Mercator Minerals Files Updated El Pilar Feasibility Study

Mercator Minerals Files Updated El Pilar Feasibility Study Technical
Report 
(All US$, unless otherwise noted) 
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 10/19/12 -- Mercator
Minerals Ltd. (TSX:ML) ("Mercator" or "Company") is pleased to
announce today, further to the September 4, 2012 press release, it
has filed an updated El Pilar National Instrument 43-101 ("NI
43-101") compliant Feasibility Study Technical Report ("2012 FS") on
SEDAR (www.sedar.com). The 2012 FS is an update to the Feasibility
Study completed November 2011 ("2011 FS"), which further enhances the
potential development of a robust, large-scale, low-cost copper mine
at the El Pilar project ("Project"), located in the mining friendly
jurisdiction of the northern Mexican state of Sonora. 
2012 FS Base Case(1) Highlights 


 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net present value ("NPV"), after tax, discounted at 8% ($ millions) $ 416.0 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Internal rate of return ("IRR"), after tax                             36.6%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Payback period, after tax (years)                                       1.8 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Life-of-mine ("LOM"), average annual production (m lbs)                79.3 
First five years, average annual production (m lbs)                    85.4 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average LOM total cash operating costs ($/lb)                       $  1.34 
First five years, average annual cash operating costs(i) ($/lb)     $  1.22 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initial capital costs ($ millions)                                  $ 279.9 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mine life (years)                                                        13 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total copper production (m lbs)                                       998.3 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Base Case at $3.83/lb copper
 price per pound Years 0 and 1, $3.44/lb    
 Year 2, $3.14/lb Year 3 and $2.60/lb for the remaining life of mine,       
 averaging $2.82/lb copper over the life of mine. All calculations are Base 
 Case except where otherwise specified.                                     

 
The 2012 FS includes a new base case ("Base Case") utilizing:  


 
--  enhanced copper recoveries based on heap leaching in three meter lift
    heights (as compared to the six meter lift heights used in the 2011 FS);
--  the same copper price assumptions as the 2011 FS; 
--  updated mineral reserve, metal recoveries and mine plan; 
--  capital and operating cost assumptions based on the 2011 FS study with
    no escalation added other than an increase in the initial capital based
    on an increased leach pad area in the first year of operations; 
--  the purchase of a shovel in Year 3 as compared to Year 5 in the 2011 FS
    (this minor change adjusts the NPV from $417.0 million to $416.0 million
    and the IRR from to 37.0% to 36.6%, while all other project economics
    remain the same). 

 
Further Opportunities for Enhancement  
The 2012 FS highlights various opportunities to increase the value of
the Project, as additional metallurgical tests show that, using three
meter lift heights may provide greater copper extraction over a 360
day leach cycle as compared to the 180 day leach cycle used in the
Base Case. This is due to continued copper extraction over time in
the multi-lift heap configuration. If realized, this opportunity
could result in: 


 
--  An increase of 14% over the Base Case in total copper recovered, to
    1,142 billion pounds; 
--  An increase of 13% over the Base Case in the average life of mine
    recoveries to 64.9%; 
--  A 36% increase in after-tax NPV8% to $565.6 million; 
--  A 18% increase in the IRR from 36.6% to 43.3%; and 
--  A payback of 1.7 years as compared to 1.8 years in the Base Case. 

