SOURCE: Frontera Copper Corporation

December 22, 2008 08:00 ET

Frontera Copper Provides Update on Operations

TORONTO and PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - December 22, 2008) - Frontera Copper Corporation (TSX: FCC) (TSX: FCC.NT) (TSX: FCC.NT.A) today provided an update on the Piedras Verdes operations.

Pursuant to the temporary suspension of mining activities announced in November, the Company and its mining contractor, Peal Mexico, S.A. de C.V., ("Peal") executed an amendment to their original mining contract. The amendment provides for the immediate release of approximately $1.7 million from an escrow account, funded when the contract was initially executed, to cover the costs associated with the demobilization of Peal's mining equipment from the Piedras Verdes operation. The addendum further states that if both parties agree to extend the contract, the term of such extension will be for a period equal to the duration of the suspension of mining activities. The Company and Peal also acknowledged that upon final payment of all outstanding invoices for work previously completed by Peal, no claims, demands or obligations remain between the two parties.

As previously announced, mining activities at Piedras Verdes were temporarily suspended in mid-November. Since then, leaching operations have proceeded on an uninterrupted basis to recover copper from ores previously placed on the leach pads. Based on actual and projected recovery rates achieved subsequent to the cessation of deliveries of fresh ore to the leach pads midway through the quarter, the Company estimates that copper production for the fourth quarter will total approximately 10 million pounds. Actual cash costs per pound of copper produced during the fourth quarter are expected to range from $1.85 to $1.95 per pound, excluding inventory accounting adjustments. Reported cash costs per pound, including inventory accounting adjustments, are expected to range from $1.55 to $1.65 per pound.

In November, the Company settled its copper hedges for the period December 2008 to March 2009. As a result, a payment of $6.9 million was received for the closure of hedges on 8.3 million pounds of copper, based on an average settlement price of $1.69 per pound compared to an average hedged price of $2.54 per pound. Combined with the settlement of October and November hedges as originally scheduled, net cash receipts attributable to the hedging program totaled $9.1 million for the fourth quarter. Currently, the Company has no remaining hedges outstanding.

The Company projects its year end 2008 cash balance at approximately $10 million, a decrease of about $13 million since September 30. This decrease is attributable to lower copper prices and the one-time costs associated with the temporary suspension of mining activities, partially offset by the cash receipts related to the settlement of copper hedges. The Company continues to anticipate the receipt of a refund of 2008 tax installments of approximately $7.2 million (at current exchange rates) in early 2009, since it is not expected to be in a cash taxable position in Mexico for the 2008 fiscal year.

ABOUT FRONTERA COPPER CORPORATION

Frontera Copper is a Canadian mining, development and exploration company whose principal activity is the production of copper cathode from the Piedras Verdes run-of-mine heap-leach copper operation in Sonora, Mexico. Based on the January 1, 2008 ore reserves and the estimated recoverable copper contained on the leach pads at December 31, 2007, approximately 1 billion pounds of copper are projected to be produced over the remaining 17-year life of the operation.

Information in this news release that is not current or historical factual information may constitute forward-looking information or statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Implicit in this information, particularly in respect of statements as to future operating results and economic performance of the Company, and resources and reserves at the Piedras Verdes operations, are assumptions regarding projected revenue and expense, copper prices and mining costs. These assumptions, although considered reasonable by the Company at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Readers are cautioned that actual results are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including risks relating to general economic conditions and mining operations, and could differ materially from what is currently expected. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact Information

  • For further information, please see Frontera Copper's website at
    www.fronteracopper.com or contact:

    Rodney Prokop
    Vice President, Investor Relations
    (602) 424-5483
    Email Contact

    Alan Edwards
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    (602) 424-5488