Franconia Minerals Corporation
TSX : FRA

Franconia Minerals Corporation

March 03, 2010 07:30 ET

Franconia Minerals Begins New Drill Program at Its Birch Lake Project, Duluth Complex

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) - Franconia Minerals Corporation ("Franconia") (TSX:FRA) is pleased to announce it has initiated a new core-drilling program at its Birch Lake copper-nickel-PGM (platinum group metals) project in the highly prospective Duluth Complex in northeastern Minnesota. The planned 6-month, 13-hole, 33,000-foot program is designed to provide additional data to upgrade to Indicated Resources some of the existing Inferred Resources at the Birch Lake deposit – one of three underground resources identified so far at the project. In addition, this latest round of drilling is intended to expand the resource area and add additional Inferred Resources.

The results from this latest round of drilling will also be used for pre-feasibility work to examine the potential of building a 20,000-tonne-per-day underground mine and production facility at the Birch Lake deposit.

The latest resource report, which estimates an Indicated Resource of 131.2 million tonnes, plus an Inferred Resource of 37.5 million tonnes for the Birch Lake deposit, was prepared to NI 43-101 standards by Scott Wilson RPA (see news release dated September 23, 2009).

Franconia has already completed a three-year, 118,200-foot core-drilling program around the Birch Lake resource using large-diameter "PQ" diamond drill core, enabling the Company to collect sufficient bulk sample (60 tonnes) for metallurgical testing planned for later this year. Having this sample in hand will now enable Franconia to use smaller "NQ" diamond drill core, which allows for faster and more economical drilling. 

"Now that the worst of the global financial crisis seems to have passed, we are seeing upward pressure on commodity prices and with the financial resources from our recent private placement, we are determined to advance the Birch Lake deposit as quickly as possible," said Brian Gavin, Franconia's President and CEO. "Our goal is to build the first new underground mine in the Duluth Complex and this drill program is another step in that direction."

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 Duluth complex. 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. In addition to the Birch Lake resource, the Birch Lake project includes additional 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). Independent reports prepared to NI 43-101 standards by Scott Wilson RPA are available at www.SEDAR.com and www.franconiaminerals.com.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS:

This news release contains certain "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" under applicable securities laws. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "except", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate", and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are based on a number of assumptions and subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Assumptions upon which such forward-looking statements are based included that all required third party regulatory and governmental approvals will be obtained. Many of these assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of Franconia and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause actual results to vary materially from results anticipated by such forward-looking statements include changes in market conditions and other risk factors discussed or referred to in the annual information form of Franconia dated December 21, 2009 and in the annual Management's Discussion and Analysis for Franconia filed with the applicable securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com. Although Franconia has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Franconia undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's estimates or opinions should change except as required by applicable securities laws. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

The TSX has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.

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