Moon River Capital Ltd. Announces Robust Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment of Davidson Molybdenum Project

February 22, 2024 7:00 AM EST | Source: Moon River Moly Ltd.


  • Pre-tax net present value ("NPV") of $1.04 billion and Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 32% and an after-tax NPV of $602 million and an IRR of 24% at an 8% discount rate and assuming a long-term molybdenum("Mo") price of $US47.39 per ('kg") or $US21.50 per pound ("lb");

  • 20-year mine life based on 7,000 tonnes of mill throughput per day or 2.5 million tonnes per year;

  • Initial capital cost of $575 million including $109 million of contingency;

  • Annual average production of 4,543,000 kg or 10,015,500 pounds of Mo;

  • Average cash cost of $21.68 per kg or $9.84 per lb and All-In Sustaining Cost ("AISC") of $22.79 per kg or $10.34 per lb of Mo;

  • Underground mine, with underground processing facilities, using all electric mining equipment minimizes the surface footprint, resulting in a very low carbon emitting operation;

  • A measured and indicated mineral resource of 43,896,000 tonnes grading 0.35% MoS2 (0.21% Mo);

  • A 3.3-year payback;

  • Life-of-mine direct income and mining taxes in excess of $1 billion;

  • Does not include potential byproduct contributions from tungsten, rare earth elements, gallium and copper; and

  • Additional drilling to support metallurgical test work to determine the economic recoverability of potential byproduct metals is scheduled to commence when applicable First Nations consultations have been undertaken and drill permits have been obtained. An updated PEA will follow.

All dollar amounts are stated in Canadian Dollars unless otherwise noted.

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - February 22, 2024) - Moon River Capital Ltd. (TSXV: MOO) ("Moon River" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that a Preliminary Economic Assessment ('PEA") has been completed on the Davidson Molybdenum Project (the "Project") located near Smithers, British Columbia.

Paul Parisotto, President and Chief Executive Officer, says of the PEA results: "This study presents a very convincing case for the rapid development of the Davidson Molybdenum Project. Its location in British Columbia is near developed infrastructure, including roads, rail, power, and the nearby town of Smithers. It would be able to take advantage of the province's hydro-electric power grid. That, together with the use of an electric mining fleet, will make Davidson one of the lowest carbon-emitting sources of molybdenum in the world. As an underground mine, with an underground processing plant and with most of the tailings used as backfill, the surface footprint of this mining operation will be minimal."

Ian McDonald, Chairman, went on to state: "My involvement with this project first began twenty years ago, and I truly believe that the time for its development has arrived. These compelling robust economics together with a Tier One jurisdiction in a mining-friendly province, to produce a product that was included on Canada's 2021 Critical Mineral List by the federal government, make development of the Project very attractive at this time."

Join Ian McDonald, Chairman and Paul Parisotto, President and CEO for a LIVE virtual event to learn more about this PEA, receive a broader market update, and ask questions during the interactive Q&A.

Date and time: Week of February 26th, exact date and time TBD.

Click here to register for the event

The PEA was prepared by A-Z Mining Professionals Ltd. ("AMPL") for Moon River. The Project, located in west central British Columbia, is approximately 9 kilometres ("km") northwest of the town of Smithers. On November 15, 2023, Moon River acquired all of the rights, interests and obligations of Generation Mining Ltd. under a vending agreement dated April 1, 2016, as amended, entered into with Roda Holdings Inc. and Mr. Donald Davidson (the "Davidson Agreement"), thus granting Moon River the exclusive right to access, prospect, develop and mine the Davidson Property and to acquire 100% of the Davidson Property. The Project comprises development of an underground mine with potentially economic mineralization processed in an underground, on-site processing facility, with an estimated 20-year mine life.


The Davidson Deposit is located inside Hudson Bay Mountain and does not outcrop on surface. The deposit has an existing portal on the east side of the mountain and over 2,100 metres ('m") of exploration drifting. The access road and portal can be seen from the town of Smithers. The proposed underground mine access and surface facilities will be located on the west side of the mountain (out of sight of the town of Smithers) with the existing eastern portal used only for initial development.

To minimise the surface footprint of the whole operation, the processing plant will be located underground in specially designed and excavated openings at the top elevation of the mining zones. This eliminates having to move mineralized material from the underground to a surface processing plant 8 km away. This also eliminates material for processing being trucked on surface and the need for a source of backfill material from surface as well. The mill tailings will provide a ready source of material for backfilling mined areas and significantly reduces the size of the tailings management facility on surface.

