Current mill capacity is 100tpd and the Company is now focused on expanding its gold mining operation to 250 tpd by 2015. The mill is licensed for 500 tpd. In June of 2012, Bralorne commissioned Beacon Hill Consultants (1988) Ltd. to conduct a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the property and devise a plan for expanding production. The PEA report demonstrated the economic potential of the current 85 tpd operation and recommended a program of exploration development aimed at expanding the operation to 250 tpd.
The current mine plan, based on a mine life of 4.3 years, uses the shrinkage mining method and considers developing and mining five stopes at various grades. According to the PEA, the average operating cost for the 5 years of operations is $241.80/ton with the average cost/oz estimated at $1000.33. The PEA estimates present operations (using 85 tpd production rate) to have a positive net present value (NPV) discounted at 5% of $6.4 million using gold prices of US$1650/oz for 2012 and US$1500/oz for succeeding years. Sensitivity analysis shows the operation is highly sensitive to gold commodity price, and could have an NPV of $14.2 million at a gold price of US$1800/oz.
The Bralorne mill and concentrator incorporates conventional grinding, gravity and froth flotation to produce both doré bar which represents 60% of the production and flotation concentrate representing 37% production. In its first year of production, a total of 5,726 ounces of gold were produced in the form of doré bars (3,536 ounces) and flotation concentrate (2,190 ounces). As of October 31, 2012, gold production from the beginning of the fiscal year at February 1, 2012 is estimated at 6,438 ounces, including 4,402 ounces from gold doré of which 3,216 ounces have been refined, and 2,036 ounces of gold produced in flotation concentrate. A total of 23,891 dry tons are estimated to have been processed at an average feed grade of 0.309 ounce per ton gold (10.6 grams gold per tonne).
In November 2012, Bralorne Gold Mines signed an offtake agreement with Metallic Commodities Corp. for flotation concentrate produced from the Bralorne mine. The contract includes the sale of all existing inventory (estimated at 600 tonnes wet assaying an average of 136 g/t Au and 60 g/t Ag) as well as the sale of concentrate produced between November 2012 and December 2013.
The Company is studying further ways to improve throughput and recovery, including the addition of a Knelson concentrator to the mill circuit to improve gravity gold recovery. In the third quarter of 2012, after test work indicated good potential for improved recovery of gold in the gravity concentrate, the size was selected and an order was placed for the equipment. An engineering firm has been commissioned to design the support frame for installation.