ECU Silver Mining Inc.
TSX : ECU

ECU Silver Mining Inc.

January 24, 2008 11:16 ET

ECU Silver Doubles NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate and Highlights Significant Potential Resources

Highlights - Measured & Indicated Resources have increased by 116% to 38 million ounces of silver equivalent. - Inferred Resources have increased by 121% to 179 million ounces of silver equivalent. - Potential Resources have increased by 1,300% - 1,365% to 465 - 807 million ounces of silver equivalent.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 24, 2008) - ECU Silver Mining Inc. ("ECU Silver" or the "Company") (TSX:ECU) is pleased to report the results of its "Updated" National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") compliant mineral resource estimate (the "Resource Estimate") on its Velardena District Properties in Durango State, Mexico (the "Velardena Properties"). The results confirm an increase to over twice ECU Silver's mineral resources. A report of the Resource Estimate will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days. The Resource Estimate (refer to Tables 1,2 and 3 below) was audited by MICON International Limited ("MICON").

The previous resource estimate in respect of the Velardena Properties was set out in the NI 43-101 technical report dated October 2006 completed by Broad Oak and Associates (the "BroadOak Report"). The result of this latest Resource Estimate represents a 121% increase over the BroadOak Report.

NI 43-101 Resource Estimate:

- Measured Resource: 24,768,000 ounces of silver equivalent.

- Indicated Resource: 12,864,000 ounces of silver equivalent.

- Inferred Resource: 179,004,000 ounces of silver equivalent.

The Resource Estimate does not include several areas within the Velardena Properties where the potential may exist to increase future mineral resources. Many of the veins and vein packages in the Velardena Properties remain open along strike in both directions and at depth, providing for an estimate of potential resources ("Potential Resources") which has been reviewed by MICON (refer to Table 4 below).

- Potential Resources: 464,660,000 to 806,503,000 ounces of silver equivalent.

ECU Silver and MICON believe the potential to increase mineral resources on the Velardena Properties is substantial. As such, MICON has reviewed the conceptual Potential Resource, which is not included in the Resource Estimate.

This Potential Resource is compliant with NI 43-101 disclosure requirements and reflects the observed lateral and interpreted downward extensions of veins identified in the Resource Estimate. Further exploration and development work is expected to convert a portion of the Potential Resources into a future resource estimate.

The most recent Potential Resource range has increased approximately 13 - 14 times, which is significantly larger than the range of 33 to 55 million silver equivalent ounces as reported in the previous BroadOak Report. This increase is a direct result of the significant exploration and development program that the Company has completed over the last two years.

The material increase in the Resource Estimate and the Potential Resources was based strictly on veins included in this resource estimation and does not incorporate other known veins identified through historical data within the Velardena Properties, nor does it include the mineralized skarns. Insufficient data has been collected to estimate mineral resources in these other veins. A portion of the Company's next exploration program will be designed to collect additional data from these areas.

In total, more than 39 veins have been identified on the Velardena Properties, which is comprised of the main Velardena Property, the Chicago Property and the joint venture San Diego Property, all of which are within close proximity to each other. The Resource Estimate was based on 32 of the 39 veins. The remaining seven veins, which are well known and have been identified through surface sampling and/or underground workings, require further evaluation. It is anticipated that more veins exist in the Velardena Properties based on past geological mapping.

Readers are cautioned that there are no assurances that all or any part of the Resource Estimate or the Potential Resources will be economically viable and although the information in this press release is based on the best available data the Company has collected to date, a material difference between the actual results and the Company's expectations may arise once further exploration is completed.

Michel Roy, the Chairman and CEO of ECU Silver stated, "Our mineral inventory of over 200 million silver equivalent ounces now represents a growth in excess of nine times over our first 43-101 Resource Report issued by Roscoe, Postle and Associates in July 2005. Furthermore, we are pleased with the results of the exploration work started in 2006. Our main objectives were to significantly increase the Measured and Indicated resources and convert the Potential resources into the Inferred category. As such, the Measured and Indicated category has increased by 116% from the BroadOak Report and the new Inferred resources include most of what had been previously presented as Potential Resource."

Stephen Altmann, the President of ECU Silver added that, "The Resource Estimate and Potential Resources confirm that the Velardena Properties are host to a significant mineral resource with a potential for considerable growth as evidenced by the large Potential Resource category. We have commenced the construction of a new ramp that will provide access to several areas where we may convert some of our Potential Resources into a new resource estimate and confirm the district potential of the Velardena Properties."

The Resource Estimate is based on additional information collected beyond that of the BroadOak Report. Additional information was derived from 24,000 metres of drilling plus underground development which included 2,000 metres of drifting and ramps, in addition to 500 metres of raises.

In total, the Resource Estimate has been based on 295 drill holes, 44,500 metres of drilling plus underground development of approximately 3,780 metres of drifting and ramps and 1,260 metres of raises. In addition, 5,800 chip samples and 7,300 drill core samples have been entered into the database. The Resource Estimate has been included in a MinTek MineSite database.

