Western Areas NL
TSX : WSA
ASX : WSA

Western Areas NL

April 14, 2010 08:00 ET

Western Areas NL: Settlement of A$125M Convertible Bond and Repayment of $A45M to BHP Billiton and A$60M to ANZ

PERTH, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) -

THIS NEWS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE U.S.

Western Areas NL (TSX:WSA)(ASX:WSA) has settled the A$125 million Convertible Bond and has repaid and cancelled the BHP Billiton $45M Loan Facility and repaid the A$60M ANZ Loan Facility.

The A$125 million Convertible Bond were issued at a premium of approximately 28% to the A$5.18 per share price at the time. The bonds are convertible into Western Areas shares at an initial conversion price of A$6.61 per share, carry a coupon of 6.4% and are due in July 2015.

Managing Director, Mr Julian Hanna, said "The completion of the bond issue has enabled the Company to pay down all its bank debt and also to reduce and lock in future financing costs. This will provide further balance sheet flexibility to enable continued growth of Western Areas".

"We look forward to being able to report a solid operating result in the March Q 2010 Activities Report which is expected to be released on Monday 19th April", Mr Hanna added.

About Western Areas NL

Western Areas is mining and developing two of the world's highest grade and lowest cost nickel mines (Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll) and has completed initial surface development for two additional planned underground mines (Cosmic Boy and Diggers South) at the 100% owned Forrestania Nickel Project. Potential also exists to develop the high grade New Morning underground mine. Target mine production for 2010 is 20,000t nickel and from 2011 is 25,000t nickel.

The Company commissioned Stage One of the 300ktpa ore Forrestania nickel concentrator in March 2009. Western Areas is upgrading the nickel concentrator to a target of 550ktpa ore in the June Q 2010 to treat ore from Spotted Quoll mine. All other major infrastructure including a high quality village for 490 people, grid power, roads, water, tailings disposal, an airstrip etc is complete.

The site operations are managed by an experienced technical and management team. In 2009, Western Areas' exploration consultants Newexco were awarded the 'Australian Explorer of the Year Award' for the discovery of the Spotted Quoll deposit. Western Areas was also awarded the prestigious 'Digger of the Year Award' at the Diggers and Dealers conference in 2008 for the successful development of the Flying Fox mine.

Western Areas is an active nickel explorer and is targeting to increase the total of high quality mineral resources at Forrestania to 400,000t Ni in 2010. In addition to the Forrestania Project, the Company has interests in six other nickel projects within the 500km long Central Yilgarn Nickel Province in Western Australia and substantial nickel/copper/PGM exploration projects in Finland and Canada.

QA-QC STATEMENT

The information within this report as it relates to exploration results or mineral resources or ore reserves is based on information compiled by Mr Julian Hanna, Mr John Haywood and Mr Tim Peters. Mr Hanna, Mr Haywood and Mr Peters are members of AusIMM and are full time employees or consultants to the Company. Mr Hanna, Mr Haywood and Mr Peters have sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which they are undertaking to qualify as Competent Persons as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.' Mr Hanna, Mr Haywood and Mr Peters consent to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on the information in the form and context in which it appears.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENT: 

This release contains certain forward-looking statements. Examples of forward looking statements used in this release are: 'Target mine production for 2010 is 20,000t nickel and from 2011 is 25,000t nickel', and, 'Western Areas is one of Australia's most active nickel explorers and is targeting to increase the total of high quality mineral resources at Forrestania to 400,000t Ni in 2011', and, 'This will provide further balance sheet flexibility to enable continued growth of Western Areas', and, 'report a solid operating result in the March Q 2010 Activities Report which is expected to be released on Monday 19th April'. 

Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties beyond the Company's ability to control or predict which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements.

This announcement does not include reference to all available information on the Company or the Forrestania Nickel Project and should not be used in isolation as a basis to invest in Western Areas. Any potential investors should refer to Western Area's other public releases and statutory reports and consult their professional advisers before considering investing in the Company.

For Purposes of Clause 3.4 (e) in Canadian instrument 43-101, the Company warrants that Mineral Resources which are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

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