African Copper Plc
TSX : ACU
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

November 26, 2007 02:00 ET

African Copper PLC-Mowana Mine Project Update

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 26, 2007) - African Copper Plc (TSX:ACU)(AIM:ACU)(BOTSWANA:AFRICAN COPPER) -

Highlights:

- Independent consultant, Read, Swatman & Voigt (Pty) Ltd. ("RSV") has estimated the total pre-production capital costs for the Mowana Mine and finalized the practical mine design for the open-pit

- Proven and Probable Reserves have been reported by RSV and comprise approximately 26% of the total indicated and measured resources on a contained copper basis

- Pre-strip mining and construction activities are on schedule for concentrate production early in the second quarter of 2008

- RSV has confirmed the successful integration of a Dense Media Separation ("DMS") plant into the process design, which is expected to reduce the strip ratio and improve the recoveries of the open-pit resource

- Drill-blast activities have commenced and ore is now exposed on a number of faces within the open-pit

- An underground pre-feasibility study relating to the remaining measured and indicated resource is expected by year end 2007

- African Copper is finalizing an off-take agreement with a metal broker. The Company expects to have an off-take agreement in place by the end of 2007

- RSV is finalizing a NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Mowana Mine

African Copper Plc ("African Copper" or the "Company") is pleased to present an update on the progress at the Mowana Mine in Botswana. Technical work completed in the last six months has been aimed at optimizing the extraction of the copper resource from the initial open-pit and maximizing the recoveries of copper through the processing plant. In addition, new pit designs were completed based on a new resource estimate that was released in June 2007 (see the Company's press release dated 14 June 2007 and the technical report entitled "Dukwe Copper Project -2007 Geological Modelling and Resource Re-estimation" and dated 14 June 2007 by Caracle Creek International Consulting ("CCIC"), both of which are available at www.sedar.com). RSV is finalizing a National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report (the "RSV Report") that includes the results of these optimizations and pit designs.

"RSV has estimated the capital cost for a DMS plant. This plant provides the opportunity to increase the efficiency of the metal extraction process," said Joe Hamilton, CEO of African Copper. "The Company's strategy is to commence mining at Mowana by extracting the open-pit reserve to provide initial production and cash flow. The majority of the Mowana resources are not within open-pit depths. It is the Company's intention that these resources be extracted utilizing underground access and we have commissioned a pre-feasibility study to investigate the viability of the underground mine. The results of this study should be available by the end of 2007, and if viable, would extend the life of Mowana well beyond 2014."

Pre-strip mining and construction activities at Mowana are on schedule and on track for concentrate production early in the second quarter of 2008.

Mowana Resources and Reserves:

In the third quarter of 2007, Minero Consulting (Pty) Ltd. ("Minero") of Johannesburg was commissioned to examine the amenability of the open-pit material to treatment through a DMS plant prior to grinding and flotation. Results from this test work have shown that the incorporation of a DMS plant into the crushing circuit will allow the cut-off mining grade in the open-pit to be reduced to 0.1% copper while still maintaining a mill feed that meets the design criteria for the concentrator. With this improved flow-sheet and recovery profile, Turgis Consulting (Pty) Ltd ("Turgis") of Johannesburg used the June 2007 CCIC resource block model in conjunction with the pit slopes and recoveries estimated in 2006 to engineer and optimize a new open-pit based on a 0.1% copper cut-off.

RSV has reviewed the mineral resources at the Mowana Mine (in accordance with SAMREC, JORC and NI 43-101 Standards) using a 0.1% copper cut-off (CCIC used different cut-offs in its June 2007 estimates):

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mowana Mine Resources:
Measured + Indicated + Inferred (effective date; 26 November 2007)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
0.1% Cut-off - Total Resource
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Category Tonnage Copper Contained Metal
Mt % MM lbs Cu
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Measured 42.45 0.65 611
Indicated 45.22 0.76 755
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total M + I 87.67 0.71 1,366
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inferred 46.27 0.63 639
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Note: The key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the mineral resources are the same as set out in the Company's 14 June 2007 press release and CCIC's 14 June 2007 technical report referred to above.

