Abacus Provides Update on Ajax Copper-Gold Project in B.C.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/19/13 -- Abacus
Mining & Exploration Corporation (TSX VENTURE:AME) ("Abacus" or the
"Company") is pleased to provide the following update from a recent
KGHM-Ajax Mining Inc. ("KGHM-Ajax") Board Meeting. Abacus holds a 20%
interest in KGHM-Ajax which owns the Ajax copper-gold project ("Ajax
project") located near Kamloops, B.C.
The operator of the Ajax project, KGHM International ("KGHMI"), has
committed significant resources to the project's development since
assuming the operatorship on September 1, 2012, demonstrating a
strong commitment to the community, environment and to the long term
sustainability of the Ajax project.
With a strategy of engaging the community with a strong local
presence, KGHMI has expanded the Ajax project team which currently
numbers 23 employees, and plans to hire additional personnel
throughout the year. Of note, the Community Affairs Department was
enhanced to recently include Mr. Yves Lacasse, formerly Chief of
Police for the RCMP detachment in Kamloops, as External Affairs
Manager for the project. In addition, community, external affairs and
outreach specialists have recently joined the KGHM-Ajax Kamloops
team. A successful open house was hosted in January involving local
government and about 600 members from the community.
First Nations Agreements - MOU and Cultural Heritage Study signed
Agreements have been signed with the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc
("STS"), represented by the Tk'emlups and Skeetchestn First Nations
bands for a Cultural Heritage Study ("CHS") and a Memorandum of
Understanding ("MoU"). Consultations continue with the STS on a
Capacity Funding Agreement to assist them in the review of the
Environmental Assessment and towards aligning an Impacts Benefits
Project Agreement ("IBA"). The IBA would define the mutual
responsibilities between KGHM-Ajax and the STS in connection with the
benefits, construction, operations, and closure of the Ajax project.
Technical Review Update
An extensive review was performed by KGHMI staff and outside
consultants to optimize the Ajax mine plan including validation of
the proposed capital and operating expenditures. Pilot plant testwork
of the taili
ngs storage facility was successfully conducted and a
sample has been forwarded to Golder Associates for further test work.
A metallurgical pilot plant test is also being planned for the Ajax
ore. These and other technical considerations are being assessed to
improve project economics and mine life. The 2013 budget for
KGHM-Ajax is $58 million of which Abacus' 20% would be funded by its
monies currently held in escrow for development of the Ajax project.
Environmental & Permitting
The formal Environmental Assessment Application is expected to be
submitted to the federal and provincial agencies in September this
year. The next phase is the submission of the permit application
under the joint Mines Act and Environmental Management Act in the
first quarter of 2014. KGHMI is currently pursuing a schedule that
envisions production start-up at Ajax in the third quarter of 2016.
This represents a delay compared with the Feasibility Study dated
January 6, 2012 but encompasses increased detailed engineering, and
technical and environmental assurances.
Following the exercise of the Development Option by KGHM Polska Miedz
S.A. on April 2, 2012, (thereby increasing its ownership in KGHM-Ajax
to 80%), Abacus was paid cash consideration of US$29.9 million. To
date, net of cash calls, $24.9 million remains in Abacus' escrow
account which will contribute to Abacus' portion of all development
expenditures. The joint venture agreement with KGHM Polska Miedz S.A.
provides for a financed carry for Abacus' 20% interest with 100% of
the project's capex obligation to be provided by KGHM.
Abacus has approximately $1.5 million in cash and equivalents. This
is expected to be sufficient for the foreseeable future as the
Company has a very low monthly cash requirement.
Abacus continues working with financial advisor Stifel Nicolaus
Canada Inc. in evaluating a number of potential strategic
opportunities to maximize the value of its 20% interest in the Ajax
Project. A development in this regard will be announced when
On Behalf of the Board,
ABACUS MINING AND EXPLORATION CORPORATION
James D. Excell, President & CEO
Donna Yoshimatsu, Director, Investor Relations
Abacus is a mineral exploration and mine development company with a
20% interest in the feasibility stage Ajax copper-gold project
located near Kamloops, B.C. The Ajax Project is a joint venture
between Abacus Mining & Exploration Corporation and KGHM Polska Miedz
S.A. through KGHM-Ajax.
The Ajax project feasibility study supports production of a total of
2.5 billion lbs of copper and 2.28 million ozs of gold in
concentrate, or an average of approximately 109 million lbs of copper
and 99,000 ozs of gold annually, over a 23 year mine life. Total
proven and probable mineral reserves are estimated at 3 billion lbs
Cu and 2.7 million ozs Au at 0.27% Cu and 0.17 g/t Au based on $2.50
Cu and $1,085 Au. The proposed mine plan envisages a conventional
open pit operation processing 60,000 tonnes per day or 21.9 million
tonnes per year of ore. (see Report titled "Ajax Copper/Gold Project
-- Kamloops, British Columbia Feasibility Study Technical Report" by
Wardrop (a Tetra Tech Company) dated January 6, 2012 ("FS")).
This release includes certain statements that are deemed
"forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other
than statements of historical facts, that address events or
developments that Abacus expects to occur, are forward-looking
statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not
historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the
words "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "believes", "intends",
"estimates", "projects", "potential" and similar expressions, or that
events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could" or "should"
occur. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in
such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions,
such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual
results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking
statements. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ
materially from those in forward-looking statements include changes
to commodity prices, mine and metallurgical recovery, operating and
capital costs, foreign exchange rates, ability to obtain required
permits on a timely basis, exploitation and exploration successes,
continued availability of capital and financing, and general
economic, market or business conditions. Investors are cautioned that
any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and
actual results or developments may differ materially from those
projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking
statements are based on the beliefs, estimates and opinions of the
Company's management on the date the statements are made. Except as
required by applicable securities laws, the Company undertakes no
obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event
that management's beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors,
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as
that term is defined in the p
olicies of the TSX Venture Exchange)
accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Abacus Mining and Exploration Corporation
James D. Excell
President & CEO
Abacus Mining and Exploration Corporation
Director, Investor Relations
Abacus Mining & Exploration Corporation
(604) 682-0307 (FAX)
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