Centenario Copper Corporation

Centenario Copper Corporation

November 14, 2007 08:00 ET

Centenario Reports on Third Quarter 2007

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 14, 2007) - Centenario Copper Corporation ("Centenario" or the "Company") (TSX:CCT) reports its financial results for the third quarter of 2007. Set out herein are the highlights and a summary of the MD&A for the quarter. A full version of the September 30 2007 Financial Statements and Management Discussion and Analysis of the Company is available on the Company's web site at www.centenariocopper.com and will be available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.


- Commenced trading on the TSX on October 18, 2007 under symbol "CCT"

- Construction of Franke 30,000 tonnes per year copper cathode plant advancing rapidly with approximately 79% of capex awarded; on track for end-2008 startup.

- Franke in-fill drill program (30,680 metres) increases Measured & Indicated resource by 8.0 million tonnes (at 0.3% CuT cut-off); expected to positively impact updated reserve and mine plan which are in progress

- Pelusa property drilling program ongoing (28,000 metres) to develop additional feed for nearby Franke plant

- China program continuing, aimed at expanding current 12.0 million tonne Indicated Resource and converting a portion of the current 19.3 million tonne Inferred Resource

- Initial drilling completed at Japan and Thailand targets - assays pending

- Numerous other geochemical anomalies to be tested in this program

- Initial drill program at Pan de Azucar (6,098 metres) encounters significant copper and gold grades and intervals

- 160 metres grading 1.30% CuT and 0.87 g/t Au, from 40 metres (open at depth)

- 124 metres grading 1.16% CuT and 0.71 g/t Au, from surface

- 92 metres grading 0.48% CuT, 0.09 g/t Au and 0.129% Mo, from 108 metres (open at depth)

- Pan de Azucar property position expanded by optioning contiguous Fabiola concessions

- Ongoing evaluation of "in region" clustering opportunities to increase scale and value of principal properties

- US$199 million funding program completed for development of Franke project and other property expenditures

- US$80 million Special Warrant offering; final prospectus filed and automatic conversion effected

- US$9 million Private Placement offering

- US$110 million Franke Credit Agreement Project Debt facility - requires 80 million lbs copper hedging (15% of Franke BFS life-of-mine production)

- Forward sale of 74 million lbs copper completed at average price of $2.76/lb for delivery over May 2009 to December 2010 period - negative $17.0 million ($0.23/lb) mark-to-market as at September 30 2007; substantially reversed as of November 12, 2007

- Nine months loss of $35.5 million ($1.52 loss per share), or $10.2 million ($0.44 loss per share) excluding non cash items (derivative losses and stock based compensation) - reflects increased expenditures on Franke Project and Pelusa and Pan de Azucar properties

Extract from the Company's Management Discussion and Analysis:

Summary of Recent Activities

Franke Property

The Company's wholly owned Franke Property is a development stage copper cathode project, located in Region III of Chile, 65 km north of the town of Diego de Almagro. Construction activities commenced during the third quarter of 2007 for a 30,000 tonne-per-year copper cathode operation, with first cathode production currently anticipated prior to the end of 2008.

On May 31, 2007, the Company received the Franke Bankable Feasibility Study ("the Franke BFS") from an independent engineering firm, AMEC, for the development of a 30,000 tonne-per-year copper cathode operation. On June 1 2007, the Company's board of directors made a production decision, subject to a positive decision regarding the project's Environmental Impact Statement, which was received from the Chilean authorities on June 28 2007. In late June 2007, the Company received a commitment from lenders relating to the provision of a US$110 million project debt facility for the development of the project and the definitive agreement for this facility was finalized on August 21 2007.

