Equinox Minerals Limited

Equinox Minerals Limited

March 24, 2008 17:00 ET

Equinox Releases Results for Year Ended December 31, 2007

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2008) - Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX:EQN)(ASX:EQN) -




- Construction highlights for the year include:

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

-- Machine assembly and handover of mining equipment proceeding largely on schedule with 16 Hitachi EH4500 haul trucks now commissioned and all parts for the remaining 11 haul trucks on site. Two Hitachi EX5500 shovels are now in operation with three shovels being assembled on site;

-- 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 tailings storage facilities;

-- Town housing availability for occupancy purposes reached 320 houses, with the remainder of the workers accommodated in the construction camp;

-- Continued good progress was achieved on upgrading of the T5 Highway; and

-- In November 2007 Lumwana construction progressed past the 75% completion point and remains on schedule and on budget, with commissioning expected to commence late in the second quarter of 2008.

- Concentrate offtake agreements for the first 5 years of Lumwana concentrate production were signed with Chambishi Copper Smelter, Mopani Copper Mines Plc and Glencore International AG;

- The closing of an equity offering for gross proceeds of C$211 million (US$179 million) and the establishment of US$45 million contingent funding credit facility to be used should cost overruns occur or for corporate purposes post project completion;

- Equinox successfully achieved financial close on its US$583.8 million Lumwana Project finance debt facility and drawdowns are well underway. This completed the funding of the Lumwana Copper Project;

- Large scale mining commenced in April 2007 at the Malundwe pit and has now reached the primary sulphide ore body, with oxide ore stockpiled for later processing;


Equinox commenced the Uranium Feasibility Study ("2008-UFS") investigating the onsite treatment of the discrete and high grade uranium mineralization contained within the copper pit shells at Lumwana.

This study is reviewing and updating the 2003 uranium study and will expand upon previous testing. It will include processing plant, infrastructure design and prepare cost estimates for the production of uranium "yellowcake". The results of the 2008 UFS are anticipated to be available in the second quarter of 2008.

An Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") has been prepared as part of the 2008-UFS and will be lodged for project approval during Q2-2008. Approval of this EIA by the Environmental Council of Zambia is required for uranium plant permitting. Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is enacting legislation for the processing and export of uranium, consistent with International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines. It is anticipated that both the permitting and revised legislation will be completed by mid-2008.


During the year Equinox has evaluated numerous exploration targets including:

- The Kanga Prospect, located south of the Malundwe pit at Lumwana where mining has commenced. Subsequent to 10 reverse circulation percussion ("RCP") drill holes in 2006 an additional 28 RCP holes totalling 4,916m have been drilled along 2km of strike. All RCP holes intersected the ore schist horizon with intercepts ranging between 5 - 20 metres in width encountered at the predicted down-hole position. Kanga represents the southern extension of the Malundwe deposit which remains open to the north and south.

- The Kababisa Prospect lies approximately 5km north of the Lumwana process plant currently under construction. Equinox undertook a time-domain IP program that identified significant, coherent, strike parallel IP anomalies extending for over 3km. A scout RCP drill program designed to establish the dip of the sequence and the tenor of the mineralization in the sulphide zone has been completed. This zone of mineralization has strong similarities to the nearby Malundwe orebody and consequently, a combined RCP and diamond drilling program was completed and results are being compiled.

- The Ndola West prospect is located on the Copperbelt, 320km east of Lumwana. Following up previous work at the Ndola West Prospect which identified some substantial widths of high-grade copper mineralization (64m @ 2.33% Cu including 38m @ 3.5% Cu) an RCP and diamond drill program was completed to further investigate the same strike of sequence, as well as the broader stratigraphy in which that mineralization is hosted. High-grade results of note include an intersection of 14m @ 6.29% Cu from 81m, and terminated in mineralization at 95m.

- At Lolwa on the Kapompo Project, 100km west of Lumwana, uranium mineralization was identified during the 1980's by AGIP, but the target was not fully tested. Equinox tested the target with completion of 2,787m in 29 RCP holes, 12 of which intersected uranium mineralisation between 1m and 4m (down-hole) thicknesses over several kilometers of strike.

Equinox is expanding its exploration effort now that the Lumwana mine is nearing commissioning so as to maintain an exploration "pipeline" of projects.


- The Company appointed Peter Tomsett as its Non-Executive Chairman and to its Board of Directors effective July 1, 2007. Mr Tomsett has over 25 years of experience in the mining industry, including 20 years with Placer Dome Inc. ("Placer"). Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Placer until its acquisition by Barrick Gold in January 2006.


