Equinox Minerals Limited

Equinox Minerals Limited

January 31, 2008 09:00 ET

Equinox Minerals Limited: ASX Quarterly Report to Shareholders for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2007

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 31, 2008) - Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX:EQN)(ASX:EQN) ("Equinox" or the "Company") is an international mineral exploration and development company listed on both the TSX and ASX (TSX and ASX symbol: "EQN"). Lumwana, owned 100% by Equinox, is located in the North Western Province of the Republic of Zambia. The Lumwana mine will produce an average of 169,000 tonnes of copper metal per year contained in concentrates for the first 6 years of its expected 37 year mine life and construction is on schedule for commissioning during Q2-2008.



The construction schedule and budget remain on target with commissioning expected to commence during Q2-2008.

Construction activity highlights included:

- Total on-site construction workforce increased to over 3,850 employees;

- Mining operations of the Malundwe Stage 1 pit continued throughout the quarter with 11.7Mt of material mined to date, the majority of which was delivered to the various bulk-fill activities in support of construction program;

- Machine assembly and handover of mining equipment proceeded largely on schedule with 11 Hitachi EH4500 haul trucks now commissioned. Arrival of the initial components of the Hitachi EX5500 electric drive shovels commenced in December 2007;

- Process plant overall detailed design has been completed;

- All long lead items are now on site;

- Bulk earthworks have been completed on the water and tails storage facilities;

- The second and third transformers were energized in the Lumwana substation by ZESCO;

- Town housing availability for occupancy purposes reached 320 houses ahead of construction build up demand;

- Continued good progress was achieved on the T5 Highway with repairs between the Mutanda to Lumwana turn off segment taking place; and

- In November 2007 Lumwana construction passed the 75% completion milestone which triggered a further milestone payment to the EPC construction contractors which was paid through the issuance of Equinox common shares in accordance with the Lumwana Project fixed price EPC construction contract.


- The Company completed all scheduled Lumwana Uranium Feasibility Study ("UFS") drilling at Malundwe which included 170 holes (totalling 14,059m) drilled by reverse circulation percussion and 12 holes (totalling 824m) completed by diamond drilling. All assay results have now been received, and data have been forwarded to SRK Consulting for ore resource estimation;

- In November 2007 the Company released the second and final update on drilling progress for the UFS. High-grade results of note include 17m of 0.56% U3O8 (hole MLW0062), 11m of 0.75% U3O8 (hole MLW0159), 6m of 1.41% U3O8 (hole MLW0192) and 2m of 2.56% U3O8 (hole MLW0115);

- All results are presented in Table 1 in the press release dated November 14, 2007 available on the Company's website (and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com) which includes all intercepts above a cut off grade of 200ppm U3O8 (0.02% U3O8);

- Ausenco Projects Limited, UFS consultants, made scheduled progress on engineering design and project costing of the Lumwana uranium plant. Metallurgical test work for uranium leaching and copper extraction is ongoing; and

- The UFS remains on schedule to be delivered to the Company in late Q1-2008.


- Assay results for the drill program completed at Kababisa, approximately 5km north of the Lumwana process plant, have been received. Results confirm the presence of extensive Malundwe style mineralization and that the target area remains open to the north and south and down dip;

- At Ndola West, the Company's major project on the Copperbelt 300km east of Lumwana, drilling during the December quarter saw the completion of 4,469m in 45 reverse circulation percussion holes. While sample assays are awaited, the program momentum is being maintained during the wet season by the use of diamond drilling;

- Within the Kabompo lease located 120km west of Lumwana, extensive fieldwork comprising prospecting, soil sampling and reconnaissance field mapping was conducted. This work has identified priority targets at Lolwa (uranium prospect) and Cheyeza (copper prospect), both of which had been drill tested by the end of the Quarter, and assay results are awaited; and

- On completion of the UFS drilling, the drill rig moved to the Kanga Prospect south of Malundwe where broad-spaced drilling tested the two historical uranium targets of Constanza and Ida and the up-dip portion of the Kanga Induced Polarisation geophysical anomaly. Sixteen reverse circulation percussion holes were completed for 2,016m by the end of the Quarter and assay results are awaited.


