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Guyana Goldfields Announces Updated Feasibility Study with $800 Million NPV and 38% IRR (After-Tax)

TORONTO, January 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Guyana Goldfields Inc. (TSX: GUY) (the "Company") is pleased to report the key findings from its NI 43-101 Technical Report, Updated Feasibility Study ("FS") for the 100% owned and fully permitted Aurora Gold Property (the "Project"). The FS was authored by Tetra Tech Inc. with contributions from SRK Consulting Inc., Bluhm Burton Engineering, Itasca International Inc., Environ International Corporation, and others. The FS will be available on SEDAR and the Company website within 45 days.

The estimated initial capital required to achieve commercial production is US$205 million and reflects numerous positive changes, in particular, the phased mining and milling approach, reduced footprint of the mine site and facilities, and utilization of an optimized mobile equipment fleet. Based on the key findings of the FS, the Company will continue to move forward with mine construction and development of the Project.

The improved mine plan produces 3.29 million ounces of gold over an initial 17 year mine life at an operating cash cost of US$527 per ounce (including royalty). Average annual gold production over the life of mine is 194,000 ounces, and averages 231,000 ounces per year over the first ten years. Gold production peaks in 2020 at 349,000 ounces. Commercial production is expected to commence in Q1 2015. Gold production will be staged, with initial open pit production of 5,000 tonnes per day from the Rory's Knoll deposit and expanding to 10,000 tonnes per day in early 2018 when underground mining commences.

Highlights of the Study

    Financials @ 5% Discount Rate
    Gold Price (base case)                          US$1,300/oz
    Production Start Date                             Q1 2015
    Mine Life (LOM)                                   17 years
    Average Mill Throughput (initial)                5,000 tpd
    Average Mill Throughput (extended)               10,000 tpd
    Mine Depth                                      1,037 metres
    Strip Ratio                                 4.7:1 (waste to ore)
    Average Gold Grade (mill head)                     2.7g/t
    Gold Recovery (saprolite)                           97%
    Gold Recovery (fresh rock)                         94.4%
    Average Annual Production (LOM)                194,000 oz/yr
    Average Annual Production (first ten years)    231,000 oz/yr
    Peak Production (year 2020)                      349,000 oz
    Total Gold Production (Recovered Gold)          3,291,000 oz
    Average Operating Cash Cost w/Royalty (LOM)      US$527/oz
    Initial Capital Cost                           US$205 Million
    Pre-Tax NPV                                   US$1.12 Billion
    After-Tax NPV                                  US$800 Million
    IRR (After-tax)                                     38%
    Payback (After-tax)                              3.4 years


"The updated feasibility study provides very attractive returns based on a sound execution plan.  The Project is fully permitted and has the support of the Guyanese government.  Our recent senior management hires on the operations side give us the foundation to expand our team as we continue with development and mine construction," said Patrick Sheridan, CEO of Guyana Goldfields.

"I am extremely pleased with the mine plan and look forward, with the support of my team, to building a world-class mine," said Marcel DeGuire, President and COO of Guyana Goldfields.

Project Economics

The following table provides details of the Project's economics at variable gold price assumptions.

    Financials @ 5% Discount Rate Units       Gold Price Per Ounce in US$
                                        $1,000 $1,300 $1,470[1] $1,650 $2,000
    Average Operating Cash Cost
    (LOM)                         US$/oz   423    423      423     423    423
    Average Operating Cash Cost
    w/Royalty (LOM)               US$/oz   473    527      540     555    583
    Pre-Tax NPV                    US$M    593  1,119    1,453   1,807  2,495
    After-Tax NPV                  US$M    429    800    1,034   1,282  1,764
    IRR (After-Tax)                 %       25     38       45      52     65
    Payback (After-tax)           Years    4.6    3.4      2.3     1.9    1.5
    2015 EBITDA (1st year of
    production)                    US$M     69     99      119     140    180
    2020 EBITDA (Peak year)        US$M    214    300      354     412    524
    Cumulative Cash Flow[2]        US$M  1,019  1,828    2,342   2,887  3,946


                        [1 Three year trailing average].
      [2 Cumulative cash flow defined as revenue less operating costs less
                             capital expenditures].


