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The Balabag
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The Canatuan
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Balabag Gold-Silver Mine

Overview

TVI announced on November 22, 2019 that TVIRD had determined to advance Balabag towards commercial production and continuous milling operations commenced in July, 2021 with the first shipment of gold doré completed on September 30, 2021. Commercial production was achieved at Balabag effective November 1, 2021. 

For the six months ended June 30, 2023, Balabag completed twenty-two (22) shipments that contained 15,700 ounces of Au and 237,983 ounces of Ag for 18,420 AuEq oz, generating a gross revenue of US $34.4 million (June 30, 2022: $35.5 million) with an average Au price of US $1,842.60 and Ag price of US $22.22.

As at July 31, 2023, Balabag has completed 62 shipments since start-up of production in July 2021 and 26 shipments in the current year, as indicated below:

Since Start-up of Production:
July 2021 to July 31, 2023
Current Year:
Jan.31.2022 to July 31, 2023
Number of Shipments 62 26
Gold doré (kg) 45,622 10,167
Gold (oz) 60,910 18,367
Silver (oz) 1,357,891 284,104
Gold Equivalent (oz) 76,428 21,614

Balabag has completed a further five (5) shipments in August 2023.

A focus to optimize the operation has continued and has thus far resulted in a significant increase in mill throughput, recoveries and plant availability, as reflected in the following table: 

Year ended December
31, 2021 (average)
Year ended December
31, 2022 (average)
Month ended
July 31, 2023 (average)
7 months ended
July 31, 2023 (average)
Gold Silver Gold Silver Gold Silver Gold Silver
Head Grade 1.91 g/t 68.90 g/t 1.88 g/t 67.24 g/t 1.36 g/t 29.20 g/t 1.26 g/t 24.38 g/t
Recoveries 88% 69% 88% 64% 95% 76% 93% 76%
Mill throughput 1,101 tonnes per day 1,797 tonnes per day 2,088 tonnes per day 2,304 tonnes per day
Plant Availability 70% 86% 76% 87%

Optimization works through to July 31, 2023 have also contributed to:

  • A significant reduction in materials cost since January 2023, including:
    • An 83% decrease in carbon from an average of 5.2 million Philippine pesos Php/month in 2022 to 0.9 million Php/month in 2023;
    • A 72% decrease in SMBS consumption from an average of 7.5 million Php/month in 2022 to 2.1 million Php/month in 2023;
    • A 21% decrease in diesel consumption from an average of 40.3 million Php/month in 2022 to 31.8 million Php/month in 2023.
  • A 16% reduction in labor cost from an average of 8.1 million Php/month in 2022 to 6.8 million Php/month in 2023.

Optimization works to improve plant efficiency have included:

  • The fabrication, installation and commissioning of a column flotation cell to upgrade the quality of the feed to the Merrill Crowe to result in improved metal recoveries.
  • The introduction of a lead acetate dosing regime to improve the dissolution of both gold and silver. An oxygen generator is expected to also be installed to further increase the efficiency of the cyanidation process.
  • Improvements in the powerhouse ventilation and insulation to prevent damage to the electronics and alternator windings of the gensets from moist air flowing through from the smelting room and assay laboratory.
  • The testing of polyurethane screens to further increase the capacity of the carbon-in leach ("CIL") circuit's carbon interstage screens.

The cash cost per ounce for the six months ended June 30, 2023 was US $1,476 per AuEq oz and the All-in Cost averaged US $1,977 AuEq oz for the same period.

In November, 2022, TVIRD received notice from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR that its 100%-owned Balabag mine had been awarded the 2022 Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award in the Surface Mining Operation Category and the Safest Surface Mining Operation Award, and had been recognized also as second runner-up in the Best Mining Forest Contest (Metallic Category). Two individuals at Balabag were also recognized as the Best Surface Safety Inspector and Best Surface Mine Supervisor.

Balabag gold pour – September 2021.

TVIRD owns 100% of Balabag. The mine covers a 4,779-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (“MPSA”, MPSA No. 086-1997-IX) located within the Municipality of Bayog, Province of Zamboanga del Sur and Municipalities of Diplahan and Kabasalan, Province of Zamboanga Sibugay, Mindanao, Philippines, 75 kilometers (47 miles) east-northeast of TVIRD’s Canatuan mine. The MPSA currently has an expiry date of November 20, 2047.

The Tailings Storage Facility ("TSF") is being constructed in stages to accommodate both the increased throughput and progressively increasing resources as they may be defined. Placement of Zone 3 is continuing to proceed.

The following shows Balabag in its various stages of development:

Aerial view of Mill Plant Site of the Balabag Gold Project in August 2019.
Aerial view of Mill Plant Site of the Balabag Gold Project on January 27, 2020.
Aerial view of Mill Plant Site of the Balabag Gold Project on May 16, 2020.
Aerial view of Mill Plant Site of the Balabag Gold Project on September 30, 2021.

TVIRD has to August 31, 2023 made ten (10) payments against the 5-year term loan with China Banking Corporation (the “Facility”), the most recent of which was completed on July 24, 2023, in the amount of US $2.04 million including US $0.14 million interest, reducing the original principal loan balance of the US $28.5 million Facility to approximately US $9.5 million. The purpose of the Facility has been to finance development activities at Balabag. 

TVI Pacific further announced on September 5, 2023, that TVIRD had closed a short-term loan (“STL”) with China Banking Corporation in the amount of US $14 million (the “Facility”), the proceeds of which shall be used for working capital purposes and further optimization of the processing plant. The STL has been fully drawn down on September 1, 2023. The STL has a term of 357 days and interest calculated on the full amount drawn is to be paid monthly. The interest rate has been set at 6.75% per annum.

