SOURCE: Ascendant Copper Corporation

October 30, 2006 10:23 ET

Ascendant Copper Corporation Announces Exploration Venture in Ecuador With Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration Limited

VANCOUVER, BC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 30, 2006 --Ascendant Copper Corporation ("Ascendant" or the "Company") (TSX: ACX) (Berlin-Bremen: A0HMLE) announced today that it has signed an agreement with Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration Limited ("Rio Tinto") (the "Agreement") forming an alliance for minerals exploration in Ecuador. Rio Tinto conducted grassroots exploration in Ecuador for seven years before withdrawing from the country for strategic business reasons in 1997. During this time, Rio Tinto developed an extensive exploration data package, reportedly investing over US$14 million, focusing on both copper and gold primarily on the western slope of the Andes in the Cordillera Occidental and generating exploration data extending from Ecuador's northern border with Colombia to its southern border with Peru.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Ascendant will have exclusive use of this data package for a period of five years for an initial payment to Rio Tinto of US$50,000. During the first three years of the Agreement, Ascendant must identify from the data package one or more properties, defined as Target Properties, and spend in total a minimum of US$2.5 million in exploration-related activities on these properties. Ascendant has agreed to spend no less than US$300,000 during Year 1 and US$800,000 during Year 2, and, as part of the three-year program, must complete at least 10,000 meters of drilling, in aggregate, on such Target Properties. Upon completing these commitments, Ascendant will have earned a full interest in the data package. Even though the Rio Tinto data package may contain exploration information which pertains to the Company's existing properties, these properties, including a five kilometer buffer zone around these properties, are specifically excluded from the Agreement.

At any time up to 60 days after the third anniversary of the effective date of the Agreement, assuming Ascendant has fulfilled its obligations, Rio Tinto has the right to earn a 60% interest in any Target Property by spending the greater of US$4,000,000 or the cost of all work as required to reach a decision regarding whether a Final Feasibility Study on the property is merited. After earning its initial 60% interest in a property, Rio Tinto will have the right to earn an additional 10% (up to 70%) by completing a Final Feasibility Study on the property. Should, for whatever reason, Rio Tinto not complete its earn-in into the property, Ascendant will become the exclusive owner of the exploration data for that Target Property. Rio Tinto has further agreed, should a Final Feasibility Study prove to be positive, to carry Ascendant's equity portion of investment to completion of construction with repayment out of 80% of the Company's share of future cash flow from production from the property.

Mr. John King, the Company's resident exploration and geological expert as well as a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), stated, "The data contained in this exploration data package is extensive. Rio Tinto has done an excellent job in already having digitized much of the information (over 6.5 gigabytes). Included in the package are analyses of nearly 16,000 stream sediment samples, over 5,000 rock chip samples, numerous detailed topographic and geologic maps, hundreds of both internal and external reports, miles of site-specific geophysics (IP), and assays and logs of over 10,000 meters of drilling on very site-specific properties."

Gary E. Davis, President and CEO of Ascendant, added, "This marks a significant step in the advancement of the Company in Ecuador. We are pleased to be partnered with Rio Tinto, a major mining company of world-renown status, and are extremely excited by the opportunities this affords us in Ecuador, both in copper and in gold. We believe, given this technical data, we now have the pre-eminent position and distinct competitive advantage in the country regarding mineral exploration as no other company, large or small, has committed anywhere near the time and effort to exploration in Ecuador as has Rio Tinto."

Ascendant's principal business is the exploration for copper in Ecuador. The Company has two primary properties including its Junin Project located in northern Ecuador, a copper-molybdenum, gold and silver porphyry property with a reported inferred mineral resource of 982 million tonnes grading 0.89% copper, 0.04% molybdenum and 1.9 grams per ton of silver, at a 0.4% copper cut-off grade (1). The Company is currently conducting a drilling program on its Chaucha copper-molybdenum porphyry property in southern Ecuador, which contains an inferred resource of 216 million tonnes with 2.2 billion pounds of copper at 0.46% and 0.03% molybdenum at a 0.20% copper cut-off grade (2). The Company recently purchased the Telimbela copper/molybdenum property in south-central Ecuador, which is in the early stages of exploration.

"Gerald E. (Gary) Davis"
President and CEO
(1) See "Technical Report Review of the Quartz Porphyry-Hosted Copper-Molybdenum Mineralisation at Junin, Otavalo, Ecuador" prepared by Qualified Person, Paul D. Gribble, C. Eng., Senior Mineral Resources Geologist, of Micon International Co Limited ("Micon").

(2) See "Technical Report dated April 8, 2005, and amended August 5, 2005, Review of the Quartz Porphyry-Hosted Copper-Molybdenum Mineralisation at Chaucha, Cuenca, Ecuador" prepared by Qualified Persons, Paul D. Gribble, C. Eng., Senior Mineral Resources Geologist, and David T. Wells, Senior Metallurgist, of Micon. The Chaucha property is presently classified only as a geologic mineral property.

(3) Because of the uncertainty that may attach to these preliminary estimates, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of this reported mineralization will be upgraded to a mineral resource category as a result of continued exploration. See "Final Long Form Prospectus."

The Toronto Stock Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information

  • Gary E. Davis
    Ascendant Copper Corporation

    10920 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 201
    Lakewood, CO 80226
    Tel: (303) 824-0271
    Fax: (303) 297-0538
    Email Contact