Franconia Minerals Corporation
TSX : FRA

Franconia Minerals Corporation

March 04, 2008 07:58 ET

Franconia Minerals Announces 320 Feet of 0.59% Copper & 0.19% Nickel in Latest Hole at Birch Lake Copper-Nickel-PGM Project

Intercepts at Western Extremity of Resource Show Significant Expansion Potential

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - March 4, 2008) - Franconia Minerals Corporation ("Franconia") (TSX:FRA) announced today that the latest result from the Company's 18-hole, 65,000 foot core-drilling program intercepted 319.5 feet of 0.59% Cu, 0.19% Ni and 0.69 g/t Total Precious Metals (TPM equals Palladium (Pd) + Platinum (Pt) + Gold (Au)), including 23.2 feet of 1.15% Cu, 0.36% Ni and 1.23 g/t TPM. This was from additional wedge offsets on drill holes BL07-13, located near the western edge of the area tested so far. These results confirmed the previously reported longest, high-grade mineralization found to date at its Birch Lake copper-nickel-PGM (platinum group metals) project in the Duluth Complex (see news release of January 16, 2008.) (See map below.)

These intercepts from hole BL07-13 are much longer and more strongly mineralized than the average of 75 ft. at 0.59% Cu, 0.19% Ni and 1.11 g/t TPM (0.65g/t Pd, 0.32g/t Pt, and 0.14 g/t Au), which was calculated for the deposit in 2006 prior to this most recent round of drilling. As with all drill results released since June of 2006, these latest intercepts have not yet been included in any resource calculation. Of additional significance is the fact that the location of BL07-13 near the northwestern flank of the deposit provides a strong indication that the resource may extend in that direction beyond the boundaries of the already substantial Birch Lake property resource.

"We are now planning for the next barge-drilling program as soon as possible in the spring with the goal of extending the resource to the west," said Brian Gavin, Franconia's President and CEO. "The latest results suggest a very real possibility of not only expanding the resource but also that we haven't yet found the richest part of the deposit."

Franconia is rapidly advancing its development work on what is the largest mineral land position of any exploration and development company in northeastern Minnesota's Duluth Complex, a 240-kilometre long geologic formation widely believed to contain the third largest unexploited copper-nickel-platinum group metals resources in the world, after Sudbury and Nor'ilsk. After Polymet Mining's NorthMet project, Franconia has the second most advanced deposit in the region, which the Company is targeting for production as early as 2011.

Results from the 2006 to 2008 drilling will be included in a new NI 43-101 resource estimate for its Birch Lake deposit to be initiated in March. It is expected that a NI 43-101 Preliminary Assessment, or scoping study based on the new resource estimate will be completed before midyear. Given the nominal 200m by 200m drill hole spacing, it is also anticipated that the incorporation of additional drill data will be sufficient to move the resource from the inferred to the indicated category(i). This latest drill program was aimed at converting the current 100.4 million tonne inferred resource on the Birch Lake portion of Franconia's project to an indicated resource and providing samples for bench-scale and pilot plant-scale metallurgical testing, planned for later this year. This inferred resource is in addition to Franconia`s nearby 83 million tonne copper-nickel-PGM inferred resource at Maturi and its nearby underground Inferred Resource at Spruce Road of 124.4 million tonnes, bringing the total underground resource at Franconia's Birch Lake Project to 307.9 million tonnes. Results to date from Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road are included in independent reports prepared by Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates (Scott Wilson RPA) to NI 43-101 standards (available at www.SEDAR.com and www.franconiaminerals.com).

((i)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. The Birch Lake deposit is currently classified as an inferred resource, which 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.)



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February 2008 Drill Results, Birch Lake, Minnesota
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Down Hole Plat- Palla-
Drill From To Interval Copper Nickel inum dium Gold
Hole (ft) (ft) (a)(ft) (%) (%) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t)
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BL07-13W1 1737.5 2057 319.5 0.59 0.19 0.18 0.42 0.09
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incl. 1749.7 1772.9 23.2 1.15 0.36 0.32 0.89 0.13
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BL07-13W2 1715.4 2039.4 324 0.68 0.22 0.23 0.48 0.12
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incl. 1722 1759.5 37.5 0.95 0.24 0.41 0.64 0.17
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BL07-13W3 1710.5 2029.7 319.2 0.59 0.19 0.20 0.43 0.10
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incl. 1710.5 1731.4 20.9 0.90 0.33 0.52 0.94 0.14
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incl. 1907.6 1916.7 9.1 1.06 0.25 0.26 0.58 0.16
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BL07-13W4 1710.1 2011.3 301.2 0.66 0.21 0.23 0.49 0.11
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incl. 1729.7 1768.9 39.2 1.01 0.28 0.33 0.74 0.16
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BL07-14W1 2395.5 2563.5 168 0.59 0.17 0.28 0.60 0.15
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BL07-14W4 2399 2586 187 0.58 0.17 0.27 0.61 0.17
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BL07-15 2282.4 2406.6 124.2 0.51 0.15 0.19 0.44 0.12
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BL07-15W1 2284.8 2386.2 101.4 0.49 0.14 0.21 0.50 0.11
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BL07-15W2 2280.2 2399.5 119.3 0.66 0.18 0.27 0.64 0.12
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BL07-15W2 2534.2 2551.4 17.2 1.26 0.68 0.09 0.34 0.03
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BL07-15W4 2283.8 2402.3 118.5 0.62 0.16 0.25 0.55 0.12
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BL07-16 2421.1 2467.5 46.4 0.52 0.16 0.54 1.06 0.28
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BL07-16W1 2419.2 2492.5 73.3 0.54 0.18 0.51 1.08 0.21
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BL07-16W2 2424.5 2491.5 67 0.57 0.13 0.39 0.81 0.18
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BL07-16W3 2421.8 2478.7 56.9 0.46 0.12 0.38 0.79 0.14
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(a) True thickness is approximately 90% of the down hole interval
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Core samples were prepared at the ALS Chemex Ltd. Laboratories in Thunder Bay and then shipped to its analytical facilities in Vancouver. Samples were analyzed for gold, platinum and palladium using a standard fire assay with an ICP finish, as well as for 34 base metals and trace elements using a four-acid (near-total) digestion and a combination of ICPMS and ICPAES. ICP over-limits were reanalyzed using sodium peroxide fusion and acid dissolution followed by ICPAES.

The preliminary economic assessment prepared by Scott Wilson RPA - which did not include the Spruce Road resource - contemplates that a combined Birch Lake-Maturi operation would have, over a 26-year mine life, an average annual production of 74 million pounds (lbs) of copper, 19 million lbs of nickel, 2.9 million lbs of cobalt, 68,000 ounces (oz) of palladium, 33,000 oz of platinum and 7,300 oz of gold. All technical data have been reviewed by Brian Gavin, Franconia's president and CEO, Mr. Gavin is an appropriately qualified person as defined by NI 43-101.

Franconia Minerals Corporation trades on the TSX under the symbol FRA. (For additional information see www.franconiaminerals.com.) Franconia currently has 58,186,566 shares issued and outstanding.

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 Project, Minnesota", please visit the link below:

http://file.ccnmatthews.com/release/framap304.pdf

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