Vancouver, British Columbia – March 16, 2023 (Newsfile Corp.) (Investorideas.com Newswire) TNR Gold Corp. (TSXV: TNR) (“TNR”, “TNR Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that McEwen Mining Inc. (“McEwen Mining”) provided an update on the Los Azules copper, gold and silver project in San Juan, Argentina. TNR holds a 0.4% net smelter returns royalty (“NSR Royalty”) (of which 0.04% of the 0.4% NSR Royalty is held on behalf of a shareholder) on the Los Azules Copper Project. The Los Azules Copper Project is held by McEwen Copper Inc., a subsidiary of McEwen Mining.
The news release issued by McEwen Mining on March 14, 2023 through GlobeNewswire, stated:
“McEwen Mining Inc. (NYSE: MUX) (TSX: MUX) today reported fourth quarter and full year results for the period ended December 31, 2022.
Commented Rob McEwen, Chairman and Chief Owner:
‘Our McEwen Copper subsidiary reached several milestones during 2022 and early 2023, including, building a seasoned Argentine management team, improving critical access to Los Azules with the completion of a second route to site, advancing technical studies, cementing our commitments to government and local stakeholders, and welcoming two strategic investors: Nuton (a Rio Tinto Venture and part of the world’s 2nd largest mining company) and Stellantis, the world’s 4th largest automobile manufacturer and mobility provider.’
McEwen Copper (52% Interest)
On August 31, 2022, McEwen Copper completed a US$81.9 million offering including a $25 million investment by Nuton, a Rio Tinto Venture.
On October 24, 2022, McEwen Copper signed an option agreement with Kennecott Exploration Company (“Kennecott”), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. By spending $18 million over up to seven years, Kennecott can earn a 60% interest in the Elder Creek property and form a 60:40 joint venture with McEwen Copper.
Subsequent to December 31, 2022, we announced the closing of an ARS $30.0 billion investment by FCA Argentina S.A., a subsidiary of Stellantis N.V. (“Stellantis”) to acquire shares of McEwen Copper and of a second investment of $30 million by Nuton that increases their investment to $55 million. The Stellantis transaction consisted of a private placement of 2,850,000 common shares, and the purchase of 1,250,000 common shares indirectly owned by McEwen Mining in a secondary sale. The Nuton transaction consisted of a private placement of 350,000 common shares, and the purchase of 1,250,000 common shares indirectly owned by McEwen Mining in a secondary sale. The proceeds of the private placement will be used to advance the development of the Los Azules copper project in San Juan, Argentina, and for general corporate purposes. Subsequent to the transactions, Stellantis and Nuton each own 14.2% of McEwen Copper, while McEwen Mining’s ownership is reduced to approximately 52%. McEwen Mining plans to use the proceeds from the secondary sales to reduce its debt by 38% and increase its treasury to fund production growth.
Stellantis N.V. is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider. Its storied and iconic brands embody the passion of their visionary founders and today’s customers in their innovative products and services, including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citro?n, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Jeep(R), Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, RAM, Vauxhall, Free2Move and Leasys.
Nuton is an innovative new venture that aims to help grow Rio Tinto’s copper business. At the core of Nuton is a portfolio of proprietary copper leach-related technologies and capability – a product of almost 30 years of research and development. Nuton(TM) Technologies offer the potential to economically unlock copper sulphide resources, copper bearing waste and tailings, and achieve higher copper recoveries on oxide and transitional material, allowing for a significantly increased copper production.
Drilling has focused on increasing drill hole density to upgrade the copper mineral resource classification to measured and indicated and to better define the payback pit design; providing metallurgical, hydrological, and geotechnical data to support mine design; and testing for potential extensions of the copper resource to the north, south and at depth. Drilling started in January and went to May, when it stopped for the winter in the southern hemisphere, then restarted in October and is currently ongoing. There were 6 drill rigs on site in 2022, and 5 more were added in early 2023.
From 2022 to date we have drilled over 105,000 feet (32,000 meters) in 98 drill holes. Recent results include 236 m of 1.39% Cu and 0.19 g/t Au including 42 m of 2.78% Cu (hole AZ23191) for delineation and 1,052 m of 0.29% Cu including 480 mof 0.42% Cu (hole AZ22174) for exploration.
A total of $61.2 million was spent in 2022 at the Los Azules project to advance drilling, engineering and project feasibility work. The first step is updating the PEA that is expected to be published in Q2 2023.
