recovery rate of 85.6% with consistent tailings grade, regardless of head grade; (iv) average retention times of 26.3 hours; and (v) average grindability of 86.5% passing 75µ (microns). It is important to note that in the commissioning and ramp-up phase of the 360 tpd processing plant the Company utilized low grade ore, including in the December period. The processing plant’s positive trajectory is expected to continue throughout Q2 2022.
- Buckreef Gold has continued to focus on optimizing all key operating metrics for the 360 tpd processing plant. As such, Buckreef Gold has implemented the following upgrades to the 360 tpd processing plant: (i) installation of an eighth CIL tank (target completion – January 2022); (ii) installation of 1 megawatt genset (already installed); and (iii) early expansion the elution circuit (target completion – January 2022), which will also be utilized in the 1,000+ tpd processing facility. These improvements will allow Buckreef Gold to achieve higher: (i) retention times; (ii) plant availability; (iii) throughput rates; and (iv) recovery rates. With these improvements, Buckreef Gold anticipates achieving nameplate capacity of 360 tpd, target 28 hour retention times and higher recovery rates in fiscal Q2 2022.
- Total ore mined in Q1 2022 increased to 116 thousand tonnes (“kt”) from 9 kt in Q4 2021 and the strip ratio in Q1 2022 was 3.1 (ore:waste tonnes). The increase is the result of recommencement of mining activities in Q1 2022 with the hiring of a Tanzanian mining contractor (FEMA) on a two-year contract. Increased mining continued into December until the holiday break period. The ROM pad stockpile balance as of December 31st, 2021 was 3,526 oz of gold with an average grade of 2.0 g/t, which includes 2,001 oz of gold grading 3.7 g/t. The increased stockpile balance provides support for the Company to meet its production guidance in the upcoming quarters.
- In Q1 2022, through FEMA, Buckreef Gold successfully and safely completed the first two blasts in the Buckreef Main Zone. These blasts were in high grade areas where transitional ore reached near surface enabling access to high grade ore blocks.
- Geotechnical and ground water studies related to the oxide material tailings storage facility (“TSF”) successfully concluded and a permit to construct the TSF was granted by the Mining Commission of Tanzania in Q1 2022. Excavations for the TSF continued through the latter part of the Q1 2022 and into Q2 2022. The oxide material TSF is scheduled to be operational in Q2 2022.
- During Q1 2022 Buckreef Gold continued to advance plans for construction of a 1,000+ tpd operation while simultaneously operating the 360 tpd operation. Buckreef Gold has procured two additional 360 tpd ball mills (from the same manufacturer), which have arrived at the port in Dar es Salaam and are expected to be transported to site in January 2022.
- Other long-lead orders, such as ‘off the shelf’ crusher and cyclones will be placed in January 2022. Geotechnical work for the expanded 1,000+ tpd processing plant has been completed and earthworks have commenced. Ausenco has been retained as TanGold’s owner engineer and the process circuit will be primarily locally sourced and constructed by the same local teams in a manner substantially similar to the 360 tpd processing plant expansion.
- The targeted completion date of the 1,000+ tpd processing plant of calendar Q2/Q3 2022 remains unchanged and the larger processing plant is expected to produce 15,000 – 20,000 oz of gold per year based on the initial mine plan and grade profile, which was developed in conjunction with SGS Canada Inc. (“SGSC”). This initial mine plan incorporates approximately 10% of the resources in the Buckreef Main Zone. The Company continues to budget capital expenditures for the expanded 1,000+ tpd processing plant of approximately US$4.0 million.
- Exploration has recommenced at Buckreef Gold with STAMICO being retained for diamond drilling services for a 10,000 meter program, for both exploration and metallurgical drilling.
- To date a total of six exploration holes (1,716 meters) have been completed, including three holes (758 meters) in the northeast extension of the Buckreef Main Zone. These holes are following up on the northern most intersection of 50.0 meters at 1.8 g/t in hole BMRCD308. The above samples are currently being prepared for assay at local accredited laboratories.
- Exploration will be of increasing focus and expanded throughout fiscal 2022 in line with the ramp-up of production. The initial focus will be on: (i) extension of the Buckreef Main Zone in the northeast; (ii) initial exploration in the Anfield Zone; and (iii) infill drilling in Buckreef West and Buckreef Main Zones.
- As mentioned previously, TanGold believes the property and immediate surrounding area to be highly prospective for economic gold mineralization. Within the last six months the Anfield Zone was discovered. The Anfield Zone lies ‘on-trend’ between a historical mineral resource (the Eastern Porphyry) and an adjacent mining facility with nearly 3km of untested shear zone located 500 meters to the east of the Buckreef Main Zone. High grade fresh rock samples were retrieved from an artisanal mine shaft. Geological assessment of the property and adjacent leases continues and will pick up pace throughout 2022.
