International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.

International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.

December 08, 2010 09:16 ET

International Tower Hill Mines Advances Livengood Gold Project Towards Potential Production Decision with Prefeasibility Study and Augmented Development Team

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 8, 2010) - International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. ("ITH" or the "Company") (TSX:ITH)(NYSE Amex:THM)(FRANKFURT:IW9) is pleased to provide an operational update at its Livengood Gold Project near Fairbanks, Alaska. To date, the Company has achieved key milestones in advancing the Livengood project's pre-feasibility study (PFS) and adding key members to its development team.

Highlights include:

  • Awarding of major contracts for the Livengood pre-feasibility study;

  • Continued augmentation of in-house development and permitting staff;

  • Optimization studies for maximizing the value of the deposit and improving operational characteristics, inclusive of an oxide milling option which brings higher recoveries and greater reliability to the production plan;

  • Continued drilling focused on advancing key development-related projects such as surface facility characterization, hydrology and metallurgy;

  • Continued drilling focused on resource infill and step out work as well as the calculation of a new resource base with the addition of over 50,000 metres of new drilling in 2010; and

  • Planning of a new district-scale exploration program for the potential discovery of new deposits along a 10-kilometre-long surface gold trend on the Company's extensive 145 km2 Livengood land package.

Jeff Pontius, CEO of ITH, stated: "I am very pleased with the rapid advancement of the Livengood project toward our corporate goal of creating the next new mid-tier gold producer. The project is hitting its milestones as planned, and I am most encouraged by the excellent team we are assembling to take our Company through the pre-feasibility/feasibility stage and on to a potential production decision."

Pre-feasibility Study

Over the past three months, the Company has awarded key contracts for the PFS to:

  • FLSmidth Salt Lake City, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, for metallurgical engineering and design of processing plants, and to act as the lead author for both the PFS final report and the resulting NI 43-101 technical report;

  • Knight Piesold & Co. of Denver, Colorado, for direction of studies on site location, geotechnical characterization and design of waste rock storage, heap leach pad, tailings storage facilities, and water storage reservoirs;

  • Mine Development Associates of Reno, Nevada, to perform mine engineering;

  • SRK Consulting of Denver, Colorado, to perform pit geotechnical design, groundwater hydrogeology and rock geochemistry studies; and

  • MTB Project Management Professionals, Inc. to support ITH in the management and integration of all studies.

Augmentation of Development Team

The Company has also strengthened its corporate and technical management structure with the following appointments:

  • Carl Brechtel has been appointed as President, in addition to his position as Chief Operating Officer, in order to bring greater focus on the operating aspects of the Company. Jeffrey Pontius will continue as the Company's CEO, focusing on corporate strategy and marketing.

  • Karl Hanneman has been appointed as General Manager, Livengood Project, and has expanded the Fairbanks Project Management Team to include Richard Moses as Site Operations Manager, Keith Malone as Technical Services Manager, Chris Puchner as Chief Geologist and Denise Hertzog as Environmental Manager.

Carl Brechtel, newly appointed President and COO of ITH, stated: "The PFS Team brings extensive experience in the major technical areas of mining project design and will make a major, positive contribution to the optimization of the Livengood Project. In addition, the Company has created a Fairbanks project group that has extensive operating and project development experience in Alaska and who are known and respected in the local community."

Drilling Progress at Livengood

The Company's Winter and Summer 2010 drill programs at Livengood are projected to reach 70,000 metres by the end of the year and will produce technical information for resource evaluation, hydrogeologic characterization, geotechnical characterization, metallurgical characterization and site condemnation. Key project development studies have been accelerated into the third and fourth quarters of 2010, with geotechnical characterization work being conducted through the winter season. Preparation of heap leach column tests was accelerated into the fourth quarter of 2010 due to early completion of PQ core drilling and excavation of a run-of-mine sample for large diameter column tests. The preparation of the leach columns is currently underway at McClelland Labs in Reno, Nevada.

In addition, the 2010 drilling has expanded the deposit at depth as well as to the southwest and the results will form the basis of an updated resource estimation projected to be released in the first quarter of 2011.

The Company has now moved drilling activities to a year-round basis in 2010 and will continue on this schedule in 2011. An extensive $2.5 million district-wide exploration program will be added to Livengood activities during 2011. This effort will be augmented with a district-wide 3-D Induced Polarization geophysical survey to aid in new deposit targeting. The main deposit exploration drilling efforts will begin in early February and focus on the western extension of the deposit as well as evaluation of the extent of the newly discovered deep zone announced last week (NR10-38).

