Steppe Gold Reports Accelerating Progress on Phase 2 Expansion

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia--(Newsfile Corp. - August 30, 2022) - Steppe Gold Limited (TSX: STGO) (OTCQX: STPGF) (FSE: 2J9) ("Steppe Gold" or the "Company") is extremely pleased to report two major milestones on its Phase 2 Expansion at the ATO Gold Mine.

Highlights:

  • Power Update - Approval has been received from government agencies to provide grid power to the ATO Phase 2 Expansion. This landmark agreement will drive significant energy savings and will be a key infrastructure benefit for the ATO Gold Mine and its local communities. Will reduce expected cash costs by well in excess of $100/oz for Phase 2.
  • The new fixed crusher is near completion, providing greatly accelerated crushing rates and represents a key component of the Phase 2 Expansion.
  • Steppe Gold retains an inventory of 80,000 ounces of gold on a 70% recovered basis, allowing for strong near term production rates.

Power Update

Steppe Gold's ATO Gold Mine has received relevant approvals from the Ministry of Energy and National Dispatching Center to build and connect a high voltage power line system of 110/35/10 kV and use 10MW from the Dornod Province State Power Plant. This is a major milestone in the Phase 2 Expansion, and a special purpose company Steppe Power LLC has been established to manage the development and connection to the state grid system.

The Company retained a leading global engineering firm to advise on available energy options for the Phase 2 Expansion, including renewable alternatives. Renewable options are generally too expensive at this scale, with traditional energy sources more economic.

With the recent significant rise in fuel prices, connecting to the state grid power system will dramatically reduce projected energy costs by 75%, or from approximately $32M to $8M annually at the Phase 2 Expansion and will reduce expected cash costs by well in excess of $100/oz.

The Company plans to commence the construction of a high voltage power line system in 2023-2024, and the flotation plant should be complete by Q3 2024.

New Crusher Update

Steppe Gold reports that the Phase 2 Expansion continues to ramp up with the new fixed crusher nearing completion in October.

All equipment for the new crushing unit has arrived via 15 open-top railway wagons and 62 trucks.

Currently, 160 tonnes of equipment have been installed out of a total of 220 tonnes, and installation work is 72% complete.

  • 8,168 M3 earthwork - 100% complete
  • 2,912 M3 concrete work - 100% complete
  • 450 tons of steel structure - 97% complete

The new 1,000 tonnes per hour crushing unit consists of 2 jaw crushers, 4 hydraulic cone crushers, 5 vibration screens and 5 vibration feeders, 17 conveyor systems, 3 sets of buffer bins with steel structure, 3 underground buffer bins with steel structure and central control system.

Once operational, the new crushing unit will increase Steppe Gold's current capacity by 4 times, up to 4Mt per annum/ at 50% of its power.

Learn more about our new crushing unit in this video: https://youtu.be/gy4W7ZPW2bU

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Fig 1: Fixed Crushing Unit Work in Progress

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Fig 2: Fixed Crushing Unit Work in Progress

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Operations Update

As of August 20, the Company has mined 3.24 million tonnes, crushed and stacked 2.46 million tonnes @ 1.93 g/t ~ 152,510 ounces on the leach pad and 781,500 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.17 g/t on the ROM pad. At an estimated 70% recovery, the total inventory on the leach pad, ROM pad and pit floors is approximately 80,000 ounces of recoverable gold.

The Company has received a new batch of reagents via rail and will increase the rate of production in the coming months.

President and CEO of Steppe Gold, Bataa Tumur-Ochir, commented, "We are pleased to report solid progress on the new fixed crusher, which is a critical step in the Phase 2 Expansion. Despite a challenging period with COVID-related lockdowns in China and continued border closures, we have shipped all heavy equipment and installation work is rapidly advancing.

The Company has over 781,500 tonnes of ore on the ROM pad in addition to 735,000 tonnes of blasted material on the pit floors, and the new crushing unit will significantly increase daily crushing rates at the Phase 1 project in the winter months. We are also delighted to announce government approval to connect to the state grid power system and quota to use 10MW, which will significantly reduce operating costs for the Phase 2 Expansion of the ATO Gold Mine. This is a major milestone for us as we accelerate the major capital items for this next phase.

We also continue to work on optimizing the Phase 2 Expansion through exploration drilling and we plan to announce updates to the mine plan in the coming month or so. We are well advanced with design work on the expansion facilities, and new fuel and chemical storage facilities are complete."

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Fig. 3: Leach Pad at ATO Gold Mine with Lift Complete

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Fig. 4: ROM Pad at ATO Gold Mine

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Fig 5: Fixed Crushing Unit Work in Progress

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Fig 6: Fixed Crushing Unit Work in Progress

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Fig 7: Fixed Crushing Unit Work in Progress

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Steppe Gold Limited
Steppe Gold is Mongolia's premier precious metals company.

For Further information, please contact:
Bataa Tumur-Ochir, CEO and President

Shangri-La office, Suite 1201, Olympic Street19A, Sukhbaatar District 1,Ulaanbaatar 14241,
Mongolia Tel: +976 7732 1914

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

The above contains forward-looking statements that are subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences include: changes in world commodity markets, equity markets, costs and supply of materials relevant to the mining industry, change in government and changes to regulations affecting the mining industry. Forward-looking statements in this release include, among other things, statements regarding the trading of the Common Shares and business, economic, and political conditions in Mongolia. Although we believe the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, results may vary, and we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release.

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/135360

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