The capital cost estimate developed by AMEC in the Franke BFS amounted to $145.0 million, including all project capex, owners costs and working capital (see Franke NI 43-101 Technical Report, dated August 31 2007). The capital costs developed by AMEC were prepared on the assumption that the Franke project would be developed on an EPCM basis. However, during the third quarter of 2007, the Company conducted an optimization and trade-off study whereby each major component of the development cost was assessed both on an EPCM basis as well as on a lump sum (fixed price) EPC basis. As a result of this review, the Company determined that it was preferable to contract for the development of the majority of the project on an EPC basis. Since that time, the Company has granted Letters of Award for EPC contracts that cover the majority of the project capital costs and has awarded an EPCM contract to AMEC for the management of the balance of project and oversight of the EPC contractors. Final contracts are currently being negotiated, but each contractor has already mobilized based on the terms of the Letters of Award.

The Company previously reported that it anticipated that the decision to develop the Franke project on principally an EPC basis would lead to an increase in capital costs in the order of 10% as compared to the earlier BFS projections. The Company has now completed the development of a Revised Capital Cost, in which the total projected capital cost has increased from the BFS estimate of $145.0 million to $162.4 million or an increase of 12.0%. Included in the Revised Capital Cost is Project Capex of $147.5 million, Owners Costs of $6.3 million and Working Capital of $8.6 million.

The increase in capital costs is principally due to the added cost associated with the nature of EPC contracts which include fixed costs, process guarantees and penalties for late delivery. Also, based on EPC specifications, the Company expects to experience an offsetting reduction in cash operating costs of approximately 5% (as compared to the earlier Franke BFS projection of $0.788/lb as presented in the Franke 43-101 Technical Report). Lastly, following a detailed assessment of capacity "bottlenecks", certain design modifications were made subsequent to the Franke BFS in order to expand the capacity of certain portions of the plant (including the solvent extraction part of the plant and the water pipeline) in order to reduce the capital cost of any potential future expansion.

As of November 13, 2007, the Company has granted Letters of Awards totaling approximately $113.7 million, which represents 79% of the total Project Capex (excluding remaining undrawn contingency). Of these Letters of Award, 84% ($96.0 million) is on a fixed price EPC basis and 16% ($17.7 million) is on a unit price basis in which the prices are fixed, but not the volumes. The Company currently anticipates that it will contract for the balance of the Project Capex during the fourth quarter of 2007.

During the second and third quarters of 2007, an RC drilling program comprising a total of 348 vertical holes for 30,680 meters was completed within the proposed Franke Pit. This program was designed to confirm previously estimated resources by increasing the drilling density, for an area roughly equivalent to the first half of the projected mine life, from approximately 50 metre centers to 25 metre centers. The results of this and previous programs, totaling 67,125 meters of drilling, have been incorporated into a new resource model, developed by GEOVECTRA S.A., a Santiago Chile based mining consulting company, and the results were reported in a press release dated November 13, 2007 (see News Release 07-03) and summarized herein. An updated reserve and mine plan are currently in progress and are expected to be completed by year end.

The 2007 drill program has been successful in confirming the overall continuity of the mineralization within the orebody, while upgrading a significant portion of the resource from the Indicated to the Measured category, leaving almost no Indicated resources within the pit planned for the first half of the mine life. The resource category distribution according to the 2006 resource model was 33% Measured, 53% Indicated and 14% Inferred. In contrast, in the new 2007 resource model, the distribution is 67% Measured, 24% Indicated and 9% Inferred. The tighter drill spacing in the 2007 drill program has also more clearly defined the high grade resources in the deposit, adding 2.0 million tonnes of Measured and Indicated resources at a 1.0% total copper cut-off grade. It has also better defined potential feeder structures below the current pit, adding 2.1 million tonnes at 0.96% total copper to the Inferred resource category.

Although increasing the existing resources was not the purpose of this infill and pre-production drill program, it has also resulted in a significant increase in the Measured and Indicated resources of 8.0 million tonnes at a cut-off grade of 0.3% total copper. This represents a 17.5% increase in overall contained copper (or 47,252 tonnes of copper) at a 0.3% total copper cut-off grade. At a 1.0% total copper cut-off grade, contained copper has increased by 24.7%.

