Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
TSX : CLM

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited

May 19, 2010 08:00 ET

Consolidated Thompson Completes Feasibility Study to Increase Production From 8.0 to 16.0 Million Tonnes of Iron Ore Concentrate Per Year at the Bloom Lake Project

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) - Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited (TSX:CLM) ("CLM" or the "Corporation") is pleased to announce that it has received the Feasibility Study (the "Study") to increase production of the Bloom Lake Iron Ore project from 8.0 to 16.0 million tonnes of concentrate per year ("MTPY") expected to commence in the third quarter of 2012. The Study was completed by CIMA+ ("CIMA"), an international engineering firm based in Montreal. The principal authors of the report are Mr. Réjean Foisy, Eng., Ph.D. (CIMA+), Michel Bourassa, Eng (Soutex), John Lemieux, Eng. (Amec), Patrice Live, Eng. (BBA) and Mrs. Nicole Rioux, Geologist (Genivar). They are all qualified persons as defined in National Instrument 43-101 and are independent of the Corporation. A technical report relating to the Study will be filed shortly and accessible under the profile of the Corporation on SEDAR.

The Board of directors of the Corporation approved the increase of production at the Bloom Lake project from 8.0 to 16.0 million tonnes of concentrate per year for additional total capital expenditures of US$525 million. Management will now proceed without delay to begin final engineering planning in order to begin the expansion project during the third quarter of 2010. As previously disclosed, CLM has already ordered and will receive on site a second autogenous mill later this summer. CLM and its partner WISCO do not foresee any difficulty to fund the project over the 24-month construction period. WISCO has already indicated its interest in acquiring additional offtake from the expansion project.

This follows CLM's recent announcements of the sale of 250,000 tonnes of iron ore being delivered this month under a confidential purchase agreement in addition to the previous off-take agreements already signed for 8 million tonnes annually, for which delivery will commence in June 2010.

SUMMARY OF STUDY'S KEY FINDINGS FOR THE ADDITIONAL 8 MTPY:

  • Bloom Lake project to produce an additional 8.0 million tonnes of 66.5% concentrate per year beginning in the third quarter of 2012.
  • Additional 8.0 MTPY represents a 100% increase over the previous 8.0 MTPY plan.
  • Additional capital cost (including working capital): US$525 million.
  • Pre-tax IRR: 50.7% using US$1.203 per iron unit equivalent to revenue of US$80/tonne of concentrate.
  • Total life of mine operating cost: US$31.08/tonne of concentrate.
  • NPV (at 10% Discount rate) of US$1.94 billion (pre-tax).
  • Total life of mine undiscounted pre-tax cash flow of US$4.5 billion.
  • Additional forecasted yearly pre-tax cash flow exceeding US$ 320 million.
  • Payback of 1.9 years
     
For the production of an additional 8 MTPY of concentrate at Bloom Lake
     
 Pre-tax Internal Rate of Return (IRR) % 50.7
 Revenue US$/t concentrate 80.00
 Operating Costs US$/t concentrate 31.08
 Capital Costs including working capital US$ millions 525
     
 Total cash flow undiscounted US$ millions 4,464
 Net present value @ 8% discount rate US$ millions 2,265
 Net present value @ 10% discount rate US$ millions 1,937
 Net present value @ 15% discount rate US$ millions 1,331
 Yearly cash flow US$ millions >320
 Payback period Years 1.9
 US$/Cdn$ exchange rate   1.10
 (Cash flow and NPV figures are pre-tax)    

Richard Quesnel, President & CEO, stated, "The results of the study indicate strong project economics that will permit sustainable growth while enhancing shareholder value as demand for iron ore exceeds supply and prices continue to rise."

Brian Tobin, the Executive Chairman of the Board, stated, "By quickly moving its production from 8.0 MTPY to 16.0 MTPY, the Bloom Lake project is well positioned to become a major independent supplier of iron ore consistent with CLM aggressive growth strategy."

Mr. Brian V. Tobin, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Richard Quesnel, President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. François Laurin, Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation invite investors, financial analysts and journalists to take part in a conference call this afternoon to discuss the update on the Bloom Lake project.

Wednesday, May 19 at 4:30 p m. ET.
Dial 416-695-7806 or
  888-789-9572 for North America
   
Name of conference: Consolidated Thompson
Access code: 5820878
Webcast: www.consolidatedthompson.com

The archived call will be available from 5:30 p.m. ET on May 19, 2010 until 11:59 p.m. ET on May 26, 2010 at 416-695-5800 or 800-408-3053, access code 8713884 followed by # and on the Corporation's website.

ASSUMPTIONS

The Study on the expansion is based on increasing the production of the Bloom Lake project from 8.0 to 16.0 million tonnes of iron concentrate per year. The level of accuracy of the Study is considered to be +/- 15%. The economics were based on an initial 17-year mine plan, without accounting for any potential reserve additions that may be generated from the West extension resources sector of the Bloom Lake mine.

The Study was based upon the following major assumptions and parameters:

Revenues:

A long term commodity price of US$1.203/iron unit equivalent to revenue prices of US$80.00/tonne of concentrate produced. The pricing used represents a slight discount to the moving average selling price of iron concentrate (FOB Sept-Iles) since 2008.

