Mano River Resources Inc.
TSX VENTURE : MNO
AIM : MANA

Mano River Resources Inc.

March 19, 2009 09:00 ET

Mano River Resources Inc: Encouraging Iron Ore Drilling Results From Putu Project

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 19, 2009) - Mano River Resources Inc. ("Mano" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:MNO)(AIM:MANA) the TSX-V and AIM-listed exploration and development company focused on iron ore, gold and diamonds in West Africa is pleased to provide an update on the drilling programme at the Company's 38.5% owned Putu Range iron ore project ("Putu") in Liberia.

Highlights are as follows:

- Severstal Liberia Iron Ore (61.5% Severstal Resources 38.5% Mano) advancing towards resource estimate and delivery of a pre-feasibility study in second half of 2010

- 3,960m drilling programme for geological characterisation completed December 2008

- Assays from 9 out of 11 holes completed (as per Table-1 below):

-- Best intersection in haematite mineralization of 63m at average 63.5% Fe (hole PDD002)

-- Best intersection in fresh magnetite mineralization of 367m at average 39% Fe (hole PDD004)

- Results confirm Putu project has significant iron ore tonnage potential

- Multi rig 27,000m diamond drilling programme planned during 2009

Luis da Silva, CEO of Mano River Resources commented,

"We are very pleased with these initial drilling results from the Putu iron ore project in Liberia and our excellent working relationship with our 61.5% partner SeverStal Resources. The drill results display excellent grade characteristics and indicate that the Putu project has significant iron ore tonnage potential. The current drilling programme is designed to test the grade and depth continuity of the iron ore mineralisation in order to define an initial NI 43-101 and SAMREC compliant resource estimate.

SeverStal and Mano are committed long term investors in Liberia and this fact was further cemented by a successful meeting held on 26th February 2009 of a delegation comprising of Alexey Mordashov (SeverStal CEO), Roman Deniskin (SeverStal Resources CEO) and members of Mano's Board with the President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Despite the current depressed commodity prices the outlook for steel and thus iron ore demand is gradually improving. We look forward to a very different market environment by late 2012, by which time the Putu project should be looking for funding in order to develop in advance of production in 2015."

As previously announced on 10 December 2008 SeverStal Resources have increased their ownership in the Putu project to 61.5% by expending up to US$30m in order to carry out a bankable feasibility study. Pre-feasibility planning is currently underway with a detailed airborne magnetic survey planned to commence in April and a 27,000m multi rig diamond drill programme to commence in the second quarter of 2009.

The Company will begin Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) negotiations during the first half of 2009 with the Government of Liberia (GoL). This agreement will secure tenure for production for at least 25 years, as per the GoL's timetable and minerals legislation, and will replace the current exploration licence which was extended for two years in September 2008.

The Company is also pleased to announce the nomination by Severstal Resources, pursuant to the joint venture agreement, of Nigel Kieser as Managing Director of Putu Iron Ore Mining Inc., the project entity. Mr Kieser graduated in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines where he was subsequently awarded his doctorate. After 5 years working as a metals and mining sector equity analyst for Banque Paribas and then JP Morgan Securities, Mr Kieser joined Rio Tinto where he held business development and exploration management roles for six years. For the preceding two years before this post, Mr Kieser was General Director, Russia for De Beers, based in Moscow. Mr Kieser will formally take up his position in the second quarter of this year.

Preliminary results from early stage review

The Putu deposit has been interpreted as primarily magnetitic Banded Iron Formation. Previous studies suggest a synformal structure, although this has not been confirmed by more recent drilling. Very preliminary deposit modelling has been based on the results from the initial 9 diamond drill cored holes, USGS airborne magnetic data, trench results and excellent information provided by the historical 208m long adit. During the course of 2008, the rehabilitation and sampling of this adit has yielded continuous mineralisation with an average combined grade of magnetite and haematite of 42.69% Fe (iron) (from 103 adit samples) with detailed assays available on: http://www.manoriver.com/s/IronOre.asp. Recent drilling indicates that the weathered part of the mineralization is partially suitable for DSO (direct shipping ore) production with lump/fines ratio close to 1/1.

