|February 01, 2007|
Crowflight Completes Bankable Feasibility Study On Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit, Study Demonstrates Potential For 118% Internal Rate Of Return At Us$8.00/Pound Nickel
|CROWFLIGHT MINERALS INC. (Crowflight, the Company) (TSX Venture Exchange: CML) is pleased to announce the results from its Bankable Feasibility Study on the Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit, Wabowden, Manitoba. The Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) is an updated version of the feasibility study completed December 2005 (refer to press release dated December 16, 2005) that incorporates cost savings from the purchase of used capital equipment, improved revenue from the recently announced definitive offtake agreement with Xstrata Nickel, and a firm contractor quote for underground mine development and contractor mining. The BFS does not yet take into account the impact of the recently announced 32% increase in Measured and Indicated Resources at the Bucko Deposit (refer to press release of December 7, 2006), but relies on the Proven and Probable Reserves from the December 2005 feasibility study. |
The BFS demonstrates that the project has the ability to deliver a 117.6% rate of return and a net present value at an 8% discount rate of $157.3 million at an average life-of-mine nickel price of US$8.00 per pound, or less than half current nickel prices. The table below demonstrates the internal rate of return and net present value of the project over a range nickel prices that have existed over the past 3 years.
Economical Parameters at Varying Nickel Prices
Thomas Atkins, President and CEO of Crowflight commented on the BFS stating: "I am extremely impressed by the robust rate of return on the project assuming nickel at less than half current prices. We're confident that once we've factored-in the recently announced addition of 25 million pounds of contained nickel Resources which have the potential to extend the mine life by about two years, we'll see an even more robust rate of return for the project. We're excited about continuing to advance the development of the project in order to benefit from the cash flow potential the project offers in the current nickel price environment."
Discussion of BFS Results
The BFS was prepared by the same team of professionals and independent consulting firms as the December 2005 feasibility study. The BFS studied 1.8 million tonnes of Measured and Indicated Resources grading 2.10 percent nickel at a 1.5% nickel cut-off grade. The study considered an underground mine utilizing the rehabilitated three-compartment shaft available on the property, plus an internal ramp system for primarily long-hole stoping, contractor mining of 1.7 million tonne Proven and Probable Reserve grading 1.92% nickel at a similar 1.5% nickel cut-off grade (these are the same Resources and Reserves as were studied in the feasibility study announced in December 2005 and which is available at: www.sedar.com).
Shaft hoisted ore is to be processed in a surface concentrator at the rate of 1,000 tonne per day. Under this scenario, the concentrator will recover approximately 81% of the contained nickel to produce an average annual 12.5 million pounds of contained nickel in a concentrate grading from 17% to 18% nickel and free of any deleterious elements which would result in penalties. Minor amounts of by-product credits were available from platinum group elements, copper and cobalt. Concentrate is to be transported and sold to Xstrata Nickel under the terms of a definitive offtake agreement. Capital cost of project development to production is estimated to total $64 million and includes all engineering, procurement, construction, management and contingencies.
Crowflight will utilize a combination of refurbished used equipment already purchased by the Company supplemented by new equipment purchases. Crowflight is currently updating the mine plan to take into account the 32% increase in Measured and Indicated Resources and expects that prior to the time required to file a National Instrument 43-101 feasibility report, the Company will have updated these BFS numbers to include a portion of these Resources as Proven and Probable Reserves. It is expected that the addition of this material will enhance project economics.
The following diagrams demonstrate the internal rate of return and net present value of the project under percent changes in the nickel price, US dollar-Canadian dollar exchange rate, capital cost, operating costs, reserves and nickel grade assuming a base US$8.00 per pound life of mine nickel price with all other variables based on Bankable Feasibility Study numbers.
In December 2005, Crowflight announced results from a feasibility study on the Bucko Deposit. The Company required the feasibility study to advance full project permitting with permitting expected to take from 6 to 18 months to complete. Crowflight was also required to spend an additional $2.5 million in BFS related activities to earn its interest in the Bucko Lease. Upon completion of the 2005 feasibility study, the Company set out to study ways in which to improve the economics of the Deposit. The internal rate of return for the project based on the 2005 study was 23.1% and the project delivered a net present value at a 10% discount rate of $22.6 million at an average life-of-mine nickel price of US$5.00 per pound. The current BFS delivers an internal rate of return of 24.2% and a net present value at an 8% discount rate of $25.8 million at a similar average life-of-mine nickel price, yet prior to including the impact of the recently announced 32% increase in Measured and Indicated Resources.