Livengood Project Highlights

  • Drilling at the project continues to expand the deposit, with the current estimated resource only representing a snapshot in time. The latest resource estimate (as at June 22, 2010) of 409 Mt at an average grade of 0.83 g/t gold (10.9 Moz Indicated) and 94 Mt at an average grade of 0.79 g/t gold (2.4 Moz Inferred), both at a 0.5 g/t gold cut-off grade, make it one of the largest new gold discoveries in North America.

  • The Core and Sunshine Zones together account for most of the higher grade mineralization (Indicated Resources of 202 Mt at an average grade of 1.07 g/t gold and Inferred Resources of 40 Mt at an average grade of 1.06g/t gold, based on a cut-off grade of 0.70 g/t gold) and will form the basis for starter pit design work.

  • The PFS will include work for processing alternatives to identify those that have potential to make significant positive impacts on project economics.

  • The geometry of the currently defined shallowly dipping, outcropping deposit has a low strip ratio amenable to low cost open pit mining which could support a high production rate and economies of scale.

  • No major permitting hurdles have been identified to date.

  • The Livengood project has a very favourable logistical location, being situated 110 road kilometres north of Fairbanks, Alaska along the paved, all-weather Elliott Highway, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Corridor, and the proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline route. The terminus of the Alaska State power grid lies approximately 80 kilometres to the south.

  • ITH controls 100% of its approximately 145 square kilometre Livengood land package, which is made up of fee land leased from the Alaska Mental Health Trust, a number of smaller private mineral leases and 115 Alaska state mining claims.

Geological Overview

The Livengood Deposit is hosted in a thrust-interleaved sequence of Proterozoic to Palaeozoic sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Mineralization is related to a 90 million year old (Fort Knox age) dike swarm that cuts through the thrust stack. Primary ore controls are a combination of favourable lithologies and crosscutting structural zones. In areas distal to the main structural zones, the selective development of disseminated mineralization in favourable host rocks is the main ore control.

Within the primary structural corridors, all lithologies can be pervasively altered and mineralized. Devonian volcanic rocks and Cretaceous dikes represent the most favourable host lithologies and are pervasively altered and mineralized throughout the deposit. Two dominant structural controls are present: 1) the major shallow south-dipping faults which host dikes and mineralization which are related to dilatant movement on structures of the original fold-thrust architecture during post-thrusting relaxation, and 2) steep NW trending linear zones which focus the higher-grade mineralization which cuts across all lithologic boundaries. The net result is broad flat-lying zones of stratabound mineralization around more vertically continuous, higher grade core zones with a resulting lower strip ratio for the overall deposit and higher grade areas that could be amenable for starter pit production.

The surface gold geochemical anomaly at Livengood covers an area 6 kilometres long by 2 kilometres wide, of which approximately half has been explored by drilling to date. Surface exploration is ongoing as new targets are being developed to the northeast and west of the known deposit.

Qualified Person and Quality Control/Quality Assurance

Exploration and development work at the Livengood Project is directed by Carl E. Brechtel (Colorado PE 23212, Nevada PE 8744) who is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. He is a member of AusIMM and SAIMM. Mr. Brechtel has supervised the preparation of the scientific and technical information that forms the basis for this news release and has approved the disclosure herein. Mr. Brechtel is not independent of ITH, as he is the President and COO of the Company and holds incentive stock options.

The Livengood exploration program is designed and supervised by Chris Puchner, Chief Geologist (CPG 07048) of the Company, who is responsible for all aspects of the work, including the quality control/quality assurance program. Mr. Puchner is not independent of ITH as he is an employee and holds shares and incentive stock options. 

On-site personnel at the project photograph the core from each individual borehole prior to preparing the split core. Duplicate reverse circulation drill samples are collected with one split sent for analysis. Representative chips are retained for geological logging. On-site personnel at the project log and track all samples prior to sealing and shipping. All sample shipments are sealed and shipped to ALS Chemex in Fairbanks, Alaska, for preparation and then on to ALS Chemex in Reno, Nevada or Vancouver, B.C. for assay. ALS Chemex's quality system complies with the requirements for the International Standards ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 17025:1999. Analytical accuracy and precision are monitored by the analysis of reagent blanks, reference material and replicate samples. Quality control is further assured by the use of international and in-house standards. Finally, representative blind duplicate samples are forwarded to ALS Chemex and an ISO compliant third party laboratory for additional quality control.

About International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.

International Tower Hill Mines controls a 100% interest in the world-class Livengood Gold Project accessible by paved highway 70 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. ITH is focused on the rapid advancement of the project into a compelling potential development project in 2011 while it continues to expand its current resource and explore its 145 km2 district for new deposits.