Resources

TVI has filed on SEDAR under the Company’s profile on July 20, 2021, the NI 43-101 Technical Report entitled “NI 43-101 Exploration Results and Mineral Resource Update Report on the Balabag Gold-Silver Project”. The report was prepared by Mr. Jaime C. Zafra, BSGeo. PGeo. FAusIMM, an independent consultant with significant experience in the style of gold and silver deposition in the Philippines and other epithermal gold-silver deposits in Laos, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Mr. Zafra is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

In addition to a site visit to examine mineralization in the explored areas and to review the drilling and sampling conducted as well as the assaying of gold and silver procedures, Mr. Zafra has relied on historical exploration data provided by TVIRD and on an earlier NI 43-101 report on resource estimates authored by P.J Lafleur of Geo-Conseil Inc. in 2007 and an updated resource report prepared by C.P. Smyth of Georeference Online Ltd. (“Georeference”) in 2012, both of which are filed on SEDAR under the Company's profile. The 2007 Lafleur and 2012 Georeference technical reports are no longer current and should not be relied upon. A total of 382 diamond drillholes, through to completion of Phase 4 drilling and with a cumulative meterage of 41,161.60 meters, was entered into the Balabag Project database as of December 2020 and has been used to update the resource model as presented in this updated NI 43-101 Technical Report. This represents a further 109 drillholes that have been added to the Balabag Project database since the NI 43-101 technical report produced by Georeference.

Together with the diamond drilling, detailed geological mapping and outcrop sampling have confirmed the presence of mineralized bodies within the east-west trending epithermal vein system in Balabag. Three major quartz vein systems have been identified in the area: Tinago-Unao-Unao-Yoyon to the north; Miswi in the east; and Lalab to the south.

The mineral resource was estimated using a conventional geostatistical block modeling approach constrained by mineralization wireframes. Geostatistical analysis, capping, variography and estimation were conducted on the in-situ gold and silver data.

The estimated Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource for the Balabag Gold-Silver Project using a cut-off grade of 0.4 g/t AuEq is 4.35 million tonnes at 1.79 g/t Au and 43.08 g/t Ag for 2.36 g/t AuEq. This is equivalent to an approximate 331,000 AuEq oz at metal prices of US$1,500/oz Au and US$20/oz Ag. The estimated Inferred Resource is 141,000 tonnes at 2.78 g/t Au and 64.11 g/t Ag for 3.63 g/t AuEq, using a cut-off grade of 0.4 g/t AuEq

The overall Mineral Resource as of May 15, 2021, is presented in the following table.

 

Category

 

Tonnage

 

Au

(g/t)

 

 

Ag

(g/t)

 

 

AuEq

(g/t)

 

 

AuEq

(oz)

 

Measured

3,016,143

1.80

50.80

2.48

241,000

Indicated

1,338,029

1.74

25.69

2.08

90,000

Total

4,354,172

1.79

43.08

2.36

331,000

Inferred

140,919

2.78

64.11

3.63

16,000

The foregoing is a summary only of information contained in the full Updated NI 43-101 and represents an estimate; actual results may differ materially. Readers should refer to the full Updated NI 43-101 for more detail concerning the information summarized in this news release.

Several methods were used to determine the resource category in the updated NI 43-101 Technical Report. Blocks generated within 25 to 50 meter-drill-spacing were classified as Indicated Resource while blocks within 25 meter-drill-spacing were coded as Measured Resource. The average drill spacing in the Balabag project is within 25 to 50 meters and the majority of the resource blocks fall within the Measured and Indicated categories. Inferred blocks were generated in areas with significant gold intercepts, where more drilling is required to better define a resource category.

The Company wishes to clarify that in making the decision to put Balabag into production, TVIRD, a Philippine corporation that the Company does not control, relied exclusively on technical and economic analysis prepared under Philippine regulations and did not rely on TVI's updated Technical Report of October 18th, 2019, or any feasibility study classifying mineral reserves prepared in accordance with NI 43-101. Historically such projects have a much higher risk of economic and technical failure.

Please click here to see the NI43-101 technical report dated July 19, 2021 entitled "NI 43-101 Exploration Results and Mineral Resource Update Report on the Balabag Gold-Silver Project”.

Development

TVIRD announced on November 22, 2019 that it had officially determined to advance its Balabag gold and silver mining project towards commercial production following also the receipt in October 2013 of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (“ECC”) and in April 2016 the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (“DMPF”) as well as the Special Tree-Cutting and Earth Balling Permit from the Forest Management Bureau (“FMB”) of the DENR in May 2018.

Development work and initial operations proceeded under the direction of Mr. Yulo Perez as President at that time of TVIRD, who previously led mine development works and operations at TVIRD's successful Canatuan mine Phases 1 (Gold/Silver) and 2 (Copper/Zinc) as Vice-President of Operations and Chief Operations Officer of TVIRD. Mr. Perez helped contribute to the receipt by TVIRD of multiple awards from the Philippine government and leading mining industry associations.

GHD Pty Ltd, one of the world’s leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, transport, property and buildings has been responsible to review the design and provide construction supervision services as they relate to the Balabag TSF. Plant commissioning works included the first discharge of tails to Stage 1 of the TSF in July 2021. The TSF is being constructed in stages to accommodate both the increased throughput and progressively increasing resources as they may be defined. Completion of the TSF continues to be a critical path item.

