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WAIVER EXTENSION, REVISED TIMING OF ENFORCEMENT – pa.gov

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 5:25 am

Updated Business GuidanceBusiness Waiver Application FormFAQ on Business Guidance

Harrisburg, PA Due to the high volume of waiver requests, the Wolf Administration is delaying enforcement of Governor Tom Wolfs order and the Secretary of Healths order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Per Governor Wolfs and Dr. Levines orders, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00 PM. This order stands, only the enforcement timing will change and become effective on Monday, March 23, at 8:00 AM.

Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should check this list, email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. For businesses that determine from the list that they are non-life sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, there is an online waiver application.

When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open. Businesses applying for a waiver must remain closed until a decision is made about their application.

DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow http://www.governor.pa.gov and http://www.doh.pa.gov.

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The U.S. Military’s Behind-the-Scenes Moves To Protect Nuclear Readiness Amid Coronavirus – Newsweek

Posted: at 5:25 am

The Defense Department shifted many of its domestic bases to "health protection condition" Charlie on Sunday, the latest in a series of moves to protect military forces, families and bases from coronavirus. HPCON Charlie also known as "substantial threat of sustained community transmission" is the fourth highest of five levels.

Though Pentagon officials continue to insist that the coronavirus pandemic has had no impact on operational readiness of the armed forces, behind the scenes military exercises and deployments are being scaled down and canceled, and plans are being put in place to sustain essential operations. That includes the so-called triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines that make up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Last week, the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Adm. Charles A. "Chas" Richard, said that nuclear readiness was unaffected by coronavirus. The nuclear forces, he said, "remain ready to execute" their war plans despite coronavirus and that the pandemic has had "no impact to our ability" to carry out missions.

Adm. Richard said that his Omaha, Nebraska-based command "had plans in place that we have updated and are executing,'' to deal with a pandemic. The nuclear force, he said, was designed to operate isolated for long periods of time.

But an active force that is constantly kept on alert is also one that is more exposed. According to a military tally compiled as of Sunday and reviewed by Newsweek, units feeding STRATCOM have a cumulative 106 uniformed personnel not on duty due to coronavirus, either because of confirmed cases or "protective self-quarantine." Six bases are listed where bombers, missiles, aerial refueling tankers and supporting command and communications units that support the nuclear force are reporting coronavirus cases, according to the data compiled by the Defense Department.

One positive case of coronavirus was reported Saturday at Whiteman air force base in Johnson County, Missouri, where the B-2 stealth bomber force is deployed. Three of those bombers returned to base over the weekend from a "deterrent" mission deployment to Europe. That mission, observers say, was cut short in comparison with previous bomber deployments.

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The United States currently has a total of about 850 nuclear warheads on alert 400 nuclear-armed land-based intercontinental missiles in three western states, and 450 warheads on five ballistic missile submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These are the weapons that are ready to instantly respond to presidential commands, according to the Federation of American Scientists. An additional 1,300 warheads can be brought up to alert status quickly on four or five additional submarines and on 60 nuclear-configured B-2 and B-52 bombers at bases, all in a matter of a few days.

Last week, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said that the nuclear deterrent has had no changes in its operations due to coronavirus.

An example of those operations is the deployment of the three B-2 stealth bombers to Europe on March 8, the bombers and their maintainers first landing at Lajes Field in the Azores, an archipelago of nine islands 850 miles off the coast of Portugal. The next day, the bombers flew to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in the southwest U.K. There, they conducted various practice missions over the North Sea on March 12, an Icelandic Air Policing mission on March 16 and 17, over the North Sea on March 18, and then over the Arctic Ocean on March 20. The bombers practiced flying with British, Dutch and Norwegian fighter planes, practicing escort and the procedures for the bombing of Russia.

"A credible deterrent for the high North region," Lt. Gen. Steven Basham said, in describing the operations. "Operating B-2s in the Arctic allow us to shape that environment by demonstrating our resolve to deliver combat power anywhere in the world if called upon."

"The world expects that NATO and the U.S. continue to execute our mission with decisiveness, regardless of any external challenge," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

As for the nuclear arsenal itself, the Department of Energy, which is responsible for the nuclear warheads, said last week that it would continue "its National Essential Functions, Primary Mission Essential Functions, and Mission Essential Functions" despite coronavirus shifts to telework and other social distancing operations.

No nuclear warheads are currently being produced, the production run of the W76 Trident submarine missile warhead life extension program ending last December. The nuclear warhead producers were to have shifted the production line to producing a new bomb the B61 Mod 12 starting this month, but because of technical hold-ups, production of that warhead has now been delayed until late 2021.

Instead, the Department is in a constant cycle of keeping the existing stockpile of bomber and missile warheads healthy. Nuclear weapons expert and observer Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists says that includes "taking apart and surveying existing warheads in the stockpile" at the rate of about a dozen or so warheads per month. This is primarily accomplished at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, though the two nuclear laboratories Los Alamos in New Mexico and Livermore in California also get involved in more complex and problem cases discovered in what are called "surveillance" activities. The current U.S. nuclear stockpile is made up of seven different basic types of warheads, and some sampling of each is shipped from active bases back to Pantex and the laboratories in a complex and secret ongoing process.

Kristensen says that though there have been few signs of how coronavirus is impacting nuclear forces, the B-2 mission in Europe was "dramatically shortened" in comparison with previous years. "Last fall when they deployed the B-2s, they were there [at RAF Fairford] for a month," he says. Kristensen is been closely following bases where nuclear weapons are deployed, as well as the operations of the force, expecting that there will be significant changes if the virus persists in its growth.

Though U.S. European Command says its readiness remains high "for the foreseeable future," it admits it is already curtailing numerous military exercises due to coronavirus. In the coming months, Gen. Tod Wolters, overall European commander says, it is likely that between 30 and 65 percent of exercises will be reduced or canceled. Other commands have similarly canceled or postponed Russia-oriented military exercises, including a Red Flag exercise planned for Alaska and a high-profile test of a new all-domain warfighting system planned for next month, one that would have practiced the integration of nuclear, conventional, cyber and space weaponry.