- First Quantum Minerals Ltd. ("First Quantum") (TSX:FM)(LSE:FQM) issued a press release to disclose that on December 5, 2007 it had acquired 41,300,000 common shares in the Company representing 7.31% of the issued and outstanding common shares. After the acquisition of these shares, First Quantum stated that subsequently, it beneficially owned 97,556,700 common shares of Equinox in total representing 17.27% of the issued and outstanding common shares.



Uranium Feasibility Infill Drilling Confirms High Grade Uranium Mineralization at Lumwana

On November 14, 2006, Equinox reported that the UFS infill drilling program at Lumwana had further defined and confirmed discrete zones of high grade uranium mineralization within the larger Malundwe copper ore body currently being mined. Intercepts of note include 17m of 0.56% U3O8 (hole MLW0062), 11m of 0.75% U3O8 (hole MLW0159), 6m of 1.41% U3O8 (hole MLW0192) and 2m of 2.56%U3O8 (hole MLW0115).

The UFS drill program commenced in April 2007 and comprised 14,883m in 170 reverse circulation percussion drill holes and 12 diamond drill core holes along a 2km strike length of the Malundwe copper deposit within the currently designed main Malundwe open pit. Of the holes drilled, 135 intersected uranium mineralization of greater than 200ppm U3O8.

The Malundwe deposit hosts significant uranium mineralization along the central portion of the copper ore body's western flank, primarily within two discrete uranium mineralized bodies. The purpose of the UFS drilling program is to upgrade the definition of the Malundwe uranium resources. With the inclusion of the pre-existing drill holes, most of the uranium resource within Malundwe is now defined by 50m x 50m spacing, with the exception of some areas of higher grade uranium mineralization which have been drilled on 25m x 25m spacing.

The uranium mineralization preferentially lies associated with the hangingwall and footwall contacts of the Malundwe copper sulphide ore body, and significantly, also extends into the footwall suite of rocks that are barren of copper. The remainder of the Malundwe copper sulphide orebody does not contain any significant uranium mineralization and typically has a low background uranium content of less than 10ppm U3O8. All results are presented in Table 1 in the press release dated November 14, 2007 available on the Company's website (and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com) which includes all intercepts above a cut off grade of 200ppmU3O8 (0.02% U3O8).

SRK Consulting is undertaking the uranium resource estimate of Malundwe and Golder Associates Pty Ltd. will apply economic and mining factors to identify the mining reserve for the UFS. The UFS remains on schedule to be delivered to the Company in late Q1-2008.

Lumwana Project Passes 75% Development Completion

On December 19, 2007, the Company announced that in connection with the execution of the US$407.6 million Lumwana Copper Project fixed price EPC construction contract as announced on October 16, 2006, the EPC Contractors passed the 75% completion milestone during November 2007.

On January 18, 2008 in accordance with the Company's agreement with the EPC Contractors, Equinox issued to the EPC Contractors, a total of 823,752 common shares (50% to each party) at C$5.39 per share (the five-day volume weighted average trading price on the Toronto Stock Exchange determined at the close of markets on January 17, 2008) to the value of C$4,440,409 (US$ US$4,314,000) as part of the third quarterly milestone payment.

The remaining final quarterly common share issuance will be made at the completion of the EPC contract and will total US$4,314,000.

Budget Address to the Zambian Parliament by the Minister for Finance and National Planning

On January 25, 2008, as the first step in the budget approval process for the country, the Minister for Finance and National Planning, the Hon. Ng'andu Magande, presented a budget address to the Zambian National Assembly. This address included the proposal to introduce a new mining and fiscal regime for Zambia that would increase corporate tax to 30%, the mining royalty to 3% and a number of other proposed additional imposts including a "variable profit tax" and "windfall tax" to provide the Government with increased benefits during periods of high copper prices.

As the details released by the Minister in relation to these new taxes are very limited, the Company is unable to adequately assess the impact of these taxes if they were implemented. Furthermore, the Company has signed a Development Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Zambia on December 16, 2005 which includes a 10 year stability period amongst other fiscal incentives. This Agreement is binding on all parties and Equinox will continue to act in accordance with this agreement.


Major Drill Program targets Ndola West Oxide Mineralization

In September 2007, the Company initiated an extensive program of reverse circulation percussion drilling to further delineate the extent of the oxide mineralization previously discovered at Ndola West on the Copperbelt. A total of 4,469m of reverse circulation percussion drilling was completed until mid-December 2007 when it became too wet to move heavy reverse circulation percussion equipment around the site. Assay results are currently awaited. A diamond rig has subsequently been brought to site to maintain production during the wet season, and the program is on-going.