Equinox is progressing the Lumwana Project towards development with construction advancing on all fronts and an onsite construction work force of over 3,850 employees.

At December 31, 2007 the Company had outstanding capital commitments for the Lumwana Project of $242.8 million.

The $583.8 million in senior and subordinated project finance has been finalized and draw downs commenced in August 2007.

Large scale mining commenced in April 2007 at the Malundwe pit and has now reached the primary sulphide ore body, with oxide ore stockpiled for later processing. A final mining production rate of 120 million tonnes per annum (20 millions tonnes per annum of ore) is expected to be reached during the second quarter of 2008 following a period of progressive mobilization of the mining fleet.

Plant construction is well progressed and all major items of equipment for the Lumwana Plant are now on site and installed. Completion of conveyor belts, pipe work and electrical installation is currently in progress. The raw water dam and tailings storage facility is also complete.

The Lumwana Project remains on schedule and budget with commissioning expected to commence late in the second quarter of 2008. Commencement of copper production from Lumwana will then follow. Concentrate deliveries to the Copperbelt smelters are then expected to commence in the third quarter of 2008.

Equinox plans to complete the Lumwana UFS, significantly expand exploration activities and evaluate and potentially implement opportunities at Lumwana to expand throughput, improve transport logistics and in the longer term consider the processing of concentrate on site. It will also actively monitor new project and corporate development opportunities.

A copy of Equinox's Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2007 and the MD&A will be available from 25 March 2008 at www.sedar.com, www.asx.com.au and at www.equinoxminerals.com.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Equinox:

Craig R. Williams - President & Chief Executive Officer

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

Cautionary Language and Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information", which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the future financial or operating performances of Equinox, its subsidiaries and their respective projects, the future price of copper and uranium, the estimation of mineral reserves and resources, the realization of mineral reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, estimated costs of future production, capital, operating and exploration expenditures, costs and timing of the development of the Lumwana Project, the costs of Equinox's hedging policy, costs and timing of future exploration, requirements for additional capital, government regulation of exploration, development and mining operations, environmental risks, reclamation and rehabilitation expenses, title disputes or claims, and limitations of insurance coverage. Often, but not always, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "is expecting", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "believes", or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. The purpose of forward-looking information is to provide the reader with information about management's expectations and plans for 2008. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Equinox and/or its subsidiaries to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Such factors include, among others, those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the Company's AIF.

Although Equinox has attempted to identify statements containing important factors that could cause actual actions, event or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. Forward-looking information contained herein are made as of the date of this document based on the opinions and estimates of management on the date statements containing such forward looking information are made, and Equinox disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, estimates or opinions, future events or results or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking information. Technical information in this release is summarized or extracted from the "Amended Technical Report on the Lumwana Copper Project, North West Province, Republic of Zambia " dated October 2006 (the "Technical Report "), prepared by Michael Davis, Process Manager, Ausenco Ltd. ( "Ausenco "), Ross Bertinshaw, Principal of Golder Associates Pty Ltd. ( "Golder "), Tim Miller, Director, of Investor Resources Finance Pty Ltd ( "IRF "), and Robert Hanbury, Associate Director, of Knight Piesold Pty Ltd. ( "Knight Piesold "), each of whom is a "Qualified Person " in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 -Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

Readers are cautioned not to rely solely on the summary of such information contained in this release, but should read the Amended Technical Report which is posted on Equinox's website (www.equinoxminerals.com) and filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and any future amendments to such report. Readers are also directed to the cautionary notices and disclaimers contained herein. All currency in this release is U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.

Development Stage Company

As at December 31, 2007 and 2006

December 31 December 31
2007 2006
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 73,367,301 66,238,047
Accounts receivable 25,946,130 5,705,790
Prepayments 5,940,160 524,142
105,253,591 72,467,979

Restricted cash 25,600,511 24,265,378
Property, plant and equipment 677,248,858 235,491,049
Prepaid financing fees - 21,782,845
Equity investment - 1,371,375
Future income tax asset 15,554,897 -
Other financial assets 4,344,141 1,795,740
828,001,998 357,174,366

Current liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 63,998,477 56,036,669
Current portion of employee future benefits 255,975 229,640
Current portion of long term debt 13,466,431 1,155,263
Current portion of derivative instruments 4,025,349 -
81,746,232 57,421,572

Long term debt 263,107,202 8,086,838
Employee future benefits 43,321 29,849
Future income tax liabilities 1,627,839 982,584
Asset retirement obligation 3,025,147 2,423,562
Long term compensation 420,676 -
Derivative instruments 59,693,984 -
409,664,401 68,944,405

