Franconia Minerals Corporation
TSX : FRA

Franconia Minerals Corporation

July 09, 2008 07:00 ET

Franconia Doubles NI 43-101 Resource Estimate on Birch Lake Copper-Nickel-PGM Resource

Indicated Resource of 108 Million Tonnes plus Inferred Resource of 87 Million Tonnes

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - July 9, 2008) - Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX:FRA) ("Franconia") is pleased to report the updated resource estimate for the Main Zone at the Birch Lake property copper-nickel-platinum group metal (PGM) deposit, one of three underground resource areas identified thus far at Franconia's Birch Lake Project in Minnesota. Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (Scott Wilson RPA), which provided the technical report according to NI 43-101 standards, now estimates an Indicated Resource(a) of 108.2 million tonnes plus an Inferred Resources of 87.3 million tonnes for the Birch Lake deposit. This represents a substantial increase from the previous Birch Lake property resource, which included only an Inferred Resource of 100.4 million tonnes and no Indicated Resource (see tables).

Importantly, this new estimate only considers material within the geologically-defined, readily recognizable Main Zone. It does not incorporate any of the additional mineralization that has already been identified immediately above and below this zone and to the northwest of the deposit where diamond drilling has cut the longest, high-grade mineralization intercepted so far on the property (see attached map and Franconia news release dated January 16, 2008). The deposit remains open to the north, northwest and to the south and additional "step-out" drilling is currently underway (The Main Zone is a mineralized zone with excellent geological continuity that should present a well defined mineable unit for mine planning and development.)

Brian Gavin, President and CEO of Franconia, said, "With this successful reassessment of the Birch Lake property resources, we are ready immediately to begin a Preliminary Economic Assessment to examine the viability of a stand-alone, 20,000 tonnes-per-day, 20 year-plus mine life Birch Lake "starter" underground operation. Such a scenario would involve lower capital costs and a more favorable land ownership and permitting environment than the previously contemplated combined Birch Lake/Maturi operation, thereby significantly reducing the time to production." (see release dated October 3, 2006.)

Added Gavin, "We are presently completing the collection of sufficient samples to initiate a bulk metallurgical test as part of a feasibility study which, contingent upon a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment, we propose to commence in the second half of 2008. Additionally, any Preliminary Economic Assessment will examine the effect on the project of selling a bulk concentrate during the early years of any operation rather than immediately building a hydrometallurgical recovery plant."

Previous technical reports (also by Scott Wilson RPA), completed in 2006, examined the potential economic viability of mining concurrently the Birch Lake and the nearby Maturi resources, feeding one central processing facility.

((a)The Birch Lake deposit currently contains both Indicated and Inferred resources. An Indicated mineral resource is a portion of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade, and other characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to support mine planning and additional economic evaluation of the project. An Inferred Resource is that part of a mineral resource for which certain characteristics can be estimated based on geological evidence and limited sampling and which can be reasonably assumed to have a consistent grade of mineralization.)

The new estimate was prepared by Richard Routledge, P. Geo., of Scott Wilson RPA, an appropriately qualified person according to NI 43-101. A Technical Report supporting this estimate, prepared to NI 43-101 standards, will be filed and made available on SEDAR within 45 days.

Birch Lake

Drilling to date at Birch Lake comprises 59 holes and 129 associated wedge offsets, totaling 56,535 meters (185,482 ft.). This latest estimate takes into account 65,000 feet of additional drilling completed since 2006 at Birch Lake, slightly higher metal recovery for copper and nickel than for the previous estimate with costs escalated from 2006 to 2008. The estimate also applies higher long-term metals prices to the resource than the prices used in previous resource estimates. The metal prices used, however, are well below current prices.



Birch Lake Deposit Mineral Resources Estimated at Various
Copper Cut-off Grades

Franconia Minerals Corporation, Birch Lake Property, Minnesota
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Indicated Resources(1)(3)(7)(8)
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Cut-off Tonnes(6) Cu Ni Co Pt Pd Au TPM(5) CuEq(4)
Grade (000's) % % % g/t g/t g/t g/t %
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Main Zone(2) 108,206 0.528 0.163 0.009 0.279 0.599 0.132 1.010 1.241
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0.3% Cu 98,336 0.557 0.170 0.010 0.292 0.631 0.140 1.062 1.303
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0.4% Cu 83,958 0.592 0.178 0.010 0.302 0.657 0.146 1.105 1.371
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0.5% Cu 63,137 0.638 0.191 0.010 0.318 0.695 0.155 1.167 1.466
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0.6% Cu 35,559 0.706 0.209 0.011 0.346 0.763 0.171 1.280 1.612
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0.7% Cu 16,400 0.779 0.231 0.012 0.383 0.852 0.191 1.425 1.780
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Inferred Resources(1)(3)(7)(8)
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Cut-off Tonnes(6) Cu Ni Co Pt Pd Au TPM(5) CuEq(4)
Grade (000's) % % % g/t g/t g/t g/t %
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Main Zone(2) 87,298 0.541 0.167 0.009 0.226 0.493 0.111 0.830 1.213
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0.3% Cu 78,668 0.573 0.176 0.010 0.237 0.520 0.118 0.875 1.280
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0.4% Cu 66,984 0.612 0.186 0.010 0.251 0.553 0.125 0.930 1.360
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0.5% Cu 53,141 0.653 0.198 0.011 0.265 0.580 0.133 0.978 1.445
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0.6% Cu 31,757 0.718 0.218 0.011 0.286 0.624 0.146 1.056 1.585
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0.7% Cu 17,162 0.778 0.237 0.012 0.299 0.656 0.157 1.113 1.708
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(1) CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resource estimation and
classification.

