Rio2 Limited (“Rio2” or the “Company”) (TSXV: RIO; BVL:RIO) is pleased to provide a Corporate Update.
CHANGE OF PROJECT NAME AND CHILEAN SUBSIDIARY NAME
Rio2 has chosen to change the name of the Cerro Maricunga Gold Project to the Fenix Gold Project and the name of the Company’s Chilean subsidiary from Minera Atacama Pacific Gold Chile Limitada to Fenix Gold Limitada. The reasons for the name changes are to simplify reference to the project and differentiate it from others that use the word “Maricunga” in their project and/or company names. The change will take effect immediately.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENT
Rio2 welcomes Enrique Garay as Senior Vice President, Geology, to our leadership team. Mr. Garay is replacing Ian Dreyer who is undertaking a newly created position as Senior Vice President, Technical Services. Mr. Dreyer will provide high-level ongoing support to the Rio2 technical team and lead the geological component of project assessments in relation to ongoing M&A activities.
Mr. Garay is a seasoned senior geologist with over 25 years of experience in the precious and base metal resource sector, with a focus on exploration and mine geology. He has worked for a number of leading mining companies including Barrick, Hochschild Mining, Trafigura, Consorcio Minero Horizonte, Rio Alto Mining, and Nexa Resources.
Mr. Garay was a key member of the Rio Alto Mining team that developed and put the La Arena gold mine into operation. He also contributed to increasing the La Arena Oxide Mine Reserves, as well as increasing the Mineral Resources of the adjacent Cu-Au porphyry project at La Arena. During his time at Rio Alto Mining, Mr. Garay was also involved in the acquisition, development, and commissioning of the Shahuindo gold project. He was involved in the discovery of the Inmaculada mine (Hochschild), and in the acquisition, development, commissioning, and operation of the Pierina Gold Mine, owned by Barrick Gold Corp. Most recently, Mr.Garay lead the technical team in the NEXA Resources USD250,000,000 Cerro Lindo Silver Stream transaction.
Mr. Garay is a Qualified Person (QP) as defined by the Canadian National Instrument 43-101 guidelines. He possesses strong skills in the assessment of base and precious metal mineralized systems and has worked throughout Latin America having been involved in the assessment of various mining projects in Peru, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador and Brazil.
Mr. Garay obtained his degree as a Geological Engineer from Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria, Peru and has a M.Sc. in Mineral Exploration from Queens University, Canada.
FENIX GOLD PROJECT – ACTIVITIES UPDATE
Staged Development Strategy
To date, the Fenix Gold Project has been envisaged as a heap leach gold mining project that will involve open pit mining of mineralized material, three stage crushing, no agglomeration and cyanide leaching of gold. For details of this plan see Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation’s independent technical report entitled “NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Cerro Maricunga Project Pre-Feasibility Study Atacama Region, Chile” dated October 6, 2014 with an effective date of August 19, 2014, a copy of which document is available on SEDAR under Rio2 Limited’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.
Based on Rio2’s findings in the Pre-Feasibility Study, Rio2 is planning to revise the development of the Fenix Gold Project and produce a Feasibility Study which is scheduled for completion in H2, 2019, outlining the revised development plan.
The current thinking is focused on a staged development plan which will focus on mining higher-grade mineral reserves in the early years of production followed by a steady expansion of production to an optimal throughput rate with the aim of maximizing free cash flow that is generated by the project. The Company believes that a staged approach to developing the Fenix Gold Project will allow for upfront capital expenditures to be minimized and will make financing simpler with cash flow from operations to be utilized to fund project expansion.
Revised Mineral Resource Estimate
In preparation for the completion of a Feasibility Study on the Fenix Gold Project, Rio2 is planning to produce a revised resource estimate for the deposit to be completed by the end of the Q1, 2019. To assist with producing the new resource estimate, the Company’s geologists under the direction of Mr. Garay are currently re-logging the existing core from past Fenix drilling programs dating back to 2010. The principal reason for re-logging the core is to generate, for the first time, a geological model that will support the new resource estimate. The Company geologists believe that there is a high-grade component to the resource related to structures and breccias which are prevalent in the deposit but have not been defined in the current resource estimate which has been constrained by a 0.15 g/t grade shell without considering geological domaining. The Company’s geologists are also resampling surface exposures of the mineralized resource to include this information in the revised resource estimate. Previous surface sampling was not included in the current resource estimate despite a high proportion of samples being above the average mineralized resource grade and the resource outcropping at surface.
The Company is also planning to commence a 7,000-meter drilling program in November 2018, focused on the US$ 728 pit shell defined in the Pre-Feasibility Study. The objective of this drilling is to intersect and define east-west structural feeders that the geologists believe are controlling the near surface higher grade mineralization. The drilling will also serve as a check for previous drilling within the US$ 728 pit shell and assist in better defining the near surface higher grade mineralized component of the new resource estimate.
Feasibility Study Engineering Activities
A series of geometallurgical, geotechnical and condemnation drill holes will also be undertaken to follow on from the in-pit drilling program. Metallurgical drilling will assist the Company on completing a trade-off of various crushing options for the project while geotechnical drilling will focus on pit wall stability and condemnation drilling will be targeted in areas of mine infrastructure such as leach pad, waste dump, process plant and other mine facilities. All the information gathered from this additional drilling will contribute to the completion of the planned Feasibility Study.
