Equinox Minerals Limited
TSX : EQN
ASX : EQN

Equinox Minerals Limited

October 20, 2005 07:30 ET

Equinox Minerals Limited: Definitive Feasibility Study Results Lumwana Project, Zambia

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 20, 2005) -

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWS WIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE U.S.

Life-of-Mine Production Rate Increases to 150,000tpa Copper Capital Cost $387 Million - Operating Cost Below 70c/lb Cu

Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX:EQN)(ASX:EQN) is pleased to announce the results of the Lumwana Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS") that will provide the basis for the development of the Lumwana Copper Project in Zambia ("Lumwana"). The DFS was conducted by GRD Minproc Limited ("Minproc") during 2005. The DFS results summarized in this announcement supersede the Bankable Feasibility Study by Aker Kvaerner Australia Pty. Ltd. (referred to as the BFS) published in late-2003.

Resource and Reserve Determination

The Lumwana Project includes the Malundwe and Chimiwungo deposits. The Lumwana resource, defined by Golder Associates Pty. Ltd. ("Golder") in accordance with the JORC Code and CIM NI 43-101 Standards and using a 0.2% copper cut-off, has been defined as follows:



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Lumwana Resources : Measured + Indicated + Inferred
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Category Tonnage Cu Co Au Contained Copper
(Mt) (%) (ppm) (g/t) MM lbs Cu
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Measured 129.4 0.89 238 0.03 2,538
Indicated 140.0 0.78 187 0.02 2,407
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Total M + I 269.4 0.83 212 0.02 4,945
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Inferred 631.8 0.64 51 0.01 8,914
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Within this copper resource Golder has also defined a JORC Code and CIM NI 43-101 Standard uranium resource using a 0.012% uranium U(3)O(8) cut-off as follows:



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Lumwana Uranium Mineral Resources
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Category Tonnage U(3)O(8) Contained Uranium
(Mt) (%) lbs U(3)O(8)
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Indicated 9.5 0.093 19,408,000
Inferred 2.6 0.042 2,392,000
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The Lumwana Uranium resource estimate was carried out based on a
0.012% U(3)O(8) cut-off, ordinary kriging on 2m composite samples using
25mx25mx4m and 5mx5mx2m blocks.


Uranium occurs within the Malundwe and Chimiwungo deposits as discrete uranium-enriched zones that will be selectively mined and stockpiled during the copper mining operation. Stockpiling of the higher grade uranium mineralization ensures that there is no contamination of the copper concentrates.

The Lumwana copper ore reserve and mineral resource contained within the engineered pit designs are as follows:



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Lumwana Sulphide Reserve and Resource Within Engineered Pits
Deposit Tonnage (Mt) Cu (%)
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Malundwe
Proved 40.1 1.12
Probable 54.9 0.87
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Total Mineral Reserves 95.0 0.97
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Inferred Resource 7.7 0.78
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Chimiwungo
Proved 79.3 0.70
Probable 38.4 0.68
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Total Mineral Reserves 117.7 0.69
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Inferred Resource 137.0 0.60
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Combined Malundwe + Chimiwungo
Proved 119.4 0.84
Probable 93.3 0.79
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Total Mineral Reserves 212.7 0.82
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Inferred Resource 144.7 0.61
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The Mineral Reserve and Resource were determined by Golder on the
basis of 12.5mx12.5mx4m block models, including mining dilution and
recovery, and optimised by Whittle 4X software and generated in
3D Vulcan models. The cut-offs applied were based on $1.00/lb Cu,
resulting in sulphide cut-off grades of 0.19% for Malundwe and 0.22%
for Chimiwungo.

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Lumwana Oxide Reserve and Resource Within Engineered Pits
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Deposit Tonnage (Mt) Cu (%)
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Combined Malundwe + Chimiwungo
Proved 5.0 0.85
Probable 0.8 0.70
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Total Mineral Reserves 5.9 0.83
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Inferred Resource 4.2 0.50
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The cut-offs applied were based on $1.00/lb Cu, resulting in oxide
cut-off grades of 0.29% for Malundwe and 0.28% for Chimiwungo.


This oxide mineralization will be stockpiled for possible treatment at the end of mine life. It has not been included in the schedule or financial evaluation.

Development Plan

The DFS defines a mine and plant to process 20 million tonnes per year of ore, producing copper concentrates containing an average of about 150,000 tonnes (330 million pounds) of copper metal per year. Due to higher head grades during the first five years, average production of 188,000 tonnes of copper per year (415 million pounds) is achieved in this period. The development plan for Lumwana involves the mining and processing of sulphide ore on-site to produce copper concentrates to be processed at third party smelters to extract copper. At this time it is assumed that Equinox will not receive any by-product credits for cobalt, gold or uranium and that Equinox will continue to investigate the possible extraction of these metals.

Key Lumwana development parameters are as follows:



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Lumwana Development Parameters
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Parameter Units Years Years Life-of-Mine
1 - 5 6 - 17
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Production Rate Mtpa 20 20
Concentrate Production tpa 434,000 450,000 7,588,000
Copper Production tpa 188,000 133,000 2,542,000
Concentrate Grades % Cu 43.3% 29.5%
Process Recoveries % 95 - 97 96 - 97
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Note: The Year 1 - 5 Recovery is lower due to the ramp-up in Recovery
in Year 1.

