March 21, 2012
Dear Shareholders of International Tower Hill Mines,
I am pleased to provide you with another quarterly update on the progress we have made since my last letter to you in December. With our share price hovering just above our 52-week low in recent months, I understand how frustrating it can be as a shareholder and recognize that this is when investors can begin having doubts about the prospects of the Company and its assets, regardless of how fragile the gold equities market is today. To this I respond: rest assured that our prospects remain rock-solid with 20 million ounces of gold resource in one of the best locations to build a mine the world. As we proceed with Livengood engineering and permitting, we will climb the valuation curve.
The Livengood Project is undisputedly one of the largest new gold discoveries made in the last two decades. Our March 6, 2012 news release showing the results of close-spaced drilling in 2011 has verified in no uncertain terms the integrity of our latest resource estimate of 16.5 million ounces in the Measured and Indicated resource categories and a further 4.1 million ounces in the Inferred category. Looking at the overall gold sector, we are depleting roughly 75 million ounces of gold every year - that's roughly four Livengood projects - and the industry has not been successful in finding many more large, good quality deposits around the world, especially ones that are located in more favorable mining jurisdictions.
Speaking of favorable jurisdictions, our Livengood deposit is located in one of the best locations I have seen in my 33 years of mine-building experience around the globe. The Project benefits from exceptionally good access via the paved Elliott Highway running 70 miles up from Fairbanks - a city that has supported both historic and modern mining for over a century. Second, given the 90 year history of placer mining and hard rock prospecting in the Livengood area, the State of Alaska Land Use Plan already designates mining as the primary land use at the Livengood Project site, which will help facilitate the State permitting process. Third, the State of Alaska understands natural resource industries and welcomes those corporate citizens who respect its traditions, peoples and environment. And finally, ITH works in US dollars, eliminating currency risk that would result from any weakening of the US dollar relative to other currencies.
The combination of size and favorable location makes the Livengood project extremely rare and hence incredibly valuable; nevertheless, the project needs to be de-risked technically and we are working to reach major milestones. The next key milestone for us is the Pre-Feasibility Study which we postponed from November 2011 to August 2012 to optimize gold recoveries through detailed metallurgical testing. Being a degreed metallurgist, there were many questions I had on the metallurgy of the deposit which had not been answered by the testing that was carried out in 2011. For all uncertainties to be cast away, we have gone from 60 tests in the original study to 625 tests which began this month to define available recovery options and confirm all results. The fact that our industry carried out a multi-year high of over $18 billion in exploration in 2011 meant that metallurgical labs around the world have been extremely busy. The timing for us to initiate the testing was therefore later and the time necessary to complete the testing longer than previously anticipated - this has been the sole contributing factor to our PFS publication date now being in the third quarter of 2012.
In my December 2011 letter to shareholders, I also mentioned the efforts underway by management to investigate the possibility of short-term production on placer claims we acquired during that month. At the time, the land we acquired not only gave us additional site facility locations but also access to near-surface placer gold deposits (our February 27, 2012 news release indicated a historical resource estimate on the placer claims of 230,000 ounces). Recognizing the potential benefits in achieving early production to generate cash-flow, our Manager of Mining and dedicated Livengood Placer team have worked diligently over the past three months to investigate all possible scenarios. As our operations update release this morning indicated, our investigations revealed that the greatest benefit to be derived from the placer claims acquisition is the optimization of site facility locations for the Livengood Project. Postponing development of the placers would create the most synergy with the development of the larger Livengood deposit and this is the route that we must take to ensure the highest possibility of success.
What this all means is that it will take time for us to get to where we want to be, both technically and valuation-wise. While this might seem like a long time, the host of milestones to be achieved during this period will steadily increase our valuation up to those of our more advanced peers. With everything the asset has going for it, the odds have never looked better. In the meantime, we will be exposed to the daily swings of an extremely volatile market that would test the convictions of even the most seasoned market participants. What will not waver is our commitment to advancing the Livengood project towards becoming a new, large scale gold project in North America. I invite you to grow with us.
As always, you can stay regularly updated on our developments through our Corporate Website at www.ithmines.com, or by contacting our Investor Relations Department and I look forward to updating you again in a few months' time.
December 19, 2011
Dear Shareholders of International Tower Hill Mines,
I would like to send you my warmest holiday wishes and to personally deliver five key message points on our Livengood project in Alaska. While stock markets worldwide have been increasingly distressed over the European soverign debt crisis, leading to weakness in the gold price and our share performance in recent months, I am confident that the tremendous behind-the-scenes work carried out by the Company over the past six months will soon unlock substantial value for shareholders. How so? I will explain by answering some of your most frequently asked questions…
In my September letter to shareholders, I had addressed the question of why ITH maintains 100% control of the Livengood project rather than partnering with a major producer. The answer was that ITH has, and will continue to build up, a development team that rivals that of any large mining company and full ownership helps us maintain maximum upside for shareholders. To this end, our latest addition to the development team was Al Thabit, a seasoned engineer who has helped built some of the largest mining operations around the world. We also welcomed to our Board in November new directors with tremendous Alaska, permitting and mining experience who will guide management on critical aspects of the mine development process.