Based on the above data and extending both the haematite and magnetite ore potential to the physical boundaries of the deposit, and in line with an independent technical report by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd ("SRK") as announced on October 3, 2007 (see www.manoriver.com/s/NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=264473&_Type=News-Releases&_Title=Update-on-Putu-Iron-Ore-Project-in-Liberia) management estimates that the exploration target for Putu can comfortably be increased from 900 million tonnes to well in excess of 1 billion tonnes, projecting a mine life of up to 40 years. A production base case for Putu is envisaged to be 20 million tonnes per annum of 65% concentrate iron ore grade for exports. The potential quantity, grade and export tonnage are conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define this target at this time and it is uncertain that further exploration will result in further discoveries in the property or that it will result in the target being delineated as a mineral resource.

This is corroborated by data from the former Bong Mining Company's mine in Bong County. Though Putu is potentially much larger, Bong's history presents a similar sequence of itabirite and similar ratio of haematite and magnetite, of similar quality, and exported approximately 150 million tons of concentrate and pellets (64-65% Fe (iron)) between 1965 and 1990 from 350 million tons of ore leaving some 250 million tons un-mined which are now the subject of redevelopment (see Notes to Editors below).

Infrastructure and community

The Putu project is well located geographically in that it will require the construction of a relatively short, in comparison to similar projects, 120km railway line to the coast over undulating topography with no major topographic features to be overcome. A new deep water port would also need to be built at one of three identified locations.

These developments will create substantial benefits for south-eastern Liberia, especially the counties of Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and possibly adjacent counties. The Company is currently preparing regional development and social programmes with the following initiatives already being implemented for the local community:

- Rehabilitation / replacement of drinking water pumps in 6 local villages

- Reconstruction of 18km of road linking local administrative centres

- Preparation for construction of a health post in the village where the exploration camp is located



Table-1: Composite of assays by grade
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Length
Average Down-
Drill Drilled grade hole
Hole Metres (Fe%) (m) From To Geology Comment
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD001 133 54.21 54.6 0.0 54.6 Oxidized Ended in
(Haematite) Mineralisation
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD001 44.70 47.7 62.8 110.5 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD001 39.05 14.6 118.5 133.0 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD002 187.4 63.54 63.0 8.6 71.6 Oxidized Ended in
(Haematite) Mineralisation
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD002 47.78 63.4 71.6 135.0 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD002 37.16 14.6 172.9 187.4 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD003 401.2 43.96 18.5 0.0 18.5 Oxidized Ended in
(Haematite) Mineralisation
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD003 30.15 13.7 27.0 40.7 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD003 33.62 41.1 53.0 94.0 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD003 37.17 12.5 120.5 133.0 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD003 39.45 9.4 155.1 164.5 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD003 39.44 222.0 179.2 401.2 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD004 401.4 62.37 9.5 0.0 9.5 Oxidized Ended in
(Haematite) Mineralisation
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD004 39.94 17.1 9.5 26.6 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD004 39.04 367.4 34.0 401.4 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD005 400.5 33.62 51.8 96.5 148.3 Fresh Sequence
(Magnetite) completed
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD005 37.94 208.7 165.0 373.7 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD006 394.5 55.56 8.0 0.0 8.0 Oxidized Sequence
(Haematite) completed
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD006 42.78 22.0 31.5 53.5 Oxidized
(Haematite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD006 41.50 8.0 57.5 65.5 Oxidized
(Haematite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD006 37.43 99.3 90.2 189.5 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD006 38.93 109.1 206.2 315.3 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD007 596.6 43.37 18.0 36.5 54.5 Oxidized Sequence
(Haematite) completed
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD007 43.21 8.3 148.1 156.4 Oxidized
(Haematite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD007 33.12 89.3 204.7 294.0 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD007 33.10 67.2 300.0 367.2 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD008 367.5 63.60 49.5 0.0 49.5 Oxidized Sequence
(Haematite) completed
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD008 50.66 33.0 52.5 85.5 Oxidized
(Haematite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD008 50.72 34.5 97.5 132.0 Oxidized
(Haematite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD008 37.57 60.4 174.7 235.1 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD009 350.1 60.65 19.5 0.0 19.5 Oxidized Sequence
(Haematite) completed
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD009 41.65 15.4 19.5 34.9 Fresh
(Magnetite)
------ --------------------------------------------
PDD009 41.85 202.1 49.5 251.6 Fresh
(Magnetite)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
PDD010 364.5 Results Pending
PDD011 360 Results Pending
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total 3,956.7
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Composite cut-off 25% for fresh ore & 35% for oxidized ore)


Quality Control and Sample Preparation

Mano has a rigorous Quality Control Program (QCP) inserting a minimum 5% standards, blanks and duplicates into the sample stream. The Company employs independently owned and managed OMAC Laboratories for all its assay requirements, including the preparation of pulps to 90% -100 micron at their in-country preparation facilities in Liberia, followed by 50gram fire assay at their main laboratory in Loughrea, Ireland.