In 2022, a major advance was made that will accelerate the development of Los Azules with the completion of a new low altitude access road (maximum 11,155 feet ASL), which we share in part with other mining projects, including El Pach?n and Altar. The importance of having a second road into the site at 2,000 feet lower altitude means we now have almost year-round access.
The updated PEA will include all available information on drilling, assay and metallurgical testing obtained during the 2017, 2018 and 2022 exploration seasons. During the quarter we continued work on trade-off studies (related to power supply and the potential for renewables, mining methods and processing options), an updated glacier study, and initial geotechnical field of work for the design of heap leaching, tailings and waste storage facilities. Hydro-geological holes have commenced and complement the works on assessing historical information and re-establishing existing water monitoring locations.
Currently, we are developing a scenario for Los Azules as an open pit mine that initially processes leachable copper content in a heap leach, with a solvent extraction and electrowinning facility to produce LME Grade A copper cathodes. This scenario would greatly reduce capital expenditures as compared to 2017’s PEA using concentrator technology, in addition it would be more environmentally sensitive due to its much lower water consumption and carbon footprint. The project design makes use of renewable energy, reducing overall complexity and improves its financial attractiveness.
Metallurgical studies continue, including with Nuton’s technology for heap leaching of copper ore. Initial results show promising recoveries and reduced acid consumption for the scenario described above.
The Exploitation Environmental Impact Report preparation has been awarded to Knight Piesold, with the drafting of the report underway and on track for submitting to permitting authorities in April 2023.
The technical content of this news release related to financial results, mining and development projects has been reviewed and approved by William (Bill) Shaver, P.Eng., COO of McEwen Mining and a Qualified Person as defined by SEC S-K 1300 and the Canadian Securities Administrators National Instrument 43-101 “Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.”
ABOUT MCEWEN MINING
McEwen Mining is a gold and silver producer with operations in Nevada, Canada, Mexico and Argentina. In addition, it owns approximately 52% of McEwen Copper which owns the large, advanced stage Los Azules copper project in Argentina. The Company’s goal is to improve the productivity and life of its assets with the objective of increasing its share price and providing a yield. Rob McEwen, Chairman and Chief Owner, has personally provided the company with $220 million and takes an annual salary of $1.”
The McEwen Mining press release appears to be prepared by Qualified Persons (as that term is defined by National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects) and the procedures, methodology and key assumptions disclosed therein are those adopted and consistently applied in the mining industry, but no Qualified Person engaged by TNR has done sufficient work to analyze, interpret, classify or verify McEwen Mining’s information to determine the current mineral resource or other information referred to in its press releases. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned in placing any reliance on the disclosures therein.
“We are pleased that significant developments on the advancement of the Los Azules Project towards feasibility have brought Stellantis as a strategic partner in the future development of this giant copper, gold and silver project. After investing US $25 million last year, an additional US $30 million stake in McEwen Copper has been invested by Rio Tinto’s Venture Nuton,” stated Kirill Klip, TNR’s Chief Executive Officer. “TNR Gold’s vision is aligned with the leaders of innovation among automakers like Stellantis, with the aim of decarbonizing mobility, and our mining industry leaders like Rob McEwen’s vision ‘to build a mine for the future, based on regenerative principles that can achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2038’.
“Green energy rEVolution relies on the supply of critical metals like copper; delivering ‘green copper’ to Argentina and the world will contribute to the clean energy transition and electrification of transportation and energy industries.
“Strong team performance is accelerating McEwen Copper Los Azules program in 2023. These new exploration results highlight the potential to create additional value for the Los Azules Project, and continuity of mineralization in the infill program is de-risking the project.
“It’s very encouraging to see the opportunity to expand the deposit, and the involvement of Rio Tinto, which may accelerate realizing the enormous potential of the Los Azules Project with Rio Tinto’s innovative technology. Together with Nuton, McEwen Copper is exploring new technologies that save energy, water, time and capital, advancing Los Azules towards the goal of the leading environmental performance.
“Los Azules was ranked in the top 10 largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world by Mining Intelligence (2022).
“TNR Gold does not have to contribute any capital for the development of the Los Azules Project. The essence of our business model is to have industry leaders like McEwen Mining as operators on the projects that will potentially generate royalty cashflows to contribute significant value for our shareholders.”
ABOUT TNR GOLD CORP.
TNR Gold Corp. is working to become the green energy metals royalty and gold company.