A cut-off value of US$45 per tonne was used for the narrow veins and was based on information derived from previous mining activities on the main Velardena Property. A cut-off value of US$25 per tonne was used for the bulk tonnage vein packages and was based on previous bulk mining tests completed by ECU Silver. In determining the silver equivalent value, the Net Smelter Return ("NSR") value was calculated for each commodity based on metallurgical recoveries from the most recent tests and contracts for mineral concentrates produced from the mining activities on the Velardena Property.

The Company would like to thank MICON for their efforts and guidance over the past 16 months.



Table 1: Mineral Resource Summary(1)
Velardena District Properties
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gold Silver Lead Zinc Copper Silver Silver
(Au) (Ag) (Pb) (Zn) (Cu) Equiv.(2) Equiv.(2)
(Au,Ag) (Au,Ag,Pb,
Zn,Cu)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
000 oz 000 oz 000 lb 000 lb 000 lb 000 oz 000 oz
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 195 9,332 12,914 23,221 6,195 22,799 24,768
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Indicated 81 5,870 14,740 16,853 3,376 11,298 12,864
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 276 15,202 27,653 40,075 9,570 34,097 37,632
and
Indicated
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 886 82,024 430,651 444,866 49,698 139,207 179,004
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Resource estimates are based on a NSR value cut-off of US$45 per tonne
and US$25 for vein packages.
(2) Silver equivalents incorporate the following assumptions:

------------------------------------------------
Recovery Recovery
Commodity Price Sulphides Oxides
------------------------------------------------
Gold US$640/oz 71% 78%
Silver US$12/oz 58% 55%
Lead US$0.60/lb 45% n/a
Zinc US$1.20/lb 25% n/a
Copper US$2.50/lb 21% n/a
------------------------------------------------

Table 2: Mineral Grade Summary - Oxides
Velardena District Properties
------------------------------------------------------------
Tonnes Gold Silver Lead Zinc Copper
(Au) (Ag) (Pb) (Zn) (Cu)
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
000 t g/t g/t % % %
------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 633 3.50 162 n/a n/a n/a
------------------------------------------------------------
Indicated 364 2.36 176 n/a n/a n/a
------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 998 3.08 167 n/a n/a n/a
and
Indicated
------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 447 1.46 206 n/a n/a n/a
------------------------------------------------------------


Table 3: Mineral Grade Summary - Sulphides
Velardena District Properties
------------------------------------------------------------
Tonnes Gold Silver Lead Zinc Copper
(Au) (Ag) (Pb) (Zn) (Cu)
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
000 t g/t g/t % % %
------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 2,167 1.78 87 0.27 0.49 0.13
------------------------------------------------------------
Indicated 581 2.85 204 0.94 1.11 0.26
------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 2,748 2.00 112 0.41 0.62 0.16
and
Indicated
------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 13,293 2.02 185 1.46 1.51 0.17
------------------------------------------------------------


Table 4: Mineral Potential Summary
Velardena District Properties
----------------------------------------------------------------
Mineral Mineral Avg. Avg. Potential Potential
Potential Potential Gold Silver Contained Contained
Range Grade Grade Silver Eq. Silver Eq.
(Au,Ag) (Au,Ag,Zn,
Pb,Cu)
----------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------
000 t g/t g/t 000 oz 000 oz
----------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 30,872 3.31 251 464,660 549,040
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------
Maximum 63,038 2.50 234 806,503 960,395
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------


The reader is cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. This preliminary economic assessment of the resources is preliminary in nature and there is no certainty that a preliminary economic assessment will be realized.

Additional Information

Resource Methodology

1. Measured, Indicated and Inferred resources tonnages were estimated using longitudinal sections for each of the veins and/or vein packages combined with the width and density information for each cross-section for the measured and indicated resources and on the average widths and densities of all intercepts for the inferred.

2. The geological continuity of each zone was determined on 20 meters cross sections based on stratigraphy, mineralization and structure using underground development and sampling plus diamond drill holes and surface information when applicable.

3. The area of these blocks was measured on long sections (oriented vertically but parallel to strike of the vein) using MineSite.

4. All intercepts were calculated at a 1 metre minimum horizontal width for narrow veins and at 2.70 metres minimum horizontal width for the bulk mining areas with representative local background values for internal dilution in both cases.

5. The undiluted resource was estimated using an NSR value cut-off factor of US$45 per tonne for the narrow, high grade veins, whereas a cut-off factor of US$25 per tonne was applied to the bulk tonnage vein packages. Blocks that did not meet these criteria were removed from the Resource Estimate. However, in parts of the measured and indicated resources, there remained internal blocks that did not meet the above criteria but would naturally be part of the mining sequence. These blocks were included in the resource estimate provided the overall grade of the mining level was above the NSR value cut-off factor.