Share capital 499,715,118 304,217,013
Deficit (64,338,315) (34,868,389)
Contributed surplus 15,940,996 18,893,678
Warrants 12,121,998 -
Cumulative translation adjustments - (12,341)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (net of
tax) (45,102,200) -
418,337,597 288,229,961
828,001,998 357,174,366

Development Stage Company

For the years ended December 31, 2007 and 2006

December 31 December 31 on June 29
2007 2006 1993
$ $ $

Other income / (expense) 4,804,636 9,302,121 17,662,512

Exploration 7,112,540 2,456,118 21,200,803
General and administration 11,193,960 5,601,150 24,025,783
Financing costs 2,595,384 - 2,595,384
Incentive stock options expensed 11,993,365 16,064,291 31,134,351
Share of loss of equity
accounted investee 867,302 457,612 1,324,914
Amortization of property, plant
and equipment 145,291 99,761 815,602
33,907,842 24,678,932 81,096,837

Loss before income tax and non
controlling interest (29,103,206) (15,376,811) (63,434,325)

Future income tax (312,271) (982,584) (1,294,855)
Non controlling interest - 182,814 445,314

Loss for the period (29,415,477) (16,176,581) (64,283,866)

Basic and diluted loss per share 0.0546 0.0434

Weighted average number of shares
outstanding 538,312,761 372,903,499


Year ended
December 31
Loss for the period (29,415,477)
Other comprehensive losses
Net unrealized gains on available-for-sale securities (net
of tax) 651,351
Net unrealized derivative instrument losses (net of tax) (46,664,690)
Total comprehensive loss (75,428,816)

Development Stage Company

For the years ended December 31, 2007 and 2006

Year ended Year ended inception on
December 31 December 31 June 29
2007 2006 1993
Cash flows (used in) / provided
by operating activities $ $ $
Loss for the period (29,415,477) (16,176,581) (64,283,866)
Items not affecting cash:
Amortization of property, plant
and equipment 145,291 99,761 815,602
Unrealised foreign exchange
loss / (gain) 1,229,515 (508,767) 980,479
Incentive stock option expense 11,993,365 16,064,291 31,134,351
Gain on sale of Alturas Minerals
Corp. - (2,457,315) (2,457,315)
Share of loss of equity
accounted investee 867,302 457,612 1,324,914
Gain on sale of interest in
exploration tenements - (1,420,740) (1,420,740)
Future income tax expense
(benefit) 312,271 982,584 1,294,855
Financing costs (7,157,059) - (7,157,059)
Long term compensation expense 420,676 - 420,676
Other (5,720) (8,722) 376,599
Payments for derivative
instruments (19,785,930) - (19,785,930)
Refund of derivative instruments 19,785,930 - 19,785,930
Changes in non-cash working
Increase / (decrease) in
accounts payable, accrued
liabilities and employee future 970,232 137,708 2,836,277
(Increase) / decrease in
accounts receivable and
prepayments (21,851,177) (167,797) (22,016,201)
(42,490,781) (2,997,966) (58,151,428)

Cash flows (used in) / provided
by financing activities
Issue of share capital 180,527,397 139,809,671 495,040,843
Share issue costs (8,628,215) (3,780,518) (24,995,563)
Issue of warrants 12,146,875 - 12,146,875
Proceeds from borrowings 356,122,603 - 369,849,948
Repayment of borrowings (55,111,714) - (62,111,714)
Prepaid financing fees and
transaction cost (14,872,077) (7,566,459) (32,851,596)
Finance lease principal
repayments - - (65,265)
470,184,869 128,462,694 757,013,528

Cash flows (used in) / provided
by investing activities
Deferred exploration and
evaluation costs - - (37,902,858)
Decrease / (increase) in
restricted cash (1,335,133) (24,209,914) (25,600,511)
Payments for property, plant
and equipment (420,312,854) (147,799,860) (564,831,274)
Proceeds from sale of property,
plant and equipment - 7,433 47,472
Promissory note receipts - 375,000 375,000
(421,647,987) (171,627,341) (627,912,171)

Net (decrease) / increase in cash
and cash equivalents 6,046,101 (46,162,613) 70,949,929
Cash and cash equivalents -
start of period 66,238,047 111,689,812 -
Effects of exchange rate changes
on cash held in foreign
currencies 1,083,153 710,848 2,417,372
Cash and cash equivalents - end
of period 73,367,301 66,238,047 73,367,301

Total interest payments made 3,149,424 433,214 4,524,943

ARBN 108 066 986

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