Water Supply Options
Rio2 has a water supply agreement in place with Aguas Chañar S.A. for the purchase of 2.5 million cubic meters (80 litres per second) of treated industrial water annually. The term of the agreement is for 13 years and commences upon the start of production at the Fenix Gold Project. Aguas Chañar S.A. is a company jointly owned by Aguas Nuevas S.A. (a subsidiary of Marubeni Corp) and a private Chilean investment fund, Toesca Asset Management. The company owns and operates a water treatment facility in the City of Copiapo located approximately 140 kilometers west of the Fenix Gold Project. Rio2 anticipates that the use of industrial water will simplify the permitting process for the development of the Fenix Gold Project as water required for the project will not be extracted from underground water sources as typically is the case in most Chilean mining projects. The current plan is to build a pipeline with associated power line from the Aguas Chañar facilities to Fenix which is likely to be constructed along the existing main road from Copiapo to Argentina which passes within 20 kilometers of Fenix. The capital costs, operating costs and cost of water for this water solution have been incorporated into the Pre-feasibility Study NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Cerro Maricunga Project Pre-Feasibility Study with effective date, August 19, 2014.
As Rio2 is considering a staged development strategy for the Fenix Gold Project, water for the contemplated starter project is likely to be in the range of 15 to 25 litres per second depending on throughput. To satisfy the amount of water required and to accelerate the time to Stage 1 production, the Company is reviewing a number of water options involving unused water rights in the proximity of the project.
From an environmental perspective, the Company has recently commenced activities related to completing an environmental baseline study on the Fenix Gold Project. Depending on the ultimate water source that is selected for the starter project, it is currently estimated that the baseline study will be completed by mid 2019 and an Environmental Impact Study filed thereafter for the review and approval by Chilean Environmental Authorities. The Company is also in the process of completing a social baseline study as a precursor to engagement and dialogue with all stakeholders within the area of future development of the Fenix Gold Project.
CORPORATE ACTIVITIES UPDATE
Rio2’s leadership team has begun repositioning the Fenix Gold Project as a new, gold development stage project in the precious metals sector. Since closing the acquisition of Atacama Pacific Gold Corp., numerous meetings have been held with a broad range of investment bankers and mining analysts with the objective of raising awareness of Rio2 and its new project. To that end, an analyst visit to the Fenix Gold Project has been coordinated for later this month and members of the Executive Management team will also be attending the Denver Gold Forum in Colorado Springs. News flow is expected to increase during the next 18 months as the Company completes its planned drilling program, updates the mineral resource estimate, completes additional engineering work, files an Environmental Impact Study and completes a Feasibility Study on the project.
Alex Black, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rio2, stated, “The Rio2 management team is keenly focused on advancing the Fenix Gold Project to production and a number of activities will be completed during the next 18 months that will demonstrate how we intend to achieve our objective. Once we have completed the Feasibility Study we will be able to outline a detailed project schedule which will provide project timing and key milestones.”
NATIONAL INSTRUMENT 43‐101 DISCLOSURE
The scientific and technical content of this new release has been reviewed and approved by Enrique Garay, Senior Vice President ‐ Geology, Rio2 Limited, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43‐ 101. For additional information regarding the Fenix Gold Project (formerly the Cerro Maricunga Gold Project), including key parameters, assumptions and risks associated with its mineral resource and reserve estimates, see the independent technical report entitled “NI 43‐101 Technical Report on the Cerro Maricunga Project Pre‐ Feasibility Study Atacama Region, Chile” dated October 6, 2014 with an effective date of August 19, 2014, a copy of which document is available under Rio2’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com
ABOUT RIO2 LIMITED
Rio2 Limited is building a multi‐asset, multi‐jurisdiction, precious metals company focused in the Americas. With the Fenix Gold Project in development in Chile and exploration platforms in Peru and Central America, Rio2 Limited will continue pursuing additional strategic acquisitions to compile an attractive portfolio of precious metals assets where it can deploy its operational excellence and responsible mining practices to create value for its shareholders. Rio2 Limited has assembled a highly experienced executive team to generate significant shareholder value, with proven technical skills in the development and operations of mines and capital markets experience. Through its strategy of acquiring precious metals assets at exploration, development, and operating stages, the executive team will grow Rio2 Limited and create long‐term shareholder value through the development of high‐margin, strong free‐cash‐flowing mining operations.
For more information about Rio2 Limited, please contact:
President and Chief Executive Officer
Telephone: +1 (416) 432 0622
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ON FORWARD‐LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain information set forth in this news release contains "forward‐looking statements", and "forward‐ looking information” under applicable securities laws. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward‐looking statements, which include plans related to the future exploration and development of the Fenix Gold Project and the timing for both a revised resource estimate and the completion of a Feasibility Study on the Fenix Gold Project, and are based on current internal expectations, estimates, projections, assumptions and beliefs, which may prove to be incorrect. Some of the forward‐looking statements may be identified by the use of conditional or future tenses or by the use of such words such as "will”, “expects", “may”, “should”, “estimates”, "anticipates", "believes", "projects", "plans", and similar expressions, including variations thereof and negative forms. Rio2 believes the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements in this news release should not be unduly relied upon. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and undue reliance should not be placed on them. Such forward‐looking statements necessarily involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause the actual performance and financial results of Rio2 in future periods to differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward‐looking statements. A description of assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information and a description of risk factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in Rio2’s disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements included in this news release are made as of the date of this press release and Rio2 disclaims 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.
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