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ECR Minerals plc (ECR)

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Thursday 19 July, 2012

ECR Minerals plc

THEMAC Resources Announces Positive Results of ...

THEMAC Resources Announces Positive Results of Copper Flat Prefeasibility Study

ECR Minerals plc

ECR MINERALS plc

(“ECR Minerals”, “ECR” or the “Company”)

AIM: ECR

US OTC: MTGDY

THEMAC RESOURCES ANNOUNCES POSITIVE RESULTS OF COPPER FLAT PREFEASIBILITY STUDY

London: 19 July 2012 - ECR Minerals plc is pleased to draw attention to the news release made today by THEMAC Resources Group Ltd (“THEMAC”) detailing positive results from a prefeasibility study (PFS) completed for THEMAC’s 100% owned Copper Flat copper-molybdenum-gold-silver porphyry project in New Mexico, USA. The full text of the release made by THEMAC is provided below.

ECR owns approximately 19% of THEMAC’s issued share capital and has a fully diluted interest in THEMAC of approximately 21%. THEMAC is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange with the code MAC.

Patrick Harford, Managing Director of ECR Minerals plc, comments:

“With the release of the PFS the team at THEMAC have delivered a strong result that brings the strengths of the Copper Flat project to the fore. For example, the existing infrastructure is estimated to represent a capital cost saving of US$54 million, and the reserves of the deposit are accessible from surface thanks to the pre-stripped open pit.

Overall Copper Flat’s history as an operating mine translates to lower execution risk for the planned return of the project to production, which THEMAC has indicated is targeted to occur in late 2014 following the conclusion of the permitting, definitive feasibility study (DFS) and detailed engineering processes by Q3 2013, allowing construction to commence in the final quarter of 2013.

In the meantime we look forward to the results of the reserve and resource update that will follow the incorporation of recent drilling data into THEMAC’s model of the Copper Flat deposit.”

- Beginning of THEMAC release -

THEMAC Resources Group Announces

Completion of Positive Prefeasibility Study

IRR of 36.2% Anticipated At Current Copper, Moly, Gold and Silver Prices

Vancouver, British Columbia – July 19, 2012 – THEMAC Resources Group Limited (TSX.V: MAC- “THEMAC”) today announced positive economics from a prefeasibility of its 100% owned Copper Flat Mine in New Mexico, completed by M3 Engineers of Tucson, Arizona.

Copper Flat is a former producing mine located in Sierra County, State of New Mexico, USA, approximately 150 miles south of Albuquerque and 20 miles southwest of the town of Truth or Consequences. The project land package comprises in excess of 1,200 hectares, and the ore reserves are located entirely on patented mining claims wholly-owned by THEMAC. The Copper Flat project will consist of a conventional drill and blast, truck and shovel operated mine having an overall estimated strip ratio of 0.6 tons of waste to 1 ton of ore. The mill is designed to have a simple SAG ball mill grinding circuit followed by a conventional floatation circuit.

Highlights of the Prefeasibility

  • Pre-tax IRR of 36.2% based on July 10th metal prices yields a US$388.5 million pre-tax NPV at an 8% discount rate or US$5.24 per share based on 74.1 million shares on issue
  • US$0.79 estimated operating cost per pound of copper for the first two years at July 10th prices and after byproduct credits
  • Payable production for the first two years is forecasted to be 130.57 million pounds of copper, 2.63 million pounds of molybdenum, 24,000 ounces of gold and 1.086 million ounces of silver
  • Proven and Probable reserves of 98.118 million tons containing 608.5 million pounds of copper, 18.1 million pounds of molybdenum, 295,000 ounces of gold and 6.48 million ounces of silver
  • Initial capital costs estimated to be US$297.7 million with Mine costs at US$28.3 million, Process at US$250.2 million and Owners Costs of US$ 19.2 million – costs include contingency
  • Value of existing infrastructure estimated at US$54 million

“I am extremely pleased that the prefeasibility study indicates a very viable project at Copper Flat,” said André J. Douchane, CEO. “The Study shows a robust pre-tax return on investment of 36.2% at metal prices recorded on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. On that day copper and molybdenum were trading in the range of US$3.40 and US$12.50 per pound respectively, and gold and silver were trading around US$1580.00 and US$27 per ounce respectively.”