(2) Mineral Resources are estimated for the Main Zone of the deposit as
defined and wireframed based on mineral occurrence, grades, Cu:Pd,
Ni:Pt ratios and other lithologic and stratigraphic factors.

(3) Mineral Resources were estimated using average long-term metal US$
prices of $8.50/lb nickel, $2.50/lb copper, $20/lb Co, $1,200/oz
platinum, $350/oz palladium and $800/oz gold.

(4) Copper equivalent (CuEq%) equals Cu% + 2.47 x Ni% + 2.78 x Co% + 0.19
x Au g/t + 0.59 x Pt g/t + 0.16 x Pd g/t based on metal prices and
expected process recovery.

(5) TPM is Au g/t + Pt g/t + Pd g/t.

(6) Bulk density is 3.07 t/m3 as averaged from specific gravity testing.

(7) Co, Au, Pt, Pd grades, that are lacking in historic drill holes, have
been entered in the resource database based on regression of assay
grades from Franconia drill hole assays.

(8) Resources are estimated from approximately 345 m depth to approximately
840 m depth.

(9) Scott Wilson RPA recommends reporting resources for the wireframed
zone.


Additional Resources

The Birch Lake project as a whole currently comprises three deposits potentially mineable by underground methods: Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road (see below). In total, these deposits comprise an Indicated Resource of 108 million tonnes and combined Inferred Resources of 331 million tonnes.

This equates to a contained metal content of 1.26 billion lbs copper, 389 million lbs nickel and 7.49 million ounces TPM (platinum + palladium + gold) in the Indicated category and 4.68 billion lbs of copper, 1.64 billion lbs of nickel and 9.28 million ounces TPM in the combined Inferred category (note: the TPM content at Spruce Road is unknown).



Maturi: The Maturi deposit is located 3 miles northeast of the Birch
Lake deposit.

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Inferred Resource Estimate (2006)(b)
Maturi Zone, Birch Lake Project, Minnesota
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Cut Off Tonnes Copper Nickel Cobalt Palladium Platinum Gold
NSR (millions) (%) (%) (%) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t)
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$ 30.00 119.9 0.67 0.25 0.02 0.25 0.09 0.04
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Metal price assumptions: copper $1.50/lb; nickel $6.00/lb; cobalt
$10.00/lb; palladium $300/oz; platinum $800/oz; gold $450/oz.
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(b)The July 2006 Technical Report on the Maturi resource, authored by
Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (now Scott Wilson RPA) and entitled
"Technical Report on the Resource Estimate for the Maturi Property, USA,
Prepared For Franconia Minerals Corporation", is available at
www.sedar.com.
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Spruce Road: The Spruce Road deposit is located approximately 3miles
northeast of the Maturi Deposit

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Underground Inferred Resource Estimate (October 2007)
Spruce Road Deposit, Birch Lake Project, Minnesota
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Inferred Resource
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Cut Off Tonnes Copper Nickel
Grade (%) (millions) (%) (%)
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0.4% Cu2 180.1 0.55 0.20
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0.5% Cu 124.4 0.59 0.21
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0.6% Cu 40.7 0.68 0.24
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The Technical Report on the Resource Estimate for the Spruce Road deposit,
Minnesota, USA prepared for Franconia Minerals Corporation, Richard E.
Routledge, M.Sc., P.Geo. Jason J. Cox, P.Eng. November 15, 2007, available
at www.sedar.com
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Notes:

1. CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resource estimation and
classification.

2. The mineral resource envelope is wireframed at a cut-off grade of 0.4%
copper.

3. Inferred Mineral Resources are reported for an incremental cut-off grade
of 0.5% copper based on average long-term metal prices of US$1.50/lb
copper and US$6.00/lb nickel.

4. The inverse distance squared (ID2) method was used for grade
interpolation.

5. Copper assay grades were capped at 2% and nickel assay grades were
capped at 1%.

6. Bulk density is 3.02 t/m3.

7. Resources are estimated below a 50 m crown pillar to a maximum depth
of approximately 513 m.


Franconia Minerals Corporation trades on the TSX under the symbol FRA. (For additional information see www.franconiaminerals.com.) Franconia currently has 59,017,572 shares issued and outstanding.

Brian Gavin, President and CEO

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT: Although Franconia Minerals Corporation believes many of its properties have promising potential. These properties are in the early stages of exploration. None have yet been shown to contain proven or probable mineral reserves. There can be no assurance that such reserves will be identified on any property, or that, if identified, any mineralization may be economically extracted.

To view a Map of the Birch Lake Copper-Nickel-PGM Deposit, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/BirchLakeCopper.pdf.

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