While the 2007 drill program was contained entirely within the current pit footprint, it was also directed at properly drilling down to a generally consistent lower limit of the mineralization, whereas earlier drilling had often remained open at depth, due in part to the inability to drill through various stopes. This was not a constraint in the 2007 program due to the vertical orientation of drill holes, compared to mostly angle holes employed in previous programs. As a consequence, it is expected that a significant driver in the increase in the Measured and Indicated resource is the extension of parts of the ore body at depth, rather than purely as a conversion of in-pit material that was previously classified as waste. This impact will be better understood once the updated mine plan has been developed.

The revised resource calculation, based on various total copper cut-off grades, is set out in the tables below.

2006 model (1) 2007 model
Cut-off Tonnes Tonnes
(CuT %) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t)
1.00 4,165 1.36 56,731 7,732 1.41 108,971
0.50 11,501 0.97 112,096 23,107 0.96 220,768
0.30 12,819 0.92 117,654 28,558 0.85 243,260
0.20 13,579 0.88 119,455 29,341 0.84 245,388

2006 model 2007 model
Cut-off Tonnes Tonnes
(CuT %) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t)
1.00 3,487 1.46 51,053 1,962 1.29 25,405
0.50 15,984 0.90 144,172 7,130 0.87 62,003
0.30 17,934 0.85 152,620 10,187 0.73 74,266
0.20 20,458 0.77 158,345 10,719 0.71 75,743

2006 model 2007 model
Cut-off Tonnes Tonnes
(CuT %) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t)
1.00 7,653 1.41 107,784 9,695 1.39 134,377
0.50 27,485 0.93 256,268 30,237 0.94 282,770
0.30 30,753 0.88 270,274 38,745 0.82 317,526
0.20 34,037 0.82 277,800 40,060 0.80 321,131

2006 model 2007 model (2)
Cut-off Tonnes Tonnes
(CuT %) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t) (kt) CuT (%) Cu (t)
1.00 1,124 2.03 22,797 1,116 1.54 17,234
0.50 3,994 1.07 42,701 2,851 1.03 29,445
0.30 4,345 1.02 44,228 3,673 0.89 32,795
0.20 5,470 0.86 46,769 3,784 0.87 33,077

(1) The 2006 model was released by GEOVECTRA in August 2006 and used by NCL
for the Feasibilty Stage mine plan.

(2) Includes 2,113 (kt) grading 0.96% CuT of feeder structures located
below the existing resources, identified in the 2007 drilling.

About 50% of the overall resources of the Franke deposit have now been infill drilled. The comparison of the distribution of the mineralization with what was forecasted by previous resource models suggests that 25x25 m is adequate drill spacing for this orebody. The remaining half of the resources are scheduled to be infill drilled during the first year of mining. A successful effort was made during this campaign to drill through the numerous underground stopes previously dug by "pirquineros" (artisanal miners), proving the continuity of mineralization under most of the stopes and allowing better definition of some of the potential feeder structures under the existing ore zones.

The mine dumps left behind by the "pirquineros" in the Franke area will be the first ores to be processed in the heaps upon operational start-up. In order to estimate their resources, about 100 truck loads were shipped, crushed and sampled in a custom plant facility and the results, reported separately in 2006, included 746.4 thousand tonnes grading 1.01% total copper with no cut-off grade, or 342.4 thousand tonnes grading 1.12% total copper at a 1% cut-off grade (see Franke NI 43-101 Technical Report, dated August 31, 2007). The 2007 resource calculation did not modify the dumps' grade profile, but their volumes were adjusted to the dump height provided by the new drill holes. The resource tables for 2006 and 2007 displayed above both include dump resources.

Additional information on the Franke property is contained in News Release 07-02, dated November 13, 2007 and the Franke Property NI 43-101 Feasibility Stage Technical Report, dated August 31, 2007, which are available on the Company's web site and on SEDAR.

Pelusa Property

The wholly owned Pelusa property is located adjacent to the Franke property and the Company continues to undertake a fast track evaluation of it with the objective of developing additional copper feed for the Franke processing plant. A 28,000 metre RC drilling program at Pelusa started during the third quarter of 2007 and is ongoing.

