Vista Gold Australia has edged closer to restarting its mothballed Mt Todd gold project in the Northern Territory after a feasibility study (FS) revealed strong economics and a 16-year mine life.
Based on fourth quarter 2021 costs and a $US1800 ($2512) per ounce (oz) gold price, Vista suggested Mt Todd will generate $US2.1 billion of after-tax cash flow across the first seven years of its life.
At a $US1800/oz gold price, Mt Todd has an after-tax net present value (NPV) of $US1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 26.7 per cent.
Mt Todd’s gold reserves (6.98 million oz) have increased by 19 per cent from prior estimates. The mine is expected to produce 395,000 ounces of gold per year, including 479,000 ounces during the mine’s first seven years of life.
The average life-of-mine all-in sustaining cost (AISC) is estimated to be $US928 per ounce, with an average AISC of $US860 per ounce across the first seven years.
Vista has forecast an initial capital requirement of $US892 million for the mine – an eight per cent increase from prior estimates.
“The FS affirms the strength of Mt Todd’s gold production capacity and ability to deliver solid economic results at a time when inflationary pressures are having significant impacts on operating mines and development projects alike,” Vista president and chief executive officer Frederick H. Earnest said.
“Completion of the FS represents another major step in de-risking Mt Todd and readying the project for development. The scale, quality of work completed and location of Mt Todd, together with the FS and the fact that all major authorisations for development have been obtained, distinguish Mt Todd as a unique development opportunity.”
After the Northern Territory Government approved Vista’s Mt Todd mining management plan in June 2021, the company commenced its FS for the project a month later.
The mine is located 55 kilometres northwest of Katherine and has been on care and maintenance since 2006, after it ceased operations in 2000. Vista acquired the mine in 2006.