The prefeasibility study for Copper Flat is based on the following general assumptions:

  • Proven and probable reserves of 98.118 million tons containing per ton 0.31% copper, 0.009% molybdenum, 0.003 oz. gold and 0.070 oz. silver
  • Milling rate of 9.125 million tons per year or nominal 25,000 tons per day
  • Mill recoveries estimated at 91.8% for copper, 60.7% for molybdenum, 70.8% for gold and 90.0% for silver.
  • Open pit pre-stripped from previous operation
  • Utilization of US$54 million in existing infrastructure
  • Average annual payable production of 50.76 million lbs. copper, 1.01million lbs. molybdenum, 12,750 oz. gold and 455,390 oz. silver
  • Base case model utilized prices of US$3.00 copper, US$12.00 molybdenum, US$1350.00 gold and US$25.00 silver, which yields an IRR of 26.7% and a pre-tax NPV of $242.3 million at an 8% discount rate
  • Average copper equivalent grade of based base case prices of 0.44% per ton

The study’s base case estimated average operating cost of US$1.11 per pound of copper recovered was calculated assuming molybdenum, gold and silver as byproduct credits against operating costs of US$10.54 per ton processed.

Capital costs are estimated to be US$297.7 million. The mine capital portion of the total is US$28.3 million, the process is US$250.2 million and the owner’s costs are US$19.2 million. Life of mine sustaining capital is estimated to be US$26.9 million for the mine and US$39.9 million for the process. A contingency of nearly 15% is included in all capital estimates.

Listed below are Copper flats reserves and resources as of July 18, 2012:

Reserves as Contained in Total Resources:

Classification

 

Cutoff
Grade
NSR/TON

  Mineral Reserves   Contained Metal
Ktons   Copper

%

  Moly

%

  Gold

Oz/ton

  Silver

Oz/ton

Copper

Lbs x 1000

  Moly

Lbs x 1000

  Gold

Ozs x 1000

  Silver

Ozs x 1000

(Proven)

$7.25

29,536

0.38

0.012

0.003

0.08

224,474

7,089

 89

2,363

Probable

$7.25

68,582

 0.28

0.008

0.003

 0.06

384,059

10,973

 206

 4,115

 

 

Total Prov + Prob

 

98,118

0.31

0.009

0.003

0.07

608,533

18,062

 295

 6,478

 

Total Resources:

Classification

 

Cutoff
Grade
NSR/TON

  Tonnage and Grade   Contained Metal
Ktons   Copper

%

  Moly

%

  Gold

Oz/ton

  Silver

Oz/ton

Copper

Lbs x 1000

  Moly

Lbs x 1000

  Gold

Ozs x 1000

  Silver

Ozs x 1000

Measured

$7.25

41,503

 0.33

0.011

 0.003

0.07

273,920

 9,131

 125

 2,905

Indicated

$7.25

184,049

0.23

0.006

0.002

0.05

846,625

22,086

368

9,202

Meas + Ind

 

225,552

0.25

0.007

0.002

0.05

1,120,545

31,217

493

12,107

Inferred

$7.25

12,960

0.22

0.003

0.001

0.03

57,024

778

13

389

These reserves and resources, which begin at the surface, are currently being updated to include the results of the last four holes drilled during the 2011 program, as well as the results of the first seven holes (CF12-01 through CF12-07) completed during the ongoing 2012 drilling program, which were released on June 27, 2012. During the coming months, as drilling results become available, additional reserve and resource updates are planned.

“This study was done to what I believe are the highest standards in the industry, and a lot of planning and innovation went into this study,” said Mr. Douchane. “The ability to incorporate all of the existing foundations, power lines, flood control, water wells, water pipeline and surface roads into the design appears to have saved us an estimated US$54 million in capital costs. We expect the Record of Decision from the BLM and the State Mining Permit to be issued during third quarter 2013 by which time the definitive feasibility and all of the detailed engineering will have been completed. All major and long lead equipment is also planned to be available by the same time. If everything happens as anticipated, construction can start during fourth quarter 2013 and start-up of operations the following year end.”

The prefeasibility study was prepared under the supervision of Conrad Huss, P.E. of M3 Engineers of Tucson, Arizona, who is an Independent Qualified Person as defined under Canadian NI43-101. Resources and reserves were calculated by IMC of Tucson, Arizona under the supervision of John Marek, P.E. &President, who is an Independent Qualified Person as defined under Canadian NI43-101.

The final prefeasibility report will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days of the date of this press release.

Technical Information and Qualified Persons

Assaying for the 2012 drilling program is being undertaken at the Skyline Laboratory in Tucson, AZ. Copper and molybdenum values are being determined by ICP/MS, gold by fire assay with AA finish, and silver by AA. Reference standards and blanks were inserted in the sample streams, and every tenth sample is being objectively validated by ALS Minerals, Reno, Nevada using similar methodologies.

Standard procedures for core handling were in place during the entire drilling program, and a geologist was on site for all sample preparation and shipping.

Technical information in this news release has been read and approved Conrad Huss P.E. for M3 and Ray Irwin, P. Geo., and Vice President of Exploration for THEMAC who are Qualified Persons under National Instrument 43-101.

An Appendix of tables and figures for this news release is available on THEMAC's website at www.themacresourcesgroup.com.