At China, the initial discovery area, a 9,500 metre RC drill program is underway, aimed at in-filling and expanding the existing resource which currently includes an NI 43-101 compliant resource of 12.0 million tonnes of Indicated resources at a total copper grade of 0.56% and 19.3 million tonnes of Inferred Resources at a total copper grade of 0.50% (see Pelusa NI 43-101 Technical Report, dated May 31, 2007). Following completion of this drill program, the Company plans to complete an updated resource, which is currently anticipated for release in the first quarter of 2008.

The balance of the current 28,000 metre Pelusa drilling program is directed at testing numerous geochemical anomalies previously identified on the property. To date, the Company has completed a total of approximately 7,200 meters on the Japan target and 3,900 meters on the Thailand target and the assay results from this drilling are anticipated shortly. Initial drilling is now underway at the India target, located between the China and Japan areas and will then progress to the remaining priority geochemical anomalies at Chita, China Sur and the Pelusa Gold area in the northern part of the property. Final assay results from this program are anticipated in the first quarter of 2008.

Additional information on the Pelusa property is contained in the Pelusa Property NI 43-101 Technical Report, dated May 31, 2007, which is available on the Company's web site and on SEDAR.

Pan de Azucar Property

The Pan de Azucar property is located 45 km south-west of the Franke property and is held by the Company under an option to purchase agreement.

An RC drilling program comprising a total of 34 holes for 6,098 meters has recently been completed, aimed at following up on significant copper and gold grades encountered in sampling of road cuts on the Carrizalillo Hill area, adjacent to an old pit and shaft that is believed to be over 350 meters deep. Results of the program were released by the Company on November 12, 2007 (see News Release 07-02) and are summarized herein.

The initial program has been successful in encountering widespread mineralization over a combined area of approximately 400 meters north-south by 350 meters east-west. These results indicate the presence of two north-south trends of mineralization which have been named Carrizalillo Hill East and Carrizalillo Hill West. The mineralization remains open on both trends to the north and at depth and the system is also open to the west under cover.

Drilling on the Carrizalillo Hill East trend has returned several long near-surface intercepts of higher grade gold and copper mineralization within a background of lower grade material. Key intervals include 160 metres grading 1.30% CuT and 0.87 g/t Au, from 40 metres (open at depth) in hole 3 and 124 metres grading 1.16% CuT and 0.71 g/t Au, from surface in hole 2.

Drilling on the Carrizalillo Hill West trend generally returned lower copper and gold grades but has also delivered long intervals of mineralization as well anomalous, although erratic, molybdenum readings, including 92 m grading 0.48% CuT, 0.09 g/t Au, 0.129% Mo, from 108 m (open at depth) in hole 19. The presence of molybdenum, combined with potassic alteration and silicification, suggests the possible presence of a porphyry type system to the west under cover.

The Company is currently developing a second phase drilling program to test the potential extension of both trends to the north and at depth, and also the porphyry type potential to the west under cover. The program will also test additional geochemical and geophysical anomalies that surround the Carrizalillo Hill area.

On October 31, 2007, Centenario entered into an option to purchase agreement in relation to the 70 hectare Fabiola exploitation concessions, which are surrounded by existing Pan de Azucar exploitation concessions held under option by the Company and located immediately to the south of the Carrizalillo Hill area. Option terms include US$100,000 paid upon signing, US$50,000 after each of 6, 12, and 18 months and a further US$1,000,000 upon exercise after 24 months. The Fabiola exploitation concessions contain numerous historical workings, including shafts and surface dumps and the Company believes it to be highly prospective for the development of additional mineralization at the Pan de Azucar project. An initial evaluation program is currently under assessment.

Additional information on the Pan de Azucar property is contained in the press release dated November 12, 2007 and the Prospectus dated October 12, 2007, which may be found on the Company's web site and on SEDAR.

Results of Operations

Nine month results

During the nine months ended September 30, 2007, the Company recorded a net loss of $35.5 million ($1.52 loss per share) as compared to a net loss of $5.4 million ($0.32 loss per share) in the same period in 2006. The net loss for the current nine-month period includes an aggregate charge for stock-based compensation expenses of $2.5 million (2006 - $1.5 million) as well as a charge of $22.8 million (2006 - $nil) with respect to a decrease in value of derivative instruments. This decrease in value of derivative instruments is a non-cash accounting adjustment that reflects the adoption of accounting policies in which certain of the Company's contracts are "marked to market" at each reporting date.

