|February 13, 2009|
Crowflight Ships First Concentrate from Bucko Lake Nickel Mine to Become Canada's Newest Nickel Producer
|CROWFLIGHT MINERALS INC. (the "Company") (TSX: CML) is pleased to announce that it has shipped its first nickel concentrate from the Bucko Lake Nickel Mine (Bucko) located near Wabowden, Manitoba. |
The first shipment of nickel concentrate from Bucko, which occurred on February 12, 2009, consisted of 98 tonnes of concentrate containing 11.5 tonnes of nickel. The commencement of nickel concentrate shipments marks a major milestone at the Bucko Mine and the Company will now focus on increasing production to reach full commercial production early in the second quarter of 2009.
Mike Hoffman, Crowflight's President and CEO, commented, "We are very pleased that we were immediately able to produce a marketable-grade concentrate from the first material that we processed at Bucko. The first shipment of nickel concentrate officially marks Crowflight's transition to a nickel producer and we are very proud of our team for reaching this milestone. This achievement is particularly satisfying since our Company has managed to persevere during such difficult economic times. A mere two years after construction began in November 2006, Bucko is now a producing mine. This could not have been accomplished without the hard work of our employees, contractors and the continued support of our stakeholders."
From December 2008 to February 11, 2009, 9,674 tonnes grading 0.67% nickel were processed. Crowflight is initially processing lower grade material to commission the mill. From February 5 to February 11, 5,100 tonnes were milled at a mill availability of 98%. The throughput averaged 37 tonnes per hour (tph), or 82% of capacity, with a 12-hour test run at 45 tph (equivalent to 1,080 tonnes per day for a 24-hour period). Metallurgical recoveries have fluctuated with the lower grade material and commissioning of the reagent system, with the best recovery thus far being 54% grading 0.7% nickel. As part of its offtake agreement with Xstrata, all nickel concentrates produced at Bucko are being shipped to Xstrata's smelter in Sudbury, Ontario.
Crowflight's production targets for 2009 at Bucko are 9.1 million pounds of payable nickel at an average operating cash cost of US$3.61 per pound nickel (using an exchange rate of 1.2 Canadian to 1.0 US dollar, beginning after the mine is in commercial production) from 362,000 tonnes at 1.65% nickel with a 77% recovery.
Crowflight currently estimates ongoing capital requirements for 2009 to be approximately US$10 million.
Crowflight has been working continuously to complete commissioning of the mill at the Bucko Mine. Cold weather conditions in December and early January resulted in freezing in the fine ore bin when re-handling stockpiled ore from initial ore development, limitations on the use of process water and the need to manually add reagents. Completion of final electrical, pipefitting, HVAC and automation work was conducted during that time as well.
In January, Crowflight resolved the fine ore bin issues, and completed the recycle water system and reagent system. As a result, the Bucko Mine mill construction is now complete. Moving forward, Crowflight plans to continue to optimize mill throughput, concentrate quality and mill recoveries. Higher grade mill feed is expected to help increase recoveries and concentrate quality.
Crowflight is currently mining in the first high grade stope area on the 1,000 foot level underground at Bucko. As planned, lower grade stopes on the 1,000 foot level are also being mined and the high grade stope area on the 900 foot level is now being developed. The main ramp has been developed approximately 380 feet down vertically from surface. Some ore development and crown pillar support activities will occur from the 450 foot level, which should be reached late in the first quarter.
Qualified Person/Quality Control Procedures
The scientific and technical information in this press release has been reviewed by Mr. Paul Keller, P.Eng. and COO of Crowflight, a Qualified Person under the National Instrument 43-101 guidelines.
Crowflight Minerals -- Canada's Newest Nickel Producer
Crowflight Minerals Inc. (TSX: CML) is a Canadian junior mining company that is producing nickel at the Bucko Lake Nickel Mine near Wabowden, Manitoba. Full commercial production is expected to be achieved at Bucko early in the second quarter of 2009. Crowflight has hedged 2.97 million pounds, or approximately 30%, of its 2009 production at an average realized price of US$7.74 per pound. The Company is also focused on nickel, copper and Platinum Group Mineral (PGM) projects in the Thompson Nickel Belt and Sudbury Basin.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Information
Except for statements of historical fact contained herein, the information in this press release constitutes "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities law. Such forward-looking information may be identified by words such as "plans", "proposes", "estimates", "intends", "expects", "believes", "may", "will" and include without limitation, statements regarding proposed exploration programs and expected results, planned production, timing and results of updated mineral resource estimates, and timing for first delivery of concentrate. Estimates regarding future exploration and production are based on management knowledge and experience, current operating results and analysis by third parties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, among others, third party risks, production risks, metal prices, competition, risks inherent in the mining industry, and regulatory risks. Most of these factors are outside the control of the Company. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. Except as otherwise required by applicable securities statutes or regulation, the Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Further information is available on the Company's website at www.crowflight.com or contact:
President and CEO
Tel: (416) 861-2964
Manager, Investor and Public Relations
Tel: (416) 861-5803
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