ECU Silver Mining Inc.
TSX : ECU

ECU Silver Mining Inc.

March 04, 2008 08:40 ET

ECU Silver Announces Near-Term Resource and Production Objectives

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 4, 2008) - ECU Silver Mining Inc. (TSX:ECU) ("ECU Silver" or the "Company") is pleased to outline the exploration and production objectives of the Company over the next six to nine months.

On Thursday, February 28th, 2008 the management and Board of Directors of ECU met to discuss, review and approve the Company's exploration and production objectives for the remainder of 2008. This was necessitated by the fact that the recently released NI 43-101 Resource Estimate (see press release dated January 24, 2008) highlighted a Potential that was much greater than management's original expectations. Consequently, a renewed focus on converting a portion of Potential into Inferred Resources was determined to be the best course of action to enhance shareholder value in the near-term.

Summary:

1) The primary objective of the Company will be to convert a portion of our "Potential" into the Inferred category as quickly as possible;

2) The Company will resume mining and milling operations to gain benefit of current metals prices and generate internal cash flow to help finance our exploration program without further dilution;

3) To drill at depth, the Santa Juana vein system, to prove the depth extension of veins, verify the continuity and evolution of the mineralized skarn and check the possibility of finding massive sulfides bodies near the intrusive/skarn interface;

Exploration Plan for 2008

In 2004, the Company began an extensive exploration campaign that included drilling from surface and underground, plus underground development in old and new areas of the Velardena Properties. The Company also began conducting metallurgical testing of the various old and new types of mineralization it was finding. The campaign was a success, mainly because of the strength of our geological models, which we proved and refined with time that guided all our exploration efforts. Thus the exploration phase that began in 2004 culminated with the release of the NI 43-101 report issued in July of 2006, and our latest NI 43-101 report issued recently in January of 2008.

During the last few months, the process of inputting all the information collected over the past seven years into a 3D model has clearly shown the possibility of the existence of additional potential as well as how those new areas could be probed. This was consistent with the Company's geological model when the campaign initially started in 2004, but what was surprising to the Company was that the size of the potential was much greater than anticipated at this stage of the exploration program.

The Company is pleased to report that important workings with the specific objective of providing us launching stations for our next exploration drive are well underway and close to completion. The new "San Mateo" ramp will reach the Santa Juana vein system at depth and will also provide a perfect base to drill the veins systems (excluding Chicago and San Diego) currently included in the Company's Mineral Resources at depth and, sometimes, laterally. We have also already driven a cross-cut on level 18 of the Santa Juana mine to install a drill station permitting us to test the Santa Juana vein system deeper than ever before.

Furthermore, we have been extending a cross-cut to reach the potential Eastern extension of the Terneras vein at higher levels, near what used to be level 4 of the La Chona veins which we now believe to be part of the Terneras system. We have been also building roads in the mountains for the surface drills to access stations from where the extensions of the Chicago veins can be tested.

In summary, this new exploration drive will have three parallel fronts: underground drilling, surface drilling and underground drifting to new veins. Thus, the Company expects to receive regular results from each of those sub-programs. Furthermore, short range drilling for definition and locating new veins will be on-going from several locations in the underground mines.

ECU's goal to convert a portion of our "Potential" into the Inferred category over the next six to nine months has the objective of increasing our current Inferred Resource by approximately 35% to 50% to between 190 million to 210 million ounces of silver equivalent (excluding the base metal equivalent of 38 million silver ounces as per our recent NI 43-101 or any additional base metal equivalents that we may include in our next update). This additional Inferred Resource would be over and above the existing Measured and Indicated Resources of approximately 34 million silver equivalent ounces (38 million silver equivalent ounces including base metals).

As for the drilling programs, the holes are planned, the contracts signed and all the drills will be moving on site this month. The Company will have two surface drill-rigs, one underground drill-rig and three bazooka drills operating underground.

Readers are cautioned that there are no assurances that all or any part of the resource estimate or the potential resources will be economically viable and although the information in this press release is based on the best available data the company has collected to date, a material difference between the actual results and the company's expectations may arise once further exploration is completed. The reader is also cautioned that while the company has had success in the past of converting "Potential" into the Inferred category, there are no assurances of further future success.

Production Outlook

As stated recently, the Company intends to resume regular mining and milling operations at the Santa Juana mine and Velardena mill where metallurgical and processing tests of mineralized material from the mine is essentially completed. ECU is now better positioned to resume mining and milling operations as the completion of our 3-D geological model of the mineral resource for the NI 43-101 report, will enhance our mining efforts.

The objectives of resuming mining and milling operations are to highlight specific high-grade sectors of the mine, refine mining methods, fine-tune the metallurgical processes and generate cash flows to help finance exploration efforts. Mineralized material is already being processed at the mill and the company expects the Velardena mill will have a throughput rate of 200 tonnes per day (25 days per month) initially and to reach 300 tonnes per day by the second quarter of 2008.

The Company would like to report that underground drifting to test the eastern extension of the Terneras vein commenced in January 2008 and positive results have already been achieved. The Company expects to receive assays results shortly and will publish them immediately thereafter with the proper corresponding interpretation.

Statements in the release that are "forward-looking statements" are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially. We undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statements to actual results or changes in our expectations.

Contact Information

  • ECU Silver Mining Inc.
    Stephen Altmann
    President
    (416) 644-8640
    (416) 644-8801 (FAX)
    Website: www.ecu.ca