The Company has entered into a long-term contract with a supplier for the provision of sulphuric acid for its Franke project. Under the terms of this contract, the price paid for the acid will vary with the copper price. Due to rising expectation of long term copper prices, the price that the Company is expecting to pay for this acid has increased more rapidly relative to the expected future market price of acid. Accordingly, the Company has recognized a charge of $8.6 million year-to-date on its long term acid contract.

In addition, pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Franke Credit Agreement, the Company has entered into derivative contracts for a total of approximately 74 million pounds of copper at an average price of $2.76 per pound for delivery during the period May 2009 to December 2010. The Company has recorded these derivative contracts at their estimated value as at September 30, 2007 and has recognized a non-cash loss of $17.0 million for the third quarter of 2007.

Excluding the above-described charges, the approximate $6.3 million increase in net loss for the current nine-month period as compared to the same period in 2006 is largely attributable to $1.5 million of loan financing fees recorded in 2007 (2006 - $nil) and increased exploration and evaluation activities on the Franke, Pelusa and Pan de Azucar properties. This increase reflects the Company's plan of advancing the Franke Property to production in the near term, while concurrently advancing the exploration program on the Pelusa and Pan de Azucar properties in order to prepare for the future growth of the Company.

Three month results

During the three months ended September 30, 2007, the Company reported a net loss of $22.9 million ($0.96 loss per share) compared to a net loss of $0.9 million ($0.05 loss per share) for the comparable period in 2006. The net loss for the current period includes aggregate stock-based compensation charges of $0.6 million (2006 - $0.2 million) as well as a charge of $19.6 million (2006 - $nil) with respect to a decrease in value of derivative instruments (of which $2.6 million related to a change in the relative value of its long-term acid contract and $17.0 million related to the change in the value of its copper derivative contracts).

Excluding the above-described charges, the approximate $2.0 million increase in net loss arises in part from increased exploration activities on the Pelusa and Pan de Azucar properties, and in part from increased administrative expenses offset by increased interest income. Again, a significant portion of the increase in administrative expenses ($1.2 million) occurred due to the Company's efforts to secure project financing for the Franke Property. To a lesser extent administrative expenses increased as a result of the Company increasing staff levels and engaging consultants to assist in managing its projects. As expected, the increase in interest income reflects the fact that more surplus cash was on hand in the current period than in the comparative period in 2006.

Financing Activities

On July 19, 2007 the Company closed a brokered private placement of 16,000,000 special warrants at $5.00 per warrant for gross proceeds of $80,000,000. On October 18, 2007, concurrent with the Company's common shares commencing trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, each special warrant converted into one common share of the Company. In connection with the offering the Company paid a cash commission to the agents of $4,800,000 and incurred issue expenses of $270,138. In addition, the agents received 480,000 broker warrants. Each broker warrant entitles the holder thereof to purchase one common share of the Company at an exercise price of $5.00 per share until January 19, 2009. The fair value of these broker warrants ($1,140,000) as determined by an option pricing model was charged to share issue costs and credited to contributed surplus.

On August 21, 2007 the Company entered into the Franke Credit Agreement for up to $110,000,000 to meet the balance of funding requirements to develop the Franke Property. The loan is scheduled to be repaid over four years from 2009 to 2012, but can be repaid earlier without penalty. The loan bears interest at LIBOR plus 1.75% per annum post-completion of the project and LIBOR plus 2.25% per annum pre-completion of the project. The loan is secured by a charge over all the assets associated with the Franke Property and a parent company guarantee until completion. The availability of these funds will be dependent on the Company meeting a number of specified and customary conditions precedent to drawdown as specified in such term loan agreements. Also as is customary in such loans the Franke Credit Agreement requires the forward selling of approximately 80 million pounds of copper production during the first 2.5 years which represents approximately 15% of the Franke BFS mine life production.