OMAC is accredited to ISO 17025 by INAB (Irish National Accreditation Board) which is a member of ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), and is a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement. OMAC operates an internal QA/QC check assay programme using in-house standards, reagent blanks and duplicates.

Charles Savage (BSc, CEng, ARSM, MIME) is the appointed Qualified Person responsible for reviewing and approving the content of this release. He is a Mining Engineer with over 40 years experience in exploration, development and operations in the iron ore, base metals and industrial minerals areas, throughout the world.

For further information on Mano River Resources and its exploration programme, you are invited to visit the Company's website at www.manoriver.com.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Overview of the Putu Iron Ore Project

The Putu Iron Ore project is located in the centre of a 425 sq km exploration licence in Grand Gedeh County of eastern Liberia, approximately 100km north east from a potential deep water port of Greenville and 200km south east of the Mt. Nimba iron ore deposit.

The Putu project consists of two prominent ridges that strike northeast southwest, namely, Mt Jideh (with its extension Mt Montroh) and Mt. Ghi. Exploration to date has focussed on Mt Jideh, which comprises a high-grade outcropping magnetite/hematite mineralised zone that has undergone various stages of weathering. Mt Jideh has a strike length of approximately 12km based on mapping, surface sampling and airborne magnetic data.

The lower priority target called Mt Ghi runs parallel to Mt Jideh and though massive does not have a similarly strong magnetic anomaly or significant outcrop. A programme of 30 reconnaissance grab samples at Mt Ghi had returned an average grade of 39.3% Fe. The grade is believed to be associated with a deep tropical weathering profile. Mt Ghi has been excluded from any estimation.

SeverStal Transaction

SeverStal Resources is a 6.29% shareholder in Mano River Resources Inc through its wholly owned subsidiary, Lybica Holdings B.V. The Company signed an agreement on 22 May 2008 and subsequently completed the transaction on the 10 December 2008. The deal provides for US$15m cash being injected into the joint venture company, now renamed SeverStal Liberia Iron Ore Ltd, as well as an additional US$15m debt facility. This US$30m will provide for the specific advancement towards a definitive feasibility study.

Severstal Resources is one of the biggest Russian mining companies and manages all Severstal's mining assets: two iron ore mining complexes and a coking coal complex in northwest Russia, one coking coal complex in USA (PBS Coals) and an exploration project, Severstal Liberia Iron Ore in West Africa. Severstal Resources also manages a number of gold mining assets in Russia, Kazakhstan and Burkina Faso as well as several gold exploration fields in these regions. In 2008 EBITDA was $859 million.

OAO Severstal is an international metals and mining company with a listing on the Russian Trading System, Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Its enterprises are located in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, France, Italy, United States and Africa. In 2008, Severstal produced 19.2 million tones of steel. Revenues were $22.4 billion and EBITDA was $5.4 billion. EPS was $2.2.

Massive Iron Ore Redevelopment Potential in Liberia

Liberia should see substantial iron ore developments over the next 5 years. In addition to Arcelor Mittal's redevelopment of the former 'Lamco/Nimba' reserves at a cost of some $1.5bn, and the recently signed agreement with China Union which benefits from significant Chinese government backing to redevelop the former 'Bong' reserves at a cost of $2.5bn, great interest is being shown in the further tendering of the Western Cluster of reserves of former Bomi and Mano River reserves, and the Bea Mt measured resources, as well as the Wologisi measured resources. Taken together with BHP Billiton's advanced exploration of its two targets (Goe Fantro and Kitoma) and the Putu exploration, Liberia should see massive iron ore developments over the next 5 years, including the potential rail transit to Buchanan of Nimba iron ores mined in Guinea.

The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not take responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Mano River Resources Inc
    Luis da Silva
    CEO
    +44 (0) 20 7299 4212
    Website: www.manoriver.com
    or
    Evolution Securities Limited
    Simon Edwards / Chris Sim
    +44 (0) 20 7071 4300
    or
    Pelham Public Relations
    Charles Vivian / James MacFarlane
    +44 (0) 20 7337 1500