"My organization is designed to be able to operate isolated for long periods of time," STRATCOM commander Adm. Richard insists.

The 3,000 person headquarters in Omaha has taken steps to institute social distancing, and it has shifted some people and functions to alternate and subordinate commands, improving redundancies and guarding against spread of the virus.

Though alerts, exercises, and the shuffling around of warheads continues, a senior officer at U.S. Strategic Command (who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to public speak on the matter) says that everyone is anticipating that there will be significant changes are coming. "There isn't a command headquarters, including STRATCOM," the senior officer says, "where there aren't people with coronavirus symptoms or in self-quarantine."

For now, Kristensen says, "probably the healthiest people in America are those who are coming back from the longest submarine patrols," which currently last as long as 78 days.

They've been underwater since almost the beginning of the year.

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Mine life extension puts Kisladag back on the map – Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly

Posted: February 24, 2020 at 5:43 am

Canadas Eldorado Gold has announced a 15-year mine life at Kisladag, in Turkey, to 2034, following the completion of long-cycle heap leach testwork and the replacement of the tertiary crushing circuit with a high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) circuit.

The new mineral reserve for Kisladag includes proven and probable reserves of 173.2-million tonnes of ore at 0.72 g/t, containing four-million ounces of gold.

The mine is forecast to produce an average of 160000 oz/y at an average cash cost of $675/oz to $725/oz and an average all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $800/oz to $850/oz.

Kisladag has been the cornerstone asset of Eldorado for over a decade, producing over three-million ounces of gold and generating significant value for all stakeholders during that period. Following the resumption of full operations last spring, and the significant work and testing undertaken by the Eldorado team over the past 18 months, we are pleased to announce a mine life extension at Kisladag that puts this asset back in the core of our portfolio, said president and CEO George Burns.

Eldorado reported that the project self-funds all development capital for waste stripping and the HPGR circuit. The cost for the HPGRcircuit, about $35-million, is spread over 2020 and 2021, while the cost of capitalised waste stripping, about $260-million, is spread over the life of the project, with heavier stripping in the first several years.

Meanwhile, Eldorado said it would produce 520000 oz to 550000 oz of gold in 2020, a substantial increase ofon the 395331 oz produced in 2019.

Average cash operating costs are forecast to decline from $608/oz of gold sold in 2019, to $550/oz to $600/oz of gold sold in 2020. The AISC for 2020 is forecast to be $850/oz to $950/oz of gold sold, down on the $1033/oz of gold sold in 2019.

With the extension of Kisladags mine life and continued operations at Lamaque, in Canada, Efemcukuru, in Turkey, and Olympias, in Greece, Eldorado is forecasting five-year production from its four current operations to average over 450 000 oz/y. In addition to the updated Kisladag technical report, the company is in the process of updating technical reports for Olympias and Efemcukuru, which will be published by the end of the first quarter.

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WVU aims to make an impact in everyday West Virginians’ lives – WV News

Posted: at 5:43 am

MORGANTOWN West Virginia University is continuously stretching beyond Morgantown and Monongalia County and making a mark in all 55 of the Mountain States counties through ventures in health care, job creation and Extension services.

WVU is a land-grant institution, meaning it aims to lead in research productivity and undergraduate and graduate education and serve as an engine of growth for the states economy, according to the WVU Center for the Future of Land Grant Education. That classification contributes directly to the universitys mission of making an impact in West Virginia.

We belong to the people of this state, WVU President Dr. E. Gordon Gee said, adding that the university is in all 55 counties through health care and the Extension Service. We have taken a much more aggressive role in engaging with all of our various communities.

Gee said education, health care and prosperity are the main pillars of WVUs mission to serve West Virginia and they communicate just how much WVU cares about the state.

I believe that our priority is to create jobs and create jobs directly, Gee said, adding that education goes beyond classes at WVU and into working closely with public school systems across the state to meet educational goals, which has been a priority for him since he returned as president in 2013.

That focus on job creation and the economy comes through programs like WVUs Vantage Ventures, which is aiming to make the state more attractive for startups by building businesses deploying intellectual property across the universitys expansive research platforms while leveraging its untapped pools of science, technology, engineering and business talent.

Im proud of our engagement, Gee said. Im proud of what were doing.

Perhaps one of the most notable and recognizable ways WVU is engaging with communities around West Virginia is through WVU Medicine.

With our health system, were the largest employer in the state, and were the largest economic facilitator in the state, Gee said. With that comes immense responsibility.

WVU Medicine is overseeing 12 hospitals around the state and managing health clinics and hospitals in West Virginia and surrounding states, according to Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and dean of WVU Health Sciences.

We hope to be able to increase the accessibility of people in West Virginia to getting good medical care, he said. Weve greatly expanded our capacity and our skills in the complexity of the care that we can deliver. ... We are able to address any complex need for any person in the state of West Virginia here in the state.

WVU has been on the cutting edge of many areas of health care, accomplishing some procedures and advancements first in the state and country like the first heart transplant in the history of the state and construction of the Mountain States first childrens hospital.

Our goal is that no West Virginian has to leave this state to get good health care, Gee said.

To be of service to patients across the state, WVU Medicine and WVU Health Sciences have to be accessible to the rural population of West Virginia, which creates its own set of challenges.

Part of Health Sciences and part of WVU is were doing a lot of community outreach, he said, using the example of working with a set of varied community and health-care leaders in Harrison County to meet the needs of that area. We are creating pathways that people across the state can access.

That includes working with local food pantries to facilitate delivery in more rural communities and creating a network of practice-based research sites and hospitals to figure out how to best serve rural communities.

One of the areas for which WVU Medicine heard the most need is telemedicine, which WVU has made a main priority, according to Marsh.

