(All amounts expressed in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise stated)
TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Torex Gold Resources Inc. (the “Company” or “Torex”) (TSX: TXG) provides 2023 operational guidance as well as a 5-year production outlook for the Morelos Complex, which includes production from the ELG Mine Complex (“ELG”) and from the Media Luna Project (“Media Luna”).
TABLE 1: 2023 OPERATIONAL GUIDANCE
2023 Guidance 2022 Guidance 1
Gold Production oz 440,000 to 470,000 430,000 to 470,000
Total Cash Costs 2 a $/oz sold $740 to $780 $695 to $735
All-in Sustaining Costs 2 b $/oz sold $1,080 to $1,130 $980 to $1,030
Sustaining Capital Expenditures 2 c
Capitalized Stripping M$ $55 to $65 $50 to $60
ELG Sustaining M$ $60 to $70 $35 to $45
Total Sustaining M$ $115 to $135 $85 to $105
Non-Sustaining Capital Expenditures 2 d
Media Luna Project M$ $390 to $440 $120 to $150
Media Luna Infill Drilling M$ $20 $20
ELG Non-Sustaining M$ $ 2 $15 to $20
Total Non-Sustaining M$ $412 to $462 $155 to $190
1) 2022 guidance was updated during last year to reflect lower non-sustaining capital expenditures for Media Luna.
2) Refer to “Non-GAAP Financial Performance Measures” in the Company’s September 30, 2022 MD&A for further information and a detailed reconciliation. See also the Cautionary Notes to this press release.
a) Total cash costs in 2022 have averaged $736 per ounce gold sold through Q3.
b) All-in sustaining costs in 2022 have averaged $999 per ounce gold sold through Q3.
c) Sustaining capital expenditures in 2022 have totaled $70.6 million (including $40.6 million of capitalized waste) through Q3.
d) Non-sustaining capital expenditures in 2022 have totaled $112.8 million (including $80.6 million of capital expenditures for Media Luna) through Q3.
3) 2023 guidance assumes a realized gold price of $1,750 per ounce, MXN:USD of 20.0, and a diesel price of $20.50 per litre.
Jody Kuzenko, President and CEO of Torex, stated:
“We expect 2023 to be pivotal in the evolution of Torex Gold as we continue to execute on several key strategic initiatives, including advancing and de-risking Media Luna, optimizing and extending ELG, as well as growing reserves and resources. With more than $590 million of available liquidity at the end of the third quarter, and robust forecast cash flow from ELG, we are well positioned to fund these value-enhancing initiatives as we continue to maximize the potential of our Morelos Property.
“Guided gold production in 2023 is consistent with 2022 and slightly higher than outlined in our previous multi-year outlook. All-in sustaining costs in 2023 are expected to be $100 per ounce higher than guided in 2022 given ongoing inflationary pressures related to key consumables and increased capitalized stripping. The additional costs are also attributable to one-time costs associated with developing a new 8.7 megawatt (MW) solar plant and upgrading electrical infrastructure to support an increased power draw from the grid required for the growth at the Morelos Complex.
“Non-sustaining capital expenditures are expected to increase significantly as procurement, construction and development activities at Media Luna continue to ramp-up, with 2023 expected to be the peak year of spend on the project.
“The 5-year production outlook released today also demonstrates our ongoing work to increase and optimize production from ELG during the development and ramp up of Media Luna, with modestly higher production now forecast through 2025 than previously anticipated. The improved production outlook is a direct result of optimizing and extending the life of the El Limón open pits and continuing to increase mining rates within the higher-grade ELG Underground.
“Overall, we expect to deliver another year of safe, reliable, and profitable production in 2023, while continuing to advance Media Luna towards first production in late-2024 on schedule and on budget.”
2023 PRODUCTION GUIDANCE
Gold production in 2023 is expected to be between 440,000 ounces and 470,000 ounces. The guided range is consistent with 2022 guidance; however, narrowed at the low end given the history of performance stability. The 2023 guided range is also slightly higher than the 420,000 to 460,000 ounces outlined in the Company’s 3-year outlook released in March 2022.
Gold production is expected to be relatively balanced throughout the year, with quarter-over-quarter variances primarily attributable to processed grades inherent in mining a skarn style deposit.
The strip ratio for 2023 is expected to average 10.7:1 compared to 8.9:1 in 2022 given additional laybacks within the El Limón and El Limón Sur open pits. Based on the current mine plan, a higher portion of waste is expected to be mined in the second and third quarters compared with the first and fourth quarters. During these quarters, the mill is expected to process a greater proportion of higher-grade stockpiled material.
2023 COST GUIDANCE
Total cash costs are guided at $740 to $780 per ounce of gold sold in 2023. The $45 per ounce increase in costs relative to 2022 guidance is due to ongoing inflationary pressures, primarily related to key consumables (cyanide, metabisulphite, explosives, and cement) as well as labour. Total cash costs for full year 2022 are expected to be at the upper end of the 2022 guided range ($695 to $735 per ounce).