About THEMAC Resources Group Limited

THEMAC is a mining development company with a strong management team and as of May 18, 2011, acquired a 100% ownership interest in the Copper Flat copper-molybdenum-gold-silver project in New Mexico, USA. THEMAC is committed to bringing the closed copper mine, Copper Flat, in Sierra County, New Mexico back into production with innovation and a sustainable approach to mining development and production, local economic opportunities and the best reclamation practices for our unique environment.

THEMAC is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (ticker: MAC) and has issued share capital of 74,117,622 common shares (fully diluted share capital 136,123,241).

For more information please visit www.themacresourcesgroup.com or review THEMAC’s filings on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information contained or incorporated by reference in this press release, including any information as to THEMAC’s future financial or operating performance, the likelihood and timing of commercial productions, construction of plant, and obtaining required permits, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral resources and reserves, expanding mineral reserves and mineral resources, the realization of mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, capital costs, costs of production, metal or mineral recoveries, mine life and production rates, capital expenditures and success of mining operations, constitute “forward-looking statements”. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “contemplate”, “target”, “plan”, “intends”, “continue”, “budget”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “schedule” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by THEMAC, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Such assumptions include the specific assumptions set out in this press release, that future capital and operating costs will be in line with THEMAC’S assumptions, that mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates prove accurate, permits required to commence production will be obtained in a timely basis, copper, molybdenum, gold and silver prices will remain consistent with THEMAC’s expectations, that there are no changes in THEMAC’s development plans as new information is received, that THEMAC will be able to access financing, equipment and sufficient labour to carry out its planned business, Known and unknown factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the currency markets; fluctuations in the spot and forward price of copper, molybdenum, gold, and silver; volatility in the price of fuel and electricity; changes in national and local government legislation, taxation, controls, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada and the USA; business opportunities that may be pursued by THEMAC; the anticipated impact of converting to International Financial Reporting Standards, operating or technical difficulties in connection with mining or development activities; employee relations; litigation; the speculative nature of exploration and development, including the risks of obtaining necessary licenses and permits; and contests over title to properties, particularly title to undeveloped properties failure of processing and mining equipment to perform as expected; labor disputes; supply problems; uncertainty of production and cost estimates; the interpretation of drill results and the estimation of mineral resources and reserves; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore reserves, grade of mineralization or recovery rates may differ from what is indicated and the difference ma y be material; legal and regulatory proceedings and community actions; accidents, title matters; regulatory restrictions; permitting and licensing; volatility of the market price of Common Shares; insurance; competition; and hedging activities. In addition, there are risks and hazards associated with the business of exploration, development and mining, including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, unusual or unexpected formations, pressures, cave- ins, flooding and the risk of inadequate insurance, or inability to obtain insurance, to cover these risks. Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can affect actual results and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, THEMAC. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements.

THEMAC disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable laws.

“Operating cost per pound of copper”, “Life of mine sustaining capital”, and similar terms are alternative performance measures. These performance measures are included because these statistics are key performance measures that management may use to monitor performance. Management may use these statistics in future to assess how THEMAC is performing to plan and to assess the overall effectiveness and efficiency of mining operations. These performance measures do not have a meaning within International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and, therefore, amounts presented may not be comparable to similar data presented by other mining companies. These performance measures should not be considered in isolation as a substitute for measures of performance in accordance with IFRS.

For further information contact:

THEMAC Resources Group Limited

André J. Douchane, CEO

(+1) 416 671 8089 or (+1) 520 850 7529

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange (the “TSXV”) nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSXV) has reviewed, nor do they accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of, this release.

- End of THEMAC release -

ECR’s Interest in THEMAC

ECR holds 14.35 million common shares and 14.35 million common share purchase warrants of THEMAC. All the warrants held by ECR are exercisable at C$0.28 per share; 3.85 million warrants are valid until 3 May 2013 and the remaining 10.5 million warrants are valid until 4 March 2016.

About ECR Minerals plc

ECR is a mineral development company with 100% ownership of the Sierra de las Minas gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina; a 21% fully diluted stake in THEMAC Resources Group Ltd (TSX-V: MAC), which is focused on the development of the Copper Flat copper-molybdenum-gold-silver porphyry deposit in New Mexico, USA to production; and stakes in West Wits Mining Ltd (ASX: WWI) and Paniai Gold Ltd (unquoted), both of which have interests in the Derewo River alluvial gold mining and exploration project in Papua, Indonesia.

For further information please contact:

ECR Minerals plc     Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
Patrick Harford, Managing Director
Stephen Clayson, Director & Chief Financial Officer
 

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ecrminerals.com

 
Daniel Stewart & Company plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7776 6550
Paul Shackleton/Tessa Smith/David Hart


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