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Press release from CNW Group

Guyana Goldfields Completes Positive Feasibility Study for Its Aurora Gold Project in Guyana

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guyana Goldfields Completes Positive Feasibility Study for Its Aurora Gold Project in Guyana07:30 EST Friday, February 24, 2012TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Guyana Goldfields Inc. (TSX: GUY) ("GGI" or "the Company") is pleased to announce positive Feasibility Study results for its 100% owned Aurora Gold Project in Guyana, South America. The NI 43-101 Feasibility Study report will be compiled under the supervision of SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. ("SRK") with contributions provided by prominent industry consultants. A conference call will be held today by Guyana Goldfields management at 11:00 am Eastern Time to further discuss the results (see details at the end of this release).The Aurora Gold Project is expected to have a positive impact on the economy of Guyana by maximizing employment, skills training, and generating business opportunities for local suppliers and service providers. The Company is dedicated to becoming a leading corporate citizen and a productive partner in the future of Guyana's economy. The Aurora Gold Project is presently the only large-scale licensed gold mine development project in Guyana and will be the next producing gold mine in the country in late 2014.All figures in this release are in US dollars except where noted. All figures include contingency where applicable.Highlights of the Feasibility Study Base case is calculated using $1,300 per ounce of gold ("oz") and $100/barrel WTI Crude OilProven and probable reserves of 4.6 million ounces of contained gold22 full years life of mine ("LOM") for combined open pit ("O/P") and underground ("U/G") mining scenarioMill throughput rate of 8,000 tonnes per day ("tpd") from years 2015 - 2023 and an average of ~4,500 tpd (nominal) from years 2024 to 2035. In year 2019, production from the underground will commence and will gradually replace open pit feedUnderground mine access via ramp and shaft (mine depth to 1,320m)Average LOM grade of 3.17 grams of gold per tonne ("g/t Au")Total gold production is 4.359 million ouncesAverage initial gold production of approximately 256,800 ounces per year for the first 10 full years (2015 - 2024)Average LOM cash operating costs of $522/oz (pre-royalty)Pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV) of $644 million at a 5% discount rate generating a pre-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 14.9% and a payback period of 6.9 yearsEstimated initial capital costs for surface and open pit is $525 million, with underground development being funded from cash flowAt a recent spot gold price of $1,775/oz and $100/barrel WTI Crude Oil, pre-tax NPV increases to $1.7 billion at a 5% discount rate generating a pre-tax IRR of 28.6% with cash costs of $522/oz (pre-royalty).Claude Lemasson, President and COO stated: "The completion of the Feasibility Study is a major accomplishment for the Company, establishing the Aurora Gold Project as Guyana's largest undeveloped gold reserve in the country's history. The positive results confirm that the Aurora Gold Project is poised to become a future significant gold producer in Guyana and in the Guiana Shield. Construction on the project is expected to commence later this year and will last for approximately 24 months."OPPORTUNITIESAn independent third party review of the Feasibility Study was initiated last month as well as an internal review by Guyana Goldfields which are both ongoing. The Company has recognized additional opportunities to improve the project economics. These opportunities are listed below.Alternative Power: Power costs represent over 30% of Cash Costs, with the Base Case being Heavy Fuel Oil power generation; alternative sources of power have been identified including hydro and biomass power generation options. Use of hydro power shows significant savings over the mine life. More work is planned in the coming months to determine the optimal power generation option.Processing Plant design at 8,000 tpd: Although the operating parameters are at 8,000 tpd, the process plant was designed at 9,500 tpd to allow the Underground Development to be moved forward; a redesign of the processing plant as part of the post-Feasibility Study design and engineering to 8,000 tpd would potentially reduce mill capital cost by approximately 10%.Various other potential opportunities being explored include:Contract Mining for Open PitTiming of Underground DevelopmentOptimization of Underground Design & Mining MethodsUsed Equipment PurchasesReview of Grind Size in the Processing PlantDrill data cut-off for the current Resource was May 2011; since then, much drilling was completed in the Golden Square Mile and more drilling will occur in the next few months; a