Capital Costs

The following table identifies key capital expenditures before and after the commencement of commercial production in Q1 2015.

                                Capital
                              required up
                                  to
    Capital Expenditures      Commercial
    (Millions of US$)         Production    Internally Funded from Cash Flow
                                Initial
                                Capital   Expansion Capital Sustaining Capital
                              (2013 - 14)    (2015 - 17)      (2018 - 2031)
    Mine Equipment Fleet          $13            $11               $10
    General Mobile Equipment       $2              -                 -
    Ore Crushing and Handling     $18             $2                 -
    Process Facility              $49            $19               $18
    On-Site Infrastructure        $25            $12                 -
    Ancillary Buildings            $8             $1                 -
    Tailings & Reclamation         $5             $3                $3
    Off-Site Infrastructure       $12              -                 -
    Indirect Costs                $36             $7                 -
    Owner's Cost                  $18             $1                 -
    Underground Development         -            $82              $275
    Contingency                   $19            $15               $41
    Closure costs                   -              -                $9
    Total Capital                $205           $153              $356


Operating Costs

    Cash operating costs (@ $1,300 gold, includes royalty)           US$527/oz
    Mining cost per tonne (open pit)                             US$2.39/tonne
    Mining cost per tonne to the Mill (((Strip ratio 4.7 avg.)
    + 1) X $2.39)                                               US$13.68/tonne
    Mining cost per tonne (underground)                         US$19.28/tonne
    Processing cost per tonne                                   US$13.78/tonne
    G&A cost per tonne                                           US$3.83/tonne


Mining and Production

The improved mine plan contains 39.5 million tonnes of ore containing 3.48 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 2.74 g/t over an initial 17 year mine life.  Total gold recovered is expected to be 3.29 million ounces.  Average annual gold production over the life of mine is 194,000 ounces, averaging 231,000 ounces over the first ten years, with production peaking at 349,000 ounces in 2020.

Commercial production is scheduled to start in Q1 2015.  Mining operations will commence with open pit production supplying ore to the mill at a rate of 1.75 million tonnes per year or 5,000 tonnes per day, starting with Rory's Knoll in the first three years where the strip ratio is low. After nine years of operation, open pit mining will be completed at the Rory's Knoll, Aleck Hill, Walcott Hill and Mad Kiss zones.

Underground mining commences in early 2018 at the Rory's Knoll zone as open pit mining operations in this zone are complete.  Rory's Knoll underground will be mined utilizing the open benching and sublevel retreat mining methods via a decline access with truck haulage from a depth of -137 metres (70mbsl) down to -1,037 metres (970mbsl).  The results from a detailed coupled hydrogeological and geotechnical model support the open benching and sublevel retreat mining method approach.  The study results show underground mining creates minimal surface subsidence and indicate water inflows are manageable.  Concurrent with the commencement of underground mining, the mill capacity will increase to 10,000 tonnes per day with an average rate of 3.5 million tonnes per year over five years.  Thereafter, the underground mine will operate at 5,300 tonnes per day for the next nine years.