I also take this opportunity to address two other questions more recently asked by investors: (1) How will the company finance this project without significant dilution to existing shareholders; and (2) can the company to go into production sooner than 2018? The short answer to the first question is that management has always been parsimonious with the issuance of shares (to date we have only 86.6 million shares outstanding) and – as shareholders ourselves – we are always looking at ways to keep our share count as low as possible. So, how will we accomplish this when our August 2011 Preliminary Economic Assessment shows a $1.6 billion initial capital expenditure budget?
There is a multitude of project financing options available to resource companies which we are investigating at length. Since September, our CFO has been studying alternatives to equity financing and among the most viable options identified thus far are vendor leasing, convertible debt and gold loans. Vendor leasing from equipment providers such as Caterpillar is industry standard practice and would save us between $400 million to $600 million in upfront mining fleet and equipment costs. Convertible debt instruments, which have risen in popularity over the past two years, provide the Company with initial debt funding that can later be converted to equity at a higher share price. Finally, gold loans allow the potential forward sale of a minor portion (15-20%) of our gold production in the initial years of production at a low borrowing cost. We will provide further details on these and other options when the Prefeasibility Study is published in the first half of 2012.
Second question: is it possible for the Company to produce gold sooner than 2018? Yes, the potential exists. The land transactions completed last week near the Livengood project not only improved our access to infrastructure and site facility locations but also gave us access to near surface placer gold deposits, portions of which were previously mined in a much lower gold price environment. This gives the company an opportunity to look into placer gold extraction that could generate positive cash flows in the near-term while permitting activities are underway for the large-scale Livengood mine. While we are still in the early days and there are no guarantees, we have received the necessary data to begin a full-scale investigation into the potential economics of the project. Towards this objective, we will be engaging an Alaskan firm to complete a Preliminary Economic Assessment on placer mining in the first quarter of 2012. The implications of early production are significant and we will do everything possible to analyze these opportunities.
With all that said, the development of the Livengood gold project is still in its infancy and significant value is anticipated through the achievement of major development milestones in 2012 and beyond. The company plans to complete a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) within the next six months followed by a Feasibility Study and permit applications to technically de-risk the project and move each defined ounce of gold up the “value curve”. Adhering to the highest level of technical excellence will lead to successful development of the Livengood mine. (Note: Although there was an opportunity to publish our PFS sooner this past November, an initial review identified opportunities to optimize the metallurgy and CAPEX numbers. I strongly believe that shareholders expect and deserve the best from this team and the decision to extend the publication date ensures that we will put our finest work forward.)
Finally, interior Alaska is an ideal place to develop the Livengood Gold Project. Interior Alaska has a strong history of mining and is home to communities that truly understand and support the industry. The Livengood project also enjoys exceptional access to infrastructure and a highly skilled labor force in the nearby communities of Fairbanks and Minto. The State of Alaska is supportive of responsible development of its resources and has a well-defined legal framework for permitting and mining. Having conducted environmental baseline studies since 2008, we believe that all environmental aspects of the project can be successfully managed in the development of one of North America’s newest gold mines.
A summary of my key messages on ITH are below to help get you through these exceedingly tumultuous markets with patience and fortitude:
I invite you to stay updated on our developments through our Corporate Website at www.ithmines.com, ITH Facebook page or by contacting our Investor Relations Department.
All the best of the Season to you and your loved ones and I look forward to updating you again in the New Year!
President & CEO
International Tower Hill Mines
September 7, 2011
Dear Shareholders of International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.:
As we enter yet another busy September, I am pleased to provide a personal update on the Livengood Gold Project and the progress that the Company has made over the past three months since I came on board as the new Chief Executive Officer of International Tower Hill Mines.
One of the first tasks we completed during this time is the establishment of a clearly defined development path forward for the Livengood Project with the release of an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) announced on August 23, 2011. The culmination of two combined years of research, engineering studies and testing, this report is a significant step forward in de-risking the Project on the technical front. Our findings so far have shown that Livengood can potentially produce an average of 664,000 ounces of gold in its first five years at a cash cost of $557 per ounce, making it one of the largest new gold development projects in North America.
Another key aspect of the Livengood Project is its ideal location in the last frontier of the United States – Alaska. With geopolitical risk on the rise in many parts of the world where gold companies focus, I believe working in a supportive mining jurisdiction like interior Alaska deserves special recognition. First, the State of Alaska supports responsible development and has well-defined legal frameworks for land tenure, permitting and mining. Second, given the 90 year history of placer mining and hard rock prospecting in the Livengood area, the State of Alaska Land Use Plan already designates mining as the primary land use at the Livengood Project site, which will help facilitate the State permitting process. Third, as I had mentioned in my last letter, the State of Alaska understands natural resource industries and welcomes those corporate citizens who respect its traditions and peoples. And finally, ITH works in US dollars, eliminating any currency risk that would result from the weakening US dollar relative to other currencies.