Views of the Process Plant on September 22, 2021.
Views of the Process Plant on September 22, 2021.
Balabag gold pour - September, 2021.
Balabag gold pour - September, 2021.
Smelting activities in the Balabag gold room – September 2021.
Smelting activities in the Balabag gold room – September 2021.
The Tailings Storage Facility (“TSF”) is being constructed in stages to accommodate progressively increasing resources as they are defined.  The first phase, Stage 1, was commissioned on July 8, 2021, together with the commissioning and operation of the processing plant.
The Tailings Storage Facility ("TSF") is being constructed in stages to accommodate progressively increasing resources as they are defined. The first phase, Stage 1, was commissioned on July 8, 2021, together with the commissioning and operation of the processing plant.
Balabag Tailings Storage Facility Zone 3A placement works on October 4, 2022.
Balabag Tailings Storage Facility Zone 3A placement works on October 4, 2022.
Balabag Tailings Storage Facility on October 31, 2022.
Balabag Tailings Storage Facility on October 31, 2022.

Exploration

Phase 5A, Phase 5B and Phase 6 drilling results, which have included 11,094 meters drilled over 101 drillholes, have not yet been included in the most recent Mineral Resource estimate presented in the NI 43-101 Technical Report entitled “NI 43-101 Exploration Results and Mineral Resource Update Report on the Balabag Gold-Silver Project” and filed under the Company profile on SEDAR on July 20, 2021. That Technical Report, prepared by Mr. Jaime C. Zafra, BSGeo. PGeo. FAusIMM, an independent consultant and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and dated July 19, 2021, has been based only on drill results collected through to completion of the Phase 4 drilling program in December 2020.

TVIRD has revised plans for a Phase 7 exploration program to include the Miswi and Tinago areas. This is now expected to include 43 drillholes for a total meterage of 4,645 meters with a target depth range of 45 meters to 250 meters. A further Phase 8 is then expected to cover the Lalab, Unao-Unao, Miswi and Tinago areas and to include deep hole drilling of 200 to 400 meter depth for an aggregate 4,410 meters. Phase 8 is expected to include 13 drillholes. The primary focus of each program will be to more thoroughly explore and further define resources within an expanded ultimate pit and is to include lateral and down dip continuity of the West Tinago vein system, the southeast extension of South Tinago stockwork zones and the down dip continuity of the East Miswi and Lalab vein system.

The Phase 7 and Phase 8 exploration programs have been preceded by a Reverse Circulation (“RC”) drilling program through which at June 30, 2023, a total of 85 drillholes have been completed at Lalab (34), Miswi (38), West Tinago (8) and Yoyon-Unao (5) for an aggregate meterage of 5,441 meters. A further 24 holes are expected to be drilled with an estimated remaining meterage of 2,800 meters.

Quality Assurance / Quality Control:

All drill core samples were prepared and analyzed at TVIRD’s Balabag Mine Laboratory, an independent laboratory that is currently undergoing the ISO certification process. TVIRD has appointed an Analytical Chemist to ensure that sampling procedures are strictly followed in accordance with industry standards and to implement and monitor the laboratory’s internal QA/QC program. Assaying was done by fire assay method wherein gold is analyzed by fire assay with an Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (“AAS”) finish on 50 gram samples while silver is analyzed using a triple Acid digest (HN03, HCl, and HCl0 4) AAS finish on a 1 gram sample. Any sample assaying greater than 5 g/t Ag was re-run by fire assay method with gravimetric finish.

In addition to the Certified Reference Materials (“CRM”) or standards inserted by the Balabag Fire Assay Laboratory during the analysis of samples, the TVIRD geology department has continued to insert CRMs or standards, duplicates and blank samples into the sample stream at a frequency of one in twenty to monitor quality control. The CRMs are purchased from OREAS, an Australian-based company recognized as the world leader in certified reference materials for the global mining industries.

The results of QA/QC samples did not show any significant bias of analysis or contamination during sample preparation and laboratory analysis.

For more information, please visit TVIRD’s website at www.tvird.com.ph.

Siana Gold Mine

Overview

TVIRD owns 100% of the Siana Gold Mine (“Siana”) through its 100%-owned subsidiary, Greenstone Resources Corporation (“GRC”). The mine covers a 3,289-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (“MPSA”) (MPSA No. 184-2002-XIII) in addition to 100% of the neighboring 1,482-hectare MPSA No. 280-2009-XIII for the Mapawa Project and the Ferrer Claim (as covered by the Application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement No. A000046 and comprising of one Block of 595 hectares). The Siana MPSA was granted on December 11, 2002 and registered with the Philippine Mines and Geoscience Bureau (“MGB”) on December 27, 2002 for a term of 25 years. Siana is located in Tubod, Surigao del Norte, approximately 35 kilometers from Surigao City and near to Lake Mainit, along the Surigao Valley Fault. The Surigao Valley Fault is a part of the major Philippine Fault or Rift Zone and constitutes multiple epithermal gold and porphyry-type copper-gold mineral deposits. Mapawa is located 20 kilometers north of Siana and has the potential to be developed as a satellite source of ore feed for the Siana processing plant.

Prior to the acquisition by TVIRD, GRC was the Philippines affiliate of Red 5 Limited (“Red 5”) (ASX: RED), a Perth, Western Australian-based gold company, the shares of which are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

TVIRD completed its acquisition of 100% of the outstanding equity in GRC on November 4, 2021.  The acquisition included:

  1. The Siana Gold Mine, as covered by Philippines MPSA No. 184-2002-XIII covering 3,289 hectares, which includes the following project infrastructure:
    • A modern 1.1mtpa Outotec mill, gravity and CIL mill facility commissioned in 2012 at a capital cost of U.S. $54 million that includes a single stage SAG mill and 6 CIL tanks.
    • Grid power with backup 8MW diesel fired power station.
    • Administration building, warehouse, mess hall, camp facilities and accommodation, engineering building and maintenance facilities.
  2. Mapawa Project, as covered by MPSA No. 280-2009-XIII covering 1,482 hectares.
  3. The Ferrer Claim, as covered by the Application for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement No. A000046 and comprising of one Block of 595 hectares.
  4. Established government approvals and relationships with key stakeholders.
  5. GRC acquired Siana in 2003 and commenced exploration work in 2004.  A project feasibility study was subsequently completed by GRC in 2009 and all necessary permits to construct and operate Siana were received in the same year.  Construction at the mine site commenced in 2010 and the inaugural gold pour was achieved by GRC in February 2012.  TVIRD understands that, to date, Siana has produced 149,203 ounces of gold and 199,669 ounces of silver while under the control of GRC, in addition to nearly one million ounces of gold prior to its acquisition in 2003 by GRC.