Annual Production

                 O/P             O/P                 U/G             U/G  Mill
                 Ore   O/P Contained    O/P   O/P    Ore   U/G Contained  Head       Mill
               Mined Grade      gold  Waste Strip  Mined Grade      Gold Grade Production
    Years       (kt) (g/t)     (koz)   (kt) Ratio   (kt) (g/t)     (koz) (g/t)      (koz)
    1 (2014)      28  1.06         -     91  2.61      -     -         -  0.00          0
    2 (2015)   1,752  2.33       131  3,945  2.21      -     -         -  2.33        125
    3 (2016)   1,755  2.91       164  4,204  2.35      -     -         -  2.91        155
    4 (2017)   1,996  2.63       148  2,151  1.04     81  2.09         5  2.61        145
    5 (2018)   1,804  1.59        90  4,542  2.48  1,658  2.66       142  2.11        221
    6 (2019)   1,820  1.86        79 10,249  5.59  2,175  2.75       192  2.41        258
    7 (2020)   1,338  3.24       161 13,219  9.82  1,969  3.28       208  3.26        349
    8 (2021)   1,365  2.17       104 13,028  9.49  2,016  3.40       220  2.88        306
    9 (2022)   1,177  2.93       158  9,209  7.76  1,818  3.18       186  3.06        326
    10 (2023)    637  4.19        86  3,776  5.81  1,878  3.04       184  3.33        255
    11 (2024)      -     -         -      -     -  1,776  3.16       181  3.16        170
    12 (2025)      -     -         -      -     -  1,858  2.99       179  2.99        169
    13 (2026)      -     -         -      -     -  1,775  3.18       181  3.18        171
    14 (2027)      -     -         -      -     -  1,851  3.14       187  3.14        176
    15 (2028)      -     -         -      -     -  2,012  2.56       165  2.56        156
    16 (2029)      -     -         -      -     -  2,267  1.83       133  1.83        126
    17 (2030)      -     -         -      -     -  2,113  2.14       145  2.14        137
    18 (2031)      -     -         -      -     -    603  2.50        49  2.50         46
    Total/Avg 13,674  2.55     1,120 64,414  4.66 25,851  2.84     2,357  2.74      3,291


Aurora Gold Project Mineral Reserves at US$1,300/oz Gold

                    January 2013
                       Quantity Grade Contained
    Reserve Category     (kt)   (g/t) Gold (koz)
    Proven
    Open pit saprolite   168    2.64       14
    Open pit fresh ore  2,207   3.07      218
    Total Proven        2,375   3.04      232
    Probable
    Open pit saprolite  4,955   1.70      270
    O/P fresh ore       6,343   3.03      618
    Underground         25,851  2.84    2,357
    Total Probable      37,149  2.72    3,245
    Total (P&P)         39,524  2.74    3,477


       *Underground in-situ cut-off grade of 1.2 g/t for Rory's Knoll.
    *Open pit fresh ore in-situ cut-off grade of 0.5 g/t for all deposits.
     *Open pit saprolite ore in-situ cut-off of 0.3 g/t for all deposits.


Upside Potential to Feasibility Study

The FS does not include the following underground resources as defined in the NI 43-101 Resource Estimate published June 25, 2012:

  • 1.12 million ounces of gold @ 3.87g/t in the indicated category at Rory's Knoll
  • 1.28 million ounces of gold @ 4.25g/t in the inferred category at Rory's Knoll
  • 570,000 ounces of gold @ 3.93g/t in the indicated category in the satellite deposits
  • 290,000 ounces of gold @ 4.11g/t in the inferred category in the satellite deposits

The Company will continue to evaluate the integration of some of these additional ounces into the ongoing mine plan. The majority of these ounces are found below the pit shell at Aleck Hill and at Rory's Knoll below a depth of -1,037 metres (970mbsl). The mine plan includes excess mill and equipment capacity later in the mine life that will provide throughput flexibility for the mining and processing of the additional resources.

Metallurgy, Processing, and Infrastructure

The Aurora process plant will be designed in two phases with Phase I initially treating 1.75 million tonnes per year.  Phase II will have an ultimate capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per year. The process plant will initially treat open pit saprolite and fresh ore from the Rory's Knoll zone.  Gold recovery will be by extraction in a carbon in leach ("CIL") circuit.  Mined ore will be crushed and ground prior to processing through CIL, carbon desorption, and electrowinning.  Gold doré will be produced on-site and stored in a secure vault prior to being transported off-site.  The resulting CIL tailings will be treated using an air/SO2 cyanide detoxification system prior to tailings disposal.  Tailings will be pumped into the tailings management area.

