The study considers a two-stage project based on open pit mining and processing from two deposits to produce 746,000 ounces over an 8.5 year mine life.
The estimated all-in sustaining cost for stage I is $1,035 per ounce, rising to $1,273 when both stages are included.
Total pre-production cost is estimated at $39.3 million with payback estimated after 12 months of production.
Echo’s board has approved the study and, subject to obtaining financing and required statutory approvals, has conditionally approved development of stage I.
Bronzewing plant to be refurbished
Echo managing director and CEO Simon Coxhell said it was only two years ago that Echo had posted a maiden resource for Yandal.
He said: “Today we have over 800,000 ounces in ore reserves, along with a rapid route to monetise our mineral assets via refurbishment of the Bronzewing processing plant.
“We have completed what we consider to be a detailed, comprehensive and robust study with major cost centres supported by detailed tender or quotes.
“We have been systematic in our approach and we are confident that this will bode well for Echo’s success in the future.”
The feasibility study is modelled on the mining of ore from Orelia and Julius deposits and processing at Bronzewing based on annual throughput of 1.8 million tonnes.
Refurbishment of Bronzewing will cost an estimated $19.4 million.
The plant is a conventional carbon-in-leach gold treatment plant with an installed gravity circuit and 2 million tonnes per annum nameplate capacity.
A staged approach will allow Echo to mine the higher grade, lowest strip ore at Orelia in stage I to maximise early economic return and deliver a high level of operational flexibility.
The first stage is expected to conclude after four years of production.
Stage II plans for a significant cut-back of the Orelia open pit to access ore at depth in later years.
A financial investment decision to advance stage II is likely to be required towards the end of the second year of production.
Financing under evaluation
Echo is actively progressing identification and assessment of potential additional high-grade, near-mine ore sources to extend stage I mine life and/or supplement stage II.
Select pre-development site activities have commenced.
A debt advisor has been appointed and a formal project financing process has begun with a variety of potential funding solutions being evaluated.
First gold is targeted at less than six months from the time a final investment decision for stage I is made.
Plant refurbishment is expected to take 20 weeks, with mining commencing at Orelia and Julius one and two months prior to first ore processing, respectively.