    Uncertainty surrounding the mining policy in the Philippines and difficulty obtaining environmental permit approvals led Red 5 to suspend mining and processing activities at Siana and to place the site on temporary standby in April 2017.  Ongoing activities through suspension included dewatering of the open pit, infrastructure maintenance and the monitoring of geotechnical issues.

    Red 5 has advised TVIRD that GRC spent over US $200 million in its efforts to develop Siana.  TVIRD has also been advised that all of the mining and processing facilities and required permits are in place for re-commencement of operations.  Siana has the only modern gold plant in the region with the potential to establish Siana as a processing center for other nearby prospects/gold deposits.

    RESOURCES

    Red 5 has previously published underground and open pit mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates for Siana and mineral resource estimates for Mapawa. These estimates, detailed below, were prepared using the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the "JORC Code" or "JORC 2012"). No estimates for either Siana or Mapawa have been prepared using the 2014 definition standards published by the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM 2014 Standard") and no technical report supporting this estimate has been prepared in accordance with NI 43-101. A "qualified person" (as defined in NI 43-101) has not done sufficient work to classify any of these mineral resource or mineral reserve estimates as current. As a result, the Company is treating the following estimates as historical in nature and not current mineral resources or mineral reserves, and they should not be relied upon. There are certain differences between the JORC Code and the CIM 2014 Standard described further below. 

    Red 5 announced on February 23, 2016 that Mining One Pty Ltd had completed a JORC 2012 underground mineral resource and reserves estimate using a 2.4 g/t gold cut-off that has been subsequently reviewed annually by Red 5 and most recently confirmed in their Annual Report at June 30, 2020. Further to the ASX announcement released by Red 5 on January 11, 2016, the database for the Siana resource estimate included 109 holes and approximately 47,300 meters in addition to 79 historic holes drilled by Suricon between 1980 and 1990 for approximately 10,600 meters. The database also includes a further 10,417 grade control channel samples conducted by GRC prior to April 2013.

    The Red 5 2020 Annual Report at June 30, 2020 reports the JORC 2012 underground mineral resource and reserves estimate to be:

    In the Red 5 Annual Report at June 30, 2020, and due to what Red 5 has reported as pending construction of additional tailings storage capacity, no updated JORC 2012 reserve estimate is reported for the Siana open pit as at that date. As such, Red 5 has reported the open pit mineral resource and reserve estimate at June 30, 2020 to be:

    In summary, and further to the above tables as included in the Red 5 2020 Annual Report, the Siana open pit and underground mine have at June 30, 2020, a combined Indicated JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate of 4.3Mt @ 4.6 g/t Au and 6.8 g/t Ag and combined Inferred JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate of 0.5Mt @ 8.9 g/t Au and 10.6 g/t Ag. TVI is not treating this as a current mineral resource under NI 43-101 as a qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current, and the estimates should not be relied upon. 

    Mining One Pty Ltd, with offices in Australia, China, Indonesia and Canada, has extensive experience in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Africa, South America and China and with underground and open pit mines across a broad range of commodities. They are involved in planning, supervision, project management, studies, geology, contracts, financing and corporate assistance and advice and their clients have included, among others, BHP, Rio Tinto, Glencore. Alcoa, Anglo American, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Barrick.

    Siana Open Pit and Underground Feasibility Study Results

    Red 5, together with GRC, has engaged various mining engineering firms since 2009 to complete numerous Feasibility Studies that have been publicly disclosed. These studies were prepared using the JORC Code. Qualified persons have not done sufficient work under NI 43-101 to verify the results of these studies or render them current and complete under NI 43-101, and therefore details of these reports are not included here.

    TVIRD is presently assessing GRC's mine development and production plan for Siana in order to develop its own plan in furtherance of a potential recommencement of operations.

    Mining History at the Mapawa Gold Project:

    GRC also holds a 100% interest in Mapawa under MPSA No. 280-2009-XIII covering 1,482 hectares and located as well in Surigao del Norte, Philippines. Mapawa is located 20 kilometers north of Siana and has the potential to be developed as a satellite source of ore feed for the Siana processing plant. Red 5 reported in the 2016 Annual Report that Mapawa hosts a known gold porphyry system with a number of significant gold occurrences throughout the project area and thereby considered the area to have significant potential. 

    Red 5 announced on June 14, 2016 that an inaugural JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate had been completed for Mapawa by Optiro Pty. Ltd., an independent group of Australian geological consultants who reported the following on a dry tonne basis based on a 0.7g/t gold cut-off and taking into account historic mining depletion:

    Red 5 reported that the Mapawa JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate was calculated based on a total of 78 diamond core drill-holes totaling 13,798 meters of drilling, comprising 5,628 meters of historical drilling completed by Suricon and 8,170 meters of additional diamond drilling completed by GRC. 

    Opitro Pty. Ltd. Is an advisory services firm with extensive geological, mining engineering, metallurgical and financial expertise that provides strategic, independent advice to mining and exploration companies, their advisors and investors. Their consultants are recognized competent persons under JORC and other international standards and have published numerous reports supporting listings on the ASX, TSX, LSE, NYSE and various other stock exchanges around the world.