We are serving the state both in person and ... were also using telemedicine for the part of the state that can receive the telemedicine signal, he said, adding that the telestroke network has expanded to smaller hospitals in the southern part of the state, and more individuals are being trained there meet area-specific needs.

With telemedicine comes a need for high-speed internet and broadband, and Marsh said WVU is working with legislative leaders to answer that call and further the advancement of telemedicine access and use.

We believe thats another point of what we can do from a lobbying standpoint, is try and connect everybody, he said.

Partnership and collaboration are key, from Marshs standpoint, in making strides for the whole state.

We want to help anybody that we can, he said, adding that working with other universities and community partners is key for touching everyday people especially in rural areas. I think, in general, we have come together nicely and have set a nice foundation for working together in the future.

As part of its role as a land-grant institution, WVU has an Extension Service that provides activities and research-based information to residents and communities throughout the state, according to Sue Day-Perroots, interim dean and director of the WVU Extension Service.

West Virginia has agents in all 55 counties, Day-Perroots said, adding that Extension Service agents have expertise in areas like youth development, agriculture, economic development and healthy living. We have over 70,000 youth that are involved in 4-H and youth development programs.

One of the Extension Services award-winning programs is Energy Express, which focuses on nutrition and summer reading support for low-income children, serving more than 3,000 students each year, she said.

Day-Perroots noted that Extension Service agents were recently given statistics and research on every county information that was gathered at an annual conference this year to further support goals for individual communities in West Virginia.

We looked at educational attainment. We looked at workforce development. We looked at healthy living criteria and gave that to our agents. And part of their plan of work was to look at what programming best fit and best addressed the needs of their communities, she said.

Programs like Dining with Diabetes, youth engagement, Extension Garden Calendar and 4-H all go back to the Extension Service, which Day-Perroots said is the best way to know exactly how WVU can play a role in everyday life.

See the wealth of what is available to everyday citizens, she said.

Perhaps the biggest message WVU leaders want state residents to know is that WVU cares about the overall health and success of the state, according to Gee.

With issues like the opioid epidemic, rural health concerns and social isolation, Marsh believes that WVU Medicine and WVU Health Sciences are there to serve any community in West Virginia and improve quality of life through collaboration and partnership.

We are here to serve the state, Marsh said. We have built the capacity to take care of anybody who has an illness here in the state. ... Our goal is for people to be well, because thats what we want for people that we love.

WVU leadership cares about faculty, staff, alumni and friends, but also the state as a whole, and Gee wants to live up to the pride many feel in the gold and blue.

We want every West Virginian in their hearts and minds to believe that this university is in their lives and serving them, Gee said. Our name is West Virginia University, and we carry that with pride. ... In many ways, the university really represents the pride of the state.

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Over the Garden Gate: Bees are native pollinators – Ellwood City Ledger

Posted: at 5:43 am

Native mason and leafcutter bees are highly efficient pollinators, especially in cross-pollination, and are generalists in their flower choices.

As I listen to the rain, I notice the bouquet of flowers on the counter. The flowers remind me of the two groups of native pollinators that we have in our gardens and flower beds.

They are the native mason and leafcutter bees. Both bees are dark in color and small in size somewhere between a large fly and honey bee.

Unlike European honey bees, their dark bodies warm up quickly in the morning sun and they begin flying early in the day. They are solitary bees and do not live in hives, nor do they produce honey. They are highly efficient pollinators, especially in cross-pollination, and are generalists in their flower choices. They lay their eggs in cocoons in hollow reeds, abandoned beetle burrows and in man-made wood or paper nesting tubes.

Like the honey bee, their life span is only six to eight weeks long.

Mason bees emerge from their overwintering cocoons when the daytime air temperature is in the low to mid-50 degrees. In Pittsburgh, this is around April 15, generally when crocus, daffodils, redbud or forsythias are beginning to bloom. Their nest is lined with mud hence the name mason bee.

Mason bees prefer the pollen and nectar of flowering fruit and nut trees such as cherry, plum, apple, apricot, peach, pear and several nut varieties. They will also forage native plants or herbs that are blooming.

One mason bee is estimated to be capable of pollinating enough cherry blossoms to produce 12 pounds of cherries. It would take 60 honeybees to pollinate a similar number of cherry blossoms!

The second group of native bees are leafcutter bees, which emerge from their overwintering cocoons around mid-June roughly when summer begins and daytime temperatures are 75 to 80 degrees. They will seek pollen from fruit, wild flowers and vegetables for example, beans, squash, tomatoes, sunflowers and asters. Leafcutters also employ grazing flight patterns similar to mason bees making them efficient pollinators.

The leafcutter bees home is also in a hollow tube which they will line with cut out sections of leaves or petals. Cutting sections of leaves to line their nests gives them the name leafcutter bees.

As a home gardener, you can provide an artificial habitat for these bees, in wood or paper nesting tubes.

For more information, visit https://extension.psu.edu/conserving-wild-bees-in-pennsylvania.

Hummingbirds are the featured pollinator at the Penn State Master Gardeners Smart Gardening Workshop on March 14 at the Learning Resource Center on the Community College of Beaver County campus. For more information and to register by the March 6 deadline, go to https://extension.psu.edu/smart-gardening.

Frank Saus is a Master Gardener with Penn State Extension -- Beaver County.

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What is the real cost of a Richards Avenue extension? – Santa Fe New Mexican

Posted: at 5:43 am

I read with concern Steven Valdezs letter (Connect Richards now, Feb. 14), arguing that it definitely is a no-brainer to pave a Richards Avenue connection. Projects that cost millions of dollars are not no-brainers. Arguing that neighbors who oppose this costly project are only concerned about their property is incorrect.

Property owners have every right to be concerned about their property values; likely Valdez is concerned with his if he owns a home. For many homeowners in the affected area, their houses represent their life savings.