revised Resource calculation for Aurora is expected to be issued in late 2012.Optimization study work will be completed in the next few months to review and consider opportunities identified.ALTERNATIVE CASESThe table below outlines key sensitivities for the NPV and IRR of the Aurora Gold Project. Fuel costs represent a significant proportion of all cash costs. It has been observed that the price of crude oil, which is the base to derive fuel prices, is correlated with the price of gold. GUY has compiled certain sensitivities to differing gold prices and used a historical correlation of oil to gold to recompute power consumption costs. A Gold/Oil Ratio of 16 to 1 was determined based on the 3-year (2009-2011) averages of the Gold Price and of WTI Crude Oil.Financials @ 5% Discount RateUnits$1,300/ozgold price$1,775/ozgold price$2,250/ozgold price BASE CASE$1,300/ozgold priceFuel Price (WTI Crude Oil)US$81.25110.94140.63100.00Average Operating Cash Cost (LOM)$/oz495537578522Average Operating Cash Cost w/Royalty (LOM)$/oz599679758626Pre-Tax NPV$ M7061,6832,660644Pre-Tax IRR%15.728.239.314.9PaybackYears6.73.52.46.9After-Tax NPV$ M4761,1641,849432After-Tax IRR%13.423.632.612.7PaybackYears7.04.32.87.2AURORA GOLD PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDYBASE CASE DETAILS Project Assumptions and ParametersAssumptions   Units Gold priceUS$/oz(1)1,300Fuel Price (WTI Crude Oil)$/barrel100Gross Royalty%8Effective tax rate%30(1) Approximates the 3-year trailing averageMine Parameters  Units Open pitOre milledMt18.6Gradeg/t3.0Waste mined Mt168.9Strip ratio (without pre-stripping)waste:ore9.1:1Strip ratio (with pre-stripping)waste:ore8.6:1UndergroundOre milledMt26.6Gradeg/t3.28Open pit & UndergroundTotal ore milledMt45.2Average gold gradeg/t3.17Total contained goldoz4,603,500Estimated gold recovery%94.8Total payable goldoz4,359,600Mine life (full)years22Average annual gold production (LOM)oz198,200Mineral Reserves and ResourcesAurora Gold Project Mineral Reserves at $1,200/ozFebruary 2012Reserve CategoryQuantity(Mt)Grade(g/t)Contained Gold(M oz)ProvenO/P saprolite0.142.980.01O/P fresh ore5.313.160.54U/G---ProbableO/P saprolite2.422.340.18O/P fresh ore10.743.061.06U/G26.613.282.81Total (P&P)45.223.174.60*Mineral Reserves are included in Mineral Resources*UG in-situ cut-off grade of 1.8 g/t for Rory's Knoll and 2.25 g/t for Satellite Deposits.*OP fresh ore in-situ cut-off grade of 0.45 g/t for Rory's Knoll and 0.55 g/t for other deposits* OP saprolite ore in-situ cut-off of 0.35 g/t for Rory's Knoll and 0.40 g/t for other depositsAurora Gold Project Mineral Resources at $1,200/ozSeptember 2011Resource CategoryQuantity(Mt)Grade(g/t)Contained Gold(M oz)Measured & Indicated (M&I)O/P20.223.342.18U/G26.824.093.52Total M&I47.043.835.71Inferred O/P3.483.410.39U/G6.493.740.78Total Inferred9.973.631.17*Cut-off grade of 0.40 g/t Au for O/P and 1.80 g/t Au for U/GThe Feasibility Study database considers 291,556 metres of core drilling in 939 holes drilled by Guyana Goldfields between 2004 - May 2011. The Aurora 3-D mine model can be seen in the following link: http://files.newswire.ca/826/Aurora_Ore_Model.pdfMining and ProductionThe mine plan contains 45.2 million tonnes of ore grading 3.17 g/t gold. Total gold production over a 22 full year mine life is estimated to be 4.359 million ounces, averaging 256,800 ounces per year for the first 10 full years (2015 - 2024). Ore production will begin from the open pit in 2014 at an average production rate of 8,000 tpd for the first 5 years. In year 2019, production from the underground will commence and will gradually replace open pit feed.Summary of the annual mine production plan is outlined below.YearsO/P Ore Mined (kt)O/P Grade (g/t)O/P Cont. gold (koz)¹O/P Waste (kt)O/PStrip ratioU/GOre Mined (kt)U/G Grade (g/t)U/G Cont. gold (koz)²Mill Head Grade (g/t)Mill Prod. (koz)Pre-production1372.96135,16537.6     1 (2014)9392.447416,97618.1   2.52742 (2015)2,6102.9024327,15110.4   2.882373 (2016)2,7552.9926527,87510.1   2.972444 (2017)2,6833.3629027,79810.4573.4563.402785 (2018)2,0943.0320425,02912.04483.82553.142576 (2019)1,9972.9218816,4578.21,0163.621183.202627 (2020)2,5762.9024013,5045.21,3273.611543.442818 (2021)1,9722.851807,1223.61,4273.341533.152589 (2022)8463.57971,8052.11,4793.141493.2226310 (2023)     1,5933.371733.0424811 (2024)     1,5873.641863.2724012 (2025)     1,5943.721913.7218013 (2026)     1,6023.741933.7418214 (2027)     1,6023.731923.7318215 (2028)     1,6023.411753.4116616 (2029)     1,6023.481793.4817017 (2030)     1,6023.241673.2415818 (2031)     1,6022.861472.8613919 (2032)     1,6022.721402.7313320 (2033)     1,6022.621352.6212821 (2034)     1,6022.631352.6312822 (2035)     1,3382.971282.9712123 (2036)     3293.11333.1131 Total/ Avg18,6083.001,794168,8819.126,6143.282,8103.174,360¹Open pit contained gold ounces²Underground contained gold ouncesTotal Production from Milloz4,359,600Average Annual Production (10 full years 2015 - 2024)oz256,800Average Annual Production (LOM)oz198,200Metallurgy, Processing, and InfrastructureThe metallurgy of the Aurora Gold Project deposit shows the ore to be free-milling allowing a flowsheet using conventional gold processing techniques. The only metal to be recovered is gold and when liberated to a grind size of 80% passing (P80) 75 micron produces excellent recovery. The deposit is predominantly non-refractory sulphides encompassing 94% of the ore, with the remaining being saprolite oxides. Grinding will occur through a SAG and Ball mill combination followed by a gravity circuit. Testwork results have shown approximately 30% of the gold could be recovered through gravity. The remaining gold in ore is leached in cyanide followed by carbon in leach (CIL) gold recovery. After carbon stripping, the gold in solution is sludged through electro-winning cells.  The gold sludge is smelted and the gold poured into ingots. The LOM average gold recovery is estimated at 94.8%.Operating CostsOperating cash costs over the life of the project are projected to average $522/oz. Total operating costs (with royalty) are anticipated to average $626/oz.Operating CostsUnitsPrice of gold $1,300/ozOpen Pit Mining (incl.waste)$/t1.49Diesel$/t0.64Total$/t2.13 Underground Mining (incl. waste)$/t25.37Power$/t10.49Diesel$/t1.70Total$/t37.57 ProcessingProcessing (excl. power)$/t feed8.38Power$/t feed6.96Total$/t feed15.34 General & Administration$/t feed4.72 Cash Costs Average Operating Cash Cost (pre-royalty)$/oz522Average Operating Cash Cost (with royalty)$/oz626Capital Costs EstimatesThe Feasibility Study is based on capital pricing as of the first quarter of 2012. The level of accuracy of the capital costs estimates is within ±15% for feasibility studies.Capex CostsUnits Initial O/P Capex (2012 - 2014)$ M525O/P Sustaining Capex$ M116Initial U/G Capex (2014 - 2019)$ M465U/G Sustaining Capex$ M185The cost breakdown for pre-production capital expenditures, assuming an owner operator scenario, is shown below.Description$MO/P Mobile Equipment93Mine Development13Primary Ore Handling18Process Plant107Off-site Infrastructure20On-site Infrastructure45Power Plant53River Dyke19Ancillary Buildings29Tailings & Reclaim25Construction Indirects36EPCM38Owner's Cost22Total525*The average contingency for the capital costs is ~11.4%Financial AnalysisThe financial analysis for the Base Case (at a gold price of $1,300/oz and $100/barrel WTI Crude Oil), which evaluates an owner's operation, indicates a pre-tax NPV at a 5% discount rate of $644 million with an IRR of 14.9% and a payback period of 6.9 years. On an after-tax basis, the NPV at a 5% discount rate is $432 million with an IRR of 12.7%.BASE CASEFinancials @ 5% Discount RateUnits$1,300/oz gold priceFuel Price (WTI Crude Oil)US$100Average Operating Cash Cost$/oz521.6Total Cash Cost (w/Royalty)$/oz625.6Pre-Tax NPV$ M643.8Pre-Tax IRR%14.9PaybackYears6.9After-Tax NPV$ M432.0After-Tax IRR%12.7PaybackYears7.2Independent Qualified Persons The Feasibility Study was prepared by leading independent consulting firms. Qualified Persons ("QP") under Canadian Securities Administrators' National Instrument 43-101 are listed below. The work was completed with the collaboration of the Aurora Gold Project technical group and Company staff. The QPs have reviewed and approved the content of this news release. The following consultants participated in the study:Mineral resource estimation, open pit and underground mine planning,  and the mineral resource and mineral reserve statements were prepared by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. (Toronto) under the direction of Glen Cole, P.Geo. (mineral resources), Brian Connolly, P. Eng. (open pit reserves), and Ken Reipas, P. Eng. (underground reserves)The design of the underground mine shaft was prepared by DMC Mining Services "Dynatec" (Toronto), under the direction of Leo Hwozdyk P.EngThe environmental management system was designed by AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, a Division of AMEC Americas Limited, under the general direction of Pedram MolkAra, M.Sc., M.Eng., P.Geo. and senior review of David Bleiker, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.. Adam Coulson, Ph.D., P.Eng. directed the open pit and underground rock mechanics study, Prapote Boonsinsuk, Ph.D., P.Eng. directed the foundation design, Simon Gautrey, M.Sc., MBA, P.Geo. directed the hydrogeology study and Norman Schwartz, M.Sc.Eng., P.Eng. directed the hydrological studiesThe design of the Ventilation System was prepared by Bluhm Burton Engineering (PTY) Ltd. "BBE" (South Africa), under the direction of Frank von GlehnThe design of the Paste Backfill System was prepared by Golder PasteTec (Sudbury), under the direction of Chris Lee, P.EngThe design of the Processing Facilities was prepared by Ausenco Solutions Canada Inc., under the direction of David John Brimage , MAusIMM CPEnvironmental design was prepared by