All-in sustaining costs are guided at $1,080 to $1,130 per ounce of gold sold in 2023. The $100 per ounce increase relative to 2022 guidance reflects higher total cash costs, a greater amount of capitalized stripping related to additional laybacks, higher level of underground development classified as sustaining capital expenditures, and energy-related projects, which are non-recurring in nature. All-in sustaining costs for full year 2022 are expected to be at the middle of the 2022 guided range ($980 to $1,030 per ounce sold).
2023 CAPITAL EXPENDITURE GUIDANCE
Sustaining capital expenditures in 2023 are guided at $115 to $135 million, including $55 to $65 million of capitalized stripping.
The year-over-year increase in capitalized stripping is directly related to the additional laybacks in the El Limón and El Limón Sur open pits, which have extended the life of both pits in an effort to ensure a smooth transition from ELG to Media Luna. The level of capitalized stripping is expected to decline post 2023 given the anticipated depletion of the Guajes pit in mid-2023, El Limón Sur pit in late-2024, and El Limón pit in mid-2025.
ELG sustaining capital expenditures are guided at $60 to $70 million in 2023, $25 million higher than guided in 2022 due to power-related projects and increased spend associated with underground development. Power-related projects are earmarked at $10 million in 2023 and include the development of an 8.7 MW solar plant as well as upgrades to existing infrastructure to support the increased power draw at site (45 MW from 25 MW). Total ELG underground development is earmarked at $35 million in 2023, which includes $15 million in development that in prior years was classified as non-sustaining capital expenditures. Underground development in 2023 is primarily focused on opening up existing mining fronts, while in previous years the development was associated with opening up new mining fronts. Excluding capitalized stripping, total capital expenditures for ELG are guided at $62 to $72 million compared to $50 to $65 million guided in 2022.
Non-sustaining capital expenditures in 2023 are guided at $412 to $462 million, which includes $390 to $440 million of expenditures related to procurement, development and construction activities at Media Luna. Expenditures on Media Luna are expected to remain relatively consistent through H1 2024, before declining as development activities wind down ahead of commercial production anticipated in early 2025.
2023 EXPLORATION PLANS
The Company plans to invest approximately $39 million in exploration and drilling in 2023, with the goal of increasing the overall resource and reserve base of the Morelos Property and delivering on the Company’s objective of filling the mill post 2027. Details of the planned exploration programs are as follows:
Media Luna: Approximately $20 million is budgeted for drilling within the broader Media Luna Cluster (55,000 metres). At EPO, 25,000 metres of drilling is planned with 40% focused on infill drilling and the remaining on expansionary drilling. The Company plans to carry-out an initial drill program at Media Luna West, which will include 26,000 metres of wide-spaced drilling to test the mineralized potential of this highly prospective target. In addition, 4,000 metres of condemnation drilling is planned. Program costs are included in the non-sustaining capital expenditure guidance.
ELG Underground: Approximately $6 million is budgeted for infill and step-out drilling within the ELG Underground (30,000 metres). Drilling is targeting to both upgrade and expand resources within Sub-Sill, Sub-Sill South, ELD and El Limón Sur Deep deposits. Of the program costs, $4 million (22,000 metres) has been included in sustaining capital expenditure guidance and $2 million (8,000 metres) has been included in non-sustaining capital expenditure guidance.
Near Mine and regional: Approximately $8 million is budgeted to conduct exploration across the broader land package, including near mine drilling (27,000 metres of drilling) on early-stage exploration targets. The program expenditures will be classified as exploration expenses.
Definition and grade control drilling: Approximately $5 million of definition and grade control drilling in 2023. These costs are classified as an expense in cost of goods sold and as such are included in total cash cost guidance.
FIVE-YEAR PRODUCTION OUTLOOK (2023 – 2027)
Ongoing efforts to further improve the near-term production profile for the Morelos Complex continue to bear fruit with higher production forecast through 2025 than was previously envisioned in the 2022 Technical Report (“Technical Report”). The improved near-term production outlook is directly related to ongoing efforts to extend and optimize production from ELG.
During 2022, drilling was successful in identifying additional mineralization along the boundary of the El Limón open pit, which is expected to extend the life of the deposit to mid-2025. In addition, drilling within the El Limón Sur open pit has extended the life of the deposit to late-2024.
In addition to the drilling success at the open pits, efforts to enhance the contribution from the ELG Underground have also been successful. Following an average record mining rate of 1,523 tonnes per day in 2022, the Company is targeting to exit 2023 at a mining rate of 1,800 tonnes per day and 2024 at a rate of 2,000 tonnes per day. The forecast rates compare favourably to the 1,400 tonnes per day outlined in the most recent Technical Report.
TABLE 2: FIVE-YEAR PRODUCTION OUTLOOK FOR THE MORELOS COMPLEX
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