But the proposed routes across the arroyo raise a variety of other problems that bear careful thought. They run through relatively narrow residential streets with speed bumps, so none is easily traversable between Cerrillos and Rodeo roads. Also, no methodology is provided in the preliminary report indicating how the figures on the number of cars that would use the proposed routes were calculated.

No proposed route seems likely to carry the numbers of cars projected. Given the distances to the Institute of American Indian Arts and Santa Fe Community College, the real connection will be to Genoveva Chavez Community Center. To spend millions of dollars on creating that connection at the same time that the city is engaged in trying to redevelop the midtown campus is worrisome. Just how many major projects can the city afford?

The report also argues that the project will not affect water flow in the arroyo, based on 100-year floodplain maps. In a time of intense climate change, those maps are hardly predictive.

In the summer of 2018, after very heavy rainfall, the arroyo nearly overflowed its banks. The proximity of many houses and businesses to the arroyo on both sides means that flood control considerations must be a priority in weighing the costs and benefits of the project.

It is fair to ask: Will this project actually change driving patterns as much as those in favor argue that it will? As planning goes forward, what, it must also be asked, will be the projects mid- and long-term financial, environmental and even recreational costs to Santa Feans?

Susan Kellogg is a historian who lives in Santa Fe.

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New Gold updates Rainy River and New Afton mine plans – The Northern Miner

Posted: at 5:43 am

Looking to stem losses driven by high-cost operations, New Gold (TSX: NGD; NYSE-AM: NGD) recently tabled revamped life-of-mine plans for its Rainy River and New Afton mines focused on improving the bottom line and boosting profitability.

The mine plan update was released along with the companys 2019 results that showed a US$74 million loss for the year, or 12 per share. Although New Gold hit its guidance with annual consolidated production of 486,141 gold-equivalent oz. (322,557 oz. gold, 596,452 oz. silver and 79.4 million lb. copper, its all-in-sustaining-costs (AISCs) of US$1,310 per oz. gold-equivalent for the year and US$1,862 per oz. gold-equivalent in the fourth quarter highlights the need to trim costs.

New Gold says its new life-of-mine plan is roughly a year in the making and focuses on mining method optimizations, evaluation of alternate mining scenarios, and reining in capital requirements to boost profitability and deliver free cash flow.

The companys new vision for its Rainy River gold mine, located near Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario, sees a smaller pit shell for open-pit operations using a US$1,275 per oz. gold price and a boost in the mineral reserve cut-off grade to between 0.46 gram gold-equivalent per tonne to 0.49 gram gold-equivalent per tonne (up from the previous 0.30 gram gold-equivalent per tonne cut-off grade). The revised plan would mine open-pit ore at a lower strip ratio of 2.53:1 (waste:ore) over a four-year mine life through to 2024, with full depletion of the pit by early 2025.

Lower-grade open pit ore (0.30 gram gold-equivalent per tonne to 0.46 gram gold-equivalent per tonne) mined during the pits operational life would be stockpiled to supplement mill feed once the mine transitions to underground operations.

Pit operations at New Golds Rainy River gold mine northwestern Ontario. Credit: New Gold.

Over its new open-pit operational life, New Gold forecasts mining 67.5 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.91 gram gold per tonne at Rainy River.

Underground operations at Rainy River are expected to come online in 2022, and would ramp-up to peak production from 2025 to 2027. The underground mine plan targets zones that can deliver optimal profitability at a gold price of US$1,275 per oz. and would use four in-pit portals and one portal outside the pit to exploit the ore blocks. Mining would cease in 2028, although the company says there are lower grade zones that could potentially support a mine life extension in a higher gold price environment. Over its planned underground mine life, an estimated 4.1 million tonnes of ore averaging 4.17 grams gold per tonne would be extracted.

Average annual production from Rainy River under the new plan is forecast at 289,000 oz. gold equivalent at a new life-of-mine average head grade of 1.06 grams gold per tonne and an 89% recovery rate. AISCs are forecast at US$967 per oz. gold-equivalent over the eight-year mine life. Total proven and probable reserves are tabled at 2.6 million contained oz. gold and 6.3 million contained oz. silver in 77.6 million tonnes grading 1.06 grams gold per tonne and 2.5 grams per tonne silver.

The company says it expects free cash flow generation at Rainy River beginning in the fourth quarter of this year, and over its new forecast mine life it anticipates total free cash flow of US$550 million at US$1,300 per oz. gold, or more than US$1 billion at a spot gold price assumption of US$1,550 per ounce gold.

Raymond James mining analyst Farooq Hamed highlighted the new Rainy River life-of-mine plan as a shorter life, lower-cost ounces scenario, with four years trimmed from the mine life with less production; however, that is offset by lower operating costs and significantly lower capital expenditures. In a research note, the analyst maintained his market perform rating for the company and has a $1.25 target price on the stock.

Scotiabank analyst Trevor Turnbull viewed the revised plan negatively. The new mine plan at Rainy River significantly reduced the mine life, and near-term capital costs (2020-2024) actually increased 16% to US$589 million, he comments in a research note. He also expresses concern over reduced cash flow and debt servicing capacity with US$400 million of senior unsecured debt maturing in late 2022; however, he maintained his Sector Perform rating on the stock and raised his one-year target price to US$1.00 from US75.

New Golds other operation, the New Afton underground gold-copper mine located on the outskirts of Kamloops in south-central British Colombia, also underwent a review over the past year looking to extend its life out to 2030.

The New Afton mine was historically mined by Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.B; NYSE: TCK) as the Afton open pit from 1978 to 1997, when operations ceased due to economic constraints in deepening the pit to exploit the deeper mineralization. New Gold acquired the project in 2005 and developed an exploration ramp near the pit floor to extract a bulk sample and subsequently developed an underground mine plan utilizing block caving to extract the ore. The underground mine commenced operation in mid-2012. With an average production rate of 16,000 tonnes per day, it is touted by the company as the largest daily tonnage underground hard rock mine in Canada.