    As noted above, TVI is not treating the estimates reported for Siana and Mapawa as current mineral resources as a qualified person acting in compliance with NI 43-101 reporting requirements has not done sufficient work to classify these estimates as current resources, has not verified this information and these estimates should not be relied upon The historical estimates are believed to be based on reasonable assumptions, and neither the Company nor the qualified person responsible for the scientific and technical content of the summary provided here has any reason to contest their relevance and reliability. 

    TVIRD currently does not plan to conduct any work to verify the historical estimates other than using them to guide its exploration, resource modeling and possible development work. 

    TVIRD is presently assessing the GRC resource model, mine development and production plan for Siana in order to develop its own plan in furtherance of a potential recommencement of operations. TVIRD is evaluating steps that would be required to upgrade or verify the foregoing historical estimates as current under NI 43-101 standards, which would include a review of past drill results and Quality Assurance/Quality Control procedures applied as well as possibly resource modeling with the involvement of a qualified person. To that regard, the TVIRD Exploration team has also commenced a review of past drilling data of GRC that includes a total of 558 drillholes with an aggregate of 80,705.33 meters total meterage. Of the total drillholes included in the drill database file, only 504 drillholes have complete log data in the database which equates to 77,789.71 meters.

    Additional information related to Siana and Mapawa may be found on the TVIRD website at https://tvird.com.ph/.

    HISTORICAL OPERATIONS

    Siana is located in Tubod, Surigao del Norte, approximately 35 kilometers from Surigao City, and is covered by MPSA No. 184-2002-XIII that extends over 3,289 hectares of land near Lake Mainit. The MPSA was granted on December 11, 2002 and registered with the Philippine Mines and Geoscience Bureau ("MGB") on December 27, 2002 for a term of 25 years. Siana is located along the Surigao Valley Fault, a major mineral structure, which is a part of the major Philippine Fault or Rift Zone. The Rift Zone constitutes multiple epithermal gold and porphyry-type copper-gold mineral deposits.

    Mining operations have been conducted at Siana since the early 1900's, with major commercial underground mining conducted by the Philippine company, Suricon Consolidated Mining Company ("Suricon"), from 1938 to 1960 followed by open pit mining from 1980 to 1991.

    Siana had produced nearly one million ounces of gold prior to its acquisition in 2003 by Red 5's Philippine affiliated company, GRC. GRC acquired 100% of Siana in 2003, commenced exploration work on Siana in 2004, completed a project feasibility study in 2009 and received all necessary permits to construct and operate by 2009.

    Construction at the mine site commenced in 2010 and the inaugural gold pour was achieved in February 2012. 

    Siana was subsequently placed voluntarily by GRC on care and maintenance in April 2013, when a superficial crack was noted in the external wall of one of the tailings dams ("TSF4"). There was, however, no tailings spill and the incident was therefore considered environmentally benign. In order to mitigate any potential environmental risk, the MGB imposed a cease-and-desist order ("CDO") in June 2013, which could not be rescinded until completion of structural repairs and improvements to tailings storage facilities. GRC completed the works in January 2015 and the MGB subsequently lifted the CDO in January 2015, thereby allowing commercial operations to resume in February 2015.

    Uncertainty surrounding the mining policy in the Philippines and difficulty obtaining environmental permit approvals led Red 5 to again suspend mining and processing activities at Siana and to place the site on temporary standby in April 2017. Red 5 stated in an ASX announcement on April 18, 2017 that it believed the suspension to be the best way to preserve "the significant inherent value of the large in-situ gold inventory and high-quality infrastructure" at the site and that the decision was made because of the operational impact "which the current uncertainty regarding regulatory and government mining policy in the Philippines has had on the group's operations." Ongoing activities through suspension have included dewatering of the open pit, infrastructure maintenance and monitoring of geotechnical issues.

    TVIRD understands that Siana produced 149,203 ounces of gold and 199,669 ounces of silver, in addition to nearly one million ounces of gold prior to its acquisition in 2003 by GRC. 

    View of the Siana open pit Stage 4 West wall looking north.

    Source:  Red 5 Limited December 2015 Quarterly Activities Report, dated Jan.22.2016.

    Mining west wall at Siana Gold Project.

    Source:  Red 5 Limited September 2015 Quarterly Activities Report.

    Material mined from the Siana open pit was processed onsite at the Siana CIL gold processing plant that has a design capacity of 1.1 mtpa. TVIRD understands that processing recoveries reported by GRC prior to the acquisition of Siana by TVIRD have been between 75 to 85% for gold and 40 to 45% for silver. The plant comprises single stage crushing, SAG milling, gravity concentration and high intensity cyanidation, leaching and adsorption (CIL), followed by carbon elution and electrowinning to produce combined gold and silver doré. Tailings from the cyanide leach area are treated in a detoxification circuit to minimize cyanide concentration prior to discharge to the TSF. Red 5 has advised TVIRD that GRC has spent over US $200 million in its efforts to develop Siana.

    Underground mine development commenced prior to the acquisition of Siana by TVIRD with 445m of development completed, three portals developed and the establishment of several critical surface infrastructures for the mining operations.

    Construction of main access portal at the Siana Underground Mine.

    Source: Red 5 Limited March 2017 Quarterly Activities Report, dated April 28, 2017.

    Current underground portals at Siana, April 2023, including Main Access, Exhaust Way and Return/Escape Way.

    CURRENT ACTIVITIES

    With all required permits in place for re-commencement of operations, rehabilitation of the processing plant at Siana has proceeded and has included the restoration and repair of the plant equipment. Soft-commissioning of the plant commenced on December 9, 2022, and is ongoing. 