6. Capping of high values was set at the 95th percentile of all assay results calculated for each element in each vein.

7. Measured Resources were defined as that portion of mineralization between mine levels, 10 metres on each side of the drifts and 25 to 50 metres below the lowest drifts depending on proven vertical continuity.

8. Indicated Resources were defined to a vertical depth of 25 metres below Measured Resources and 10 metres laterally adjacent to Measured Resources.

9. Inferred Resources were defined as that portion of mineralization defined by surface sampling and/or drill-hole samples. In most cases where the extent of the mineralized zone is unknown, the extent of the Inferred Resources has been estimated at a maximum of 100 metres. The depth of Inferred Resources for those zones which have been explored by drill holes has been set at 50 metres below the lowest mineralized drill intersection.

10. Mineral Resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Estimate of Potential Resources

The mineral potential of a property cannot be estimated to the same accuracy as a mineral resource and must be stated as a range. To calculate a range for grades, a factor of minus 10 % was applied for the downside and plus 10 % for the upside potential. In the potential for the extensions of the veins belonging to the Santa Juana vein system where grades were used from drill holes only, the upside was set at plus 50%.

The upside potential factor is larger than the downside potential factor because of the possibility that the mineralized zones will be similar in nature to, and as extensive as, the main veins on the Velardena Properties. Consequently a significant difference between the grades from drilling and the higher grades from stoping is expected.

Furthermore, an additional 59,956,000 ounces silver-equivalent was added to both the minimum and maximum to reflect the fact that gold and silver grades from actual stopes were significantly higher than grades from drill holes that defined those blocks prior to mining them. The increase was material in all cases and averaged approximately 300% using four well documented cases. Using the three smallest increases for gold and silver, the average increase obtained was 93% for gold and 134% for silver. This difference was applied to the 4,872,000 tonnes grading 3.28g/t gold and 137g/t silver representing the inferred resources at Santa Juana which were based uniquely on drill-hole information, yielding the potential increase mentioned above.

MICON also indicated that contributing to the upside potential is the possibility that additional veins on the Velardena Properties may be discovered.

The mineral potential of the Velardena District property is conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration conducted within the mineral potential evaluation to define a mineral resource. It is also uncertain if further exploration will result in the targets being delineated as mineral resources.

However, a multi-phase exploration program is being proposed to test the areas concerned, as was done in 2006 which resulted in the conversion of most of the then mentioned Potential into Inferred Resources.

Methodology to Calculate Tonnages in Potential

1. The maximum lateral extent of the Potential Resources was estimated using the known lateral extent, from geological mapping, of the veins which exhibited surface expressions and carrying the Potential Resources to the limits of the surface expressions.

2. The lateral extent of the Potential Resources on veins not having any surface expression was set at a maximum of 400 metres, unless the property boundary or a fault was encountered whereupon the lateral extent was cut to that distance.

3. The maximum dip extension of the Potential Resources was set at 600 metres, based on the known mined height of the major veins systems, unless the property boundary or a fault was encountered whereupon the dip extent was cut to that distance.

4. The minimum lateral extent of the Potential Resources was estimated by extending laterally for 200 metres plus half the remaining maximum lateral extent, unless the property boundary or a fault was encountered whereupon the lateral extent was cut to that distance.

5. The minimum dip extension of the Potential Resources was estimated by extending vertically at depth for 300 metres, unless the property boundary or a fault was encountered whereupon the dip extent was cut to that distance.

6. Once a surface area was obtained from the above criteria, vein width, density and grades from the nearest resource blocks were applied to estimate the tonnages and the base case for the grades, the range for the grades then being used according to the criteria explained above.

The qualified persons within the meaning of NI 43-101 responsible for the evaluation of the Resource Estimate are William J. Lewis, B.Sc., P. Geo., a senior geologist with MICON based in Toronto, Canada, and Michel Roy, P. Geo., the Chairman and CEO of ECU Silver.

About ECU Silver

ECU Silver is focused on the exploration, development and mining of gold, silver and base metals at its Velardena District Properties in Durango, Mexico. The area includes five historical mines - Santa Juana, Terneras, San Mateo, San Juanes and the San Diego mine. ECU Silver is defining the "Mineralized Corridor" at Santa Juana and also further defining several higher grade narrow veins within the area. ECU Silver's mission is to become a pre-eminent silver producer through the development of existing and potential additional resources at Velardena.

Statements in the release that are "forward-looking statements" are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially. We undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statements to actual results or changes in our expectations.

Contact Information

  • ECU Silver Mining Inc.
    Michel Roy
    Chairman and CEO 
    011 52 871 747 5750 
    Email: ecu@ecu.ca
    or
    ECU Silver Mining Inc.
    Stephen Altmann
    President
    (416) 644-8640
    (416) 644-8801 (FAX)
    Email: ecu@ecu.ca
    Website: www.ecu.ca