The companys plan would bring New Aftons deeper and higher-grade C zone (situated at a depth of 800 metres to 1,200 metres) into development using a similar block caving method as utilized in the upper levels. Under the plan, development would commence this year and continue through 2024, with production beginning in the third quarter of 2024 and ramping up to full production from 2025 to 2029.

An operator using Sandviks AutoMine system to drive an LH410 in the New Afton mine. Credit: Sandvik.

In its news release announcing the mine plans revisions, Renaud Adams, New Golds president and CEO, said the company has an integrated mine plan that optimizes the self-funded development of New Aftons B3 and C zone that could deliver significant free cash flow of more than US$1 billion over the life of mine.

New Gold forecasts total capital for the life-of-mine (US$175 million and US$460 million in sustaining and non-sustaining capital, respectively) is anticipated to remain high from 2020 to 2023, primarily due to the C zone, and decrease significantly from 2024 to 2026, with minimal capital over the balance of the mine life.

The New Afton updated mine plan will also incorporate enhanced tailings engineering to increase the stability of the current and historical tailings, with in-pit thickened tailings deposition planned for the C zone ore portion.

Annual production from New Afton is forecast at 260,000 oz. gold-equivalent over the next decade under the new plan at life-of-mine average head grades of 0.68 gram gold per tonne with an 86% recovery rate and 0.77% copper with an 89% recovery rate. AISCs are expected to come in at US$681 per oz. gold equivalent (based on US$1,300 per oz. gold, US$16 per oz. silver and US$3 per lb copper) over the 10-year mine life. Total proven and probable reserves are 1 million contained oz. gold, 2.8 million contained oz. silver and 802 million lb. copper in 77.6 million tonnes grading 0.66 gram gold per tonne, 1.9 grams silver per tonne and 0.77% copper.

Following the release of its annual financial results and the new life-of-mine plans, shares in New Gold dropped as much as 16% to the 98 level, an almost eight-month low. At press time, the shares recovered slightly to $1.07 giving the company a $723 million market capitalization based on its 676 million common shares outstanding.

As of year-end 2019, New Gold had a cash position of US$83 million.

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Responsible Battery Coalition Applauds University of Michigan Research on Lithium-Ion Battery Degradation Calls Research Important Step in Educating…

Posted: at 5:43 am

Batteries

Published on February 18th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor

February 18th, 2020 by Guest Contributor

Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica

MILWAUKEEThe Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) a leading coalition of companies, academics and organizations dedicated to the responsible management and environmental sustainability of batteries applauded research published today by the University of Michigan (U-M) in theJournal of Energy Storageon best practices for consumers for extending the life of lithium-ion batteries, as well as the cost savings associated with minimizing degradation. The link to the paper can be foundhere.

This research is the second phase of work conducted by U-M and supported by RBC. The first phase was published in May 2019 and outlined ten Green Principles for Vehicle Energy Storage (Green Principles)that represent a comprehensive set of recommendations to guide mobile battery deployment and technology development from an environmental perspective, particularly defining best practices for minimizing the environmental impact of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

In the new research published today, the U-M team expands onGreen Principle #6 todesign and operate battery systems to maximize service life and limit degradation by outlining nine consumer best practices for extending battery life to decrease costs and reduce environmental burdens associated with the production of new batteries. The new best practices address material consumption, mining impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the disposal of used batteries.

As the nation and world shift to economies powered by batteries, it is paramount as responsible stewards of the environment that we extend the life of all types of batteries, particularly those in our cars and trucks, saidSteve Christensen, executive director of the Responsible Battery Coalition. This work by such a respected research institution as the University of Michigan is an important first step toward creating a generational change in how consumers use and manage batteries.

The International Energy Agency has predicted that 125 million electric vehicles will be on roads globally by 2030.The RBC seeks to develop a circular economy for batteries that ensures that they are part of the solution in creating a more sustainable environment.

Many of the recommended practices discovered by the U-M research team are related to three main variables that impact battery health: temperature, state of charge, and current. Specific recommendations in the findings include:

As the mobile electronics and EV industries continue to grow, even small improvements in lifetime extension will have significant environmental benefits, the authors of theJournal of Energy Storagepaper wrote.

By minimizing exposure to the conditions that accelerate degradation, batteries can last longer. And this has a positive environmental impact, as battery production is a source of greenhouse gas emissions and many other pollutants, said study corresponding authorGreg Keoleian, director of the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems at the School for Environment and Sustainability.

Additionally, there are significant financial incentives for users to avoid adverse conditions, as the cost of lithium-ion batteries can range from 5% to over 50% of a products cost,Keoleiansaid.

As an organization whose members include the worlds largest battery manufacturer and recycler, leading automotive aftermarket retailers, and some of the largest auto producers and transportation fleet owners, were proud to have been able to support this research to help both industry and consumers get maximum life and value out of their lithium-ion battery products, addedChristensen.

In developing its list of nine best practices for lithium-ion battery life extension, U-M researchers, supported by the RBC, based their search on a range of sources, including academic publications, manufacturers user manuals, and open-source consumer information from customer-support websites.

Research Details

In addition to the academic literature reviewed, researchers also surveyed publicly available information from manufacturers, looking for instructions, guidance, warnings or tips regarding the use and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries.

Those companies included 10 cell phone manufacturers (Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and ZTE), 10 laptop manufacturers (Acer, Apple, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft, Samsung and Toshiba), four power tool manufacturers (Bosch, DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee Tool), and 10 electric vehicle manufacturers, including RBC members Ford Motor Company and Honda.

Authors of theJournal of Energy Storagepaper, in addition to Keoleian, are Maxwell Woody, Maryam Arbabzadeh and Geoffrey M. Lewis of the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems and Anna Stefanopoulou of the U-M Energy Institute.

Read the paper: Strategies to limit degradation and maximize Li-ion battery service critical review and guidance for stakeholdershttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352152X19314227?dgcid=author

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Responsible Battery Coalition Applauds University of Michigan Research on Lithium-Ion Battery Degradation Calls Research Important Step in Educating...

