Osino Resources, a Toronto-listed mining company, has just released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Twin Hills gold discovery in Namibia, and it’s a beauty.
What began as a near-hunch for CEO Heye Daun and his team has grown into the largest gold discovery in southern Africa in recent years, with a potential worth of $377 million (R5.5 billion) based on an anticipated gold price of $1 700 per ounce.
“We figured that if we started searching along strike of the producing Navachab Gold Mine in Namibia, we would find a continuation of an already well-proven gold resource – and that’s exactly what we found,” says Daun, a native of Namibia, though currently based in Cape Town.
Navachab Gold Mine was sold by AngloGold Ashanti in 2014 to Canadian producer QKR. Osino’s Twin Hills project is located about 25km from Navachab, and covers an area of some 7 000 square kilometres on the Karibib Fault Line, about 200km northwest of Windhoek.
The Twin Hills PEA envisages a 1.4 million ounce mine, hitting annual production of 124 000 ounces by year two, though Daun says there is plenty room to improve on this.
The project has an expected 15-year life of mine with a 3.5 million tonnes a year processing capacity. The pre-production capital cost of $176 million, with an additional $26 million for contingencies, allows for the full development of the mine plus processing plant.
“I think what is special about this project is the ease of access and simplicity of the project, the low technical risk, and consistent geology, which poses no significant problems,” says Daun.
“And we soon hope to have ownership of the surface rights as well as the mining rights, which will de-risk the project even further.”
The timing of the discovery and the release of the PEA could not be sweeter, coming as it does at a time when Navachab is reportedly coming up for sale. Combining it with Twin Hills to create a five- to seven-million-ounce combined resource base should be a tempting prospect for a growth-oriented larger acquiror.
This is not Daun’s first rodeo in Namibia. As Moneyweb reported in May last year, he was previously involved in the advancement and definition of the Otjikoto gold mine, also in Namibia, which he subsequently sold in 2011 to another Canadian mining group, B2Gold, for nearly $200 million (R2.9 billion).
B2Gold invested nearly $300 million (R4.4 billion) to develop the mine, which last year produced 178 000 ounces, roughly 20% of the group’s total gold haul for 2020.
The Twin Hills PEA is based partly on 69 000 metres of drilling but does not include an additional 32 000 metres of infill and expansion drilling completed since April 2020, the results of which give Daun confidence that the project has plenty of further upsides.
Based on the drill programme so far, Twin Hills has a combined indicated and inferred resource of about 60 megatonnes at an average gold grade of 1.0g/t at a cut-off grade of 0.3 g/t for a total of just below two million ounces in resources, of which just over 1.4 million ounces will be mined, as demonstrated in the published PEA.
“Ongoing infill, resource expansion and brownfields exploration drilling with 10 drill rigs, in addition to ongoing project optimisation, is likely to result in improved production parameters and economic outcomes to be published as part of the feasibility study which is expected to be completed during H1 of 2022,” says the PEA.
Canadian and Australian junior miners are swarming over Namibia in search of mineral prospects, though the same cannot be said for SA. Daun has accompanied the Namibian mines minister on roadshows to Canada to highlight the benefits of investing in the country’s mining sector.
“I think what investors see in Namibia is a government that is keen to attract investment, to provide clear and unambiguous legislation that leaves no room for doubt, and to do everything in its power to make sure investors are given red carpet treatment.”
Osino is busy with several other gold prospects and targets along the Karibib Fault Line.
“We believe that we can increase recovery grades, and an improvement of even 1% will have a meaningful impact on profitability. We’re working on that already,” says Daun.
“The other feature of this mining project that excites us is that we believe we can grow the project substantially through increased drilling, an optimised mine plan and further metallurgical improvements, thereby hopefully substantially improving on the results of this PEA once we have advanced it to the next stage of feasibility.
“We have no doubt that Twin Hills will become Namibia’s next substantial gold mine and we look forward to fast-tracking the project to the development stage over the next 12 to 24 months.”