Franconia Minerals Corporation
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Franconia Minerals Corporation

December 19, 2006 10:30 ET

Franconia Minerals Corporation: Drilling Continues to Extend Copper-Nickel-PGM Mineralization at Birch Lake, Minnesota

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 19, 2006) - Franconia Minerals Corporation (TSX VENTURE:FRA) (PLUS:FRA) is pleased to present a third progress report on the on-going 2006-2007 core-drilling program at the Birch Lake copper-nickel-PGM (platinum group metals) inferred resource located in the Duluth Complex of Minnesota.

Additional wedges from drill hole BL06-03 (see table) have extended a zone of elevated copper and nickel values with accompanying PGMs discovered in 2005 (see Franconia's press releases dated October 31, 2006 and November 3, 2005). Hole BL06-04 and its wedges further confirm the thickness and grade of mineralization in the southern portion of the deposit (see map: http://www.ccnmatthews.com/docs/1218FRA_map.pdf).



Drill results, Birch Lake, Minnesota
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Down Hole
Drill From To Interval Copper Nickel Platinum Palladium Gold
Hole (ft) (ft) (1)(ft) (%) (%) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t)
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BL06-3W1 2267.5 2392.4 124.9 0.828 0.207 0.395 0.877 0.195
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incl. 2289.0 2373.5 84.5 0.912 0.225 0.425 0.945 0.216
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incl. 2289.0 2348.9 59.9 0.945 0.247 0.488 1.073 0.243
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incl. 2326.4 2346.3 19.9 1.096 0.274 0.506 1.114 0.256
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BL06-3W3 2272.2 2398.2 126.0 0.834 0.206 0.458 1.035 0.229
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incl. 2285.0 2374.0 89.0 0.887 0.215 0.489 1.108 0.260
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incl. 2292.7 2339.9 47.2 0.939 0.231 0.596 1.308 0.303
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incl. 2310.4 2315.9 5.5 1.416 0.309 0.957 1.761 0.512
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BL06-3W4 2273.8 2388.1 114.3 0.723 0.190 0.362 0.870 0.162
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incl. 2273.8 2360.1 86.3 0.748 0.201 0.395 0.950 0.175
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incl. 2273.8 2286.6 14.8 0.890 0.237 0.506 1.187 0.190
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incl. 2333.5 2346.0 15.5 1.077 0.256 0.521 1.162 0.204
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BL06-04W2 2297.0 2428.0 131.0 0.637 0.184 0.322 0.596 0.141
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incl. 2326.2 2405.3 79.1 0.729 0.203 0.325 0.622 0.156
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incl. 2385.5 2405.3 19.8 0.876 0.219 0.420 0.870 0.159
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BL06-04W3 2297.4 2404.5 107.1 0.542 0.169 0.319 0.566 0.137
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incl. 2301.9 2384.8 82.9 0.589 0.191 0.362 0.625 0.154
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incl. 2301.9 2315.8 13.9 0.632 0.248 0.653 1.025 0.270
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incl. 2348.0 2382.0 34.0 0.667 0.187 0.333 0.594 0.148
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(1) True widths are approximately 90% of down hole-intervals.
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Brian Gavin, Franconia's president comments, "Once again these results are some of the highest grade intercepts we have seen at the Birch Lake deposit to date. The grades in the drill holes compare very favorably with the average grade of the Birch Lake deposit, which consists of 100.4 million tonnes at 0.59% copper, 0.19% nickel and 0.65g/t palladium, 0.32g/t platinum, and 0.14g/t gold. Also, the mineralized intervals in this latest drill core are much thicker than the average 75 foot thickness of the deposit as a whole."

Approximately 15% of the total 23-hole program planned for 2006-2007 has now been competed. Core samples were prepared at ALS Chemex Ltd. laboratories in Thunder Bay and then shipped to its analytical facilities in Vancouver. Samples were analyzed for Au, Pt and Pd 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.

Birch Lake and the nearby Maturi deposit are the subjects of a recent independent preliminary economic assessment (see Franconia news release of October 3, 2006) prepared by Scott Wilson Roscoe Postle Associates to NI 43-101 standards (available at www.SEDAR.com). The preliminary economic assessment contemplates that a combined Birch Lake-Maturi operation would have, over a 26-year mine life, an average annual production of 74 million lbs of copper, 19 million lbs of nickel, 2.9 million lbs of cobalt, 68,000 ounces of palladium, 33,000 ounces of platinum and 7,300 ounces of gold. The current drill program has the following objectives:

- Collect 700kg of sample for bench scale metallurgical tests to optimize nickel recoveries to concentrate (this test is underway and results are expected in January 2007).

- Provide material for a 45-tonne bulk sample for pilot-scale metallurgical testing (expected to be completed in 2008) prior to a feasibility study.

- Provide sufficient assay data to enable the conversion of the inferred resource at Birch Lake to measured and indicated resources for use in a feasibility study.

All technical data have been reviewed by Brian Gavin, Franconia's president and an appropriately qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.

Franconia Minerals Corporation trades on both the TSX-V in Canada and PLUS in the UK under the symbol FRA. (For additional information see www.franconiaminerals.com.) The directors of Franconia Minerals Corporation accept responsibility for this announcement. Franconia presently has 43,150,120 shares issued and outstanding.

Brian Gavin, President

This document, which has been issued by Franconia Minerals Corporation (Franconia), has been approved solely for the purposes of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, by Lion Capital Corporation Limited (Lion), 4th Floor, 2 Cromwell Place, London SW7 2JE, who is authorised to carry on Investment Business by the Financial Services Authority. Lion, is acting as advisers for Franconia and to no-one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Franconia for providing protections afforded to customers of Lion for providing advice in relation to any investment made pursuant to this announcement and makes no recommendation for the suitability of any investment, which is the subject of this announcement. FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT: Although Franconia Minerals Corporation believes many of its properties have promising potential, its 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. Incorporated in Alberta Canada No. 207953670.

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