On September 14, 2007, the Company closed a private placement of 1,500,000 Common Shares at a price of $6.00 per share for gross proceeds of $9,000,000. In connection with the offering the Company incurred issue expenses of $7,705.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The Company's operations consumed approximately $10.1 million of cash (before working capital items) for the nine months ended September 30, 2007. An additional $11.1 million has been advanced to contractors in connection with the Franke Project construction, $4.2 million paid for recoverable value added tax, $0.5 million utilized on certain cash deposits for water supply during production, all offset by an increase of approximately $0.8 million in trade payables and accrued liabilities. The Company incurred a further $4.1 million of mineral property costs and deferred expenditures during the period. These activities were funded from cash on hand at the beginning of the period and from the equity financings completed during the period as described above.

The Company's aggregate operating, investing and financing activities during the period resulted in a net increase in its cash balance (including cash equivalents) from $9.4 million at December 31, 2006 to $66.2 million at September 30, 2007. The Company's working capital increased by approximately $58.3 million correspondingly during the period.


The Franke project is currently under construction and the Company currently anticipates initial cathode production in late December 2008, following which it is anticipated that the Company will become cash flow positive.

The Company anticipates that the principal use of funds over the next 15 months will be related to the development of the Franke project. The Revised Capital Cost funding requirement for Franke is approximately $162.4 million. In addition, the Company anticipates further Franke related costs of approximately $10 million, including outstanding property payments and fees and interest relating to the Franke Credit Agreement, as well as $7.5 million for a cost-over account which the Company has already set aside with the project debt banks.

In addition to the above Franke project related costs, the Company will incur certain Chilean and Canadian overheads as well as undertake currently approved project budgets for the Pelusa and Pan de Azucar properties amounting to approximately $8 million.

In total, based on current commitments, the Company expects to expend approximately $188 million prior to the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 (including the advances of $11.6 million already made to suppliers and the refundable $7.5 million cost over-run account). However, this amount will increase in the event the Company undertakes additional exploration and evaluation budgets for Pelusa and Pan de Azucar, and/or if the Company pursues new property acquisitions which, if successful, would lead to additional expenditures.

The Company is confident that it has the necessary funding available to meet the currently budgeted capital requirements detailed above. However, in the event of added unbudgeted expenditures, the Company will need to secure additional sources of funding. The Company believes that it can secure such additional funding from the capital markets. Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that such funding will be available to the Company or on terms acceptable to it.

Risks and Uncertainties

Risks and uncertainties are set out in the MD&A and in the Company's prospectus dated October 12, 2007, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Other Information

Additional information related to the Company is available for viewing on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and at the Company's website at www.centenariocopper.com.


Richard Colterjohn, President and CEO

About Centenario Copper Corporation:

The Company was founded in 2004 with the goal of becoming a mid-tier copper producer and consolidator, active in regions of low sovereign risk. Centenario currently operates exclusively in Regions II and III of Chile. The Company intends to achieve its goal through the acquisition and development of advanced, mid-sized copper projects. It then plans to enhance the scale and value of its principal projects through the roll-up of smaller satellite copper resources which exist regionally around the principal projects.

The Franke Property, located in Region II, is currently in construction and is projected to produce 30,000 tonnes of cathode copper per year, starting in December 2008. On the nearby Pelusa Property, a fast track evaluation of various copper targets is underway with an objective of developing additional feed for the Franke processing plant. The Pan de Azucar Property, located 45 km from the Franke Property, is currently being evaluated as a possible nucleus for a second property cluster. The Company continues to evaluate other "in region" clustering opportunities which could reinforce its existing property portfolio.

Copies of NI 43-101 Technical Reports on the Franke Property and the Pelusa Property are posted on SEDAR and on the Company's web site.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This News Release includes certain "forward-looking statements". All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding future plans and objectives of Centenario Copper Corporation, are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from Centenario's expectations are the risks detailed herein and from time to time in the filings made by Centenario Copper Corporation with securities regulators.

No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.

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