    Through to July 31, 2023, the amount of low-grade stockpile mineralized material milled has been 323,763 tonnes with an average grade of 0.69 g/t Au and 4.26 g/t Ag, averaging through the same period a plant utilization of 71% and an average throughput of 1,800 tpd. A total of 592 kilograms of doré containing 5,870 ounces of Au and 12,806 ounces of Ag have been smelted and a total of 450 kilograms of doré containing 5,124 ounces of Au and 8,998 ounces of silver have been shipped through the period of soft-commissioning as at July 31, 2023.

    Key areas of focus continue to be the dewatering of the pit and the reconditioning and commissioning of the Process Plant. The construction of TSF-6 continues to make significant progress where permission of the TSF Engineer has been given to start utilizing the facility for mill tails deposition while continuing to complete the embankment. 

    As noted previously also, the TVIRD Exploration team has commenced a review of past drilling data of GRC that includes a total of 558 drillholes with an aggregate of 80,705.33 meters total meterage. Of the total drillholes included in the drill database file, only 504 drillholes have complete log data in the database which equates to 77,789.71 meters.

    TSF6 embankment - October, 2022.

    TSF-6, where a piezometer has been installed and emergency spillway construction is proceeding – July 2023

    TSF6 embankment works - July, 2023

    TSF6 on September 8, 2023

    The Siana Gold Processing Plant – April 2023

    Visit to Siana Gold Plant by the Canadian Ambassador, Mr. David Hartman, May 29-30, 2023.

    The Siana assay lab became operational in July 2022.

Mabilo Project

Overview

On January 31, 2022, TVIRD obtained control of SageCapital Partners, Inc. (“SageCapital”) through the acquisition of all of its outstanding capital stock. This acquisition has further provided TVIRD an indirect 60% equity interest in Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation (“MLEDC”), as held by SageCapital. MLEDC is a Philippines mining and minerals exploration development company and the owner and operator of the Mabilo Project ("Mabilo").

Mabilo is located in Camarines Norte Province, Eastern Luzon, Philippines, one of the major traditional gold mining centers in the Philippines, and is covered by Philippines MPSA MLC-MRD V-459 Amended (Renewal) and two (2) additional blocks with an existing Exploration Permit (EP-019-202-V), covering 3,484.2 hectares and 165.9 hectares. Both the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (“DMPF”) and the Environmental Compliance Certificate were approved in 2021. With a near-surface deposit, Mabilo has potential for a direct shipping ore (“DSO”) operation and it is contemplated that mining will use an open-pit mining method. The Mabilo mineralized deposit is classified as a copper-gold-iron skarn deposit that offers potential for multi-metal products, namely copper, gold and silver, with by-products magnetite (Fe3O4) and pyrite (FeS2).

Resources & Reserves

MLEDC prepared a feasibility study on Mabilo in May of 2016 (“Feasibility Study”), which Feasibility Study was supported by a technical report entitled "Mabilo Project National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report" prepared by Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd. (“Lycopodium”) dated and filed on May 2, 2016, with a mineral reserve and mineral resource effective date of November 2015. RTG Mining Inc. (“RTG”), which holds a 40% interest in MLEDC through SRM Gold, has filed the Technical Report under RTG’s SEDAR profile (the “Mabilo Technical Report”). RTG is an Australia-based mining and exploration company with a principal listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:RTG) and a secondary listing on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:RTG).

RTG announced that the following Mineral Resource estimate was prepared by independent resource consultancy, CSA Global Pty Ltd (“CSA Global”) and is based on data obtained from 99 diamond drillholes (18,201 meters) completed as of the end of September 2015 and a 0.3 g/t Au or 0.3% Cu grade cut-off. Holes were drilled on a nominal 40 meter by 40 meter drill pattern along strike, with infill to a nominal 20 meter by 20 meter in parts.

Mabilo Mineral Resource Estimate

The Mabilo Technical Report Prepared by Lycopodium reflects a historical Probable Mineral Reserves estimate of 7.8Mt at 2.0% Cu, 2.0g/t Au, 8.8g/t Ag and 45.5% Fe., as summarized in the table below.

Mineral Reserve Estimate

Metal price assumptions applied in the Mabilo Technical Report were US$5,200/tonne for Cu, US$1,125/oz for Au, US$15/oz for Ag and US$65/tonne for magnetite. TVI considers the Mabilo Technical Report no longer current and cautions that it should not be relied upon.

To date 112 drillholes with a total meterage of 19,542 meters have been completed by MLEDC through its drilling program commencing in 2013 and ending in 2015.

TVI is not treating either the Mineral Resource estimate or the Probable Mineral Reserve estimate as current under National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") as a qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current, and the estimates should not be relied upon. Though historical, the estimates are fairly recent and were prepared to NI 43-101 standards, and TVIRD thus has no reason to believe they are not reliable within the context that they were initially prepared.

Qualified persons have not done sufficient work under NI 43-101 to verify the results of the Feasibility Study or to render it current and complete under NI 43-101, and therefore details of the Feasibility Study are not included in this news release. TVIRD currently does not plan to conduct any work to verify the historical estimates other than using them to guide its exploration, resource modeling and possible development work. At the appropriate time, TVIRD plans to assess the mine development and production plan as included in the Feasibility Study in order to develop its own plan for further exploration and possible development. TVIRD is evaluating steps that would be required to upgrade or verify the foregoing historical estimates as current under NI 43-101 standards, which would include a review of past drill results and Quality Assurance/Quality Control procedures applied as well as possibly resource modeling with the involvement of a qualified person.