 
"We are very encouraged with the continued improvements in and upside
potential of the El Pilar Project. The recently completed 360-day
leach results from 11 three meter high mini-columns (tested on the
same ore sample as used in the Base Case of the 2012 FS) indicate
increased copper recoveries could be achieved," commented D. Bruce
McLeod, President & CEO. "The results also show that higher acid
pre-cure amounts, combined with reduced acid application rates, can
increase copper recoveries by as much as 9% over the 180 days of
leaching, thereby indicating even better project economics may be
achievable." 
For readers to fully understand the information in this news release,
they should read the 2012 FS in its entirety, including all
qualifications, assumptions and exclusions that relate to the
information set out in this news release. The 2012 FS is intended to
be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon
out of context. The technical information in the 2012 FS is subject
to the assumptions and qualifications contained therein.  
El Pilar Permitting Update  
The Project is construction-ready, with approval for all
environmental permits needed for construction having been received
and the acquisition of all required surface land rights having been
completed. Important permits received recently include Notice of
Approval of the Change of Land Use (CUS) Permit on August 23, 2012
and the MIA Study Approval Resolution for the access road and
railroad spur on September 21, 2012.  
Qualified Person  
This news release has been prepared under the supervision of Michael
Broch, BSc. Geology, MSc Economic Geology, FAusIMM, the Company's
Vice President, Exploration and Evaluations, a Qualified Person as
defined in National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Broch was the author of
the 2012 FS and has read and approved the relevant technical portions
of this news release. 
About Mercator Minerals Ltd. 
Mercator Minerals Ltd., a TSX listed Canadian mining company with the
potential to have one of the fastest growing base metal profiles in
its peer group, is a copper, molybdenum and silver producer with a
diversified portfolio of high quality assets in the USA and Mexico.
Mercator provides investors exposure to current copper, molybdenum
and silver production from the large tonnage long life Mineral Park
Mine in Arizona, as well as mid-term exposure to potential copper
production from its El Pilar deposit in the State of Sonora in
northern Mexico and longer term exposure of molybdenum and copper
through the potential development of the El Creston deposit also in
the State of Sonora in northern Mexico.  
For further information please visit www.mercatorminerals.com. 
On Behalf of the Board of Directors 
MERCATOR MINERALS LTD.  
D. Bruce McLeod, P.Eng., President and CEO 
Forward-Looking Information 
This news release contains certain forward-looking information within
the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and forward-looking
statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements,
referred to herein as "forward-looking statements", are not
historical facts, are made as of the date of this press release and
include without limitation, statements regarding discuss
ions of the
Company's business strategy, future plans, projections, objectives,
estimates and forecasts and statements as to management's
expectations with respect to, among other things, financing plans,
future production, mine development, mine operations, mine and power
costs, estimating grade levels, future recovery levels, future
production levels, capital costs, costs savings, cash and total costs
of production of copper, projected mine life, completion dates for
the development of the El Pilar Project, future copper prices
(including the long-term estimated prices used in calculating the
Company's El Pilar mineral reserves), end-use demand for copper, and
anticipated timing of production at the El Pilar Project and
discussions of future plans, projections and objectives. In addition,
estimates of mineral reserves and mineral resources may constitute
forward looking statements to the extent they involve estimates of
the mineralization that will be encountered if a property is
developed. These forward-looking statements involve numerous risks
and uncertainties and actual results may vary.  
Important factors that may cause actual results to vary include
without limitation, certain transactions, certain approvals, changes
in commodity and power prices, changes in interest and currency
exchange rates, risks inherent in exploration results, timing and
success, inaccurate geological and metallurgical assumptions
(including with respect to the size, grade and recoverability of
mineral reserves and resources), unanticipated operational
difficulties (including failure of plant, equipment or processes to
operate in accordance with specifications, cost escalation,
unavailability of materials, equipment and third-party contractors,
delays in the receipt of government approvals, industrial
disturbances or other job action, and unanticipated events related to
health, safety and environmental matters), political risk, social
unrest, and changes in general economic conditions or conditions in
the financial markets. In making the forward-looking statements in
this news release, the Company has applied several material
assumptions, including without limitation, the assumptions that: (1)
market fundamentals will result in sustained copper demand and
prices; (2) the construction and operation of the El Pilar Project
will continue to be viable operationally and economically and will
proceed as expected; and (3) any financing needed will be available
on reasonable terms. The risks and assumptions are described in more
detail in the Company's Annual Information Form, audited financial
statements and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2011 on the SEDAR
website at www.sedar.com. The Company does not assume the obligation
to revise or update these forward-looking statements after the date
of this news release or to revise them to reflect the occurrence of
future unanticipated events, except as may be required under
applicable securities laws. 
Note to US Investors 
This news release has been prepared in accordance with the
requirements of the securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ
from the requirements of United States securities laws. Information
contained in this news release may contain descriptions of the
Company's mineral deposits that may not be comparable to similar
information made public by U.S. companies subject to the reporting
and disclosure requirements under the United States federal
securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. 
(i) Cash Operating Costs 
"Cash Operating Costs" is a non-IFRS Performance Measure. This
performance measure is included because this statistic is a key
performance measure that management uses to monitor performance.
Management uses this statistic to assess how the Company is
performing to plan and to assess the overall effectiveness and
efficiency of mining operations. This performance measure does not
have a meaning within IFRS and, therefore, amounts presented may not
be comparable to similar data presented by other mining companies.
This performance measure should not be considered in isolation as a
substitute for measures of performance in accordance with IFRS.
Contacts:
Mercator Minerals Ltd.
D. Bruce McLeod, P.Eng.
President & CEO
778.330.1290
bmcleod@mercatorminerals.com 
Mercator Minerals Ltd.
David Jan, CA
Head of Investor Relations & Communications
778.330.1295
djan@mercatorminerals.com
www.mercatorminerals.com
 
 
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.