The mine will utilise already proven rubber-tired, battery-powered and automated mining equipment wherever possible to minimize manpower requirements, underground ventilation volumes, mine air heating costs and CO2 emissions.

Surface infrastructure required would include:

  • Upgrading of access road
  • Powerline construction
  • Electrical substations and distribution
  • Site roads and materials handling area
  • Maintenance shop/offices/dry/warehouse complex (temporary)
  • Two cement storage silos
  • Water supply system and water treatment plant
  • Dry stack tailings impoundment area
  • Development waste storage
  • Landfill site
  • Sewage disposal site

The mine will employ 207 persons in the operation. During pre-production, a contractor workforce will be employed, most on a fly-in/fly-out work rotation with major population centres in Canada. During production no fly-in/fly-out personnel are included in the plan. There is a history of mining in the region and many skilled workers in the area currently work from Smithers that has a population of 5,400 people and many support services.


Underground mining methods will be utilised to extract the potentially economic mineralization of the deposit. An underground internal ramp from the bottom to the top of the mining zone will access mining areas and the underground processing plant facility. In total, some 34,000 m of development will be required to bring the deposit into production.

The mining method to be employed would be Longhole Open Stoping with cemented paste (densified tailings) backfill to maximise recovery of potentially economic mineralization. Dilution of 5% has been included in the mined potentially economic mineralization at a grade of 0.18% MoS2.

The mineralized zone is large and irregular shaped, with higher grade concentrations towards the centre of the mineralized zones being mined. The mine would produce 7,000 tonnes per day of potentially economic mineralization. The mineralized zone geometry is highly amenable to bulk mining of large tonnage stopes with inherent economies of scale and low mining costs. The stopes will be approximately 160,000 tonnes each.

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Figure 1 Underground Mine Design

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Potentially economic mineralization removed from stopes by load-haul-dump (LHD) units will be sent by ore passes to jaw crushers at the bottom of the mine and then to a secondary cone crusher. The crushed potentially economic mineralisation will be conveyed to a vertical lift conveyor system which feeds the fine ore bin connected to the underground processing facility.

Other underground facilities will include:

  • Paste backfill plant
  • Equipment maintenance shops and underground warehouses
  • Explosives storage magazines
  • Refuge stations
  • Fuel bays
  • Materials storage areas
  • Main dewatering sumps
  • Offices
  • Warehousing facilities


The processing plant, located completely underground, will be a conventional flotation plant producing a molybdenum concentrate for shipment to smelters.

The potentially economic mineralization from the mine vertical lift conveyor system would feed the grinding circuit consisting of two ball mills operating in parallel. Flotation of the molybdenum concentrate will comprise a rougher/scavenger circuit followed by two stages of concentrate cleaning, with regrind. The concentrate stream from flotation will be filtered and dried for shipment to a smelter. The processing plant is expected to have a recovery rate of 92% molybdenum into concentrate.

Large processing equipment (crushers and grinding mills) will be located in individual opening rooms and interconnected with piping. Other smaller equipment will be installed in groupings in other opening rooms. The construction cost of an underground plant is not significantly different from that for a plant located on surface.

The tailings will be primarily made into paste backfill for backfilling of stopes with the balance pumped to a dry stack tailings facility where the water is removed, and tailings stacked in a near dry form in a permanent storage facility.


Mineral Resources used for the PEA were based on the latest resource estimates calculated and reported in a study completed by AMPL and presented in an NI 43-101 Technical Report entitled "National Instrument NI 43-101 Technical Report for the Davidson Project Resources Update" dated September 13, 2023 and filed on Sedar+.

Grade MoS
Mo kg.
Mo lbs.
Indicated>0.2519,627,0000.320.1937,600,000 82,894,000
Inferred>0.2511,907,0000.300.1821,400,000 47,179,000


  1. Mineral Resources were estimated using the CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions and adopted by the CIM Council.
  2. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability."
  3. The PEA mine plan and economic model include numerous assumptions and the use of Inferred Resources. Inferred Resources are considered to be too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves and to be used in an economic analysis except as allowed for by NI 43-101 in PEA studies. There is no guarantee that Inferred Resources can be converted to Indicated or Measured Resources, and as such, there is no guarantee the economics described herein will be achieved.
  4. The estimate of Mineral Resources may be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, marketing, or other relevant issues.
  5. The approximate 2-year trailing average (to January 31, 2024) metal price for molybdenum US$47.40 per ('kg") or US$21.50 per pound ("lb") was used in estimating the Mineral Resources and a CAD:US Dollar exchange rate of $0.74 was used.
  6. A description of the key assumptions, parameters, and methods used to estimate the resources, and any known risks, as well as the data verification processes, are contained in the technical report entitled "National Instrument NI 43-101 Technical Report for the Davidson Project Resources Update" dated September 13, 2023 and filed on SEDAR+.