Our business model provides a unique entry point in the creation of supply chains for critical materials like energy metals that are powering the energy rEVolution, and the gold industry that is providing a hedge for this stage of the economic cycle.
Our portfolio provides a unique combination of assets with exposure to multiple aspects of the mining cycle: the power of blue-sky discovery and important partnerships with industry leaders as operators on the projects that have the potential to generate royalty cashflows that will contribute significant value for our shareholders.
Over the past twenty-seven years, TNR, through its lead generator business model, has been successful in generating high-quality global exploration projects. With the Company’s expertise, resources and industry network, the potential of the Mariana Lithium Project and Los Azules Copper Project in Argentina among many others have been recognized.
TNR holds a 1.5% NSR Royalty on the Mariana Lithium Project in Argentina, of which 0.15% NSR royalty is held on behalf of a shareholder. Ganfeng Lithium’s subsidiary, Litio Minera Argentina (“LMA”), has the right to repurchase 1.0% of the NSR royalty on the Mariana Project, of which 0.9% is the Company’s NSR Royalty interest. The Company would receive CAN$900,000 and its shareholder would receive CAN$100,000 on the repurchase by LMA, resulting in TNR holding a 0.45% NSR royalty and its shareholder holding a 0.05% NSR royalty.
The Mariana Lithium Project is 100% owned by Ganfeng Lithium. The Mariana Lithium Project has been approved by the Argentina provincial government of Salta for an environmental impact report, and the construction of a 20,000 tons-per-annum lithium chloride plant has commenced.
TNR Gold also holds a 0.4% NSR Royalty on the Los Azules Copper Project, of which 0.04% of the 0.4% NSR royalty is held on behalf of a shareholder. The Los Azules Copper Project is being developed by McEwen Mining.
TNR also holds a 7% net profits royalty holding on the Batidero I and II properties of the Josemaria Project that is being developed by Lundin Mining. Lundin Mining is part of the Lundin Group, a portfolio of companies producing a variety of commodities in several countries worldwide.
TNR provides significant exposure to gold through its 90% holding in the Shotgun Gold porphyry project in Alaska. The project is located in Southwestern Alaska near the Donlin Gold project, which is being developed by Barrick Gold and Novagold Resources. The Company’s strategy with the Shotgun Gold Project is to attract a joint venture partnership with a major gold mining company. The Company is actively introducing the project to interested parties.
At its core, TNR provides a wide scope of exposure to gold, copper, silver and lithium through its holdings in Alaska (the Shotgun Gold porphyry project) and royalty holdings in Argentina (the Mariana Lithium project, the Los Azules Copper Project and the Batidero I & II properties of the Josemaria Project), and is committed to the continued generation of in-demand projects, while diversifying its markets and building shareholder value.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
For further information concerning this news release please contact Kirill Klip, +1 604-229-8129.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “will”, “could” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “could” occur, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Specifically, forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements made in relation to: TNR’s corporate objectives, changes in share capital, market conditions for energy commodities, the successful completion of sales of portions of the NSR royalties and decisions of the government agencies and other regulators in Argentina. Such forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those discussed in the sections entitled “Risks” and “Forward-Looking Statements” in the Company’s interim and annual Management’s Discussion and Analysis which are available under the Company’s profile on www.sedar.com. While management believes that the assumptions made and reflected in this news release are reasonable, should one or more of the risks, uncertainties or other factors materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking information. In particular, there can be no assurance that: TNR will be able to repay its loans or complete any further royalty acquisitions or sales; debt or other financings will be available to TNR; or that TNR will be able to achieve any of its corporate objectives. TNR relies on the confirmation of its ownership for mining claims from the appropriate government agencies when paying rental payments for such mining claims requested by these agencies. There could be a risk in the future of the changing internal policies of such government agencies or risk related to the third parties challenging in the future the ownership of such mining claims. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements included herein are not guarantees of future performance, and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied on.
In formulating the forward-looking statements contained herein, management has assumed that business and economic conditions affecting TNR and its royalty partners, McEwen Mining Inc., Ganfeng Lithium, and Lundin Mining will continue substantially in the ordinary course, including without limitation with respect to general industry conditions, general levels of economic activity and regulations. These assumptions, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect.
Forward-looking information herein and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking information are based on estimates and opinions of management on the dates they are made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Except as required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to update forward-looking information should circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions change.
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