SOURCE: Searchlight Minerals Corp.

Searchlight Minerals Corp.

January 26, 2010 08:00 ET

Independent Engineers Conduct Technical Review and Confirm Internal Gold Assay Results at Clarkdale Slag Project

HENDERSON, NV--(Marketwire - January 26, 2010) - Searchlight Minerals Corp. (OTCBB: SRCH) ("Searchlight" or the "Company"), an exploration stage company engaged in the acquisition and exploration of mineral properties and slag reprocessing projects in the southwestern United States, today announced the results of the report of Richard S. Kunter & Associates, of Denver, Colorado ("RKA"). An independent engineering consultant, RKA has been retained by the Company to assist with the technical aspects of the Company's Clarkdale Slag Project (the "Project"), conduct a technical review of the Project and independently confirm the work being performed. RKA reported its results after conducting a technical review and numerous site visits.

Independent Engineering Report

In August 2009, the Company's technical team first reported that internal assays of milled slag resulted in the extraction of approximating 0.40 ounces of gold from each ton of slag material removed from the slag pile. Thereafter, the Company and its consultants continued to focus on optimizing metals extraction prior to the commencement of continuous plant operations at the Project. During its most recent visit to the Project in December 2009, RKA completed a technical analysis of the leaching and analytical procedures conducted at the Project and produced its report after: (1) witnessing several tests on site; and (2) collecting numerous samples for analysis by an independent external laboratory. The assay results on these samples were reported by RKA to be equal to, or higher than, the internal assays reported by the Company's on-site laboratory at the Project.

"Although these independently analyzed results are very encouraging, the ultimate confirmation of success at the Clarkdale Project will involve operating the entire plant continuously for an extended period of time and weighing the extracted metals-in-hand," noted Ian McNeil, Chief Executive Officer of Searchlight Minerals Corp. "On a short-term basis, we are intensely focused on finalizing the grind/leach optimization so that we can lock down the parameters, run the production module in a continuous fashion and complete the feasibility study on the Project."

Recent Technical Progress

The Company also reported that its technical team continues to (1) work towards the resolution of the remaining technical challenges and (2) progress towards optimizing metals extraction. This includes maximizing mill throughput by "pre-fracturing" the slag via pit blasting before its introduction into the plant, minimizing equipment wear by testing different alloys and ceramics, sourcing resins that can extract the gold-carbon complex from the leach solution and continuing the testing of alternative primary crushers.

Beyond the crushing/grinding circuit, the primary challenge currently being addressed by the Company involves dealing with the carbon in the slag by adjusting the leach characteristics to chemically liberate the gold-carbon complex from the slag.

"While the pilot phase of our project proceeded seamlessly, scale-up to production has presented us with challenges primarily centered around the abrasive nature of the slag and dealing with the liberated carbon associated with the gold," added McNeil. "We have made significant progress in advancing this project towards feasibility, and our technical team looks forward to the achievement of our next critical milestone -- the simultaneous operation of all production circuits on a continuous basis, which will include the loading of resins with precious metals, electrowinning both copper and zinc, and the sale of these products to refiners and/or metal buyers."

About Richard S. Kunter & Associates

The Principal of RKA, Mr. Richard S. Kunter, has over 35 years of diverse experience in hydrometallurgy, with specific experience in refractory ores, precious metals, base metals, phosphates, arsenic processes and environmental remediation. RKA has extensive expertise in innovative process development, process metallurgy and mineralogy, chemical engineering unit operations, mill and project development, pilot plant operations, and assay technology. Mr. Kunter is accredited as a "Qualified Person" by the Mining & Metallurgical Society in matters regarding public filings in North America and Australia, as a result of his engineering experience in mineral exploration, mine development and/or mineral project assessment.

About Searchlight Minerals Corp.

Searchlight Minerals Corp. is an exploration stage company engaged in the acquisition and exploration of mineral properties and slag reprocessing projects. The Company holds interests in two mineral projects: (i) the Clarkdale Slag Project, located in Clarkdale, Arizona, which is a reclamation project to recover precious and base metals from the reprocessing of slag produced from the smelting of copper ore mined at the United Verde Copper Mine in Jerome, Arizona; and (ii) the Searchlight Gold Project, which involves exploration for precious metals on mining claims near Searchlight, Nevada. The Clarkdale Slag Project is the more advanced of two ongoing projects that the Company is pursuing. The Searchlight Gold Project is an early-stage gold exploration endeavor on 3,200 acres located approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Searchlight Minerals Corp. is headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, and its common stock is listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol "SRCH." Additional information is available on the Company's website at and in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Forward-Looking Statements

This Press Release may contain, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements. Statements in this Press Release that are forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's periodic filings with the Commission. When used in this Press Release in discussing the recent developments on the Project, including, without limitation, the resolution of certain issues relating to the operation of the production module, the words such as "believe," "could," "may," "expect" and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. The risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include, but are not restricted to technical issues on the Project that may affect the production module and its primary process components, challenges in moving from pilot plant scale to production scale, the risk that actual recoveries of base and precious metals or other minerals re-processed from the slag material at the Clarkdale site will not be economically feasible, uncertainty of estimates of mineralized material, operational risk, the Company's limited operating history, uncertainties about the availability of additional financing, geological or mechanical difficulties affecting the Company's planned mineral recovery programs, the risk that actual capital costs, operating costs and economic returns may differ significantly from the Company's estimates, uncertainty whether the results from the Company's feasibility studies and the results from the operation of the production module are not sufficiently positive for the Company to proceed with the construction of its processing facility, operational risk, the impact of governmental and environmental regulation, financial risk, currency risk volatility in the prices of precious metals and other statements that are not historical facts as disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's periodic filings with securities regulators in the United States. Consequently, risk factors including, but not limited to the aforementioned, may result in significant delays to the projected or anticipated production target dates.

Contact Information

  • Contact Information:
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    Vice President
    (702) 939-5247
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    RJ Falkner & Company, Inc.
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