Steppe Gold Signs EPC Contract for Phase 2 ATO Expansion
Steppe Gold Ltd. (TSX: STGO) (OTCQX: STPGF) (FSE: 2J9) (‘Steppe Gold’ or the ‘Company’) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract (the ‘EPC Contract’), with Hexagon Build Engineering LLC (‘Hexagon’) for the Phase 2 Expansion at the ATO Gold Mine (the ‘Phase 2 Expansion’). Hexagon is an experienced construction group active in Mongolia and internationally.
As at the date of execution of the EPC Contract, the contract amount payable to Hexagon for the full performance of the work under the EPC Contract is approximately $148.4 million (‘Contract Amount’). The Contract Amount is fully funded by a project finance package (as described below) that has been made available to the Company and its affiliates by TDB Capital Pte Ltd. and certain of its affiliates (‘TDB Group’) and the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia.
Mr. Bataa Tumur-Ochir, Steppe Gold Chairman and CEO commented, ‘With our landmark financing package secured and drawdowns now commenced, we are very excited to announce the signing of the EPC Contract for the design and construction of our ATO Phase 2 Expansion. We are fully aligned with our partners at the TDB Group and we are very excited to partner with Hexagon, a leading Mongolian construction group. This allows us to continue work underway at the ATO site and accelerate plans for a busy construction year in 2024.’
Recap of the ATO Phase 2 Expansion Financing Package:
US$150 million fully funded to finance the Phase 2 Expansion of the ATO Gold Mine.Initial agreement for funding of US$50 million through a secured loan with Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia has been signed and drawdowns have commenced. This first tranche will be primarily used to order equipment and long lead items.The financing payback period starts upon completion of Phase 2 Expansion.First concentrate production and sales from Phase 2 is anticipated in early 2026.Construction has commenced with the crushing circuit at 90% completion.Fresh rock mine expansion life is 12 years, extending open pit mining and milling operations to December 2036. The open pit model demonstrates the fresh rock phase generating 1,237,000oz Au Eq recovered over 12 years, at an average Au Eq oz of 103,000oz per annum.Approximately 300 new jobs will be created during the construction and operation phases.Project is fully supported by local communities and stakeholders.The Government of Mongolia fully supports mining and industrial export revenues into the country.
About ATO Gold Mine:
ATO Gold Mine is Steppe Gold’s 100% owned flagship project with approximately 1.67 million oz AuEq in reserves located in Dornod province, Mongolia.
Phase 1 of the ATO Gold Mine – De-risked and in production
Phase 1 of the ATO Gold Mine – heap leach operations was built from project to production within 18 months, including all permitting.The ATO Gold Mine has produced over 100,000 oz of gold and generated over $185 million in gross revenue, with a further anticipated 65,000 oz till the end of 2025. Drilling programmes are ongoing at the ATO Gold Mine, focusing on additional oxide zones.
Phase 2 Expansion – Financing fully secured and under construction
The financing for Phase 2 Expansion of US$150 million is fully secured, and drawdowns commenced in October 2023.Phase 2 Expansion is estimated to be complete by the end of 2025 and commence commercial production by 2026. Phase 2 Expansion is expected to increase the Company’s production from 30,000 to over 100,000 ounces per annum for 12 years at approximately US$900 per ounce Au Eq and anticipated to produce over 1.2 million ounces of gold equivalent on a recovered basis.
Established in 2014, Hexagon Build Engineering has been actively engaging in engineering, construction, and infrastructure projects both in Mongolia and internationally. Hexagon is devoted to sustainable growth in construction and engineering solutions whilst aiming to provide the best services that meets the customers’ expectations with international standard regardless of the scale.
Steppe Gold Ltd.
Steppe Gold is Mongolia’s premier precious metals producer, with approximately 4.5 million ounces Au Eq in resources.
For Further information, please contact:
Bataa Tumur-Ochir, Chairman and CEO
Jeremy South, Senior Vice President and CFO
Shangri-La office, Suite 1201, Olympic Street
19A, Sukhbaatar District 1,
Ulaanbaatar 14241, Mongolia
Tel: +976 7732 1914
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
This news release contains certain statements or disclosures relating to the Company that are based on the expectations of its management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company which may constitute forward-looking statements or information (‘forward-looking statements’) under applicable securities laws. All such statements and disclosures, other than those of historical fact, which address activities, events, outcomes, results or developments that the Company anticipates or expects may, or will, occur in the future (in whole or in part) should be considered forward-looking statements. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of the words ‘allow’, ‘anticipated’, ‘continue’, ‘estimates’, ‘expected’, ‘will’ and similar expressions. In particular, but without limiting the foregoing, this news release contains forward-looking statements pertaining to the following: the EPC Contract; the Company’s operational position, potential, growth, success, commitments and strategy; the timing, goals, targets, benefits, production and revenue related to the ATO Gold Mine; and the use of proceeds in respect of the TDB Project Finance package.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release reflect several material factors and expectations and assumptions of the Company including, without limitation: that the Company will continue to conduct its operations in a manner consistent with past operations; the general continuance of current or, where applicable, assumed industry conditions; and estimates related to the commencement and production of gold.
The Company believes the material factors, expectations and assumptions reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable at this time but no assurance can be given that these factors, expectations and assumptions will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements included in this news release are not guarantees of future performance and should not be unduly relied upon. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements including, without limitation: changes in business plans and strategies, market and capital finance conditions, general economic, market and business conditions; reliance on industry partners; and certain other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s public disclosure documents including, without limitation, those risks identified in this news release, and in the Company’s annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2022, copies of which are available on the Company’s SEDAR+ profile at www.sedarplus.ca. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligations to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release.
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