Franconia Minerals Corporation
TSX : FRA

Franconia Minerals Corporation

December 14, 2010 08:12 ET

Franconia Files Technical Report Supporting New NI 43-101 Resource Estimate at Birch Lake Copper-Nickel-PGM Deposit

Indicated Resource Increased 35% to 176.8 Million Tonnes; Inferred Resource at 39.9 Million Tonnes

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2010) - Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX:FRA) ("Franconia") is pleased to report that the Technical Report has been filed through SEDAR (www.sedar.com) supporting its previously announced 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 Duluth Complex Project in Minnesota (see Franconia news release of October 28, 2010.) 

As noted in this report, based on a Net Smelter Return (NSR) cut-off of US$30/tonne, Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates ("Scott Wilson RPA") estimates an Indicated Resource* of 176.8 million tonnes. This represents a 35% increase in the amount of Indicated Resources from the previous 2009 estimate (see news release of September 23, 2009) of 131.2 million tonnes. In addition, Scott Wilson RPA also estimated an Inferred Resource of 39.9 million tonnes. The increase in resources is a result of 2010 drilling, which expanded the width of the deposit, and the re-interpretation of Main Zone (deposit) thickness.

The increase in the size of the Indicated Resource represents a significant increase in the amount of contained metal delineated in the deposit (see table below).

Metal August 2010 Indicated Resource May 2009 Indicated Resource Incremental Change Percent Increase
Copper 2.06 billion pounds 1.62 billion pounds 0.44 billion pounds +27%
Nickel 0.66 billion pounds 0.51 billion pounds 0.15 billion pounds +30%
Palladium 2.93 million ounces 2.40 million ounces 0.53 million ounces +22%
Platinum 1.36 million ounces 1.11 million ounces 0.25 million ounces +22%
Gold 0.67 million ounces 0.54 million ounces 0.13 million ounces +24%

This latest estimate was prepared by Richard Routledge, of Scott Wilson RPA, an appropriately qualified person according to National Instrument 43-101.

(*The Birch Lake deposit currently contains both Indicated and Inferred resources. An Indicated 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, but not verified, to have geologic and mineralization grade continuity.)

Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX:FRA): Franconia is currently focused on the development of the Duluth Complex copper-nickel-platinum-palladium project - consisting of the Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road deposits - in this highly prospective region of northeastern Minnesota. Underground mining at Birch Lake will minimize the surface impact of the operation. Also, storage of mine wastes underground would further minimize the surface impact. Additional resources at the Birch Lake project include Inferred Resources at the Maturi deposit (see news release of September 6, 2006) and at the Spruce Road deposit (see news release of December 3, 2007). Independent reports prepared to NI 43-101 standards by Scott Wilson RPA are available at www.SEDAR.com and www.franconiaminerals.com.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains certain forward-looking statements and information. The forward-looking statements and information express, as at the date of this press release, the Corporation's plans, estimates, forecasts, projections, expectations or beliefs as to future events and results. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by us, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies and there can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate. Therefore, actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Risks and uncertainties that could cause results or future events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our lack of operating cash flow and dependence on external financing; availability of financing, as and when required to increase our interest in the mineral properties held in the Duluth Complex Project, and to finance our day-to-day operations and planned growth and development; any decline in the prices of platinum group metals, copper, and nickel; discrepancies between actual and estimated mineral resources; operational and development risk; the speculative nature of mineral exploration; regulatory risks, environmental risks and hazards, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral resources and other risks. Although Franconia Minerals Corporation believes many of its properties have promising potential, these properties are in the early stages of exploration and 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.

Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. The Corporation undertakes no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. See the Corporation's annual information form for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. All forward-looking statements and information made in this news release are qualified by this cautionary statement.

MINERAL RESOURCES ESTIMATED AT VARIOUS NSR CUT-OFF GRADES
Franconia Minerals Corporation, Birch Lake Property, Minnesota
(As of August 30, 2010)
                 
  Indicated Resources1,3,6,7  
Cut-off Tonnes5 Cu Ni Co Pt Pd Au CuEq4 NSR
NSR8 (000's) % % % g/t g/t g/t % US$
$3010 176,813 0.528 0.169 0.010 0.239 0.515 0.117 1.177 74
$40 167,704 0.543 0.173 0.010 0.247 0.531 0.121 1.211 76
$50 150,620 0.568 0.181 0.010 0.259 0.558 0.127 1.266 80
$60 127,982 0.597 0.190 0.010 0.277 0.594 0.135 1.335 84
$70 97,062 0.636 0.203 0.011 0.305 0.652 0.148 1.433 90
$80 65,477 0.677 0.218 0.011 0.343 0.733 0.164 1.548 98
$90 39,444 0.726 0.236 0.011 0.386 0.822 0.184 1.683 106
$100 22,681 0.770 0.252 0.011 0.438 0.927 0.205 1.819 115
                   
  Inferred Resources1,3,6,7  
Cut-off Tonnes5 Cu Ni Co Pt Pd Au CuEq4 NSR
NSR8 (000's) % % % g/t g/t g/t % US$
$3010 39,997 0.496 0.157 0.009 0.210 0.431 0.103 1.083 68
$40 37,317 0.513 0.162 0.009 0.218 0.447 0.107 1.120 71
$50 30,986 0.545 0.174 0.010 0.239 0.490 0.118 1.200 76
$60 24,793 0.574 0.186 0.010 0.262 0.537 0.129 1.283 81
$70 16,034 0.622 0.205 0.010 0.301 0.619 0.147 1.415 89
$80 10,293 0.658 0.230 0.011 0.335 0.682 0.162 1.540 97
$90 5,822 0.719 0.265 0.011 0.337 0.707 0.165 1.683 106
$100 4,239 0.740 0.285 0.011 0.338 0.716 0.169 1.750 110
                   
1. CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resource estimation and classification.
2. Mineral Resources are estimated for the deposit as defined and wireframed based on Cu:Pd, Ni:Pt ratios, mineral occurrence and other lithologic and stratigraphic factors.
3. Mineral Resources were estimated using average long-term metal US$ prices of $10.00/lb nickel, $3.25/lb copper, $20/lb cobalt, $1,700/oz platinum, $500/oz palladium and $1,125/oz gold.
4. Copper equivalent (CuEq%) = Cu% + 2.16 x Ni% + 2.03 x Co% + 0.21 x Au g/t + 0.64 x Pt g/t + 0.17 x Pd g/t based on metal prices and expected process recovery.
5. Bulk density is 3.07 t/m3 as averaged from specific gravity testing.
6. 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.
7. Resources are estimated from approximately 325 m depth to approximately 879 m depth.
8. NSR=$63.12 x Cu% + $136.15 x Ni% + $127.92 x Co%+ $12.96 x Au g/t + $40.27 x Pt g/t +$10.92 x Pd g/t
9. Scott Wilson RPA recommends reporting resources for the $30 NSR cut-off.
10. The NSR for 2010 excludes Platsol® costs. The September 2009 NSR included Platsol® costs. The $30 NSR resource cut-off for 2010 is therefore comparable to the $20 NSR cut-off used in 2009.
                   

To view the figure associated with this release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/fra_12_14_2010_map.pdf 

The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the contents of this news release, which has been prepared by management.

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