Mr. Michael James Bue, Bsc. Eng, M.Eng, P.Eng, a "qualified person" for the purposes of NI 43-101 has reviewed the Mabilo Technical Report on behalf of TVI. To the best of the knowledge, information and belief of TVI, there is no new material scientific or technical information that would make the disclosure of the Mineral Resources in this release inaccurate or misleading. Revisions to the Mabilo Technical Report are required to reflect current technical advances, environmental standards and economic parameters. As a result, TVI considers the Feasibility Study and accompanying Mabilo Technical Report to be no longer current and should not be relied upon.

The scientific and technical content of the above description of Mabilo has been sourced from publicly available documents filed under RTG’s SEDAR profile (that may be accessed at https://www.sedar.com/) and ASX profile (that may be accessed at https://www2.asx.com.au/markets/company/RTG).

MMT Monitoring at Mt.Labo on September 28, 2022         Arranging core boxes in the core house – July 2023.
MMT Monitoring at Mt.Labo on September 28, 2022         Arranging core boxes in the core house – July 2023.

TVIRD is currently proceeding with various organizational, community-related, permitting and site clean-up matters while considering next steps at Mabilo. On May 23, 2023, TVI announced that TVIRD and SageCapital have signed a binding agreement (the “Agreement”) with RTG with respect to an agreed restructuring of Mabilo. The Agreement provides the opportunity to now focus on finalizing the remaining permitting matters and financing plans for Mabilo, together with surface rights, following which a commitment to development is expected to be formalized by the Board of MLEDC.

For more information, please visit TVIRD’s website at www.tvird.com.ph.

Agata Direct Shipping Nickel/Iron Mine

Agata Nickel Laterite DSO Project

Overview

The Agata direct shipping nickel/iron mine is managed by joint venture company Agata Mining Ventures Inc. (“AMVI”), in which TVIRD holds a 60% interest and is the operator. The remaining shares are held by Minimax Mineral Exploration Corporation (25%) and MRL Nickel Philippines Inc. (15%).

The mine is located in a 4,995-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (“MPSA”, MPSA No. 134-99-XIII) area located in the adjacent municipalities of Tubay, Jabonga and Santiago in Agusan del Norte province, within the Surigao mining region on the island of Mindanao, the Philippines. The term of the MPSA was renewed on October 18, 2021, by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for an additional twenty-five (25) year period through to May 26, 2049.

Agata Nickel Laterite DSO Project

The mine site is located just 3.5 km from its own deeply protected seaport that is strategically located within proximity to main markets in Asia.

Resources & Reserves

An April 2013 National Instrument (“NI”) compliant 43-101 technical report indicated the project to have an estimated nickel laterite resource of 33.9 million tonnes grading 1.1% nickel and 22.5% iron in the Measured and Indicated categories and an additional 2.1 million tonnes grading 1.0% nickel and 16.3% iron in the Inferred resource category.

Please click here to see the NI 43-101 technical report dated April 1, 2013 entitled "Independent Report On the Nickel Laterite Resource Agata North, Philippines” prepared by Mark G Gifford MSc (Hons), FAusIMM and filed under TVI Pacific’s SEDAR profile on April 10, 2013.

The above resource formed the basis of a Mineral Reserve estimate for a Feasibility Study completed on the direct shipping operation in August 2013 which shows Proven and Probable Reserves of 9.7 million wet metric tonnes with a grade of 48% Fe with 0.9% Ni.

Please click here to see the NI 43-101 technical report dated August 30, 2013 entitled "Technical Report for the Agata North Nickel Laterite DSO Project, Mindanao, Philippines”(“Feasibility Study”) and filed under TVI Pacific’s SEDAR profile on September 10, 2013. The Feasibility Study was prepared under the direction of Dallas Cox, an independent qualified person, with contributions from Mark Gifford and Michael Conan-Davies; independent qualified persons as defined by National Instrument 43-101 (Canada).

Operations

Nickel laterite direct shipping ore operations began in October 2014 and AMVI has since completed a total project-to-date of 382 shipments of 20.78 million wet metric tonnes of nickel laterite through to January 31, 2024, including seven shipments completed subsequent to the announcement of May 18, 2022, that the Agata direct shipping nickel/iron mine was expected to cease operations in October 2022.

 

Completed shipments exceed by more than two times the proven and probable reserves reported in the previously noted Feasibility Study dated August 30, 2013 and filed under the Company’s SEDAR profile on September 10, 2013.

 

The Surigao region is a major lateritic nickel producing region providing ore to processing plants in Australia, China, Korea and Japan.

AMVI’s Agata operation was the first Philippine mining operation to be awarded the Titanium Award at the Presidential Mineral Industry and Environmental Awards (“PMIEA”) Ceremony in November 2015 after just one year in operation. The Titanium Award recognized AMVI for exceptional implementation of its approved Environment Protection and Enhancement Program, Social Development and Management Program and its ongoing Occupational Health and Safety Program. The operation was again awarded the same Titanium Award at the 2016 PMIEA Ceremony, the Platinum Award at the 2017 ceremony and, most notably, received in 2018, 2019 and 2021 the highest award given by the PMIEA Selection Committee – the Presidential Industry Environmental Award. TVIRD did not participate in the 2020 awards program.

AMVI is proud to share the following video of its activities that was submitted as an official entry for the 2019 ASEAN Mineral Awards for which it received its first international recognition, earning a coveted first runner-up in the Mineral Distribution Category at the awards ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand. Philippine entries were chosen and screened by the Philippine ASEAN Mineral Awards Committee composed of technical experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (“MGB”) – the lead agency appointed by a Special Task Force under the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Minerals (“ASOMM”). Please view the link https://youtu.be/54f_jlWT3PQ.

