Nevada Copper Corp.
TSX : NCU

Nevada Copper Corp.

December 01, 2009 14:54 ET

Nevada Copper Reports Robust Economic Results

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire – Dec. 1, 2009) - Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX:NCU) ("Nevada Copper") is pleased to announce it has completed a National Instrument 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for its 100% owned Pumpkin Hollow IOGC Property in Nevada which incorporates a High Grade Case. This is an update to the PEA results published on March 17, 2008.

In March, 2008 Nevada Copper completed a PEA describing an integrated 60,000 tons per day open pit- underground operation resulting in US$552 million at $1.75/lb copper price to US$1.7 billion at $3.00/lb copper price at an 8% discount rate. Capital costs under the integrated open pit and underground operation were estimated at US$780 million, including contingencies and working capital.

The High Grade Case incorporates the recent increase to Pumpkin Hollow's resource as a result of drilling completed in 2008 and 2009 and optimization studies focused on developing a production profile that would result in largely reduced capital costs and a project which would be resilient to lower copper prices while still allowing for the transition to the large integrated open pit-underground operation.

Capital costs have been reduced to approximately 25% of that required for a larger 60,000 tons per day integrated open pit-underground operation. More importantly, the High Grade Case does not compromise the integrity of the large open pit project envisioned in the 2008 PEA, and will allow for transition to the large integrated open pit underground operation on a staged basis.

The updated PEA was prepared by the mineral resource and mining division of Tetra Tech MM Inc., an industry leading international engineering firm.

Financial results for the High Grade Case at a range of copper prices on a pre-tax basis are as follows:

(In Millions of US Dollars) 



Copper Price ($/lb)

Base Case
 
Alternative Case
 

$2.00
 
$2.50
 
$3.00
 
$2.00
 
 $2.50
 
$3.00
 
Undiscounted$499 $999 $1,500 $410 $796 $1,197 
NPV @ 8 %$211 $498 $784 $183 $414 $654 
IRR(includes contingency)25.34460.425.54256.6
Capital (includes contingency & working capital)
$192
 
$192
 
$192
 
$167
 
$167
 
$167
 
Payback (years)3.6 2.4 1.9 3.7 2.6 2.2 

Joe Kircher, Vice President and COO commented, "These exceptional financial results for the High Grade Case at Pumpkin Hollow, showcase the impressive build-out options available for the Project. The Pumpkin Hollow deposits provide a unique opportunity within North America, capable of sustaining a stand-alone high-grade operation without compromising the opportunity to expand the project into a large scale integrated open pit-underground mining facility. The High Grade Project provides an attractive rate of return on investment, and requires a capital investment of roughly one quarter of that needed for the large 60,000 ton per day integrated open pit-underground operation. "

Base Case Project Metrics:

Includes a small high grade starter pit in Years 1 to 3.

Life of Mine:14 years
Copper Equivalent Grade:1.88% copper/lb
Ore Mined:34 million tons
Copper Sold:1,064 million lbs.
Mine Throughput:7,500 tons per day Years 1 to 14
Total Cash Cost:$1.06 per lb. of copper

Alternative Case Project Metrics

Life of Mine:12 years
Copper Equivalent Grade:1.95% copper/lb
Ore Mined:26 million tons
Copper Sold:853 million lbs.
Mine Throughput:2,500 to 7,500 tons per day in Year 4, then 7,500 tons per day thereafter
Total Cash Cost:$1.03 per lb. of copper

In both cases the nominal concentrator throughput is 7,500 tons per day. In the Alternative case the project and concentrator is ramped up from 2,500 tons per day to 7,500 tons per day over a three year period. Production is derived from both the E2 and East Deposits. Underground access is from a decline with a conveyor for ore haulage. Underground mining methods use a combination of cut and fill and bulk long hole stoping methods.

In the Base Case, which includes a starter pit, a small pit in the South Deposit supplements the difference between what is produced from underground and concentrator throughput during the first three years of the mine's life, allowing for 7,500 tons per day processed starting in Year 1. Due to the short lived life of the open pit a contractor performs the open pit mining. The south starter pit generates 2.8 million tons of ore at an average grade of 1.29% cu/lb. at a 5.8 to 1 overburden rate. Included in the overburden and stockpiled separately is a low grade component totaling 5.7 million tons at an average grade of 0.41% cu/lb. In Years 13 and 14 of the starter pit case, high grade in the North Deposit is extracted using underground mining methods.

Both the Base Case and Alternative Case are 100% contained on patented mine claims resulting in the benefit of a more responsive permitting process. Capital and operating costs are based on first quarter 2008 prices.

Results from both this study and the 2008 PEA will form a solid basis for the Pre-Feasibility currently in progress at Pumpkin Hollow and scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2010.

The PEA incorporates the Resource Update National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) on August 25, 2009.

According to National Instrument 43-101 guidelines, a PEA is considered preliminary in nature and includes the use of inferred mineral resources which are considered too speculative geologically to apply economic considerations that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves have not demonstrated economic viability. Thus, there is no certainty that the production profile concluded in the PEA will be realized. Actual results may vary.

The updated National Instrument 43-101 PEA report on the Pumpkin Hollow property will be available within 45 days on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Nevada Copper is not aware of any environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing or other issues which may materially affect its estimate of mineral resources.

Qualified Person

The mineral estimation work was performed by or under the direction of John Rozelle, PG, Tetra Tech's Mineral Resource Division Principal Geologist an independent Qualified Person as set forth by Canadian National Instrument 43-101. The Pumpkin Hollow project is under the supervision of Gregory French, CPG #10708, a Qualified Person as defined in Canadian National Instrument 43-101, who is responsible for the preparation of the technical information in this news release. All assaying and whole rock geochemistry is processed at the American Assay Laboratories (AAL) in Reno, Nevada. Samples are delivered from the project core logging facility to AAL by Nevada Copper or AAL personnel. A Quality Assurance and Quality Control Assay Protocol have been implemented whereby blanks and standards are inserted into the assay stream and check samples are sent to Chemex-Reno and Inspectorate-Reno laboratories.

Nevada Copper has 45.1 million common shares outstanding and is well funded with Cdn.$12 million in cash. For additional information about Nevada Copper please visit our website at www.nevadacopper.com.

NEVADA COPPER CORP.

Giulio T. Bonifacio, President & CEO

CAUTIONARY NOTE

This news release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, including estimates of resources, mineralization and planned exploration activities; the likelihood of commercial mining and possible future financings are forward-looking statements. 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 or developments may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include unsuccessful exploration results, changes in metals prices, changes in the availability of funding for mineral exploration, unanticipated changes in key management personnel and general economic conditions. Mining is an inherently risky business. Accordingly the actual events may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. For more information on the Company and the risks and challenges of its business, investors should review the Company's annual filings that are available at www.sedar.com

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