Pilot Gold has reported the results of a revised preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Halilağa copper-gold porphyry project in northwest Turkey. Teck Resources’ Turkish subsidiary, Teck Madencilik Sanayi Ticaret A.S., holds a 60% interest in the project and is the project operator. Pilot Gold holds the remaining 40%.

The revised Halilağa PEA represents an update of an October 2012 PEA, which contemplated a 50,000-mt/d operation. The revised PEA reduces planned production to 25,000 mt/d and incorporates a number of optimization enhancements. As a result, pre-production capital expenditure has been reduced from $888.8 million to $346 million.

The revised PEA is based on contract mining, eliminating capital expenditures related to the previously planned owner-operator mining fleet. The estimated pre-production capital costs now include process plant ($131.6 million), indirect costs ($37.6 million), on-site infrastructure ($29.6 million), and tailings storage ($25 million).

Life-of-mine metal production is estimated at 780 million lb of copper and 924,000 oz of gold over a mine life of 13.6 years. The proposed project concept is to develop a green-fields copper-gold deposit, with open-pit mining and conventional milling and flotation concentration and a CIL plant for improved gold recoveries.

Pilot Gold President and CEO Matt Lennox-King said, “We have designed the optimal project for the deposit in the context of today’s capital markets. The revised project more than doubles the IRR and retains the same after-tax value as the 2012 study, while substantially reducing overall capital costs. The revised PEA leverages the established infrastructure in the district and the high grades at surface to drive rapid payback of capital, showcasing Halilağa as a standout project in the mid-size copper-gold development space.”

The revised Halilağa PEA was prepared by JDS Mining & Energy Inc. and is based on an updated mineral resource estimate. Project resources now include an indicated mineral resource of 182.7 million mt, grading 0.30 g/mt gold (1.762 million oz) and 0.27% copper (1.09 billion lb) and an inferred mineral resource of 178.7 million mt, grading 0.24 g/mt gold (1.379 million oz) and 0.23% copper (906.3 million lb), using a 0.43 g/mt gold-equivalent cutoff.