On behalf of International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.

Carl Brechtel, President and Chief Operating Officer

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian and US securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the anticipated content, commencement and cost of exploration programs, anticipated exploration program results, the discovery and delineation of mineral deposits/resources/reserves, the potential for the expansion of the estimated resources at Livengood, the potential to convert the existing estimated resources at Livengood from the indicated and inferred categories to the measured and indicated categories; the potential for any production at the Livengood project, the potential for higher grade mineralization to form the basis for a starter pit component in any production scenario, the potential low strip ratio of the Livengood deposit being amenable for low cost open pit mining that could support a high production rate and economies of scale, the potential for cost savings due to the high gravity concentration component of some of the Livengood mineralization, the potential for operational and capital cost savings through the potential use of milling, with a flotation-gravity circuit, the completion of a pre-feasibility study at Livengood, the potential for a production decision to be made regarding Livengood, the potential commencement of any development of a mine at Livengood following a production decision, business and financing plans and business trends, are forward-looking statements.

Information concerning mineral resource estimates and the preliminary economic analysis thereof also may be deemed to be forward-looking statements in that it reflects a prediction of the mineralization that would be encountered, and the results of mining it, if a mineral deposit were developed and mined. Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as: believe, expect, anticipate, intend, estimate, postulate and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events. The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements by the Company are not guarantees of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, variations in the nature, quality and quantity of any mineral deposits that may be located, variations in the market price of any mineral products the Company may produce or plan to produce, the Company's inability to obtain any necessary permits, consents or authorizations required for its activities, the Company's inability to produce minerals from its properties successfully or profitably, to continue its projected growth, to raise the necessary capital or to be fully able to implement its business strategies, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company's Amended 2010 Annual Information Form filed with certain securities commissions in Canada and the Company's 2010 Annual Report on Form 40-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), and other information released by the Company and filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies. All of the Company's Canadian public disclosure filings may be accessed via and its United States public disclosure filings may be accessed via, and readers are urged to review these materials, including the latest technical report filed with respect to the Livengood Property.

Cautionary Note Regarding References to Resources and Reserves

National Instrument 43 101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators which establishes standards for all public disclosure an issuer makes of scientific and technical information concerning mineral projects. Unless otherwise indicated, all resource estimates contained in or incorporated by reference in this press release have been prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 and the guidelines set out in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (the "CIM") Standards on Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserves, adopted by the CIM Council on November 14, 2004 (the "CIM Standards") as they may be amended from time to time by the CIM.

United States shareholders are cautioned that the requirements and terminology of NI 43-101 and the CIM Standards differ significantly from the requirements and terminology of the SEC set forth in the SEC's Industry Guide 7 ("SEC Industry Guide 7"). Accordingly, the Company's disclosures regarding mineralization may not be comparable to similar information disclosed by companies subject to SEC Industry Guide 7. Without limiting the foregoing, while the terms "mineral resources", "inferred mineral resources", "indicated mineral resources" and "measured mineral resources" are recognized and required by NI 43-101 and the CIM Standards, they are not recognized by the SEC and are not permitted to be used in documents filed with the SEC by companies subject to SEC Industry Guide 7. Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability, and US investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of a mineral resource will ever be converted into reserves. Further, inferred resources have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and as to whether they can be mined legally or economically. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of the inferred resources will ever be upgraded to a higher resource category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of a feasibility study or prefeasibility study, except in rare cases. The SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute SEC Industry Guide 7 compliant "reserves" as in-place tonnage and grade without reference to unit amounts. The term "contained ounces" is not permitted under the rules of SEC Industry Guide 7. In addition, the NI 43-101 and CIM Standards definition of a "reserve" differs from the definition in SEC Industry Guide 7. In SEC Industry Guide 7, a mineral reserve is defined as a part of a mineral deposit which could be economically and legally extracted or produced at the time the mineral reserve determination is made, and a "final" or "bankable" feasibility study is required to report reserves, the three-year historical price is used in any reserve or cash flow analysis of designated reserves and the primary environmental analysis or report must be filed with the appropriate governmental authority.

This press release is not, and is not to be construed in any way as, an offer to buy or sell securities in the United States.


Contact Information

  • International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.
    Quentin Mai
    Vice-President - Corporate Communications
    1-888-770-7488 (toll free) or (604) 683-6332
    (604) 408-7499 (FAX)
    International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.
    Shirley Zhou
    Manager - Corporate Communications
    1-888-770-7488 (toll free) or (604) 638-3247
    (604) 408-7499 (FAX)