Imperial Metals Corporation
TSX : III

Imperial Metals Corporation

January 23, 2006 19:02 ET

Imperial Reports Production Statistics and Updated Mount Polley Reserve/Resource

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 23, 2006) - Imperial Metals Corporation (TSX:III) announced today its 2005 production and 2006 production forecast for its two operating mines. The Mount Polley (100% interest) open pit copper/gold mine and the Huckleberry (50% interest) open pit copper/molybdenum mine, both located in British Columbia.

Imperial's equity share of 2005 production was 67 million pounds copper, 35,000 ounces gold, 367,000 ounces silver and 270,000 pounds molybdenum. The Company's equity share of production planned for 2006 is 109 million pounds copper, 53,000 ounces gold, 685,000 ounces silver and 331,000 pounds molybdenum.

Mount Polley

The Mount Polley mine recommenced operations on March 8, 2005. Production statistics for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31 are provided below.



Three Months
Ended Year Ended
2005 Mount Polley Mine Production December 31, December 31,
(unaudited) 2005 2005
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Ore milled (tonnes) 1,477,020 4,814,083
Ore milled per calendar day (tonnes) 16,055 16,209
Grade % - Copper 0.449 0.391
Grade g/t - Gold 0.256 0.295
Recovery % - Copper 82.6 73.1
Recovery % - Gold 69.2 67.1
Copper produced (lbs) 12,076,569 30,328,771
Gold produced (oz) 8,399 30,635
Silver produced (oz) 97,411 234,355
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Planned production for 2006 is 70 million pounds copper, 48,000 ounces gold and 483,000 ounces silver.

Current Reserves and Resources

The reserve and resource estimate for Mount Polley, previously reported February 21, 2005, has been updated to January 1, 2006. The current estimate incorporates the Southeast Zone and reflects ten months of mine production. The Southeast Zone has been permitted for mining and is included in the long term mine plan.

Reserves:

Total proven and probable reserves in the Wight, Bell, Springer and Southeast open pits are 40.9 million tonnes, grading 0.448% copper and 0.318 g/t gold, which contain 405 million pounds of copper and 419 thousand ounces of gold.

Resources:

Measured and indicated resources (which are additional to proven and probable reserves) increased to 79.2 million tonnes, from 68.5 million tonnes in 2005, grading 0.35% copper and 0.28 g/t gold (a copper equivalent grade of 0.58%) containing 615 million pounds of copper and 732 thousand ounces of gold. Inferred resources of 27 million tonnes, primarily contained in the Springer deposit, grade 0.30% copper and 0.29 g/t gold (a copper equivalent grade of 0.53%) containing 179 million pounds of copper and 254 thousand ounces of gold.

The ore reserves and resources were calculated and verified by Greg Gillstrom, P. Eng., Geological Engineer, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Technical assistance was provided by Art Frye, Manager of Project Development, Imperial Metals Corporation. The complete updated reserve and resource table is available as an attachment to this news release and can be viewed on the Company's website.

Exploration Update

Mining activities on upper benches at the Bell pit have encountered more mineralization than predicated by the block model. Diamond drilling is now underway in the south and east portions of the Bell pit to check the extent of the additional mineralization.

The diamond drill will then move to the Tall Fir Zone, discovered by reconnaissance percussion drilling conducted in 2005. The Tall Fir Zone shows potential to host a sizeable body of gold/copper mineralization. Other zones to be tested will include the Wagon Wheel, Ace, Pond, Southeast, Area 9, North Slope, 71, Skid, Boundary, Knob East, Junction and the Wayne Zone. The Wayne Zone was discovered by percussion drilling in December 2005 when anomalous copper was encountered in the four holes drilled in that zone. One hole intercepted 13.7 metres grading 0.42% copper and 0.08 g/t gold starting at a depth of 0.9 metres.

Previously unreported assay results from the Southeast, 92 and Pond zones have been included on an updated to the table of assay results, which is available on the Company's website. Included are the following significant intervals:

- Pond Zone diamond drill hole PZ05-04 intersected 58.2 metres grading 0.38% copper, 0.32 g/t gold and 4.70 g/t silver; and

- Southeast Zone diamond drill hole SE05-49 intercepted 100.4 metres grading 0.42% copper and 0.80 g/t gold starting at a depth of 176.6 metres.

The last phase of 2005 exploration indicated that both the Pond and Southeast zones warrant additional drilling, and that the drilling has significantly increased the size of the Southeast Zone. The current estimate for the Southeast Zone of 2.1 million tonnes of reserves grading 0.273% copper and 0.514 g/t gold, and the 14.2 million tonnes of resources grading 0.247% copper and 0.462 g/t gold, is a significant increase over the February 2005 measured and indicated resource estimate which was 3.5 million tonnes grading 0.215% copper and 0.377 g/t gold.

Huckleberry

Production statistics for the year ended December 31 are provided below.



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2005 Huckleberry Mine Production (100% - Imperial owns 50%)
(unaudited) Year Ended Year Ended
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2005 2004
Ore milled (tonnes) 6,951,000 6,867,153
Ore milled per calendar day (tonnes) 19,044 18,763
Ore milled per operating day (tonnes) 20,790 20,543
Grade (%) - Copper 0.552 0.454
Grade (%) - Molybdenum 0.014 0.014
Recovery (%) - Copper 87.40 85.87
Recovery (%) - Molybdenum 24.80 20.41
Copper produced (lbs) 73,897,000 62,924,920
Molybdenum produced (lbs) 539,949 426,658
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2006 Huckleberry Mine Production Forecast

Planned production for 2006 is 78 million pounds copper, 11,000 ounces gold, 403,000 ounces silver and 662,000 pounds molybdenum. The current mine plan calls for operations to continue until the third quarter of 2007.

Imperial's audited financial results for the year ended December 31, 2005 are scheduled for release on March 30, 2006.

Imperial Metals Corporation is a Canadian mine development and operating company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Contact Information

  • Imperial Metals Corporation
    Brian Kynoch
    President
    (604) 669-8959
    (604) 687-4030 (FAX)
    or
    Imperial Metals Corporation
    Patrick McAndless
    Vice President Exploration
    (604) 488-2665
    or
    Imperial Metals Corporation
    Sabine Goetz
    Investor Relations
    (604) 488-2657
    info@imperialmetals.com
    www.imperialmetals.com