Apogee Minerals Ltd.

Apogee Minerals Ltd.

December 07, 2006 10:01 ET

Apogee Receives Positive Metallurgical Test Results for the Reprocessing of 500,000 Tonnes of Tailings at 100% Owned La Solucion Mine

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 7, 2006) - Apogee Minerals Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:APE) has received positive results from a preliminary testwork program to examine the potential for reprocessing an estimated 500,000 tonnes of tailings material stored at the company's La Solucion Mine in Bolivia. Zinc grades in the tailings range from 1.3% to 6.25% and average 2.42% over 5 meters. Silver has graded as high as 51g/t and averages 15.8g/t over 5 meters. Lead grades have tested as high as 1.86% and average 0.37% over 5 meters.

The tailings have the potential to be a source of additional, low-cost production for Apogee's mining operations located outside of La Paz. Vice-President, Operations and COO Rick Irvine stated: "We are very pleased with the testwork results and have moved forward with an engineering study to demonstrate the economics of the project."

The flotation results demonstrate that the potential exists for the production of a salable grade zinc concentrate from the reprocessed tailings material. The overall zinc recovery of 80.5% (see Table 2) was the result of a single pass flotation test. By operating in a continuous plant environment which incorporates the recycle of any intermediate product streams, it is possible that the overall zinc recovery could be increased further.

Apogee is presently completing a detailed sampling program of the two tailings stockpiles located next to the operating La Solucion mill. The Dique Ingenio stockpile, located 100 meters from the mill is estimated to hold 150,000 Dry Metric Tonnes, and Dique Estanque, located 400 meters from the mill, is estimated to hold 350,000 Dry Metric Tonnes. The volume of the tailings deposits was calculated by means of a topographic survey.

The two stockpiles are being auger-sampled on a 10 by 10 meter grid down to a five meter depth, with samples taken over one meter intervals. Sampling has been confined to only the top 5m of each of the tailings dams due to limitations with the mechanical auger; the deposits are between 20-25m in thickness. The results of all 202 samples taken in 49 holes on Dique Ingenio have been received and are presented below in Table 1:

Table 1

Dique Ingenio Assay Results
Depth No. of Average Grade per Interval
from to samples Ag (g/t) Pb (%) Zn (%)
0.0 1.0 49 6.88 0.12 1.30
1.0 2.0 43 10.74 0.24 1.72
2.0 3.0 40 19.98 0.40 2.28
3.0 4.0 36 22.19 0.61 3.53
4.0 5.0 34 23.24 0.64 3.95
0.0 5.0 202 15.78 0.37 2.42

As seen in Table 1 the sample grades are showing an improvement with depth, a reflection of extremely high head grades milled at the time of tailings deposition. A sampling program of 160 holes is presently underway at Dique Estanque. This work is now 50% complete.

Once the sampling program is completed, detailed profiles of metal grades and particle size within the deposits will be prepared and additional flotation testwork completed.

Two sample batches (A and B) of tailings material were sent to SGS Lakefield Research (Lakefield, Canada) for flotation testwork in October 2006. After optimising reagent schemes and test conditions, the results from the final flotation test series on the A sample material are summarized in Table 2 below.

Table 2

Product Weight % % Pb % Zn Pb Recovery (%) Zn Recovery (%)
Zn 2nd Cleaner
Concentrate 3.70 1.41 55.7 11.9 80.5
Pb 2nd Cleaner
Concentrate 0.13 20.6 6.71 6.11 0.34

The particle size range of the A composite sample is consistent with the present La Solucion processing plant operating conditions (K80 approximately 150 microns). The larger particle sizes of the A sample resulted in better recoveries than the fine particle sizes of the B sample, and this further testwork consequently focused on the A sample batch. The assays of the samples are summarized in Table 3 below.

Table 3

Sample Batches K80 (microns) % Pb % Zn g/t Ag
A 101 0.46 2.62 16
B 20 0.55 2.77 19

The flotation testwork performed by SGS Lakefield consisted of a differential flotation scheme to produce an initial lead concentrate followed by a second flotation stage to produce a zinc concentrate from the lead flotation tailings. All samples were ground briefly (15 minutes) to freshen the particle surfaces prior to flotation.

An engineering study has recently been initiated to determine the overall economics associated with reprocessing the site tailings material.

Building A Premier Emerging Silver Producer

Apogee Minerals Ltd. is a Canadian producer of silver-zinc-lead and also carries out exploration and development activities. The company is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol APE. Apogee is focused on advanced Silver-Zinc projects in South America that demonstrate the potential to receive capital investment and be rapidly developed to production. Currently all of its projects are located in the historic silver producing regions of central and southwest Bolivia.

The 100%-owned La Solucion Mine has a 14 year production history and hosts a 120 tonne per day flotation mill. The Pulacayo-Paca project is a Joint Venture with Apex Silver Mines Ltd. on the second-largest silver mine in the history of Bolivia with over 600 million ounces of past production. The Buena Vista Project is a high-grade gold-silver project with historic production dating back over 200 years.

Regulatory Footnotes:

The Lakefield metallurgical testwork was supervised by Mr. Darren Koningen of Darlis Inc. Mr. Koningen is a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 responsible for reviewing the metallurgical testwork disclosure in this press release.

Mr. Douglas A. Currie, MAusIMM, Apogee's Vice President-Exploration, is the Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101 responsible for the scientific and technical work on the exploration program and is responsible for reviewing the technical disclosure in this press release.

The La Solucion tailings have been sampled using a simple hand auger with extensions capable of sampling to a 5m depth. Samples have been taken at 1 intervals on a 10 x 10m sampling pattern.

All analytical work has been completed by ALS Chemex of North Vancouver, BC, Canada; ALS Chemex is a respected international analytical service which is accredited with NATA and complies with standards of ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 17025:1999. They employ a variety of international standards for quality control purposes.

Samples are transported from field projects to the ALS Chemex sample preparation facility in Oruru, Bolivia, by Company personnel or a reputable commercial carrier. All analytical testing is performed utilizing a variety of industry standard analytical techniques, including: (i) ALS Analytical Code ME-MS41 - 50 element analysis using aquaregia digest and ICPAES analysis, (ii) ALS Analytical Code AA46 & AA62 - specific element analysis using aquaregia digest and AAS determination (Ag, Zn, Pb, Cu, As) and, (iii) Analytical Code Au-AA26 - Gold using a 50g Fire Assay-AAS finish.

The Company utilizes a QA/QC program consisting of utilizing standards, duplicate and blank samples and laboratory cross-checks and routinely repeats sample analysis.

Statements in this release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual developments or results may vary materially from those in these "forward-looking statements".

Contact Information

  • Apogee Minerals Ltd.
    John Carlesso
    President & C.E.O.
    (416) 861-5881
    Apogee Minerals Ltd.
    Mark Feeney
    Director of Business Development
    (604) 786-2587