The estimated project total pre-production capital expenditure, inclusive of contingencies and working capital, is approximately $575 million. A summary of project pre-production capital expenditures is presented in the following table.

Pre-Production Capital Expenditure

Year -3
   Year -2
   Year -1
   Year 1

Exploration $1,000

Mine $34,377
Equipment Leasing $9,441

Processing Plant
Underground Infrastructure
Surface Infrastructure & Mobile Equipment $23,636

Tailings Management Facilities


Owner's Costs $3,700

Contingency $18,039
Working Capital


Mine Closure






Total Pre-Production Capital Expenditures $90,193



The estimated total average operating cost (excluding smelting and refining) for the mine is approximately $38.24 per tonne of potentially economic mineralization. This equates to $21.68 per kg of Mo ($9.84 per lb). The following table presents a summary of life of mine average operating costs per tonne.

Life of Mine Average Operating Costs

Component Cost
Diamond Drilling - Infill $0.50
Underground Mining $21.07
Processing $10.94
Tailings Management Facility $1.34
Mine Indirects $1.29
Surface Department $0.90
General & Administration $2.20
Total Minesite Operating Cost $38.24



The expected cash flow estimates are calculated using the forecast mine plan, operating costs, and capital expenditures incorporating expected long-term metal prices based on the two-year trailing average of molybdenum on the London Metals Exchange of US $47.39 per kg or US$21.50 per pound.

A summary of the expected parameters used for the financial analysis is presented below.

Parameters Used in Financial Analysis

Long term Metal Price$US47.39/kg or $US21.50/lb.
CAD:US Dollar Exchange Rate$0.74
Diluted Potentially Economic Resource49,125,000 tonnes
Dilution5% (with adjacent mineralization grade)
Average Millhead Grade0.34% MoS2
Pre-Production Capital Expenditures$575 million
Total Sustaining Capital Expenditures$79 million
Working Capital included in Pre-Production Capex$21 million
Reclamation & Closure Costs$10 million
Estimated Operating Costs$38.24/tonne
Life of Project20 years


The overall level of accuracy of this study is approximately ±40%.

The Project's expected investment and returns based on the base case cashflow parameters for the project are shown below.

Expected Project Returns


After Tax  
Undiscounted Net Revenue $5.8 billion
$5.8 billion
Undiscounted Total Cash Flow $3.0 billion
$1.9 billion 
NPV at 5% $1.5 billion
$931 million
NPV at 8% $1.0 billion
$602 million
NPV at 10% $815 million
$447 million 

Payback Period  
3.3 Years 



Sensitivity analyses were performed for capital expenditures, operating costs, mined grades, metal prices and currency exchange rates using 25% positive and negative variations. The Project is most sensitive to the mined grade, metal price and the exchange rate and less sensitive to capital and operating costs. The results of the sensitivity analysis for positive and negative changes of 25% in key project parameters are presented in the following tables and graphs.

Sensitivity Analysis Net Present Values ($CAD million)

Parameter After Tax NPV 8%
-25% Base Case 25%
Capital Cost 705 602 498
Operating Cost 732 602 471
Mined Grade 219 602 984
Metal Price 217 602 986
Exchange Rate 219 602 984


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Note: The lines for Grade, Metal price and Exchange Rate are virtually the same and overlay each other.

Sensitivity Analysis IRR

Parameter After Tax IRR
-25% Base Case 25%
Capital Cost 31% 24% 19%
Operating Cost 26% 24% 21%
Mined Grade 15% 24% 31%
Metal Price 14% 24% 31%
Exchange Rate 15% 24% 31%


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Note: The lines for Grade and Metal Price are virtually the same and overlay each other.

Non-IFRS Financial Measures

The Company has included certain terms or performance measures commonly used in the mining industry that are not defined under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") in this news release. These include Operating Costs, Cash Cost, AISC, Pre-Production Capital Expenditures, Sustaining Capital Expenditures, Life of Mine Average Operating Costs. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS, and therefore, they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data presented are intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures prepared in accordance with IFRS. Non-IFRS financial measures used in this news release and common to the mining industry are defined.