AMVI has initiated rehabilitation activities under the final mine rehabilitation and decommissioning plan (“FMRDP”).

For more information, please visit TVIRD’s website at www.tvird.com.ph.


Agata Limestone Project

Overview

The Agata Limestone project is held by Agata Mining Ventures Inc.(“AMVI”) (in which TVIRD has a 60% interest) and is located in the same 4,995-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (“MPSA”) area as the Agata Nickel Laterite project that has an expiry date of . Due to the project's close proximity to the causeway where materials would be shipped, potential operations will benefit from having low transport and handling costs. It is also expected that if the Agata Limestone project is to proceed, it will further benefit from the use of the same infrastructure that has been developed to operate the Agata nickel/iron mine, including all administration buildings and offices, the laboratory, maintenance facilities, site roads and the port.

map showing project area

Development

AMVI received on , the Environmental Compliance Certificate (“ECC”) for the Agata Limestone project that is valid through to . Endorsements from the required local government unit (“LGU”) have been received for the project and the balance of the permitting process is continuing.

The Agata Limestone project is currently judged to be of lesser importance to TVIRD, given its size and potential value, when compared relative to the growing number of important projects now held by TVIRD, including the operating gold and silver mine at Balabag, the restart of the Siana gold mine and the development of the Mabilo project.

For more information, please visit TVIRD’s website at www.tvird.com.ph.


Canatuan Project

Surface Mine Operations

Surface Mine Operations

Product Shipment

Product Shipment

Overview

Canatuan is owned 100% by TVIRD. The mine is a volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit located in the Province of Zamboanga del Norte on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The mine originally covered a 508-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (“MPSA”, MPSA No. 054-96-IX) that was renewed for a second 25-year term on October 23, 2021, extending the expiry date of the MPSA to October 23, 2046. The renewed MPSA now covers a 1,108-hectare area following approval of an expansion in 2016.

Map

From 2004 to mid-2008 TVIRD produced gold and silver doré from an overlying gossan (oxidized) portion of the deposit. Through that period the mine produced over 105,200 ounces of gold and 1.8 million ounces of silver doré for gross revenues of US$86 million. As this upper portion of the orebody was mined out, the underlying primary sulphide portion of the deposit containing copper and zinc was exposed.

By November 2008, TVIRD had completed construction of a sulphide flotation plant to process the underlying sulphide orebody containing copper and zinc and commenced commercial production of copper concentrate in March 2009. From March 2009 to February 2014, TVIRD completed 39 shipments of copper concentrate for a total volume of 199,778 dmt and 7 shipments of zinc concentrate for a total volume of 30,548 dmt, generating gross revenues of US$393 million. Milling operations concluded in January 2014.

TVIRD

Current Status

Dismantling of plant, 2014-2015

The Canatuan processing plant has been decommissioned and equipment reconditioned for use in the Balabag mine, where twenty-four-hour operation of the plant was introduced in late August 2021 and commercial production was achieved effective November 1, 2021.

Rehabilitation

Following the end of mining and processing operations in January 2014, decommissioning and rehabilitation activities within the disturbed areas commenced. Approximately 187 hectares are subject to the closure programs as identified in the approved Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plan (“FMRDP”).

The Closure Management Areas include:

Description Disturbed Area (ha)
1. Mill and Materials Management Area 6.0
2. Overburden Waste Disposal Areas 41.0
3. Upper and Lower Tailings Storage Facilities 2.9
4. Gossan Tailing Storage Facility and Diversion Dam 19.6
5. Sulphide Tailings Storage Facility 47.5
6. Surface Mine Area 30.4
7. Lumot Creek Watershed 17.0
8. Contractor and Employee Residential Areas 4.6
9. Other Areas 2.4
10. Areas Outside of the MPSA 16.0
Total All Areas 187.4

Year 2014 was considered a transition period prior to implementation of the FMRDP. Activities during this period were limited to equipment decommissioning, care and maintenance of the areas that had undergone prior progressive rehabilitation and preparation of the area for implementation of the FMRDP.

An Active Closure Phase followed in Year 2015 and continued through mid-2018. The program was designed to focus on structural improvements for drainage, erosion control and slope stability as well as soil conditioning and preparation and planting of cash crops and diverse forest species.

A Passive Closure Phase commenced in the second half of 2018 and has continued through to the current date. The focus of this phase has been care and maintenance of the progressive rehabilitation programs that commenced through the time of mine operations and then continued through the Active Closure Phase.

As at June 30, 2023, rehabilitation is continuing in only (1) the Mill and Materials Management Area; (2) the Gossan Tailings Storage Facility and Diversion Dam; and (3) the Surface Mine Area. Each of these areas require a further 2 to 3 years of care and maintenance of vegetation planted.

Both Third Party and internal environmental monitoring programs have continued through the mine closure period. The internal monitoring program has involved regular data collection for meteorology, water quality, stream hydrology and instrumentation data collection for the former Tailings Storage Facility. Third Party monitoring programs completed during the Active Closure Phase include flora and fauna monitoring, air quality monitoring, and aquatic habitat monitoring.

For more information, please visit TVIRD’s website at www.tvird.com.ph.

Additional Mining Tenements

North Zamboanga Exploration Tenements

TVIRD holds several other Mining Tenements that it has prioritized based on the following criteria:

ü  Tenement Status

ü  Favorable Geology

ü  Exploration Status

ü  LGU and Community Support

ü  Environmental Sensitivity

ü  Presence of Infrastructures

Various activities have been planned and include:

  • Scout and definition drilling
  • Ground verification of anomalies / Grid Soil Sampling
  • Geological Mapping
  • Tunnel Mapping and Sampling

The additional Mining Tenements are summarized in the following table: