Abacus Mining and Exploration Corp.
TSX VENTURE : AME

Abacus Mining and Exploration Corp.

June 22, 2009 07:00 ET

Abacus Releases Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for Ajax Copper Mine Development Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 22, 2009) - Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp. (TSX VENTURE:AME) (the "Company") is pleased to announce the completion of a positive, independent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the Company's copper-gold Ajax property, adjacent to the past producing Afton Mine, located near Kamloops, British Columbia.

The National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") compliant study was completed by Wardrop, a Tetra Tech Company ("Wardrop"), and contains production parameters, capital costs, operating costs, and other financial projections for an open pit mine processing 60,000 tonnes of mill feed per day. The metal prices used for the base case were US $2.00 per pound copper and US $700 per ounce gold.

Base Case Highlights (All figures in US dollars and pre-tax)

- Net present value of $192.7 million discounted at 8%

- Return on initial capital expenditures of $535 million is 40.4%

- Average life of mine cash costs of $1.17 per pound copper net of gold credit at $700 per ounce

- Average annual production estimated at 106 million pounds of copper and 99,400 ounces of gold in concentrate

- Mine life of approximately 23 years

- The pit inventory resource contains 2.6 billion pounds of copper and 2.4 million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated category

Doug Fulcher, President of Abacus states, "We are extremely pleased with the results of this PEA as it confirms our confidence in the economic viability of the Ajax project. In addition to the quality resource, the location of this project and existing infrastructure gives it a tremendous advantage. The tailings storage facility is ready to be re-activated with little effort. Water and power are readily available, along with access to major trucking routes and railways. We look forward to providing long term quality employment opportunities and economic stimulus for the city of Kamloops and surrounding areas. We anticipate that mine startup could happen as early as 2013.

We will now move aggressively to complete a prefeasibility study on the Ajax deposit by the end of 2009. Over the next few months, additional drilling is planned on the Ajax East extension area intended to convert inferred resources into a measured and indicated status for inclusion in the prefeasibility study. Results of this drilling could also add additional tonnes of higher grade material and improve the economics shown in this PEA. Moreover, we will continue to look at the exploration potential of the nearby Rainbow and DM zones, both of which are open in one or more directions."

The following sensitivity tables provide net present value, internal rate of return, return on initial capital and payback period data at a discount rate of 8%:



-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copper price ($/pound)
Net Present Value (M$@8%) ------------------------------------
2.00 2.25 2.50
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
700 192.7(ii) 442.7 692.8
------------------------------------
Gold price 800 282.5 532.5 782.6
($/ounce) ------------------------------------
900 372.3 622.3 872.4
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) Base Case


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copper price ($/pound)
Return on Initial Capital (%)(i) ------------------------------------
2.00 2.25 2.50
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
700 40.4(ii) 92.8 145.2
------------------------------------
Gold price 800 59.2 111.6 164.1
($/ounce) ------------------------------------
900 78.1 130.5 182.9
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) The return on initial capital is the ratio between the Net Present
Value of the free cash flows and the Present Value of the initial
project investment, both discounted at 8%
(ii) Base Case


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copper price ($/pound)
Internal Rate of Return (%)(i) ------------------------------------
2.00 2.25 2.50
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
700 12.4(ii) 17.5 22.2
------------------------------------
Gold price 800 14.3 19.2 23.8
($/ounce) ------------------------------------
900 16.1 20.9 25.4
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) Internal rate of return (IRR) is the annualized effective
compounded return rate which can be earned on invested capital
(ii) Base Case


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copper price ($/pound)
Payback (years) ------------------------------------
2.00 2.25 2.50
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
700 6.5(ii) 5.3 3.8
------------------------------------
Gold price 800 6.0 4.9 3.4
($/ounce) ------------------------------------
900 5.6 4.3 3.0
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) Base Case


The following table presents the cash cost per pound of copper which includes all site operating cost, concentrate shipping cost and concentrate smelting cost offset by a credit for payable gold production:



----------------------------------------------------------
Gold Price ($/ounce) 700 800 900
----------------------------------------------------------
Cash cost ($/pound of Copper) 1.17(ii) 1.08 0.99
----------------------------------------------------------
(ii) Base Case


Mining and Milling

A detailed open pit mine plan was completed to supply 21.9 million tonnes of ore per year (60,000 tonnes per day) to the mill. The mine life is approximately 23 years and has an average strip ratio of 1.7:1 (waste tonnes: mill feed tonnes). The open pit was designed with 12 metre benches and pit slopes adjusted to comply with the geotechnical analysis. The ore and waste will be drilled for blasting utilizing electric drills capable of drilling 311 millimetre diameter blast-holes. Blasted material will then be loaded into 228 tonne haul trucks with 35 cubic metre electric rope shovels and 19 cubic metre front-end loaders.

The ore will be delivered to a 60 inch x 89 inch gyratory primary crusher. The crushed ore will feed to a conventional copper concentrator. The concentrator design includes a single 40 foot x 25 foot SAG mill followed by two 24 foot x 42 foot ball mills. Copper and gold are then recovered in concentrate through a conventional flotation circuit. The concentrate will then be filtered and shipped by rail to the port in Vancouver. Metal production in concentrate is estimated at approximately 106 million pounds of copper and 99,400 ounces of gold per year.

Metallurgical recovery equations were based on a series of lock-cycle recovery tests performed by G&T Labs of Kamloops, B.C. The expected recoveries were determined to be 81.5% copper and 81.1% gold providing a 25% copper concentrate at the average mill feed grade. Further metallurgical testing will be carried out in conjunction with the prefeasibility work.

Location and Infrastructure

The Ajax property is favorably situated in south-central British Columbia, approximately 10 kilometres from the city of Kamloops. The local economy is largely resource and service oriented with a major emphasis on forestry, mining, agriculture, and ranching. The city is a central trading hub to a region with population of 127,000 with established transportation routes and communication infrastructure.

The infrastructure that presently exists near the Ajax property is significant. The property is surrounded by two major highways and rail lines with direct access to deep sea ports. Power and water are also readily available, with both running up to the historic Afton mine camp that was operated by Teck between the 1970s and 1990s.

On the property, access is gained by haul roads constructed by Teck in the 1980s. The haul roads connect the Ajax area to the Company's tailings storage facility, and to other high priority targets in the Afton area, including the Rainbow and DM zones.

Capital

The total capital cost to commence production is estimated at $535 million. Included in the capital estimate are costs for the initial mining equipment, pre-production stripping, a 60,000 tonnes per day copper concentrator, shop, warehouse, infrastructure and indirect costs associated with the design engineering procurement and construction, commissioning, spare parts, contingency and owner's cost. The costs also include the initial expansion of the existing tailings facility. All capital costs are estimated to an accuracy of + 25% / -5%.

Environmental

In preparation for permitting an environmental baseline study was completed to assess the current environmental status across the mine site. The study includes evaluation of the flora and fauna, ground and surface water quality and static testing for acid generating potential. The study concluded that no significant issues are present that would impede the permitting process. The static testing for acid generating suggested the material to be mined is not acid generating. Kinetic testing is scheduled for completion during the upcoming pre-feasibility study.

Resource

The resource estimate is based on 411 exploration drill holes, with more than 140,000 metres completed in the Ajax West, Ajax East and the New Gold joint venture ground in between. The mineral resources of the Ajax deposit were classified in accordance with CIM Definition Standards and Best Practices referred to in NI 43-101 which have a reasonable expectation of economic extraction. The mineralization of the Project satisfies criteria to be classified into Measured, Indicated and Inferred mineral resource categories. The updated mineral resource estimate for the Ajax deposit was performed by Mr. Thomas C. Stubens, (M.A.Sc., P.Eng), Senior Geologist at Wardrop.

The table below presents the estimate of the resource of the Ajax deposit as at June 17, 2009. At a 0.13% copper equivalent cut-off, the Measured and Indicated resource totals 442 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.30% copper and 0.19 g/t gold, with an additional 80.6 million tonnes of Inferred at 0.22% copper and 0.16 g/t gold.



Ajax Deposit - Estimated Mineral Resource:

---------------------------------------------------------------
Contained
(i) Metal
Cutoff Tonnes Cu Au CuEq Cu Au
CuEq (%) (Mt) (%) (g/t) (%) (M lb) (Koz)
---------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 0.13 231 0.30 0.18 0.32 1,527.3 1,364
Indicated 0.13 211 0.29 0.19 0.32 1,367.7 1,287
---------------------------------------------------------------
Measured + 0.13 442 0.30 0.19 0.32 2,895.0 2,651
Indicated
---------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 0.13 81 0.22 0.16 0.24 391.0 404
---------------------------------------------------------------
(i) Copper equivalency based on metal prices of $2.00/lb Cu and
$700 /oz Au, at a copper recovery of Cu Recequals43.619 x
Cu(%) + 63.002, max value equals 92%, and gold recovery of Au
Recequals33.87 1 x Au(g/t) + 75.29, max value equals 90%. These
were the metal recoveries developed during the preparation of
the PEA. The Copper Equivalent (CuEq) was calculated using the
following formula: CuEq equals (Cu_Val + Au_Val) / (22.0462 x Cu
price $/lb) where: Cu_Val equals Cu(%) x Cu_Rec x Cu_price x
22.0462 and Au_Val equals Au(g/t) x Au_Rec x Au_Price x 0.032151


A block model was created from the drill data, and conceptual pit shells were generated using the Lerchs-Grossmann algorithm. The resource was then estimated within the ultimate designed pit, and summarized in the following table, at a US$3.84/t Net Smelter Return ("NSR") cut-off grade. This estimated pit inventory resource is the basis of the PEA mine plan and financial analysis.



Ajax Deposit - Estimated Pit Inventory Resource:

---------------------------------------------------------------
Contained
Cutoff (i) Metal
NSR Tonnes Cu Au NSR Cu Au
($/t) (Mt) (%) (g/t) ($/t) (M lb) (Koz)
---------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 3.84 231 0.29 0.18 11.32 1,454.8 1,300
Indicated 3.84 193 0.27 0.18 10.93 1,153.6 1,100
---------------------------------------------------------------
Measured + 3.84 424 0.28 0.18 11.14 2,608.4 2,400
Indicated
---------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 3.84 78 0.21 0.15 8.28 357.5 400
---------------------------------------------------------------
(i) NSR based on metal prices of $2.00/lb Cu and $700 /oz Au, at
a copper recovery of Cu Recequals32.591xCu(%)+72.732, max 92%,
and gold recovery of Au Recequals33.871xAu(g/t)+75.29, max 90% .
These were the metal recoveries developed during the preparation
of the PEA.


This assessment is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the preliminary assessment will be realized. Approximately 15.5% of the mineral resources in the mine production plan are classified as inferred. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. There are no known environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other relevant issues which may materially affect the mineral resource.

Approximately 80% of the resource is located on land 100% owned by the Company. The remaining 20% of the resource is located within the ground covered by a joint venture with New Gold, Inc. As previously announced (October 30, 2007), interests in the joint venture down to 500 metres below surface are 60% Abacus and 40% New Gold. New Gold will have 90 days from receipt of the PEA report to elect to either accept agreed terms, or revert to a 10% net profits interests.

Qualified Person

The NI 43-101 Technical Report is being prepared by an integrated engineering team led by Wardrop of Vancouver, B.C., Canada as the primary author of the Technical Report, conducted under the overall review of Mr. Hassan Ghaffari, P.Eng., of Wardrop, a Qualified Person under the standards set forth under NI 43-101. The technical report will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days. Further information regarding geology, sampling methods, data verification, QA/QC and assay lab is provided in the NI 43-101 technical report dated January 14, 2009 and currently filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

Co-Authors

- Ryan Ulansky (P.Eng.), Senior Mining Engineer, AMEC Americas Ltd. - Qualified Person for mining

- H. Warren Newcomen (P.Eng.), Senior Geotechnical Engineer, BGC Engineering Inc. - Qualified Person for pit slope stability

- Bruno Borntraeger (P.Eng.), Senior Project Engineer, Knight Piesold, - Qualified Person for tailings dam design

- Robert G. Friesen (P.Geo.), the Company's Senior Exploration Manager, is the Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 with respect to preparation and review of this press release

On Behalf of the Board

ABACUS MINING & EXPLORATION CORP.

Doug Fulcher, President and Chief Executive Officer

Forward-Looking Information

This release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address events or developments that Abacus Mining and Exploration Corp. (the "Company") 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 market prices, exploitation and exploration successes, and 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. The Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management's beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change.

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.

Contact Information