Operating Costs for an additional 8 MTPY of concentrate:

  • Average mining cost: US$8.27/tonne of concentrate
  • Average crushing and processing cost: US$4.96/tonne of concentrate.
  • Transport, port handling and transshipping costs: US$17.54/tonne of concentrate.
  • General and Administration: US$0.31/tonne of concentrate.

Total Life of Mine Operating Cost of US$31.08/tonne of concentrate

Capital Expenditures:

·  Initial Capital expenditures:  
  -  Process facilities: US$295 million
  -  Other site facilities: US$ 32 million
  -  Rail and port upgrades:  US$ 46 million
       US$373 million
·  Indirect costs:  
  -  Construction site costs: US$ 55 million
  -  EPCM:  US$ 39 million
       US$ 94 million
       
·  Owner costs:  US$ 11 million
·  Contingencies  US$ 47 million

Total capital expenditures to increase the production from 8.0MTPY to 16.0MTPY at Bloom Lake mine amount to US$525 million.

Mineral Reserves:

As part of the Feasibility Study completed in November 2008, BBA has used Geostat Systems International Inc. to verify Watts, Griffis and McOuat Limited, Consulting Geologists and Engineers ("WGM") Mineral Resource estimate and used the WGM resource estimate to determine and classify the Mineral Reserves in accordance with NI 43-101.

The mineral reserve contained in the detailed pit design amount to 463.4 million tonnes of proven category and 116.2 million tonnes of probable category for a total combined of 579.6 million tonnes at a grade of 30.0% Fe based on a cut-off of 15%. The stripping estimate (including inferred material) is 563.8 million tonnes for an overall mine-life stripping ratio of 0.97 tonne of waste per tonne of ore.

Mining Reserves By Ore Category (using a cut-off grade of 15% Fe)
             
    Total Magnetite      
Classification      Tonnes Fe Fe CaO MgO Magnetite
     (million) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)
Proven 463.4 30.1 7.6 2.2 2.1 10.5
Probable 116.2 29.7 7.7 2.3 2.1 10.7
Total Ore 579.6 30.0 7.6 2.3 2.1 10.5
Total Waste            
(Waste+Inferred) 563.8          
Stripping ratio 0.97          

Mine reserves were established using the following parameters:

  • Mining recovery: 100%.
  • Processing weight recovery: 41.0%.
  • Overall pit wall slope angle: 48° (including allowance for ramp).
  • Dilution: Built in Watts, Griffis and McOuat block model.
  • Cut-off grade: 15% Fe.
  • Mineral reserves were defined and categorized in accordance with Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) Definitions.

Mr. Réjean Foisy, Eng., Ph.D., a qualified person under NI 43-101 is independent of the Corporation and has reviewed the scientific and technical information in this press release.

The Bloom Lake Iron Ore Property, is located in Normanville Township, Duplessis County, Province of Quebec, on the south end of the Labrador Trough, approximately 400 km north of Sept-Iles. The Bloom Lake deposit is situated approximately 10 km north of the Mount-Wright iron ore mining operation of Arcelor Mittal Mines Canada.

Information on Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited is a development, exploration and producing mining company. The Corporation is presently producing iron ore at the Bloom Lake world class iron ore concentrate deposit located in the Quebec/Labrador trough and is expected to reach a rate of production of 8.0 million tones of concentrate per year shortly. The quality and size of the Bloom Lake and Peppler/Lamelee deposits reflect the potential to expand and advance these projects and exploit other opportunities in the iron ore industry. The Corporation has approximately 231 million shares outstanding and trades on the TSX under the symbol "CLM".

Caution regarding forward-looking statement

Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Corporation, certain information contained herein constitutes "forward-looking information" under Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the receipt of all necessary approvals; capital required to complete the development of the Bloom Lake mine and timing of such requirements; the conclusions, parameters and assumptions underlying current mine plans, the development potential and timetable of bloom Lake project; capital and operating expenditures; iron ore prices; permitting time lines and permitting; government regulation of mining operations; environmental risks and the impact of management appointments; mineral reserve and resource estimates; the ability to realize estimated mineral reserves and to convert mineral resources into mineral reserves; terms and costs of future exploration; mineralization projections; receipt of all necessary approvals; the parameters and assumptions underlying the mineral resource estimates. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made. Estimates regarding the anticipated timing, amount and cost of mining at the Bloom Lake Project are based on assumptions underlying mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates and the realization of such estimates as are set out in CLM's feasibility study. Capital and operating cost estimates are based on extensive research of the Corporation, purchase orders placed by the Corporation to date, recent estimates of construction and mining costs and other factors that are set out in CLM's feasibility study. Production estimates are based on mine plans and production schedules, which have been developed by the Corporation‟s personnel and independent consultants. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Consolidated Thompson to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to risks described in the annual information form of the Corporation posted under the profile of the Corporation on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although management of Consolidated Thompson has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Consolidated Thompson does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Contact Information

  • Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
    Richard Quesnel
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    (514) 396-6345
    or
    Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
    Francois Laurin
    Chief Financial Officer
    (514) 396-6345
    www.consolidatedthompson.com