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Nov 26, 2014
Mindoro's Agata Mining JV to Ship Higher Grade DSO and Provides Results from a Resource Update Drill Program at the Agata Nickel Laterite Project
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, November 26, 2014 - Mindoro Resources Ltd. (TSXV: MIO; Frankfurt: WKN 906167) today announced that Agata Mining Ventures Inc. ("AMVI"), is modifying its high-iron/low nickel direct shipping ore ("DSO") operations to include shipments of nickel laterite containing higher nickel content in order to maximize revenues at the Agata nickel laterite project located in northern Mindanao, the Philippines. AMVI, a joint venture company in which Mindoro holds a 40% interest and TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc. ("TVIRD") holds a 60% interest and is the operator, has also commenced an exploration program aimed at upgrading the previously defined nickel laterite resource and to identify additional resources at the project.
"We are fortunate that during these challenging times for the resource industry, the Agata project offers multiple near and longer term development opportunities," stated Penny Gould, CEO of Mindoro. "Maximizing revenue during this start-up phase of operations is important and it makes sense to consider commercializing limited amounts of the higher-grade nickel saprolite, which lies directly beneath the high iron / low nickel limonite zone already being mined and shipped as DSO. While the amount of saprolite slated for shipping should not materially impact the planned processing operations, we are pleased to note the emerging potential to upgrade the nickel laterite resource, based on higher than expected nickel and iron grades and thicker saprolite intersections being encountered in the current in-fill and resource expansion drill program."
MODIFIED DSO OPERATIONS
AMVI's original DSO operational plan at the Agata nickel laterite project was to ship approximately 55,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) of high-iron/low nickel DSO grading a minimum of 48% iron and 0.6% nickel approximately every three to four weeks upon commencement of operations. To date, two shipments have been completed and a third shipment is nearing completion. However, current market prices for nickel laterite containing 0.6% to 0.9% nickel and 49% iron have fallen to US$13 to US$15 per tonne from an average price of US$21 to US$23 per wmt in the earlier part of 2014 and all of 2013, which has impacted operating margins.
To offset the price drop, AMVI now plans to mine the higher grade saprolite material (containing greater than 1.5% nickel), found in the deeper part of the nickel laterite resource, and, subject to securing off-take agreements, make two 55,000 wmt shipments of the higher grade saprolite in the coming months, as current market prices for nickel laterite containing 1.5% nickel is between US$38 and US$40 per wmt. Following the shipment of the higher nickel grade saprolite, AMVI plans to mine and make shipments consisting of both high and low grade material in order to ensure that a blended higher selling price is obtained.
AMVI management is also implementing operation-wide cost-saving measures and is planning to ramp up production to further enhance operating margins.
While it has been AMVI's intention to process the higher grade saprolite at a proposed nickel processing facility on-site (as announced in news on November 24, 2014), AMVI believes that there will be sufficient saprolite remaining when the process plant is commissioned and that additional saprolite may be identified through the aggressive drilling program currently underway at the project.
EXPLORATION PROGRAM UNDERWAY
In October 2014, AMVI commenced a detailed exploration program consisting of in-fill, data verification and step-out drilling on the Agata nickel laterite resource to define extensions within and outside the current pit design and to upgrade and increase the resources previously disclosed in a National Instrument (NI) 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate released on April 10, 2013.
The in-fill drill program consists of a total of 494 diamond drill holes, ranging in depth from 15 to 20 metres, totalling an estimated 7,904 metres. To date, 93 holes have been completed and results have yielded significant intercepts of up to 2.3% nickel and 52.5% iron. Results of the in-fill drill program will be used to upgrade the mineral resource estimate at the project.
The table of drill results to date is available for viewing and download at the following link: http://www.mindoro.com/i/pdf/2014-11-25_AIDPAR.pdf
Concurrent with in-fill drilling, a 143 twin hole drill program consisting of coring and auger drilling is underway for data validation of the holes previously drilled by Mindoro Resources in 2010. A total of 52 auger drill holes have been completed to date and initial assay results on samples show higher nickel and iron grades as compared with previous drill data. In addition, thicker saprolite horizons have been intercepted during the drill campaign, indicating a potential increase in volume and grades of the current resource. Due to the variability of the deposit, results of the twin hole drill program will only be announced upon completion of the full program.
While both in-fill and data verification drill programs are being carried out at the west and south pit of the Agata North portion of the resource, AMVI is also planning to carry out a step-out drill program aimed at defining extensions outside the pit design and to assess the potential of satellite laterite deposits mapped at the southern areas of the project.
Reconnaissance mapping will be carried out to locate areas of possible drill targets for the step out program, which will be finalized once ground assessment and drill target definition are complete. Further details and results of the exploration programs underway will be reported in the upcoming months.
AMVI intends to produce a NI43-101 compliant resource update on the Agata nickel laterite project upon completion of the drill program which is expected by mid-2015 or sooner.
PRODUCTION RAMP UP
AMVI is currently planning to ramp up its nickel DSO operations from the previously stated goal of 2.5 million wet metric tonnes per year to 5 million wet metric tonnes by 2016 once it secures an amended and expanded Environmental Compliance Certificate and Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
By doubling initially planned production capacity, AMVI expects to achieve economies of scale that would significantly enhance operating margins. Once production has been fully ramped up, the shipment schedule would be approximately one to three shipments of 55,000 wmt of DSO being dispatched every week.
ABOUT THE AGATA PROJECT
AMVI is a joint venture company in which Mindoro holds a 40% interest and TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc. ("TVIRD") holds a 60% interest and is the operator. AMVI signed an offtake agreement in June 2014 with Tewoo Hoperay (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Tianjjn Hoperay Mineral Limited Company, a major Chinese State Owned Enterprise, to sell one million wmt of high-iron/low nickel DSO. A second agreement was signed in August 2014 to sell an additional 500,000 wmt. Advance payments of US$3 million were received by AMVI to fund initial operating costs. Two shipments of high iron/low nickel DSO material have been completed to date, as reported in Mindoro's releases of October 23 and November 18, 2014.