RSV has reported, in accordance with SAMREC, JORC and NI 43-101 Standards, that the Mowana Mine copper mineral reserves and resources contained within the engineered pit designs are as follows:



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mowana Mine Open-pit
Proven and Probable Reserves and In-Pit Inferred Resources
(effective date; 26 November 2007)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Category Tonnage Copper Contained Metal
Mt % MM lbs Cu
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proven 10.82 1.00 238
Probable 3.98 1.40 123
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Proven &
Probable Reserves 14.80 1.11 361
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In-pit Inferred Resource 4.33 0.80 76
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Note: Reserves are based on copper prices on the prevailing forward curve for copper, a 0.1% mining cut-off and include 95% extraction and 105% dilution, and utilize estimated metallurgical recoveries during first two years of 44% and during last five years of 64% as shown in this release. Off-site costs of US$65/t treatment charge and 6.5 cents per pound refining charge and US$100/t transport were utilized. Botswana tax of 25% and a mineral royalty of 3% are included. Additional details will be included in the RSV Report, which will be filed and available on www.sedar.com within 45 days of this press release.

Mowana Underground Pre-feasibility Study:

In addition to the material that will be extracted during mining of the open-pit, the deposit at Mowana has a further 72.87 million tonnes of estimated measured and indicated resources that may be extracted utilizing underground mining techniques. The Company has retained RSV to complete a pre-feasibility study on a proposed underground mine. The results of this study are expected by the end of 2007.

Development Plan:

Pre-strip mining and construction activities are on schedule. Construction of the crushing, grinding, flotation and tailings circuits are expected to be completed during Q1 2008, with first concentrate planned for early Q2 2008.

The incorporation of the Minero modifications into the plant design allows an increase in the copper that reports to the crusher and allows the estimated life-of-mine strip ratio in the open-pit to be lowered. The annualized Mowana Mine parameters reported by RSV are as follows:

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Mowana Mine Development Parameters
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average Annual units 2008-2009 2010-2014 Life-of-mine
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Production Rate million tonnes 1.7 2.3
Concentrate Production tonnes 22,100 61,600 352,000
Copper Production tonnes 6,000 17,300 98,600
Concentrate Grade % Cu 28% 28%
Process Recoveries % 44% 64%
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


In the event, it is determined that the in-pit inferred resource can be processed, annualized Mowana Mine parameters reported by RSV are as follows:

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annualized Mowana Mine Development Parameters
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average Annual units 2008-2009 2010-2014 Life-of-mine
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Production Rate million tonnes 2.2 3.0
Concentrate Production tonnes 28,900 75,400 430,000
Copper Production tonnes 7,800 21,100 119,800
Concentrate Grade % Cu 27% 28%
Process Recoveries % 44% 64%
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


Capital Cost Estimates:

The total capital cost for the processing plant and related facilities including EPCM and contingency is estimated to be approximately ZAR 464.5 million. The incorporation of a DMS plant into the design, as well as modifications to the oxide circuit in the concentrator to increase recoveries, is expected to add approximately ZAR 98.3 million to this figure.

In addition, RSV has finalized the practical mine design for the open-pit and is estimating pre-production capitalized mining expenditure of approximately ZAR 282.3 million. Working capital is estimated to be approximately ZAR 47.3 million.

The new overall capital cost estimate for the Mowana Mine, (which is set out in the table below), is ZAR 892.4 million. The operating cost estimates for the Mowana Mine are being finalized and are expected to be released with the filing of the RSV Report.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mowana Mine Capital Cost Estimate
(October 2007) Cost Cost
------------------------
ZAR (millions) US$ (millions)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
General yard and site 98.6 14.6
Process plant 191.7 28.4
Ancillary facilities 16.0 2.4
EPCM and contingency 92.9 13.8
Temp services, vehicles 17.5 2.6
Spares, initial fills and freight 11.9 1.8
Escalation 35.9 5.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sub-total 464.5 68.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------
DMS and modifications 98.3 14.6
Pre-production capitalized mining 282.3 41.8
Working capital 47.3 7.0
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Overall Capital Cost Estimate 892.4 132.3
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: All estimates completed in South African Rand and converted to
US$ at 6.75 ZAR:US$.