Previous work by the Company has intersected some substantial widths of high-grade copper mineralization at Ndola West, including KIT003, 64m @ 2.33% Cu (including 38m @ 3.5% Cu) and KIT0025 which intersected 14m @ 6.29% Cu from 81m, and terminated in mineralization at 95m. (All results from RC holes that contained copper intercepts greater than 0.2%Cu are detailed in the press release dated June 25, 2007 available on the Company's website and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com). The drilling confirmed the structural complexity of the area and indicates that significant copper mineralization at Ndola West is open at depth and along strike.

Other Zambian Exploration

In addition to Malundwe UFS work, Equinox is proactively exploring additional regional uranium targets within the 1,355 km2 Lumwana Mining Licence and regional tenements in Zambia. Recent heliborne radiometric surveying and reprocessed fixed wing radiometric data has proven very successful in identifying and delivering numerous additional uranium channel anomalies at both Mwombezhi Dome (the lease adjacent to the Lumwana Mining Lease) and Kabompo 120km north-west of Lumwana for further investigations outside the UFS.

Within Kabompo, extensive fieldwork comprising prospecting, soil sampling and reconnaissance field mapping has identified a number of priority targets for both copper and uranium mineralization. Two of these, the Lolwa (uranium) and Cheyeza (copper) targets, were drill tested prior to the commencement of the wet season after which drill rig movement would become severely restricted, slowing progress. Assay results are currently awaited.

At Lolwa, uranium mineralization had been identified during the 1980's by AGIP, but the target was not fully tested. Equinox tested the target with completion of 3,374m in 42 holes, most of which intersected radioactively-anomalous schists between 1m and 4m (down-hole) thicknesses over several kilometres of strike. Assay results are currently awaited. Mapping utilizing a spectrometer has successfully traced the anomalous contact of muscovite-chlorite schist with micaceous sandstone along strike to the east, and the surface anomalism has increased to the east.

At the Cheyeza prospect, 16km south of Lolwa, field mapping and soil sampling have identified ironstone and sediments with minor chalcopyrite and possibly chalcocite. During the December quarter, the reverse circulation percussion rig drilled a limited scout program (34 holes for 1,696m) across an area of high soil copper anomalism before the wet season made the area impassable. Assays are awaited.

Within the Kitwe property, a new target has been developed at Ngala utilizing recent interpretative work that suggests mineralization may exist in a horizon higher in the sequence than the classic stratigraphic Lower Roan-Upper Roan position. In order to test the concept, a time domain induced polarisation geophysical survey was undertaken during the December Quarter. Interpretation of data suggests that there exists potential in two areas of the Ngala prospect for comparable mineralization to the target type.


Equinox Wins Perseverance Award at Mining Journal 2007 Outstanding Achievement Awards

On November 21, 2007, Equinox was awarded the "2007 Perseverance Award" at the annual Mining Journal Outstanding Achievement Awards held in London, England. Held as part of Mining Journal's annual Mines & Money conference, the event awarded 13 different citations to celebrate exceptional achievement in the international mining industry. The "Perseverance" category offered robust competition with the Company winning the award for steadfast and successful Lumwana development since 1999.

Acquisition of 17.27% Interest in Equinox by First Quantum Minerals

On December 6, 2007, the Company announced that First Quantum had issued a press release which states that, on December 5, 2007, First Quantum acquired 41,300,000 common shares in the Company representing 7.31% of the issued and outstanding common shares. After the acquisition of these shares, First Quantum stated that it subsequently beneficially owned 97,556,700 common shares representing 17.27% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Equinox. The securities were acquired through the facilities of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In its press release, First Quantum also stated that it had acquired the common shares for investment purposes and may acquire further common shares or dispose of these holdings of common shares as investment conditions warrant. No substantive discussions have been held between Equinox and First Quantum and Equinox has stated that the acquisition was unsolicited and opportunistic.

2007 Statistics for Toronto Stock Exchange, Standard & Poors TSX300 Index

On January 02, 2008, the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper published performance statistics for issues listed under the Canadian Toronto Stock Exchange Standard & Poor's TSX300 Index.

For 2007, Equinox placed 12th in the "Year to Date % Share Price Appreciation" category (188.89%) and 3rd in the "Most Active" category (average daily trading volume 5.24 million shares).

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