Morien Provides Updates on Donkin and Black Point
June 25, 2015 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Morien Resources Corp. (“Morien” or the “Company”) (TSXV:MOX), is pleased to provide a progress update on the Company’s two principal royalty projects – the Donkin Coal Project in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and the Black Point Aggregate Project in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.
Donkin Coal Project
In a project update provided at the annual meeting of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia (“MS Meeting”) on June 19, 2015, Kameron Collieries ULC (“Kameron”), a subsidiary of The Cline Group LLC, and owner/operator of the Donkin Coal Project (“Donkin” or the “Project”), presented an update of recent activities at Donkin and plans for moving the Project forward. Kameron confirmed that the two, 3.6 km long access tunnels to the target coal seam have been dewatered, and work is on-going to rehabilitate a 69 kV power line it owns between the Project site and the near-by town of Glace Bay. Kameron also noted a personnel carrier designed to carry miners to the coal face and a large loading machine for use underground have both been delivered to site. Additionally, Kameron has ordered two continuous miner machines, the first of which is anticipated to arrive on site by late summer or early fall. Kameron stated that its next steps at Donkin are to establish power to the Project site, complete slope rehabilitation work, conduct additional drilling and exploration of the target coal seam, along with coal sampling and testing. Officials with Kameron have posted job listings online including an underground coal mine foreman, a battery power hauler operator, a mechanical/electrical mine technician, a continuous miner machine operator, and a roof bolt machine operator.
At the MS Meeting, Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources Minister, Zach Churchill confirmed the province’s commitment to the Project, as published in an interview with mining.com. “It’s been a priority of our government to get that mine into production. This will be an important economic generator for Cape Breton and for Nova Scotia. It will significantly increase our mining output.”
In January 2015, the local power utility Nova Scotia Power Inc. stated that it was interested in Donkin as a potential local supplier of coal because purchasing local coal, which displaces foreign coal, would keep fuel dollars in the Nova Scotia economy.
Kameron increased its ownership in Donkin to 100% through the purchase of Morien’s 25% interest in March 2015 for a production royalty and cash consideration. Under the terms of the transaction, Morien owns a gross production royalty of 2% on the first 500,000 tonnes of coal sales per calendar quarter (excluding the first 10,000 tonnes of coal sales) and 4% on any coal sales from quarterly tonnage above 500,000 tonnes. In addition to the royalty, Morien is entitled to receive aggregate cash consideration of $5.5 million, of which $2 million was paid on the closing of the transaction. Morien is entitled to receive $2 million on the earlier of first commercial sale of coal from Donkin and the second anniversary of the closing of the transaction, and $1.5 million on the earlier of first commercial sale of export coal from Donkin and the third anniversary of the closing of the transaction. Donkin is fully permitted, including approval for construction of an on-site barge-loading facility to access deep tidewater.
The Donkin royalty is payable to Morien over the anticipated 25 plus year mine life. Based on the current permitted production rate of 2.75 million sales tonnes per year for Donkin, and on current thermal coal pricing, royalty payments could range from $4.0 million to $6.0 million annually. These values are only estimates, based on judgments made by Morien management and its board of directors, and would be achieved only when the Project commences and reaches maximum permitted production levels. Actual results and royalties received, if any, may vary from those estimated by Morien (see the advisory regarding Forward-Looking Statements below).
Black Point Aggregate Project
Black Point Aggregates Inc., (“BPA”), a subsidiary of Vulcan Materials Company (“Vulcan”), the United State’s largest producer of construction aggregates, and owner/operator of the Black Point Aggregate Project (“Black Point”), presented an update on recent activities at Black Point during the MS Meeting.
In March 2015, BPA and Morien submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“CEAA”) and Nova Scotia Environment. Morien and BPA are working jointly to acquire the necessary environmental assessment approvals for Black Point. The submission of the EIS represents a major milestone in advancing Black Point, and Morien and BPA anticipate a decision from the Provincial and Federal Ministers of the Environment in Q1 2016.
A poll commissioned by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (“MODG”) in Q4 2014 showed support for Black Point is very high with 89% of residents questioned in support of the Black Point project. In January 2015 the Black Point project received an official endorsement from the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association, further reflecting support from the local community for the project.
In April 2014, Morien entered into an agreement with Vulcan and the MODG whereby BPA assumed Morien’s interest in Black Point and became owner/operator of the project in exchange for milestone payments to Morien totalling $1,800,000, and an industry competitive production royalty. The royalty is payable on all material sold from Black Point over the anticipated 50 plus year mine life, which is projected to provide annual revenue between $250,000 and $750,000 to Morien. The first payment of $1,000,000 was paid on signing of the agreement, and a second payment of $800,000 is due upon the approval and receipt of provincial and federal environmental assessment approvals necessary for the mining and shipping of aggregate from Black Point, anticipated to be Q1 2016.
Morien holds a 1.5% Net Smelter Return royalty over the marketable metal, ores, minerals and concentrates produced and shipped from a 1,987 hectare area within the producing Yellow Giant gold property, owned and operated by Banks Island Gold Ltd. (“Banks”), located 105 km south of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. In May 2015, Banks achieved record production at Yellow Giant with a 21% increase in gold sales compared to April. According to a May 2015 corporate update, Banks is targeting production of approximately 35,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2015.
Morien also holds various direct and indirect interests in industrial mineral properties in the United States.
Morien is a Canadian mining exploration and development company, focused on unique mineral industry opportunities in North America with a diversified portfolio of long-life royalty assets and a strong cash position. Morien has 57,973,114 issued and outstanding common shares and a fully diluted position of 63,449,841. Further information is available at www.MorienRes.com.
Some of the statements in this news release may constitute “forward-looking information” as defined under applicable securities laws. These statements reflect Morien’s current expectations of future revenues and business prospects and opportunities and are based on information currently available to Morien. Morien cautions that actual performance will be affected by a number of factors, many of which are beyond its control, and that future events and results may vary substantially from what Morien currently foresees. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties described in Morien’s annual information form filed with the Canadian Securities regulators on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). Morien cautions that its royalty revenue will be based on production by third party property owners and operators who will be responsible for determining the manner and timing for the properties forming part of Morien’s royalty portfolio. These third party owners and operators are also subject to risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted herein including: volatility in financial markets or general economic conditions; capital requirements and the need for additional financing; fluctuations in the rates of exchange for the currencies of Canada and the United States; prices for commodities including gold, coal and aggregate; unanticipated changes in production, mineral reserves and mineral resources, metallurgical recoveries and/or exploration results; changes in regulations and unpredictable political or economic developments; loss of key personnel; labour disputes; and ineffective title to mineral claims or property. There are other business risks and hazards associated with mineral exploration, development and mining. Although Morien believes that the forward-looking information contained herein is based on reasonable assumptions, readers cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with such statements. Morien expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information in this news release, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
For more information, please contact:
John P.A. Budreski, President and CEO
Phone: (416) 930-0914
Dawson Brisco, P.Geo, Manager Corporate Development
Phone: (902) 466-7255