Sulphide Development Project
- The Sulphide Development Project, in which the ‘sulphide ore’ encompasses approximately 90% of the Buckreef Main Zone’s 2.0 MT Measured and Indicated resources, is a key value driver for the Company. Unlocking this value is an important objective of the Company, the Sulphide Development Project will evaluate the options for a high return large scale project to pre-feasibility (“PFS”) or feasibility study (“FS”) level work. It is the goal of the Company to substantially exceed all metrics as outlined in the Technical Report, including annual production and strip ratio. We continue to work with our principal consultants on the Sulphide Development Project, including re-visiting the Technical Report mine plan in calendar Q2/Q3 2022.
- In 2021 the Company identified, with Ausenco, the overarching mine infrastructure layout (plant, tailing storage facility, waste rock dump and camp). Following this work, the Company will now advance each area with geotechnical and ground water studies, along with site wide water balances.
- Geotechnical characterization of the 2 km long open pit will also commence in 2022. To this end, in Q1, the company has made arrangements with its consultants SGSC and Terrane Geoscience to commence site work during calendar Q2/Q3 2022 (COVID-19 permitting).
- The Technical Report mine plan is scheduled to be re-visited during Q2/Q3 2022.
- One of the longest lead items for the Sulphide Development Project, is the variability metallurgical study for the first 5-7 years of potential production of the Sulphide Development Project. To date, a total
19 metallurgical holes (2.367 meters) have been completed along the entire strike of the Buckreef Main deposit and the holes have been logged and are in preparation for shipment for metallurgical testing.
- Exploration drilling will also focus on infill drilling Inferred Mineral Resources, which if successful, has the potential to increase tonnes to the Indicated Mineral Resource category and add, if economic, to the Mineral Reserves.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (“ESG”)
- The Company is committed to working to the highest ESG standards and has initiated several programs, whilst developing a broader framework and policies. There were also no reportable environmental or community related incidents during the first quarter. Buckreef Gold continues to expand its CSR / ESG program, successfully partnering with the District and Regional Commissioners on school, water and health projects.
- Buckreef Gold continues to work with the Geita District Council and local Wards to collaboratively identify key programs that focus on short to long term educational needs, which in turn is aligned with Buckreef Gold’s local hiring practices and includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) and gender goals. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed in calendar Q2 2022, and the Company will continue to focus on local hires at Buckreef Gold and with associated contractors.
- Buckreef Gold’s operations: (i) are connected to the Tanzanian national electricity grid and utilizes grid power which is sourced from hydroelectric facilities in Tanzania; (ii) recycles all water used in its operations; (iii) do not discharge water from its operations; (iv) workforce are 100% Tanzanian citizens; (v) development and building activities are focused on maximizing local content; (vi) exhibit a ‘100 mile diet’ by procuring all food locally; and (vii) sulphide development is expected to utilize dry stack tailings.
- The Company supports local procurement in all activities by first sourcing within the immediate wards, then out to district, region and nation. Only those items or services not available within country are purchased externally from Tanzania, first prioritizing East Africa, Africa then globally.
- During 2021, TanGold through Buckreef Gold hired a surveying consultant (Property Matrix Company Limited) to commence the land compensation process required under Tanzanian mining law. The land compensation process has been fully accrued in the Company’s financial statements and as of January 13, 2022, approximately 96% of project affect persons have been paid representing 94% of the overall dollar amount. It is expected that the remaining 4% of project affected persons will be compensated by the end of Q2 2022.
- On November 30, 2021, Buckreef Gold entered into a Gold Purchase and Sale Agreement with Auramet International LLC (“Auramet”) through which Buckreef Gold will, at its discretion, sell up to 100% of the gold produced from Buckreef Gold to Auramet at market rates, for a period of one year, with an option to extend for success periods. In 2021, gold produced from the 120 tpd test plant had been sold locally whereby the Purchase and Sale Agreement with Auramet will accommodate sale of the larger expected gold output from the 1,000+ tpd processing plant. Auramet is a global physical metals merchant providing a full range of services including metal merchant, merchant banking, structured finance and advisory services.
- As at November 30, 2021, the Company had cash of $7.9 million and net working capital of $4.2 million. After adjusting for $1.9 million in derivative liabilities, working capital on an adjusted basis is $6.1 million.
- December 2021 record production and sales (533 oz and 494 oz, respectively) has resulted in Buckreef Gold being operating cash flow positive in December, the first month in Company history. This positive trajectory is expected to continue throughout Q2 2022.
- As the Company advances and the production profile expands, management continually evaluates its liquidity requirements and available sources of financing including but not limited to: (i) cash flow from operations; (ii) corporate debt; (iii) project specific debt; (iv) off-take financing; and (v) equity financing. The Company will be prudent in how it capitalizes the Company over the short, medium and long-term with shareholder value being an overarching consideration.
