|March 22, 2007|
Crowflight Updates Bankable Feasibility Study on Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit, Increases Net Present Value of Project by CDN$44 Million at US$8.00 per Pound Nickel
|CROWFLIGHT MINERALS INC. (Crowflight, the Company) (TSX Venture Exchange: CML) is pleased to announce the results from an update on its recently announced Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) on its Bucko Lake Nickel Deposit (refer to press release of February 1, 2007) that includes the impact of the addition of 26 million pounds of contained nickel in reserves resulting from the inclusion of the 32% increase in mineral resources (from 85 million pounds to 110 million pounds of nickel) announced on December 7, 2006. The inclusion of these reserves in the mine plan resulted in a CDN$44 million increase in the net present value of the project assuming a life-of mine nickel price of US$8.00 per pound nickel compared to the BFS numbers released in the announcement of February 1, 2007.|
The BFS demonstrates that the project has the ability to deliver a 92.2% rate of return and a net present value at an 8% discount rate of $201.2 million at an average life-of-mine nickel price of US$8.00 per pound, or approximately one-third of current nickel prices. The table below demonstrates the internal rate of return and net present value of the project over a range of 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 updated BFS stating: "We've been confident, since our initial resource-reserve increases of a year ago, that the project had the potential to grow. Having achieved an eight-year mine life at the BFS production rate of 1,000 tonnes per day, we'll now turn our attention, coincident with ongoing construction, to studying expanded throughput which we're confident will further enhance project economics. A simple sensitivity analysis demonstrates that a 25% increase in throughput has the potential to increase the NPV of the project by $20 million, IRR by 34% and average annual cash flow by $13.1 million, prior to taking into account any cost savings associated with such an increase. We see great potential to continue to grow the Deposit once we begin additional in-fill drilling from underground workings later this year and throughout 2008."
Discussion of BFS Results
The BFS was prepared by the same team of professionals and independent consulting firms as the December 2005 feasibility study and February 1, 2007 BFS. The BFS studied 2.5 million tonnes of Measured and Indicated Resources grading 2.01 percent nickel at a 1.4% nickel cut-off grade (versus the February 1, 2007 BFS announcement that studied Measured and Indicated Resources of 1.8 million tonnes grading 2.1% 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 2.3 million tonne reserve grading 1.84% nickel at a similar 1.4% nickel cut-off grade (these are the Resources announced in the press release of December 7, 2006).
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% 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 $66 million and includes all engineering, procurement, construction, management and contingencies. The mine life is approximately 8 years beginning with production in the second quarter 2008 with production concluding in early 2015 under the reserves considered in this BFS announcement.
Table of Summary BFS Results
* Pre-tax, On and Off-site costs at US$8.00/lb nickel and includes ongoing mine development costs and all royalties (taxes are expected to total 32% on income after taking into account depreciable tax pools associate with project development costs) employing a US$:CDN$ exchange rate of 0.82.
Crowflight will utilize a combination of refurbished used equipment already purchased by the Company supplemented by new equipment purchases. 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) and is intended to be used for production. This includes the installation of electric power, the construction of a used hoist and headframe and numerous office, shop and dry buildings. The Company recently announced that it had signed a contract agreement with Dumas Contracting Ltd., as the general contractor for the rehabilitation of the underground workings at the Bucko Deposit and underground development as it advances the project towards production.
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 and to expand resources in close proximity to those already identified. The Company's geologists believe there remains excellent potential to continue to expand resources below the 1000 Level of the mine. 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.
The following diagram demonstrates the net present value of the project under percent changes in the nickel price, US dollar-Canadian dollar exchange rate, capital cost, operating costs, reserves, increased production 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 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 (approximately one-quarter of recent nickel prices). The current BFS delivers a net present value at an 8% discount rate of $34.3 million at a similar average life-of-mine nickel price.
Crowflight intends to file a NI 43-101 compliant BFS report that supports the results of this press release on Sedar (www.sedar.com) in the next few days.
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, March 22, 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, March 22, 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: 416-695-9706
Toll-Free Access: 1-866-905-2211
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 226
Toll Free: 1 - 866 - 684 - 4209
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