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Seabridge Gold: New KSM project study ups posttax NPV to US$3.4B, IRR to 10%

A new preliminary economic assessment at Seabridge Gold Inc.'s KSM gold-copper project in British Columbia estimated a base case posttax net present value of US$3.4 billion, discounted at 5%, and an internal rate of return of 10%.

This compares to an after-tax NPV of US$1.5 billion and IRR of 8% calculated in the updated preliminary feasibility study released in September.

The latest study envisages a combined open-pit/underground block caving mining operation that runs through 51 years. The company will mine both the Kerr and the Deep Kerr deposits, which will bring annual average throughput to 170,000 tonnes per day compared to 130,000 tonnes per day previously.

The company said Oct. 6 that the base case total cost per ounce of gold will come in at US$358, as opposed to US$673 per ounce estimated in the previous study. However, initial CapEx will increase by about 9.7% to US$5.49 billion due to increased throughput.

Total life-of-mine sustaining CapEx will come in at US$10.02 billion, while total operating costs per tonne milled will be US$11.61 per tonne.

Under the new study, the company will be able to produce 77% more copper over the projected life, resulting in base case life-of-mine operating costs of negative US$179 per ounce of gold produced, compared to US$277 per ounce previously estimated.

In addition, the new plan will reduce the amount of waste rock by 81%, or by about 2.4 billion tonnes, which will substantially reduce the project's footprint and its environmental impact, as well as lower water treatment costs.