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Bruce Power marks next step of major project collaboration with ATS in Cambridge – TheRecord.com

Posted: at 5:43 am

A collaboration between Cambridge's Automation Tooling Systems and Bruce Power took major next steps that will result in the creation of further jobs in the province.

On Friday, Feb 21, ATS unveiled the tooling systems that will be used to perform major work in Bruce Power's Major Component Replacement (MCR) project.

The MCR project, launched last month with the start of refurbishing the Unit 6 nuclear reactor at the Bruce B generating station, is the centrepiece of Bruce Powers Life-Extension Program, which will ensure the company continues to produce carbon-free, low-cost and reliable electricity through 2064. ATS Automation has a multi-year tooling agreement with Bruce Power for the supply of automated tooling systems and related services.

The tools designed and built to safely remove the irradiated reactor components have, over the last year, undergone significant testing at ATSs Major Component Replacement Integration Facility. As this phase of the work for tools for Unit 6 is being completed, ATS in collaboration with Bruce Power is preparing the tools for shipment to site for use in the hands-on training and preparation for work in the Unit 6 refurbishment.

The delivery of the tooling for the MCR project is a significant accomplishment for our team and represents the culmination of several years of effort that spanned design, first-off tool builds and quality testing and, finally, production tooling with detailed integration testing for the Unit 6 refurbishment, said Andrew Hider, CEO of ATS. This work drew upon many of our highly skilled people at ATS, which included engineers, programmers, vision experts, electricians, toolmakers, integrators, technicians and support staff.

We are proud of the work accomplished by our team in collaboration with Bruce Power.

The Life-Extension Program at Bruce Power will create and sustain 22,000 direct and indirect jobs annually, while creating $4 billion in annual economic benefit to Ontario through the direct and indirect spending on operational equipment, supplies, materials and labour income.

The Ontario government, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, is also supporting ATS Automation through an investment of $1.5 million from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund for its expansion of its Cambridge, Ont., campus. With Ontarios support, ATS is expanding its operations by 122,000 square feet, including dedicated space for an Innovation Centre and creating 80 new positions.

Our government has been working hard to create the best conditions for businesses and job creators, said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. That is why we are supporting forward-thinking companies like ATS Automation through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund. Through our continued commitment to supporting key sectors, like advanced manufacturing in regional communities, we are helping make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.

This collaboration between ATS and Bruce Power is excellent news for our community and the province of Ontario, said Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South-Hespeler. The substantial number of jobs created through this project will have a tremendous economic impact for many years to come.

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Edited Transcript of ELD.TO earnings conference call or presentation 21-Feb-20 4:30pm GMT – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 5:43 am

VANCOUVER Feb 23, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Eldorado Gold Corp earnings conference call or presentation Friday, February 21, 2020 at 4:30:00pm GMT

* Tanya M. Jakusconek

Thank you for standing by. This is the conference operator. Welcome to the Eldorado Gold Corporation Fourth Quarter and 2019 Year-End Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to Peter Lekich, Manager, Investor Relations. Go ahead, Mr. Lekich.

Thank you, operator, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for taking the time to dial into our conference call today. With me in Vancouver this morning are George Burns, President and CEO; Phil Yee, Executive Vice President and CFO; Joe Dick, Executive Vice President and COO; Paul Skayman, Special Adviser to the COO; and Jason Cho, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Our release yesterday details our 2019 fourth quarter and year-end financial and operating results. This should be read in conjunction with our fourth quarter and year-end financial statements and management's discussion and analysis, both of which are available on our website. They have also been filed on SEDAR and EDGAR. All dollar figures discussed today are in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise stated. We will be speaking to the slides that accompany this webcast. You can download a copy of these slides from our website.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that any projections included in our discussion today are likely to involve risks, which are detailed in our 2018 AIF and in the cautionary note on Slide 1. I will now turn the call over to George.

Thanks, Peter, and good morning, everyone. It's fantastic to see the response to our release this morning. Here is the format for today's call. I'll give an overview of the highlights along with some comments, then I'll pass it over to Phil to go through the financials. Paul will follow by reviewing operational performance, and Joe will say a few words on 2020 plans. Then we'll open it up for questions.

Before we get into things, I want to say a warm welcome to Joe, our new COO. Joe has been with us for a few months and has had the opportunity to spend some time at our sites. He joins us from Newmont, where he was SVP for Latin America. He also has experience with Barrick and Rio Tinto. Welcome, Joe.

Moving on to the highlights on the next slide. It was another solid quarter for -- both operationally and financially. We produced a record 118,955 ounces of gold, our highest quarterly production in nearly 4 years. This was a result of increased production at Lamaque and Kisladag. Consolidated annual gold production came in on plan, and we ended the year with over 395,000 ounces, our highest total production in 3 years. Cash operating cost remained steady.

Looking back, 2019 was a pivotal year in Eldorado's 25-year history. We put our first Canadian mine into commercial production, we restructured the balance sheet and reduced our total debt by USD 100 million, and we received long-awaited permits in Greece. On top of these accomplishments, our cornerstone asset, Kisladag, is now back on track. We are confident that the results of recent test support and extended mine life of 15 years.

I'm proud of the benefit that will come to local communities and the Greeks. Kisladag will once again provide long-term value for Eldorado stakeholders. Over to Greece, our team is working with ministry officials to advance our investment. To recap, we have received the Skouries construction permits that held us up since 2017.

However, an updated investment agreement and permits for dry stack tailings are essential for the advancement of the investment and restart of the project. The revised investment agreement would not only provide a stable platform irrespective of future governing parties, it would also help in demonstrating Greece's commitment to working with foreign investors in order to attract capital needed to grow its economy.

