Franconia Minerals Corporation
TSX : FRA

Franconia Minerals Corporation

September 23, 2009 08:30 ET

Franconia Announces 21% Increase in NI 43-101 Indicated Resource at Birch Lake Copper-Nickel-PGM Project

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2009) - Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX:FRA) ("Franconia") is pleased to report an updated resource estimate for the Birch Lake copper-nickel-platinum group metal (PGM) deposit, one of three underground resource areas identified so far at Franconia's Birch Lake Project in Minnesota. Based on a NSR (net smelter/processing return) cut-off of US$20/tonne, Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates (Scott Wilson RPA) estimates an Indicated Resource* of 131.2 million tonnes, plus an Inferred Resource of 37.5 million tonnes for the Birch Lake deposit (see tables). This represents a 21% increase in the amount of Indicated Resources from the previous 2008 estimate (see news release of July 9, 2008) of 108.2 million tonnes. On a copper equivalent (CuEq) basis (see table), the grade of the Indicated Resource increased in 2009 to 1.33% CuEq from 1.24% CuEq in 2008. Drilling has not fully defined the limits of the deposit to the south and southeast. This latest estimate takes into account all drilling conducted to date at Birch Lake, which comprises 75 holes and 151 associated wedge offsets, totaling 71,877.91 meters (235,820 ft.).

Brian Gavin, President and CEO of Franconia, said, "The latest program of in-fill drilling at Birch Lake has significantly increased the size of the Indicated Resource and gives us still greater confidence as we continue to assess the potential for a stand-alone, 20,000 tonne-per-day underground operation at Birch Lake with a 20 year-plus mine life. Bearing in mind that the limits of the deposit have not yet been fully defined, we consider this size of operation to be a good foundation on which to start operations at Birch Lake."

Added Gavin, "This drilling has also provided sufficient mineralized material - approximately 60 tonnes - to enable us to conduct an important bulk metallurgical test for a future feasibility study."

The new estimate was prepared by Richard Routledge, of Scott Wilson RPA, an appropriately qualified person according to National Instrument 43-101. A Technical Report supporting this estimate, prepared to NI 43-101 standards, will be filed and made available on SEDAR.

(*The Birch Lake deposit currently contains both Indicated and Inferred resources. An Indicated Resource is a portion of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade, and other characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to support mine planning and additional economic evaluation of the project. An Inferred Resource is that part of a mineral resource for which certain characteristics can be estimated based on geological evidence and limited sampling and which can be reasonably assumed, but not verified, to have geologic and mineralization grade continuity.)

About Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX:FRA): Franconia is currently focused on the development of the Birch Lake copper-nickel-platinum-palladium project – consisting of the Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road deposits – in the highly prospective Duluth complex in northeastern Minnesota. The recently updated NI 43-101 report estimates an Indicated Resource of 131.2 million tonnes, plus an Inferred Resource of 37.5 million tonnes for the Birch Lake deposit. Underground mining at Birch Lake will minimize the surface impact of the operation. Also, storage of mine wastes underground would further minimize the surface impact. Additional resources at the Birch Lake project include Inferred Resources at the Maturi deposit (see news release of September 6, 2006) and at the Spruce Road deposit (see news release of December 3, 2007). Franconia currently has 59,082,572 shares issued and outstanding.



  MINERAL RESOURCES ESTIMATED AT VARIOUS NSR CUT-OFF GRADES AS OF MAY 29, 2009
  Franconia Minerals Corporation, Birch Lake Property, Minnesota
          
    Indicated Resources1,3,6,7 
  Cut-off   Tonnes5   Cu   Ni   Co   Pt   Pd   Au   CuEq4   NSR
  NSR8   (000's)   %   %   %   g/t   g/t   g/t   %   US$
  $20   131,213   0.561   0.175   0.010   0.263   0.569   0.127   1.332   51
  $25   126,971   0.571   0.178   0.010   0.276   0.579   0.129   1.353   52
  $30   122,288   0.579   0.181   0.010   0.272   0.589   0.131   1.374   53
  $35   114,749   0.592   0.184   0.010   0.280   0.604   0.134   1.404   54
  $40   98,639   0.614   0.191   0.010   0.298   0.642   0.143   1.465   57
  $45   80,546   0.637   0.199   0.011   0.321   0.691   0.153   1.537   60
  $50+   62,203   0.669   0.209   0.011   0.342   0.735   0.163   1.618   63
          
    Inferred Resources1,3,6,7 
  Cut-off   Tonnes5   Cu   Ni   Co   Pt   Pd   Au   CuEq4   NSR
  NSR8   (000's)   %   %   %   g/t   g/t   g/t   %   US$
  $20   37,471   0.546   0.166   0.009   0.227   0.495   0.112   1.251   47
  $25   35,037   0.566   0.171   0.010   0.233   0.511   0.115   1.291   49
  $30   32,892   0.580   0.175   0.010   0.239   0.524   0.118   1.323   50
  $35   30,281   0.596   0.179   0.010   0.246   0.538   0.122   1.358   52
  $40   25,177   0.622   0.187   0.010   0.262   0.574   0.129   1.424   55
  $45   20,056   0.649   0.196   0.010   0.282   0.614   0.138   1.495   58
  $50+   13,357   0.707   0.213   0.011   0.298   0.641   0.149   1.615   63
          
  1. CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resource estimation and classification.
  2. Mineral Resources are estimated for the deposit as defined and wireframed based on Cu:Pd, Ni:Pt ratios, mineral occurrence and other lithologic and stratigraphic factors. 
  3. Mineral Resources were estimated using average long-term metal US$ prices of $7.50/lb nickel, $2.25/lb copper, $20/lb cobalt, $1,300/oz platinum, $350/oz palladium and $950/oz gold.
  4. Copper equivalent (CuEq%) = Cu% + 2.42 x Ni% + 3.09 x Co% + 0.25 x Au g/t + 0.71 x Pt g/t + 0.17 x Pd g/t based on metal prices and expected process recovery.
  5. Bulk density is 3.07 t/m3 as averaged from specific gravity testing.  
  6. Co, Au, Pt, Pd grades, that are lacking in historic drill holes, have been entered in the resource database based on regression of assay grades from Franconia drill hole assays.
  7. Resources are estimated from approximately 336 m depth to approximately 830 m depth.
  8. NSR = $43.76 x Cu% + $108.94 x Ni% + $134.00 x Co% + $11.02 x Au g/t + $30.70 x Pt g/t +$7.51 x Pd g/t - $8.00 (treatment)
  9. Scott Wilson RPA recommends reporting resources for the $20 NSR cut-off.
                  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT: Although Franconia Minerals Corporation believes many of its properties have promising potential, these properties are in the early stages of exploration. None have yet been shown to contain proven or probable mineral reserves. There can be no assurance that such reserves will be identified on any property, or that, if identified, any mineralization may be economically extracted.

The map accompanying this press release is available at the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/fra0923fig1.pdf.

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