Operating Costs include mining, processing, general and administrative, concentrate transportation costs, treatment and refining charges, etc.

Cash costs include on-site mining costs plus on-site G&A, royalties/production taxes and permitting/community costs related to current operations, less by-product credits, if any.

AISC include total cash costs plus reclamation costs, exploration and study costs, sustaining capital exploration/development and sustaining capital expenditure."


As disclosed in the Company's press release dated January 24, 2024, the Company plans to undertake preliminary metallurgical studies and obtain fresh samples from drill core to begin detailed metallurgical testing, when applicable First Nations consultations are undertaken and drill permits obtained, to determine whether the Rare Earth Elements, ("REEs"), tungsten, gallium and copper contained in the Project are economically recoverable and can contribute to the economics of the Project.

REEs comprise 17 nearly indistinguishable silvery-white soft heavy metals. Compounds containing REEs have diverse applications in electrical and electronic components, lasers, glass, magnetic materials, and industrial processes. They are deemed important for the world energy transition, being used in wind turbines, electric vehicles, photovoltaic cells and fluorescent lighting. They are also used in LED lights, colour monitors and medical equipment. REEs were included on the Government of Canada's Critical Mineral List released in 2021, and more recently were listed along with five other metals as potentially qualifying for the draft Critical Minerals Tax Credit for new mine construction. Several of the REEs are on the U.S. Department of Energy's and European Union's critical mineral lists. Most of the world's REEs are produced in China, with the United States and Australia each supplying smaller amounts.

Tungsten has a wide variety of uses, mainly in the production of hard materials - namely tungsten carbide, in steel alloys and as a lubricant. Gallium is a key component of semi-conductors and LED lights. Both metals are on the critical mineral lists in the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Next Steps

The Company will commence additional metallurgical test work when applicable First Nations consultations are undertaken and drill permits are obtained, to determine the economic recoverability of potential byproduct contributions, followed by an updated PEA.

Technical Report & Qualified Persons

A Technical Report on the PEA (the "Technical Report") will be filed on SEDAR+ under the Company's profile within 45 days of the date of this news release. Readers are encouraged to read the Technical Report in its entirety, including all qualifications, assumptions and exclusions that relate to the Mineral Resource. The Technical Report is intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context.

Qualified Persons

The scientific and technical content of this news release was reviewed, verified, and approved by Mr. Brian LeBlanc, P. Eng., President of AMPL, and a "Qualified Person" ("QP") as defined by National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Mr. LeBlanc is the QP responsible for the scientific and technical information contained in this press release.

About Moon River

Moon River is a Canadian-based resource company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral projects. Moon River is focused on the development of the Davidson Property which hosts a large molybdenum-tungsten deposit and is located near Smithers, British Columbia.

For further information please contact:

Paul Parisotto, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, at (416) 800-1753 or

Neither the TSXV nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Forward-looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Any statements that are contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as "may", "should", "anticipate", "will", "estimates", "believes", "intends", "expects" and similar expressions, which are intended to identify forward-looking statements. More particularly and without limitation, this press release contains forward-looking statements concerning. the economic analysis, expected Project returns, and future plans set out in the PEA. These forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company, represent the expectations of the Company as of the date of this news release, and are based on certain assumptions that the Company and its consultants have made in preparing the PEA and Technical Report that will be filed in respect thereto within 45 days of this press release. There can be no assurance that the results particularly the expected Project returns will be achieved or the Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves will be economically viability. Readers are encouraged to read the Technical Report in its entirety, including all qualifications, assumptions and exclusions that relate to the Mineral Resources. There is no guarantee that Inferred Resources can be converted to Indicated or Measured Resources, and as such, there is no guarantee the economics described herein will be achieved. The Technical Report is intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context.

Although the Company believes the expectations and material factors and assumptions reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable as of the date hereof, there can be no assurance that these expectations, factors and assumptions will prove to be correct. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties including risks detailed in the PEA and continuous disclosure including the Technical Report , which are or will be available on SEDAR+ at Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release.

These risk factors should not be construed as exhaustive. Readers are cautioned that events or circumstances could cause results to differ materially from those predicted, forecasted or projected in the PEA and the Technical Report in respect thereof. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release.

The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements or information contained herein, except as required by applicable laws. The forward-looking statements contained in this document are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

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