More precisely, the Livengood Project is located in interior Alaska near Fairbanks, a hard-working city founded on gold mining and one that has seen tremendous economic benefits from the industry over the past century. With a mine life of over 23 years projected from our latest PEA, the Project offers a great opportunity to deliver jobs and other economic benefits for a generation of Alaskans. The Livengood Project is also located mostly on State land, and both the State and the Alaska State Mental Health Trust will be major beneficiaries. We are extremely pleased to have them as partners, as the royalties and taxes derived from this mine will support critically important and needed services for Alaska citizens. We have seen encouraging interest in the project from both the local and State levels and are excited at the prospect of partnering with Alaskans to help build a brighter future.
A question I am frequently asked in regards to the development of our Project has been: “Why haven’t you formed a joint venture with a major company to help you build the Project?” The answer is that ITH is already teeming with talent from the largest mining companies, each of whom have successfully developed or operated large-scale mining projects around the world and bring with them the top-notch expertise to develop and operate Livengood. In addition, we are pleased to be recently joined by more talent in the form of Tom Yip, who previously served as the Chief Financial Officer for Silver Standard Resources; and Harold Galbraith, whose most recent experience mining over 300,000 tonnes of material on a daily basis will help form our mining plan for Livengood.
As I mentioned previously, the development of Livengood is still in its infancy and a tremendous amount of value has yet to be created from the achievement of major development milestones in the coming months and years. Our next technical milestone is the completion of a prefeasibility study in mid-November which will go into further detail on the economic opportunities of the Project before we embark on a feasibility study and preliminary permitting activities in 2012. We will also be carrying out ongoing exploration drill programs directed at making new discoveries within our 145 km2 land package.
With what will surely be a galvanizing gold price environment in the coming months, we will also be particularly active in sharing our story with investors in major centers around the globe. I am convinced that significant value will be created for shareholders and that excitement will continue to grow for the ITH story.
I looking forward to updating you on our further progress in few months from now and invite you to continue to stay updated on our developments through our Corporate Website at www.ithmines.com, ITH Facebook page or by contacting our Investor Relations Department.
June 21, 2011
Dear Shareholders of International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.:
As the new Chief Executive Officer of International Tower Hill Mines Ltd., I would like to send you my warmest greetings.
Having just returned from my initial Livengood Project site visit yesterday, during which time I had the opportunity to meet with the entire ITH team as well as members of the local Fairbanks community, I wanted to share with you my enthusiasm about the future of our company.
Why ITH? Why now? Being a third generation miner, you get that sense of when a project is truly worthwhile…and I strongly get that sense with Livengood. Rarely in my career have I encountered a project that has so much going for it: the resource is one of the largest and ideally situated gold deposits in the world; it is being advanced by one of the most competent technical teams I have come across; and we have a great relationship established with the State and local communities. In short, ITH is a mine builder's dream.
At present, the Livengood Project is not only one of the largest new gold discoveries made in the last two decades, but one that also enjoys numerous development advantages. The Project benefits from excellent access via the paved Elliott Highway running 70 miles up from Fairbanks - a city that has supported historic and modern mining for over 90 years. The state of Alaska understands natural resource industries and welcomes those corporate citizens who respect its traditions and peoples. Environmental baseline studies conducted by the ITH team since 2008 continue to confirm that our developmental plans support Alaska's vision of the future - responsible development, creation of well paying jobs and improved living standards for all. Mutual support between ITH and our stakeholders is paramount to the success of Livengood. By ensuring that safety, integrity, technical excellence, and environmental stewardship are the hallmarks of all our endeavors, we will gain that trust and support.
As I continue to work with our team in Fairbanks, I am convinced that we will be able to create significant value for ITH shareholders going forward. The development of the Livengood Project is still in its infancy - that point in time when the impact of a concerted team effort is at its maximum. Value will be created from the achievement of major development milestones in 2011 and 2012, including a prefeasibility study aimed at demonstrating the significant unrecognized economic potential of the Livengood Project as well as ongoing exploration drill programs directed at expanding the Livengood resource. The technical knowledge and skills now assembled at ITH will be crucial as we scale new heights going forward and, with focused attention to engineering and permitting details, overlain by a firm business hand, I believe ITH's Alaskan future is indeed, golden. These are the reasons I joined ITH; it is for the excitement and challenge of building a new mining company.
With the gold price remaining solidly above $1,500 per ounce, we at ITH remain busy and confident that the company has the wherewithal to grow and prosper. I will continue to update you in person when possible and also invite you to stay updated through our Corporate Website, Facebook page or by contacting our Investor Relations Department.
Audio Interview with Jim