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Colossus Minerals’ flagship Serra Pelada to start production before year-end 2012
Colossus Minerals’ flagship Serra Pelada to start production before year-end 2012
41 Reads | 0 Comments | Posted on March 22, 2011
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Booth # 2850 •
Chief Executive Officer
Colossus Minerals Inc (TSX:CSI) is a Canadian-based exploration and development-stage mining company focused on gold and platinum group metals in Brazil. Colossus is advancing its high-grade Serra Pelada precious metals project towards production.
Serra Pelada, a high-grade gold and platinum group metals deposit, is located in the mineral-prolific Carajas region in Para State, Brazil. In the 1980s, Serra Pelada hosted the largest gold rush in Latin American history. Before the government halted production, up to 80,000 artisanal miners produced over two million ounces of gold plus an unknown amount of platinum and palladium from a hand-dug open pit.
Colossus is focused on developing Serra Pelada and achieving its goal of becoming the next precious metal producer in Brazil. Colossus, as operator, has earned a 75% interest in the joint-venture company that controls Serra Pelada from its Brazilian partner, COOMIGASP. Assay results from Colossus’ drilling at Serra Pelada consistently return remarkable grades of gold and PGMs over significant widths (SPD-055: 52.43 metres at 18.57 g/t gold, 8.34 g/t platinum and 11.33 g/t palladium and SPD-034: 70.70 metres at 53.59 g/t gold, 20.77 g/t platinum and 31.30 g/t palladium).
With approximately $117 million in its treasury (as of January 1, 2011), Colossus is well funded to bring Serra Pelada into commercial production. In 2010, Colossus received environmental, installation and mining licenses for the project and has commenced an aggressive development program. Currently, Colossus is progressing the development of a 3,500-metre underground decline which will provide access for underground exploration and definition drilling as well as provide access to the orebody for eventual production. An underground drilling program will commence in early 2011, well ahead of the decline completion. Earthworks on site infrastructure are well underway including the future plant site, camp site, maintenance facilities, offices and the tailings impoundment. Earthworks are complete for the underground portal and upgrades of the road into Serra Pelada.
Colossus is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and trades on the TSX under the symbol CSI.
You are exploring a legendary piece of property. So far, what findings, if any, indicate that this mine is going to live up to its glorious past?
Serra Pelada is a unique metasediment-hosted gold-platinum-palladium deposit. It was host to the most famous gold rush of the 20th century with up to 80,000 garimpeiros working a hand-dug open pit measuring 400 x 300 x 100 metres. It is characterized in certain spots by remarkably high grades of gold and record grades of platinum and palladium, with historic assays reported in excess of 3,000 grams per tonne gold, 200 grams per tonne platinum and 1,200 grams per tonne palladium over a 43-metre interval.
The 75,000 metres drilled on the property to date confirm that gold, platinum and palladium mineralization continues under the historical pit and to the southwest.
To your knowledge, how many ounces of precious metals has Serra Pelada produced so far? What is your target size for this deposit?
Best average guesstimates are that garimpeiro production from the historical pit was approximately two million ounces of gold mined at a poor recovery rate from approximately 350 metres of strike length. Historical PGM production is not as well known thus there are not any reliable production estimates. Colossus has outlined multiple mineralized zones and we know from drilling to date that the central mineralized zone – which is the southwestern plunge from the historical open pit – is mineralized for 500 metres and is open to the southwest.
The deposits’ extraordinarily high-grade attributes make it extremely difficult to estimate grade with the precision required under NI 43-101 standards. We can point to published financial analysts’ models, which I caution contain a number of assumptions, estimating life of mine production in the range of 2 to 3 million ounces at cash costs averaging close to
per ounce (net of by-product PGMs). All reports believe there is significant upside to build more ounces through drilling, especially once the company has underground drill access.
Diamond drilling on the CMZ
How close are you to making a resource estimate and when do you think production would start?
The company is taking a somewhat unconventional approach to advancing Serra Pelada – heading into production ahead of a resource estimate, through development of an underground mine and a gravity processing plant. We currently expect to be in a position to commence commercial production before year-end 2012.
Precious metals prices are rising. As a company focused on gold and platinum group metals, could you give investors a sense of the potential economic value of this project?
Again, we can only point to published financial analysts’ models – but 2 to 3 million ounces, with upside to find more ounces, at cash costs averaging
per ounce over the life of mine points to a highly economic operation.
What would your capital costs be like on a project like this?
Capital costs to bring the mine into production are expected to be approximately $100 million – funded from treasury. In today’s marketplace, this is a relatively small capex requirement. Thankfully, the project is situated in an area of excellent infrastructure with readily available road access, electrical power, skilled labour and mining equipment manufacturers.
Roadheader moving into underground decline face
Who are your partners and what are they in for in terms of expenditures?
Colossus, as operator, has earned a 75% interest in the joint-venture company that controls Serra Pelada from its Brazilian partner, COOMIGASP, who retains a 25% interest. COOMIGASP is a cooperative of the historic garimpeiro miners of Serra Pelada. Colossus carries all costs related to the project until first commercial production is achieved.
Will you require any further financing?
Colossus completed a financing in November 2010 – and with approximately $117 million in
the treasury (as of January 1, 2011), the company is well funded to bring Serra Pelada into
What developments have there been in Colossus over the past year that you believe added value to the company?
2010 was a busy year! The company is now fully permitted to build the mine having acquired environmental, installation and mining licenses for the project. We increased the potential for significant exploration upside with the acquisition of an expanded land concession which now totals 874 hectares. We confirmed the extension of the central mineralized zone onto that new land package and identified several new mineralized zones
on the property.
We progressed the development of a 3,500-metre underground decline which will provide access for underground exploration and definition drilling as well as provide access to the orebody for eventual production.
What are your priorities this year?
We will advance our exploration program with central mineralized zone step-out drilling, new target
generation and underground definition drilling, and achieve development milestones including the completion of construction of all minesite infrastructure, gravity plant construction and underground decline development.
$8.18 as of February 8, 2011
$786 million as of February 8, 2011
The Serra Pelada project is a quality, high-grade gold and PGM deposit that is fully permitted with environmental, installation and mining licenses
Construction well underway
Solid balance sheet – funded to production
Potential to be in the lowest quartile of producers globally
Significant exploration upside on expanded land package – new targets identified
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