The key criteria selected for the plant design are:

  • Nominal ore throughput rate of 5,000 t/d in phase 1 and 10,000 t/d in phase 2;
  • Design availability of 96% (after ramp-up), which equates to 8,400 operating hours per year, with standby equipment in critical areas;
  • Sufficient plant design flexibility for treatment of all ore types at design throughput; and
  • Overall gold recovery of 94.4% for fresh rock and 97% for saprolite.

The Project design incorporates all infrastructure requisites of a large-scale mining operation. An access road, linking the Project with a port facility at Buckhall on the Essequibo River is already in place.  The Buckhall port facility, owned and operated by Guyana Goldfields will be upgraded to permit ocean going vessels to be docked and will provide facilities for customs clearance, cargo, fuel, and personnel handling during Project construction and operations.

At the Project site, the following principal operations to support infrastructure facilities will be constructed or expanded:

  • On-site service and heavy equipment haulage roads;
  • Camp accommodations;
  • A combination of diesel and heavy fuel oil power station, distribution system and fuel storage facilities;
  • A newly expanded airstrip;
  • A new river dike as part of a comprehensive water management facility, including drainage channels, diversion dams, sumps and pumps;
  • A tailings management area;
  • Heavy equipment maintenance shop, mine buildings and warehouses, administration building, explosives storage;
  • Communications system;
  • Waste disposal area (landfill); and
  • A waste rock stockpile area.

Financing and Cash Resources

The Company is financed to continue development and exploration work.  In order to finance full construction of the Project, discussions have been underway with project debt and equity providers. Full ranges of financing options are being explored and decisions will be taken once the financing opportunities have been evaluated.

Qualified Persons

The scientific and technical data contained in this news release pertaining to the Project has been reviewed and approved by the following Qualified Persons under NI 43-101 who consent to the inclusion of their names in this release: D. Erik Spiller, MMSA, QP (Metallurgical Process Design, Project Infrastructure, Geotechnical, Economics-Tetra Tech); Glen Cole, P.Geo, (Resource Estimate-SRK Consulting Inc.), Jarek Jakubec, C.Eng MIMMM (#509147) (Mineral Reserves and Mining-SRK Consulting Inc.) John Lambert, P.Geo., (EP) CEA (Environ International Inc.-Environmental); each of whom is independent of the Company.

Detailed Report

A NI 43-101 Technical Report, Updated Feasibility Study will be filed within 45 days on SEDAR and will be available at that time on our corporate website.

Conference Call

Guyana Goldfields will hold a conference call on Monday, January 14th at 8:00am EST where senior management will discuss the key findings of the FS and respond to any questions. To join the call:

Conference Call Details:
Date of Call: January 14, 2013
Time of Call: 8:00am EST
Conference ID: 87585688

Dial-In Numbers:
North America Toll-Free: (888)231-8191
International: +1(647)427-7450

About Guyana Goldfields Inc.:

Guyana Goldfields Inc. is a Canadian-based company, primarily focused on the exploration and development of gold deposits in Guyana, South America where the Company has operated since 1996.  The Company is focused on bringing the Aurora Project into production and infrastructure development currently underway. Active exploration continues at Aurora and in the area of Company's other deposit Sulphur Rose with the intention of further expanding these resources. Greenfields exploration by our experienced team of geologists is also ongoing in the broader Aranka group of properties.

As at the date hereof, the Company has approximately $33 million in cash and cash equivalent and no debt; there are approximately 95 million shares issued and outstanding.

About Our NI 43-101 Technical Report, Updated Feasibility Study Contributors:

TetraTech, Inc. was responsible for the process plant design, civil engineering, economic model, and infrastructure aspects of the FS. Tetra Tech is a leading provider of consulting, engineering, program management, construction management, and technical services. Tetra Tech provides innovative solutions focused on natural resources, water, environment, energy, and infrastructure. Employing more than 14,000 people world-wide, Tetra Tech's mining study group comprises qualified geologists, mining engineers, metallurgical engineers, environmental scientists, and other disciplines who understand the realities of project economics and the importance of constructability in preliminary design concepts.