Capital and Operating Costs

The pre-production Capital Cost estimate for Lumwana is as follows:

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Lumwana Capital Costs
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$MM
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Pre-Production Mining Costs (Pre-strip) & Ancillary Equipment 55.3
Process Plant & Related Infrastructure 246.8
Tailings Dam & Water Management 20.8
General and Administration 17.0
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TOTAL DIRECT COSTS 339.9
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EPCM 47.2
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TOTAL CONSOLIDATED CAPITAL COSTS 387.1
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Mining Fleet (1) 95.9
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TOTAL including Mining Fleet(1) 483.0
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Note: Capital Costs include pre-stripping, EPCM, indirects, and
infrastructure costs, and excludes contingency and accuracy
provisions.
Note: All currency is specified in US$ unless otherwise stated.
(1) It is intended that the Mining Fleet will be funded through a
combination of project financing and a separate asset financing
arrangement.

Estimates of Lumwana Operating Costs are as follows:

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Lumwana Operating Cost Estimate
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Years 1-5 Life-of-Mine
c/lb Cu c/lb Cu
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Mining 22.1 20.5
Concentrator 10.6 13.3
Administration + Other 3.3 3.9
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Site Operating Costs Total 36.0 37.7
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Transport 9.2 11.8
Realisation Costs 0.2 0.2
Concentrate Treatment and Refining (2) 17.7 20.2
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Off-Site Operating Costs 27.1 32.2
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TOTAL OPERATING COSTS (c/lb Cu Produced) 63.1 69.9
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(2)Concentrate Treatment and Refining Costs include TCRC's, price
participation and related costs.


Orders of Long-Lead Equipment Items

Equinox has secured commitments for the supply of the following mining equipment:

- AC-drive 240 tonne trolley assist trucks, electric face shovels and a hydraulic excavator;

- All key ancillary mining equipment (excavators, front end loaders, dozers); and

- Blast hole drilling rigs;

and has entered into contracts with the suppliers of the following plant equipment:

- Gyratory Crusher, SAG Mill, Ball Mill and Regrind Mill; and

- Gearless Mill Drives for the SAG and Ball Mills.

Additional Debt Financing Mandates

On 3 August 2005 Equinox announced that it had mandated a syndicate of European, African and Australian based Commercial Lenders, Developmental Finance Institutions ("DFIs") and Export Credit Agencies ("ECAs") to provide US$305 million in senior project finance loans for the Lumwana Project. Equinox has now mandated the following lenders to provide additional senior project finance loans over and above that already announced:

- Nederlandse Financierings-Maatshappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. ("FMO"), who will provide up to US$15 million in loans;

- DEG-Deutsche Investitions-und Entwiklungsgesellshaft mbH ("DEG"), who will provide up to US$15 million in loans; and

- KfW IPEX-Bank ("KfW"), who will provide up to US$20 million in commercial risk guarantees which in turn will support an additional US$20 million in loans to be provided by European Investment Bank.

The above mandates provide for up to an additional US$50 million in senior project finance loans to be made available to Lumwana. The additional loans will be on the same terms sheet as the previously announced senior project finance facility lending group and the documentation and due diligence process is well underway.

Each of FMO, DEG and KfW has extensive experience in Africa and in the mining industry. The additional financing support will assist in facilitating the development of Lumwana.

Development Timetable

Equinox is currently working with its financing group towards the completion of Lumwana project financing. Finalization of the following documents is taking place:

- Completion of the Development Agreement with the Government of Zambia (note that the Environmental Impact Assessment has been approved, see Company announcement October 17, 2005);

- Completion of the power supply agreements with the Zambian power authority, Zesco;

- The Engineering, Procurement and Construction ("EPC") contract for the process plant and related infrastructure; and

- Concentrate offtake agreements.

It is anticipated that site earthworks will commence in Q4 2005. The Company's objective is to achieve financial completion by the end of Q1 2006. Equinox remains on track for commissioning Lumwana during the second half of 2007.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Equinox:

Craig R. Williams - President & Chief Executive Officer

Cautionary Language and Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements", which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Investors are cautioned that such statements are not guarantees of future performance and results. Risks and uncertainties about the Company's business are more fully discussed in the Company's disclosure documents filed from time to time with the Canadian and Australian securities authorities. The independent definitive feasibility study prepared by Minproc, Golder and Investor Resources Ltd. ("IRL") has been disclosed in the Amended Technical Report dated October 2005, and is compliant with the JORC Code and National Instrument 43-101. Unless otherwise indicated, technical information contained in this release is based on information compiled by Dean David (GRD Minproc), Ross Bertinshaw (Golder), Andrew Daley (IRL) and Robert Hanbury (Knight Piesold Pty. Ltd.), each of whom is a "Qualified Person" who is either a corporate member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists or the CIM.

The economic analysis of Lumwana presented above is based on a model which includes inferred resources that are considered not to be defined in sufficient detail to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the economic analysis proposed after the first twelve years of operation will be achieved. Exemptive relief has been granted by the applicable Canadian securities regulators to present this analysis. See the Technical Report for further details.

This news release contains information of an economic, scientific and technical nature which is based upon the technical report prepared by Minproc, Golder and IRL dated October 2005 (the "Technical Report"). Readers are cautioned not to rely solely on the summary of such information contained in this release, but should read the Technical Report which will be posted on Equinox's website (www.equinoxminerals.com) and filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). Readers are also directed to the cautionary notices and disclaimers contained herein. All currency in this release is U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.

For information on Equinox and technical details on the Lumwana Project please refer to the company website at www.equinoxminerals.com


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