As announced in a press release dated November 20, 2014, AMVI has received an offer of a US$8 million term loan facility from China Banking Corporation. AMVI intends to use the China Bank term loan facility, which remains subject to board approval, to ramp up operations at the Agata DSO project, to fund the current exploration programs and resource updates at the Agata nickel laterite and limestone projects, and for general working purposes.
An NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate released on April 10, 2013 shows the Agata DSO project to have reported Proven and Probable Reserves of 9.7 million wmt with a grade of 48% Fe with 0.9% Ni. The report is available for viewing on http://www.sedar.com and www.mindoro.com.
The Agata Project is located in Agusan del Norte province, within the Surigao mining region on the island of Mindanao, Philippines. The Surigao region is a major lateritic nickel producing region providing ore to processing plants in Australia, China, Korea and Japan. The Agata Project is well located and is expected to benefit from its deep protected seaport, the opportunity for year-round shipping and its proximity to main markets in Asia.
QUALIFIED PERSON AND QUALITY ASSURANCE/QUALITY CONTROL
Dallas Cox, B.Eng (Mining), MAusIMM(CP), Principal Consultant of Crystal Sun Consulting Limited has worked as a mining engineer for 28 years, including 10 years as an independent mineral industry consultant. Mr. Cox graduated with a degree in Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Kensington in 1986. He is a member of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, a Chartered Professional (CP), and a qualified person under the guidelines of National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Cox has approved the scientific and technical information in this news release.
Mr. Cox has six years association with the Agata nickel project, since 2007, in various technical studies. Other relevant experience with respect to the Agata nickel project includes operational and technical services functions for Queensland Nickel Greenvale operations from 1987 to 1990, and mining and resource studies for Acoje Nickel Project (Zambales, Philippines), Adlay Nickel Project (Surigao del Norte, Philippines), Verdant Vale Nickel Project (Bukidnon, Philippines) and Chaldag Nickel Project (Turkey) between 2007 and 2011.
Core samples are analyzed in the Agata Mine Laboratory using XRF and 4 Acid Digestion technique. Standard Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures are implemented in core handling and sampling at Agata. QA/QC materials inserted into sample dispatch include third party purchased certified reference materials for iron and nickel, coarse duplicates, and blanks. Assay results of QA/QC materials are strictly monitored and re-analysis of the complete batch of samples are carried out when anomalous assay results are noted.
Penny Gould, CEO
Phone: +1.780.413.8187 (ext. 1)
Clayton Northey, CFO
Phone: +1.780.413.8187 (ext. 2)
Mindoro is a Tier 1 Issuer trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (MIO) and Frankfurt Stock Exchange (WKN 906167). Mindoro has a 40% interest in the Agata Mining Joint Venture and a 30% interest, plus an option to acquire an additional 25%, in the Agata Processing Joint Venture. Mindoro also holds 75% interest in the Pan de Azucar Sulphur-Copper-Gold Project, Iloilo. TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc. ("TVIRD") has the option to earn up to a 60% interest in the Agata Processing and Pan de Azucar projects by meeting the earn-in requirements outlined in the June 24, 2013, press release, which include producing a definitive feasibility study for a nickel processing facility. Mindoro also holds 75% interest and an option to acquire an additional 25% in the Tapian San Francisco Copper-Gold Project, Mindanao.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "seek", "anticipate", "plan", "continue", "estimate", "expect", "may", "will", "intend", "could", "might", "should", "believe", "scheduled", "to be", "will be" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements in this News Release are based upon the opinions and expectations of management of the Company as at the effective date of such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that those expectations will prove to have been correct. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties (known and unknown) that could cause actual outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, such things as inherent risks associated with the exploration and development of mining properties, ultimate recoverability of mineral reserves, timing, results and costs of exploration and development activities, availability of financial resources or third-party financing, new laws (domestic or foreign), changes in administrative practices, changes in exploration plans or budgets, and availability of equipment and personnel.
Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance upon the forward-looking statements contained in this News Release and such forward-looking statements should not be interpreted or regarded as guarantees of future outcomes. Forward-looking information respecting cash flows anticipated from future production of high-iron/low nickel DSO at the Agata Mining Project, is based upon high-iron/low nickel DSO prices in effect as at the date of this News Release, management's forecasts of trends in prices of high-iron/low nickel DSO, current mining rates of high-iron/low nickel DSO from the Agata Mining Project, estimates of the size of the high-iron/low nickel DSO reserves at Agata Mining Project, the current development plan for Agata Mining Project, AMVI's current budget and overall strategy for Agata Mining Project, which plans, budget and strategy are all subject to change. Forward-looking information respecting the anticipated timing of future shipments of high-iron/low nickel DSO from the Agata Mining Project, is based upon current mining rates of high-iron/low nickel DSO from the Agata Mining Project, the terms of the third party offtake agreement for the purchase of high-iron/low nickel DSO produced at the Agata Mining Project, estimates of the size of the high-iron/low nickel DSO reserves at the Agata Mining Project, the current development plan for the Agata Mining Project, AMVI's current budget and overall strategy for the Agata Mining Project, which plans, budget and strategy are all subject to change. The forward-looking statements of the Company contained in this News Release are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement. Various risks to which the Company is exposed in the conduct of its business (including mining activities) are described in detail in the Company's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2013, which was filed on SEDAR on March 31, 2014 and is available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com. Subject to applicable securities laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly revise the forward-looking statements included in this News Release to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
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