Environ Corp. (Washington, DC), under the direction of Reed Huppman, Principal, and Glenn Mills, Principal Consultant and Matthew Trout, Associate ConsultantThe design of the Power Systems was prepared by Martin Menard & Associates (Montreal), under the direction of Martin MenardDesign of off-site and on-site infrastructure items were the responsibility of GGI under the direction of Claude Lemasson, P.Eng with review by SRKThe financial model and economic analysis were prepared by GGI with review by SRKA complete Technical Report summarizing the results of the Feasibility Study will be filed on the Company's website and on SEDAR within 45 days.Conference CallGuyana Goldfields will hold a conference call today at 11:00 AM EST where senior management will discuss the Feasibility Study and respond to questions. To join the call:Conference Call Details:Date of Call: Friday, February 24, 2012Time of Call:11:00am ESTConference ID: 55862903Dial-In Numbers:North America Toll-Free:       (888) 231-8191International:        (647) 427-7450For anyone not able to participate in the conference call, an audio webcast will be available for 90 days through the following link:    http://www.newswire.ca/en/webcast/detail/926073/989287About Guyana Goldfields Inc.Guyana Goldfields Inc. is a Canadian based company, primarily focused on the exploration and development of gold deposits in Guyana, South America where the Company has operated since 1996.  The Company recently completed its Definitive Feasibility Study for its Aurora Gold Project and expects to start the construction of the mine subject to Board approval. The mine plan contains 45.2 million tonnes of ore grading 3.17 g/t Au with a total of 4.6 million oz of contained gold. The current measured and indicated resource is 5.71 million ounces gold (47.04 million tonnes at a grade of 3.83 g/t).At the Aranka Properties, the Company has discovered a gold deposit at Sulphur Rose and other highly prospective targets within a 5-km radius have been identified for drill testing in 2012.As at the date hereof, the Company has approximately $29 million in cash and short-term bank guaranteed investment certificates and no debt; there are approximately 83 million shares issued and outstanding.Information Concerning Estimates of Mineral Reserves and ResourcesThe mineral reserve and resource estimates reported in this press release were prepared in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. For United States reporting purposes, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") applies different standards in order to classify mineralization as a reserve. In particular, while the terms "measured," "indicated" and "inferred" mineral resources are required pursuant to NI 43-101, the SEC does not recognize such terms. Canadian standards differ significantly from the requirements of the SEC. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the mineral deposits in these categories constitute or will ever be converted into reserves. In addition, "inferred" mineral resources have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian securities laws, issuers must not make any disclosure of results of an economic analysis that includes inferred mineral resources, except in rare cases.Forwarding-Looking InformationThis news release contains "forward-looking information" which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral resources. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words and phrases such as "plans," "expects," "is expected," "budget," "scheduled," "estimates," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates," or "believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may," "could," "would," "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made and are based on various assumptions.Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of GGI to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the final findings set forth in the Feasibility Study , general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; the actual results of exploration activities; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; political instability; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in GGI's annual information form. Although GGI has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended.  Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this news release and GGI disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results, except as may be required by applicable securities laws. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. PDF with caption: "Aurora Ore Model". PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/02/24/20120224_C7083_DOC_EN_10409.pdfFor further information: Guyana Goldfields Inc.  Claude Lemasson President & COO Jacqueline Wagenaar Vice President, Corporate Communications Tel: (416) 628-5936 Ext. 2295 Fax: (416) 628-5935 E-mail: jwagenaar@guygold.com Website: www.guygold.com