LA Private

Meeka readying for gold development

Meeka Metals (ASX:MEK) is aiming to be ready to push the button on it’s the development of its Murchison gold project in Western Australia by mid-year.

Murchison has a resource of 1.24 million ounces at 3 grams per tonne gold, with over half in the measured and indicated categories.

It comes after Meeka this week updated the resource for its Turnberry open pit deposit to 690,000oz at 2g/t gold.

A prefeasibility study released last year defined an initial 9.3-year operation to produce an average 66,000oz per annum of gold.

Using a gold price of A$2750 an ounce, the project would generate pre-tax free cashflow of A$363 million and has a net present value of A$249 million.

At A$3000/oz, free cashflow increases to A$521 million and the NPV grows to A$371 million.

“At [the current gold price of] A$3500/oz, you can go ahead and add another A$250 million-odd to that,” Meeka managing director Tim Davidson told the RIU Sydney Resources

Capital costs were forecast at A$137 million in the PFS, based on the development of a 1 million tonne per annum mill at Turnberry.

However, the company is now looking at a refurbishment and restart of its existing 500,000tpa Andy Well project with the potential to expand the mill.

“We’re looking at options to increase the throughput through the plant,” Davidson said.

A definitive feasibility study is due within a couple of weeks.

Davidson said start-up costs were estimated at A$40-45 million.

Meeka is aiming to have final approvals in June and funding in place by July.

“We’re running a process now and we expect to have the funding in place for development in July,” he said.

Meeka has a market capitalisation of around A$45 million, even after a 12% rise in its share price yesterday.

Davidson said the market was only valuing Meeka’s gold inventory at about A$30/oz, compared to recent transactions, which saw ounces changing hands at more than A$200/oz.

“Which we feel gives us lots of room to move higher,” he said.