Crowflight is currently installing support infrastructure to facilitate the rehabilitation of the historical 3-compartment shaft which provides access to the 1000 Level of the mine (approximately 330 metres below surface). This includes the installation of electric power, the construction of a used hoist and headframe and numerous office, shop and dry buildings. The Company is in discussion with a number of project lending banks to finance the next tranche of project development capital via project debt. The total project capital cost, including engineering, procurement, construction and management plus contingencies is estimated to total $64 million. Two banks have received credit approval for a project facility of up to $45 million for the purpose of financing the further development of the project to production, based on the results from the 2005 feasibility study. In the past year the Company has raised gross proceeds of approximately $27million in equity capital through financings and the exercise of warrants and has as of December 31, 2006 unaudited cash totalling approximately $14 million.
Crowflight expects to begin production of a nickel concentrate at the Bucko Deposit in early 2008 at the initial rate of 12.5 million pounds of contained nickel per year. The Bucko Deposit remains open laterally and at depths below 600 metres. Once underground, Crowflight will begin a program of detailed in fill drilling for stope planning purposes. Once in production, the Company is planning to begin to drill test potential expansions to the mineral resource laterally and at depth. Crowflight's geologists believe there is excellent potential to expand the mineral resources within the Deposit both laterally and at depth. The Company is also spending $2.5 million on its 500 square kilometre portfolio of advanced stage exploration properties surrounding the Bucko Lake Deposit and 100 kilometres north of Bucko, immediately adjacent to the CVRD-Inco's producing Thompson and Birchtree mines.
Qualified Person/Quality Control Notes
This press release has been reviewed by Mr. Paul Keller, P. Eng., Crowflight's Vice President Operations and Mr. Greg Collins, P. Geo., Crowflight's Vice President Exploration, Qualified Persons under the National Instrument 43-101 guidelines. National Instrument 43-101 compliant Indicated Resources have been calculated by Eugene Puritch, P.Eng. and Dr. Wayne Ewert, P. Geo. of P&E Mining Consultants Inc. of Brampton, Ontario.
The Company is hosting a webcast -- conference call today, Thursday, February 1, 2007 to review this and other recent announcements and provide an update on development activities at its Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit, near Thompson Manitoba. Webcast and conference call details are as follows.
Date: Thursday, February 1, 2007
Time: 10:30 AM ET
Available on Crowflight Website: http://www.crowflight.com.
There will be a question and answer period following the webcast, call-in details include:
Live Conference Access information:
Local and International Access: 416-695-6130
Toll-Free Access: 1-800-769-8320
Crowflight - The Base Metal Builder
Crowflight Minerals Inc. is a Canadian junior mining exploration and development company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company is focused on nickel, copper and Platinum Group Mineral ("PGM") projects in the Thompson Nickel Belt ("TNB") and Sudbury Basin. The company currently owns and/or has under option approximately 600 square kilometres of exploration and development properties in Manitoba and Ontario.
In Manitoba, these properties include: (1) the Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit; (2) an earn-in option with Xstrata Nickel on five highly prospective properties (Bucko/Bowden, Resting Lake, Rock Island Lake, Halfway Lake and Gonlin Lake) on the TNB South Project located within 30 kilometres of the Bucko Deposit; (3) six additional properties (Burntwood River, Birchtree South, Birchtree North, Airport, Moak Lake and Strong Lake) located 100 kilometres to the north on the TNB North Project; and (4) a 100% interest in the Clarke Lake property comprising approximately 100 square kilometres of recently staked ground south and adjacent to the TNB South Project Area.
In the Sudbury Basin, these properties include: (1) the 100% owned AER Kidd Project adjacent to Inco's Totten Deposit (10.1 million tonnes grading 1.5% nickel, 2.0% copper and 4.8 g/t PGM's); (2) the 100% owned Peter's Roost Property, being explored under a joint venture agreement with Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd.; and (3) the Airport Property (a 50/50 joint venture with Millstream Mines Ltd.) located 4 kilometres south, and on-strike, with Falconbridge's Nickel Rim South Deposit (13.2 million tonnes grading 1.7% nickel, 3.5% copper and 4.1 g/t PGM's).
Further information is available on the Company's web site at www.crowflight.com.
Statements in this release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual developments or results may vary materially from those in these "forward-looking statements. The Company cautions investors that the projections for increases to the Indicated Resources are based on Inferred Resources. There is no certainty that these projections will be added to the Indicated Resources or that they will be economically viable.
For further information please contact:
President and CEO
Tel: (416) 861 - 5900
Fax: (416) 861 - 8165
Tel: (604) 684 - 4743 ext 230
Toll Free: 1 - 866 - 684 - 4209
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