Just to remind everyone, we view Skouries as a world-class asset that will create approximately 1,000 well-paying jobs over its current 23-year mine life and generate significant tax and export revenues for the benefit of local communities and the Greek state. Before I hand it over, you may have noticed that our logo is slightly different throughout this presentation. This refreshed logo is reflective of the evolution of our business and the new path forward.

The new green color highlights the company's continuing commitment to put sustainability at the core of our business. As evidence of this, we are currently building a global sustainability management system that outlines the common set of performance standards by which we will operate. This will allow us to simplify our existing systems through harmonizing the way we do things. It will also improve efficiencies and consistencies across our business that will drive productivity. That's it for me. Over to you, Phil.

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Philip Chow Yee, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Executive VP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, George. Good morning, everyone. Starting on Slide 4, we provide an overview of Eldorado Gold's financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019. Eldorado generated $191.9 million in total metal revenue in the fourth quarter. This includes $176.1 million in gold revenue and is an increase of 107% over the comparative quarter in 2018. The increase resulted from higher gold sales volumes of 118,900 ounces versus 58,860 in Q4 of 2018 and a higher realized average gold price in the fourth quarter of $1,475 an ounce versus $1,245 per ounce in Q4 of 2018.

For the full year 2019, Eldorado generated total metal revenue of $617.8 million, of which $530.9 million was gold revenue. This represents a 35% increase over 2018 and also resulted from higher gold sales volumes and a higher average gold price in 2019. Net earnings to shareholders in the fourth quarter was $91.2 million or $0.57 per share compared to a net loss to shareholders of $218.2 million or $1.38 loss per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Net earnings in the fourth quarter reflect an impairment reversal of $85.2 million or $68.2 million net of deferred tax for the Kisladag leach pad and related assets, reflecting the Kisladag mine life extension to 15 years. There was also an increase in depreciation in the fourth quarter, in line with increased sales volumes.

Net loss in the fourth quarter of 2018 included an impairment adjustment of $330.2 million or $247.7 million net of deferred tax, which is related to Olympias. For the full year of 2019, net earnings to shareholders was $80.6 million or $0.51 per share, reflecting essentially the same drivers as outlined for the fourth quarter. This represents a significant improvement over the full year 2018 net loss of $361.9 million or $2.28 loss per share.

Adjusted net earnings for the fourth quarter was $20.3 million or $0.13 per share, which was a significant improvement over the fourth quarter 2018 adjusted net loss of $18.9 million or $0.11 loss per share. In both periods, net earnings were adjusted primarily to remove the impairments and the impairment reversal.

For the full year 2019, adjusted net earnings were $5.6 million or $0.04 per share, adjusted to adjusted net loss of $28.6 million or $0.17 loss per share for 2018. The strong sales in the fourth quarter resulted in EBITDA of $158.7 million and adjusted EBITDA of $80.3 million, an improvement over the loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $327.9 million and adjusted EBITDA of $9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

For 2019, EBITDA amounted to $311.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA was $235.6 million. This is compared to a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $361.8 million and adjusted EBITDA of $99.6 million for 2018. Again, adjustments were primarily the impairment items discussed earlier.

Fourth quarter also represented a third consecutive quarter of positive free cash flow after achieving commercial production at Lamaque at the end of March of 2019. Finance costs were $8 million in the fourth quarter and $45.3 million for the year compared to $5.6 million for the full year of 2018. The significant increase in 2019 over 2018 primarily reflects interest no longer capitalized, following the commencement of commercial operations at Lamaque in the second quarter of 2019 and the transfer of Skouries to care and maintenance at the end of 2018.

Income tax expense amounted to $39.8 million for 2019 compared to a tax recovery of $86.5 million in 2018. The tax expense in 2019 primarily relates to income tax on operations in Turkey and mining duties for Lamaque. Deferred tax recoveries in 2019, relating to fixed asset movements, currency movements and a corporate tax rate reduction in Greece were almost fully offset by a $17 million deferred tax expense as a result of the impairment reversal for Kisladag. The tax recovery in 2018 primarily resulted from the impairment charges in that year.

Depreciation and amortization increased to $153.1 million in 2019 from $105.7 million in 2018. Reflecting the increase in sales volumes in 2019 as well as the commencement of commercial operations at Lamaque during the year.

Eldorado reported $64.2 million in net cash generated from operating activities in the fourth quarter and $165.8 million for the full year 2019. This was also a significant increase from the fourth quarter of 2018 of $4.9 million and $67.5 million for the full year 2018. We finished the year with approximately $366 million in available liquidity. Of this, $181 million was in cash, cash equivalents and term deposits as at December 31, 2019, and approximately $185 million remained available under the $250 million revolving credit facility, which remains undrawn. Approximately $65 million of this facility is allocated to secure certain reclamation obligations in connection with our operations.

I will now turn it over to Paul for a recap of operations.

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Paul James Skayman, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Special Advisor to the COO [5]

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Thanks, Phil. I'd like to echo George's comments and welcome Joe onboard as well. Here's a quick summary of our quarterly and year-to-date operating results. As George mentioned, we produced 118,955 ounces of gold in the quarter, a cash operating cost of $621 per ounce sold. And all-in sustaining costs of $1,110 per ounce sold. This was more or less in line with expectations.

Similarly, production for the year was also in line with expectations. We produced 395,331 ounces at a cash cost of $608 per ounce, and an all-in sustaining cost of $1,034 per ounce. This was our highest total production rate in 3 years.

Looking forward, our 2020 production is expected to grow approximately 35%. Forecasting annual production of between 520,000 and 550,000 ounces of gold at cash cost of $550 to $600 per ounce and all-in sustaining cost of $850 to $950 per ounce in 2020. We expect lower all-in sustaining cost in 2019 actuals as production is expected to increase this year.

That's it for me, a short section this time around. Over to Joe.

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Joseph Dennis Dick, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Executive VP & COO [6]

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Thanks, Paul, and good morning, everyone. It's a pleasure to be part of the Eldorado team, especially at such an exciting time in our business.