- Subsequent to Q1 2022, the Company entered into a purchase agreement with Lincoln Park Capital Fund, LLC (“Lincoln Park”). Under the terms of the purchase agreement, TanGold, in its sole discretion, will have the right from time to time over a 36-month period to sell up to $10 million of its shares to Lincoln Park, subject to certain conditions. TanGold will control the timing and amount of any sales to Lincoln Park, and Lincoln Park is obligated to make purchases in accordance with the purchase agreement. Any common shares that is sold to Lincoln Park will occur at a purchase price that is based on prevailing market prices at the time of each sale and with no upper limits to the price Lincoln Park may pay to purchase common shares.
Importantly, Lincoln Park has also agreed not to cause or engage in any direct or indirect short selling or hedging of the Company’s common shares. No warrants are being issued in this transaction, and there are no limitations on our use of proceeds from sales to Lincoln Park under the purchase agreement. Furthermore, the purchase agreement does not contain any rights of first refusal, participation rights, penalties or liquidated damages provisions in favor of any party. The agreement may be terminated by TanGold at any time, in its sole discretion, without any additional cost or penalty.
About Tanzanian Gold Corporation
TanGold along with its joint venture partner, STAMICO is advancing a significant gold project at Buckreef in Tanzania. Buckreef is anchored by an expanded Mineral Resource published in May 2020. Measured Mineral Resource is 19.98 million tonnes (“MT”) at 1.99 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold (“Au”) containing 1,281,161 ounces (“oz”) of gold and Indicated Mineral Resource is 15.89 MT at 1.48 g/t gold containing 755,119 ounces of gold for a combined tonnage of 35.88 MT at 1.77 g/t gold containing 2,036,280 oz of gold. The Buckreef Gold Project also contains an Inferred Mineral Resource of 17.8 MT at 1.11g/t gold for contained gold of 635,540 oz of gold. The Company is actively investigating and assessing multiple exploration targets on its property. Please refer to the Company’s Updated Mineral Resources Estimate for Buckreef Gold Project, dated May 15, 2020 and filed under the Company’s profile on SEDAR on June 23, 2020 (the “Technical Report”), for more information. Buckreef is being advanced in a value accretive sustainable manner through:
Expanding Production Profile: A 360 tonne per day (“tpd”) processing plant is being expanded to 1,000+ tpd, enabling a near term production profile of 15,000 – 20,000 oz of gold per year. Positive operating cash flow will be utilized for value enhancing activities, including exploration and Sulphide Project Development.
Exploration: Continuing with a drilling program with the goal of expanding resources, discovering new resources and converting resources to reserves, by: (i) step-out drilling in the northeast extension of Buckreef Main; (ii) infill drilling to upgrade Mineral Resources currently in the Inferred category in Buckreef Main; (iii) infill drilling program of Buckreef West; (iv) develop exploration program for the newly discovered Anfield Zone; (v) upgrade historical mineral resources at Bingwa and Tembo; (vi) identification of new prospects at Buckreef Gold Project, and in the East African region.
Sulphide Development Project: Unlocking the value of the Sulphide Project in which the ‘sulphide ore’ encompasses approximately 90% of the Resources. It is the goal of the Company to substantially exceed all metrics as outlined in the Technical Report, including annual production and strip ratio.
For further information, please contact Michael Martin, Investor Relations, [email protected], 860-248-0999, or visit the Company website at www.tangoldcorp.com
Andrew M. Cheatle, P.Geo., the Company’s COO and Director, is the Qualified Person as defined by the NI 43-101 who has reviewed and assumes responsibility for the technical content of this press release.
The Toronto Stock Exchange and NYSE American have not reviewed and do not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Tanzanian Gold Corporation is providing the reference of the research report in this press release for information only.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements as defined in the applicable securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “hopes”, “intends”, “estimated”, “potential”, “possible” and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results “will”, “may”, “could” or “should” occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect TanGold management’s expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the continued operating cash flow, expansion of its process plant, estimation of mineral resources, recoveries, subsequent project testing, success, scope and viability of mining operations, the timing and amount of estimated future production, and capital expenditure.
Although TanGold believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance. The actual achievements of TanGold or other future events or conditions may differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors. These risks, uncertainties and factors include general business, legal, economic, competitive, political, regulatory and social uncertainties; actual results of exploration activities and economic evaluations; fluctuations in currency exchange rates; changes in costs; future prices of gold and other minerals; mining method, production profile and mine plan; delays in exploration, development and construction activities; changes in government legislation and regulation; the ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms and in a timely manner or at all; contests over title to properties; employee relations and shortages of skilled personnel and contractors; the speculative nature of, and the risks involved in, the exploration, development and mining business. These risks are set forth in reports that Tanzanian Gold files with the SEC. You can review and obtain copies of these filings from the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml .
The information contained in this press release is as of the date of the press release and TanGold assumes no duty to update such information.