SRK Consulting Inc. was responsible for the underground geotechnical, numerical modeling, mineral reserves statement, open pit mine and underground mine aspects of the FS. SRK is an independent, international consulting practice that provides solutions to clients, mainly from earth and water resource industries. For mining projects, SRK offers services from exploration through feasibility, mine planning, and production to mine closure. Formed in 1974, SRK now employs more than 1,500 professionals internationally in over 45 offices on 6 continents. The Group's independence is ensured by the fact that it is strictly a consultancy organization, holding no equity in any project. This is particularly important for due diligence and feasibility studies, which form a large part of SRK's business.

Itasca International Inc. was responsible for the numerical groundwater flow modeling aspects of the FS. Itasca solves hydrogeological, geomechanics, and microseismological problems in many fields including the mining, civil, petroleum, and environmental industries. Itasca is staffed by leading engineers in the fields of rock mechanics, hydrology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, mining engineering, petroleum engineering, geophysics, and software engineering. The state-of-the-art numerical modeling codes that Itasca uses and sells for solving problems in geomechanics and hydrology are among the most widely used and respected tools of their kind. Itasca's expertise is also frequently utilized for expert testimony in litigation, due diligence reviews and audits, and for permitting and regulatory review.

Royal HaskoningDHV (formerly Turgis Mining Consultants) was responsible for preparing the mine dewatering design and associated costs for the FS. They have over 1,000 technical specialists and support staff. As a consultant to the mining industry, they offer unbiased consulting expertise in all forms of surface and underground mineral extraction, providing independent assessment and design expertise to major mining groups throughout the world.

ENVIRON International Corporation was responsible for the environmental aspects of the FS; including the mine reclamation and closure plan, and updating the existing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. Environ provides expert assistance in assessing and mitigating potential environmental risks enables clients to respond more effectively to current business, regulatory and legal challenges, and to reduce or eliminate future liabilities. Founded in 1982 in Washington, DC, as a privately held consulting firm, Environ now comprises a network of more than 1,000 consultants operating from over 80 offices in 19 countries.

Bluhm Burton Engineering (BBE) prepared the mine ventilation and cooling plan and associated cost estimates for the FS. BBE provide services from conceptual investigations, through technical feasibility studies and the analysis of alternative ventilation and cooling distribution systems, to selection of the optimum system, preparation of detailed engineering design specifications, estimating and project execution and management, for existing mines and new projects.

Information Concerning Estimates of Mineral Reserves and Resources

The mineral reserve and resource estimates reported in this press release were prepared in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. In particular, while the terms "measured," "indicated" and "inferred" mineral resources are required pursuant to NI 43-101, the SEC does not recognize such terms. Canadian standards differ significantly from the requirements of the SEC. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the mineral deposits in these categories constitute or will ever be converted into reserves. In addition, "inferred" mineral resources have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian securities laws, issuers must not make any disclosure of results of an economic analysis that includes inferred mineral resources, except in rare cases.

Forwarding-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral resources. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words and phrases such as "plans," "expects," "is expected," "budget," "scheduled," "estimates," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates," or "believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may," "could," "would," "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made and are based on various assumptions.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of GGI to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the final findings set forth in the NI 43-101 Technical Report, Updated Feasibility Study, general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; the actual results of exploration activities; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; political instability; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in GGI's annual information form. Although GGI has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended.  Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this news release and GGI disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results, except as may be required by applicable securities laws. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements.

SOURCE: Guyana Goldfields Inc.

For further information:

Guyana Goldfields Inc. 
Patrick Sheridan
CEO and Director

Jacqueline Wagenaar
Vice President, Corporate Communications

Tel: +1(416)628-5936 Ext. 2295
Fax: +1(416)628-5935
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.guygold.com

(GUY.)


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