I'm going to Slide 6, we'll get a look at our 5-year outlook. Full year production figures remain the same for 2020, as what you saw in January 2019. And as we've talked before, production will decrease in 2021 as we mine lower grade at Kisladag. What I want to highlight is our sustained annual gold production beyond 2020. This is a sizable improvement over what you saw last year. In addition to the mine life extension at Kisladag, we are forecasting a step-up in production at Lamaque to 150,000 ounces per year through accelerated development. This does require an expansion to the existing permit for triangle underground extraction rates. We are also forecasting an increase in production from Olympias, and we'll discuss that a bit further later in this call.

Post-2020, we are now forecasting an annual average of over 450,000 ounces of gold per year from our base operations, and our key development projects provide potential growth to this production profile.

Over to Kisladag on Slide 7. The headline at Kisladag is an average of 160,000 ounces of gold per year for 15 years. The project is self-funding and reestablishes Kisladag as a cornerstone of our company. As you may remember, the company announced in January 2019 that it would suspend work on the mill in favor of resuming mining, crushing and heap leaching. The company also announced that it would continue test work on deeper material at Kisladag to see how it responded to longer leach cycles with the aim of extending mine life.

Later in 2019, the company announced that given the test work to date, it did expect to extend the mine life at Kisladag.

Additionally, the company conducted a high-pressure grinding roll, or HPGR, test work on several bulk samples. These samples were then tested to see how they would perform under a 250-day leach cycle. The results of the test work indicate that a combination of HPGR and longer leach cycles will yield recoveries of approximately 56%. This test work now complete and coupled with extensive test work covering the remaining reserve, we have a comprehensive understanding of how the ore body will behave going forward.

As a result, we collectively are confident -- very confident in our new mine plan. A 43-101 compliant report confirming our new reserves of over 4 million ounces of gold will be published before the end of this quarter.

Looking at Slide 8. We have an outline showing the scale of the new pit booking to the north. The darker yellow is the existing pit mine to date, and the shaded yellow is the new reserve pit. This new pit contains 173 million tonnes of ore, resulting in a 15-year mine life.

Slide 9 takes us to Lamaque. Our guidance for Lamaque increases to approximately 150,000 ounces per year by 2022. We will achieve this by increasing our mining rates to roughly 2,200 tonnes per day, which is the current capacity of the Sigma Mill.

This expansion requires no incremental capital and it simply accelerates underground development. Eldorado will continue to study ways to optimize the triangle deposit. Initially, we will focus on the decline from triangle to the Sigma Mill. Following that, we will look at debottlenecking the mill and a long-term tailings solution to enable us to go beyond 2,200 tonnes per day.

With the recent discovery of the Ormaque zone and continued exploration success at Triangle, the company has deferred release of a PEA. We feel that incorporation of new information into the study will allow us to better scope the full potential of Lamaque.

On to Olympias at Slide 10. 2019 was disappointing. Olympias finished the year with lower production and higher costs than planned. However, we did establish a positive trend in the second half of the year by improving the underground development and backfill cycles. During 2020, we will continue to focus on development and include additional initiatives aimed at further enhancing our productivity. The guidance we have issued shows continued positive trend and shows we are expecting to achieve higher production at lower costs than 2019.

We expect continued progress beyond 2020, resulting in improved cost performance over time. We still have a ways to go at Olympias. But we are making progress, and we expect the necessary step change in productivities over the next 2 years. On that basis, our 5-year plan includes an expansion at Olympias to 650,000 tonnes per year. Further details on the expansion will be outlined in a technical study that will also be published by the end of this quarter. With that, I'll turn it back to George for closing remarks.

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George Raymond Burns, Eldorado Gold Corporation - President, CEO & Director [7]

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Thanks, Joe. Before wrapping up, I want to take a moment to thank our global teams for their collaboration and drive in 2019, particularly the Kisladag team for putting the mine back on track and Lamaque team for an excellent first year.

Together, we achieved multiple significant milestones, making it a pivotal year for Eldorado. I'm very proud that we delivered our highest annual production in 3 years, while maintaining steady operating costs. We expect this positive momentum to continue with 2020 production forecasted to grow to between 520,000 and 550,000 ounces. The expected increased cash flow will give us options to invest in our growth projects and pay down our debt. We will continue to put safety, sustainability and governance at the core of our business as we seek ever better ways to operate.

Thank you, everyone. I will now turn it over to the operator for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question comes from Mike Parkin with National Bank.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [2]

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With the Olympias expansion study coming out, should we be looking for that largely to be the addition of the ball mill that you've spoken to in the past?

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Paul James Skayman, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Special Advisor to the COO [3]

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Yes, that's correct. There's some subtle changes elsewhere in the plant, but the major changes that addition of a ball mill.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [4]

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So are we still thinking on CapEx somewhere around like $20 million, $25 million?

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Paul James Skayman, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Special Advisor to the COO [5]

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Yes, a little bit more than that, Mike, but not significant.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [6]

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Okay. Where do you see OpEx per tonne on an overall basis, kind of trending as whatever percent drop from where it's kind of been or however you want to kind of communicate it with that expansion?

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Joseph Dennis Dick, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Executive VP & COO [7]

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I see that we've been looking in the plus 30% improvements in OpEx roughly and perhaps more.

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Paul James Skayman, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Special Advisor to the COO [8]

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I guess, you've got a double whammy. You're increasing your lead and zinc as well. So that makes a big difference to cash operating costs, yes.

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Michael Parkin, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - Mining Analyst [9]

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Okay. And then with Kisladag, can you just give us an update on the fleet there? Is it owner operated? And if it is, what's the condition of it, now that you're looking at such a massive mine life extension there? Will there be a need to replace the fleet in the next few years?

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Joseph Dennis Dick, Eldorado Gold Corporation - Executive VP & COO [10]

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Edited Transcript of ELD.TO earnings conference call or presentation 21-Feb-20 4:30pm GMT - Yahoo Finance

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