Erdene Resource Development Corporation

Erdene Resource Development Corporation

November 17, 2009 10:35 ET

Erdene Provides Project Updates and Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 17, 2009) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. ("Erdene") (TSX:ERD) today provided an update on its principal projects in conjunction with the release of its third quarter 2009 financial results.

"As we mark a full year since the global economic events of late 2008, we find ourselves in a much improved environment in regards to raw material consumption and price outlook," said Peter Akerley, President and CEO. "We are currently witnessing a major upswing in interest in the commodities on which we have maintained our focus and now find ourselves in a strong position to advance the Donkin coal project to the first phase of production and move the Zuun Mod molybdenum project toward pre-feasibility. In addition to the global economic improvement, we have witnessed a positive change in the political environment in Mongolia with the signing of the investment agreement on the Oyu Tolgoi project. This has given us the confidence to accelerate our property acquisition program in Mongolia."

Project Updates and Summaries

Donkin Coal Project

Recent work at Donkin has focused on planning the implementation of the Continuous Miner Exploration Phase with tenders for all major equipment being received and under evaluation. Direct employment on the project to date has varied from six to 23 people and enabled 11 skilled mining people to return to Cape Breton. Six personnel remain on site to cover the necessary requirements for care and maintenance, including regular statutory inspections. A Community Liaison Committee was established early in the project and continues to provide the community with updates on the project. Investment by the joint venture partners to date is approximately $25 million. The Continuous Miner Exploration Phase will involve additional capital expenditure of approximately $50 million and result in the annual production of more than 250,000 tonnes of coal from the underground development work during the exploration program.

Discussions continue with key stakeholders regarding the sale of the coal production from the Continuous Miner Exploration Phase, a requirement of advancing the project. If the project is approved, it has the potential to reinvigorate the mining industry in Cape Breton. It will create approximately 50 direct jobs initially and, with approval to advance to the high productivity Longwall Mining Phase, 275 full-time positions at full production for a period projected to exceed 30 years. In addition, at least 1.5 indirect jobs are expected to be created for each full-time position. The project will require the expenditure of approximately $50 million initially and more than $350 million for the full longwall development in privately funded capital.

The Donkin exploration project is a 75:25 joint venture between Xstrata Coal Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xstrata Coal, and Erdene. Located in Eastern Canada, the high energy Donkin coal resource includes 227 million metric tonnes ("Mt") of Indicated and 254Mt of Inferred high volatile-A bituminous (12,000 - 14,000 Btu), high sulphur, and medium ash coal. The project is located within 35 kilometres of a coal-fired electrical generating plant and a deep-water coal terminal facility. Markets are anticipated to be both domestic and export, and the relatively short shipping distances by water to the United States east coast and Europe places Donkin in an ideal position to enter this expanding market.

Work on the site has been underway for three years, starting with the reopening of the tunnels and site preparation for the dewatering and the tunnel rehabilitation work. The Donkin exploration project successfully reclaimed the 7,000 metre twin tunnels which included the pumping of 450 million litres of water from the tunnels which was managed and treated on site. The work also included testing the coal quality and gas regime through in-seam drilling.

Zuun Mod Molybdenum Project

During the quarter, the company received an updated National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource estimate for the Zuun Mod molybdenum project. The deposit has a Measured (25Mt @ 0.061Mo) and Indicated (73Mt @ 0.062Mo) ("M&I") resource of 98 Mt at an average grade of 0.062% molybdenum ("Mo"), at a cut-off grade ("Cog") of 0.05% Mo equating to 133.8 million pounds ("Mlbs") of contained Mo metal. In addition, there is a 73 Mt Inferred resource at an average grade of 0.060% Mo equating to a further 97.1 Mlbs of contained Mo metal. The resource identified two higher grade zones within the South and North Racetrack deposits, which contain 95% of the M&I resource at the higher 0.06% Mo Cog which totals 44 Mt and averages 0.071% Mo. The company continues to evaluate options to secure a strategic partner. Runge (Minarco Mine-Consult) is currently completing preliminary pit design and scheduling based on the revised resource estimate to better define project economics.

In addition, the Company has signed contracts with two Mongolian consulting companies to assist with the application to convert the current Zuun Mod exploration license into a mining license. Under the Minerals Law of Mongolia, the initial term for a mining license is 30 years with an option for two 20-year extensions. The mining license application was filed late in the third quarter and Mineral Council experts appointed immediately thereafter. We expect the Mineral Council to review the application in the fourth quarter.

The Zuun Mod project is a porphyry molybdenum deposit (with copper and rhenium) and consists of a single license totalling 49,538 hectares. It is located in Bayankhongor Province approximately 950 kilometers southwest of Ulaanbaatar and 215 kilometers from railhead on the Mongolia-China border at Ceke. The railhead is located 20 kilometers south of the Nariin Sukhait and Ovoot Tolgoi coal mines.

Coal & Metals Projects in Mongolia

Erdene has made a long-term commitment to Mongolia owing to its highly prospective geology, its diversity of exploration targets and its location on the doorstep of China. Our management team was among the early mineral exploration entrants into the country and has since built up an extensive Mongolian knowledge base and network of contacts. The finalized Investment Agreement signed between the Mongolian Government and Ivanhoe Mines / Rio Tinto, for the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project, further confirms our belief that the country provides one of the most globally attractive locations for investment in the mineral exploration sector.