Development Timelines

The Company's objective is to continue to progress and maintain the construction and pre-strip mining schedule utilizing funds at hand. The Company has no debt and expects its additional funding requirements to be obtained through a combination of debt and/or equity. The Company has mandated Standard Bank to provide a US$25 million working capital revolving line of credit and to supply a hedging stand-by facility. Standard Bank has started an Independent Technical Review of Mowana which will incorporate the results of the RSV Report. Off take negotiations with respect to concentrate placement are at an advanced stage and the Company expects to have an off-take agreement in place by the end of 2007. The following milestones are recognized:



---------------------------------------------------
Actual/Target
Milestone Date
---------------------------------------------------
Permanent power 06 Nov 07
Ball mill delivery 11 Nov 07
First ore required Jan 08
Commence hot commissioning Feb 08
First batch to the ball mill Feb 08
First crushed ore to mill stock pile Mar 08
First concentrate through flotation Mar 08
First concentrate to stockpile Apr 08


The recommended Minero modifications to the crushing circuit and processing plant are currently being integrated into the construction schedule. The Company does not foresee any delay in commissioning the flotation concentrator since the DMS plant is not envisaged to be operational before the end of 2008.

Moolman Mining (Botswana) Pty. ("MMB") is under contract for the open-pit mining at the Mowana Mine. MMB mobilized to site in June and has been active with 2 scraper fleets removing free-dig material within the open-pit. MMB either owns, or has placed orders, for the full mining fleet. Delivery to site has commenced with the first face-loading shovel assembled in August. Drill-blast activities commenced in the third quarter of 2007 and ore is now exposed on a number of faces within the open-pit. There are currently seven Komatsu 785 trucks on site and two DM 30 blast hole rigs with their associated support equipment. Three PC3000 face loading shovels should be on-site by mid December 2007. A further six trucks are expected to be delivered by the end of 2007. The full complement of 26 Komatsu 785 trucks is expected to be on-site in the second quarter of 2008.

Qualified Person

Dr. Lance Stilwell, an employee of RSV is the "qualified person" (as such term is defined in the National Instrument 43-101) responsible for the technical and scientific information in this press release. Dr. Stillwell has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release.

African Copper PLC

African Copper is a tri-listed (AIM, TSX, Botswana Stock Exchange) international exploration and development company. The Company is currently developing the Mowana Mine at the Dukwe Project in Botswana, southern Africa, and anticipates copper production in the first half of 2008. The Company's other interests are in the targets contained within the 3,500 sq km Matsitama exploration concession adjacent to the Mowana Mine property. African Copper has approximately 139.6 million shares outstanding.

This press release contains or refers to forward-looking information, including statements regarding estimates and/or assumptions in respect of production, revenue, cash flow and costs, estimated project economics, mineral resources and reserves, exploration results, potential mineralisation, exploration and mine development plans, timing of the commencement of operations, rates and recoveries and estimates of market conditions, and is based on current expectations that involve a number of business risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement include, but are not limited to, uncertainty of production estimates, failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves, the possibility that actual circumstances will differ from the estimates and assumptions used in the development plan for Mowana Mine (there is no certainty that the economic analysis proposed will be achieved) the grade and recovery of ore which is mined varying from estimates, capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates, the nature of metallurgical test results as compared to industrial scale applications, delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals, political risks arising from operating in Africa, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future, changes in equity markets, inflation, changes in exchange rates, fluctuations in commodity prices, delays in the development of projects and the other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update them or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances other than as required by law.

The mineral resource and mineral reserve figures referred to in this press release are estimates and no assurances can be given that the indicated levels of minerals will be produced. Such estimates are expressions of judgment based on knowledge, mining experience, analysis of drilling results and industry practices. Valid estimates made at a given time may significantly change when new information becomes available. While the Company believes that the resource and reserve estimates referred to in this press release are well established, by their nature resource and reserve estimates are imprecise and depend, to a certain extent, upon statistical inferences which may ultimately prove unreliable. If such estimates are inaccurate or are reduced in the future, this could have a material adverse impact on the Company.

Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to inferred mineral resources, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will be upgraded to an indicated or measured mineral resource as a result of continued exploration

Further information about our properties, to download a copy of our Annual Report or any technical report or to access our Press Release Archive please visit www.sedar.com or our website at www.africancopper.com.

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