Franconia Minerals Corporation

Franconia Minerals Corporation

July 13, 2005 10:30 ET

Franconia Minerals Corporation Reports Positive Pressure Leaching Metallurgical Test Results From Birch Lake Project, Minnesota

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(CCNMatthews - July 13, 2005) - FRANCONIA MINERALS CORPORATION (TSX VENTURE:FRA)(OFEX:FRA) is pleased to announce the results of bench scale pressure leaching tests using the Platsol® process on samples of concentrate from the Birch Lake platinum group (PGM)-copper-nickel project in the Duluth Complex in northeastern Minnesota. Bench scale pressure leach tests have confirmed the amenability of Birch Lake flotation concentrates to the proprietary Platsol® process. High metal extractions were obtained for all of the significant metals of interest except for gold, which yielded a lower recovery than anticipated. These results have been reviewed by Mr. Al Hayden, EHA Engineering Ltd, Toronto. Mr. Hayden is an independent consulting metallurgist to Franconia and an appropriately qualified person under NI 43-101. The Platsol® process was developed at Lakefield Research by International PGM Technologies Ltd.

Pressure Leach (Platsol®) Metal Recoveries, Birch Lake, Minnesota

Recovery to Pressure Leach Total Recovery
Concentrate (%)(i) (Platsol®) Recovery (%)
from Concentrate
Copper 96.8 95.8 92.7
Nickel 68.3 96.2 65.7
Platinum 90.5 91.0 82.4
Palladium 90.5 86.0 77.8
Gold 89.6 45.0 40.3
(i)See news release dated April 18, 2005

Franconia President Brian Gavin said: "We are very pleased by the positive results of the pressure leach (Platsol®) tests. These results confirm that, at the bench scale, flotation methods can be used to produce a concentrate potentially suitable for hydrometallurgical processing, which further strengthens our belief in the potential economic viability of the Birch Lake project."

The results of the flotation and pressure tests will permit more definitive planning of production plant design, metal recoveries, and capital/operating costs. On the basis of these results Franconia intends to re-estimate the resource at Birch Lake (to NI 43-101 standards) and then commission a NI 43-101 compliant independent Preliminary Economic Assessment. This report will include a "scoping-level" economic evaluation, including a cash flow analysis, of the potential viability of the project prior to any eventual preliminary feasibility study.

In January of this year Franconia authorized SGS Lakefield Research of Lakefield, Ontario to proceed with a series of metallurgical tests including flotation and hydrometallurgical tests on a composite sample of more than 200-kilograms of drill core from twelve diamond drill holes at Birch Lake. The composite sample approximates the average grade and mineralogy of the estimated 51 million tonnne inferred resource at Birch Lake.

Currently the 51 million tonne inferred resource at Birch Lake is estimated to have a grade of 0.675% copper; 0.211% nickel; 0.01% cobalt; 0.216 grams per ton (g/t) gold; 0.972 g/t palladium and 0.46 g/t platinum, at a cut off grade of $25.35 per ton net smelter return (based on hydrometallurgical treatment) using prices of $450/ounce (oz) platinum; $400/oz palladium; $800/oz rhodium; $0.90/lb copper; $3.00/lb nickel; $8.00/lb cobalt; $280/oz gold and $4.50/oz silver, generally well below present prices (see NI 43-101 technical report by Roscoe Postle Associates of Toronto, January 2004, available at

Franconia Minerals Corporation trades on both the TSX-V in Canada and OFEX in the UK under the symbol FRA. (For additional information see The directors of Franconia Minerals Corporation accept responsibility for this announcement. Franconia presently has 22,459,903 shares issued and outstanding.


Brian Gavin


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


Contact Information