Over the past few years, political issues in Mongolia had caused us to maintain a cautious stance in regards to new opportunities; however, with the positive events of the past 60 days we have begun to act on opportunities generated during that period. Recently, Erdene has applied for five exploration licences totalling over 400,000 hectares and has plans to continue to increase our staking and acquisition activity. In Mongolia, Erdene is partnered with Xstrata Coal on a comprehensive coal generative and acquisition program. The Company has conducted numerous property evaluations for prospective metallurgical and high-quality thermal coal deposits. Xstrata Coal is fully funding the exploration programs through to completion of feasibility to earn a 75 per cent interest in the projects funded. In regards to our metals exploration program, in addition to Zuun Mod, Erdene is focused on porphyry style copper, gold and molybdenum prospects and have been very active in the evaluation of these during the past two years.

Sharing a border with Mongolia is China, the world's largest coal consumer. Estimates suggest that over the next 25 years, China will need to secure approximately six million tonnes of new coal production per month to meet demand. Coal-fired power plants are projected to satisfy approximately three quarters of China's total power generation requirements to 2030. A similar situation exists for metals with Chinese companies, many state funded, being very acquisitive for copper and molybdenum projects worldwide. Erdene continues to position itself to be a major participant in the mining industry of Mongolia.

Advanced Primary Minerals

Erdene controls 65% of TSX-V listed (TSX VENTURE:APD) Advanced Primary Minerals ("APM"). During the third quarter, APM continued to produce kaolin products for its customers in the ceramics industry and continued product trials with potential customers. APM also completed the installation of process equipment in its new state-of-the-art kaolin processing facility in Dearing, Georgia. Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, APM held the grand opening of its primary kaolin processing plant which will enable APM to develop its high quality primary kaolin deposits and help the company with its goal of becoming North America's leading specialized kaolin producer.

Kaolin is used in the manufacture of value added products within a number of industries which include ceramics, paint and paper. As part of Erdene's business plan, APM was created as a dedicated vehicle for primary kaolin operations. APM is targeting value added products that benefit from the unique attributes of APM's high quality primary kaolin resource under a two phase development program.

Granite Hill Construction Material Project

Erdene's Granite Hill project is a former producing granite aggregate quarry in central Georgia. The Company owns the 342-acre property which holds in excess of a 120 million-ton resource and is situated on an existing rail line. Through a lease with Erdene, Ready Mix USA ("RMU") holds an exclusive right to mine, process, and sell aggregate from the Granite Hill property. The sale of all aggregate from the property is subject to an industry competitive royalty payable to the Company.

RMU's quarry development plan provides for an estimated start-up production rate of one million tons of granite aggregate per year, with an initial design capacity of up to three million tons. Based on current production projections, the Granite Hill quarry will have an estimated lifespan in excess of 30 years. RMU has designed a quarry mining plan, processing plant and facilities, and has prepared an environmental impact plan. RMU has also acquired additional land adjacent to the Granite Hill property to secure rail access to the site. The construction phase is expected to be completed nine to twelve months after a production decision by RMU. All required operating permits have been received and during the third quarter, RMU began clearing the site and constructing access roads to the initial quarry site. RMU is responsible for fully funding the development and operating program.

2009 Third Quarter Financial Results Summary

Erdene's 2009 third quarter financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis were filed with regulatory authorities on November 13, 2009 and are available on the Company's website at and on SEDAR at These statements are provided on a consolidated basis incorporating its controlled subsidiary, Advanced Primary Minerals Corp.

For the three months ended September 30, 2009, exploration and operating expenses amounted to $948,115 compared to $295,995 in the third quarter 2008. Including capitalized exploration costs and excluding write-offs, exploration expenses were $1,215,699 for the third quarter of 2009 compared to $1,805,187 in the third quarter of 2008.

Erdene's third quarter expenditures were directed toward the continued advancement of the Company's primary projects, namely the Donkin coal project, Zuun Mod molybdenum project, metal exploration in Mongolia and industrial mineral projects.

Administrative expenses totalled $437,481 (including $46,550 in stock based compensation) for the third quarter of 2009, compared to $439,481 in the third quarter 2008.

The company recorded a loss of $1,239,158, or $0.01 per share, in the third quarter of 2009 compared with a loss of $887,425, or $0.01 per share, in the third quarter of 2008.

At September 30, 2009, Erdene had approximately $ 14.8 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand, on a consolidated basis, compared with approximately $16.2 million at December 31, 2008.

Qualified Person

The Zuun Mod Mineral Resource estimates was prepared under the supervision and based on information compiled by Philippe Baudry, who is an employee of Minarco-Mineconsult. Philippe Baudry is also a Qualified Person within the meaning of such term under NI 43-101 and a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (Membership No 3721). Philippe Baudry consented to the inclusion in the Zuun Mod release of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears. The grade model was prepared using Datamine and Surpac software, with a regular block model. Molybdenum (Mo) and copper (Cu) grades were estimated using ordinary kriging. Rhenium (Re) grades were estimated using a combination of ordinary kriging and regression based on the Mo grades. Geological data verification and QA/QC of the drill-hole results has been completed and is included in the NI 43-101 compliant Technical Report prepared by Minarco-MineConsult.

About Erdene

Erdene Resource Development Corp. is a diversified resource company with multiple projects at various stages of development from exploration to production, all focused on high-growth commodities. Erdene currently has cash and marketable securities of approximately $14.9 million, with 89,230,877 common shares issued and outstanding and a fully diluted position of 93,355,877 common shares.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information regarding Erdene contained herein may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements may include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact. Although Erdene believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Erdene cautions that actual performance will be affected by a number of factors, most of which are beyond its control, and that future events and results may vary substantially from what Erdene currently foresees. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include market prices, exploitation and exploration results, continued availability of capital and financing and general economic, market or business conditions. The forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. The information contained herein is stated as of the current date and subject to change after that date.

Contact Information

  • Erdene Resource Development Corp.
    Peter C. Akerley
    President and CEO
    Erdene Resource Development Corp.
    Ken W. MacDonald
    Vice President Business Strategy and CFO