LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2013) - Minera IRL Limited ("Minera IRL" or the "Company") (TSX:IRL)(AIM:MIRL)(BVLAC:MIRL), the Latin American gold mining company, is pleased to announce that the exploration drive at its Ollachea Project (the "Project"), Peru, has been completed beyond its 1,200 meter goal ahead of schedule and under budget.
- Exploration drive has been successfully completed reaching 1,234 meters
- Best monthly advance of 216.5 meters achieved in January
- Completion more than one month ahead of schedule
- Project completion cost estimated at $13.8 million, approximately $1.1 million below budget
- Better than expected ground conditions within the slates that host the orebody
- Very little water inflow, contrary to hydrogeological model
- Exploration drilling of the eastern strike of the deposit from underground has commenced
"The production-size exploration drive at Ollachea has been an outstanding success," said Courtney Chamberlain, Executive Chairman of Minera IRL. "Our Peruvian mining contractor, JJC Contratistas Generales S.A. (JJC) has done an excellent job supported by our consultants TWP Sudamerica S. A. and our team of engineers. The speed and reduced cost associated with the completion of the drive as well as the practical experience gained indicates that assumptions used in the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), completed in November 2012, are conservative. This particularly relates to better ground conditions, a much higher advance rate and minimal water infiltration. The focus now turns to the exploration drilling from underground, which commenced early in January."
The exploration drive has a cross sectional size of 5 meters by 5 meters which will become the main haulage route when the mine is developed. The portal is at the future plant site location. Advance was completed on 31 January 2013, at 1,234 meters slightly more than the planned 1,200 meters. The final 200 meters of the tunnel is in the hanging wall parallel to the Minapampa orebody.
The development rate in the slate rock type, host to the mineralization, has been better than predicted with a record 216.5 meters achieved in January 2013. In penetrating the slates, except when developing through the Ollachea Fault Zone, the tunnel has been well supported by rock bolts and shotcrete.
The hydrogeological model predicted that a large amount of water would infiltrate into the exploration drive, indicating a wet mine. This has not occured and, based upon the experience thus far, the mine should be relatively dry. This is expected to reflect in reduced capital and operating costs for ponds and water treatment.
The budget approved in August 2011 for $14.9 million included mobilization, demobilization, access from the highway to the portal site, establishment of the portal, driving of the tunnel, other consultant and owner's costs and a contingency of 10%. The forecast completion cost is now $13.8 million, a significant reduction of $1.1 million compared to the budget.
Exploration drilling has begun probing the eastern strike extension of the Minapampa Zone from cuddies to the east of the nearest drilling from surface. Drilling of this zone from surface was not possible due to very steep terrain.
In addition to providing access for underground exploration drilling, the completed drive will facilitate rapid mine development when project permitting and project financing is in place, expected in the second half of 2013.
The DFS indicated an economically robust project with a steady-state average gold production of 113,000 ounces per annum coming on stream in early 2015. The Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted to the Peruvian authorities, thus commencing the development permitting process.
Competent Persons Statement
The preparation of the technical information contained herein was supervised by Courtney Chamberlain, Executive Chairman, BSc and MSc Metallurgical Engineering, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FAusIMM), who is recognized as a Qualified Person for the purposes of National Instrument 43 -101, and who has reviewed and approved the technical information in this press release. Also by Donald McIver, VP Exploration of the Company, MSc Exploration and Economic Geology, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FAusIMM), as well as the Society of Economic Geologists (FSEG), who is recognized as a Qualified Person for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101, and who has reviewed and approved the resource information in this press release.
Minera IRL Limited is the AIM traded, TSX and BVL listed holding company of precious metals mining and exploration companies focused in Latin America. Minera IRL is led by an experienced senior management team with extensive industry experience, particularly operating in South America. The Group operates the Corihuarmi Gold Mine and the advanced gold projects Ollachea in Peru and Don Nicolas in Argentina. For more information, please visit www.minera-irl.com.
Some of the statements contained in this release are forward-looking statements, such as estimates and statements that describe the Company's future plans, objectives or goals, including words to the effect that the Company or management expects a stated condition or result to occur. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature, they involve inherent risks and uncertainties.
While these forward-looking statements, and any assumptions upon which they are based, are made in good faith and reflect our current judgment regarding the direction of our business, actual results will almost always vary, sometimes materially, from any estimates, predictions, projections, assumptions or other future performance suggestions herein. Except as required by applicable law or regulation, Minera IRL Limited does not intend to update any forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Procedures Disclosure
The Company has implemented and maintains a Minera IRL quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) protocol on the Ollachea Project to ensure best industry practice in sampling and analysis of exploration and resource drill core samples. The insertion of field duplicates, certified standards and blank samples into the sample stream form part of the MIRL procedure (these act as an independent check on contamination, precision and accuracy in the analytical laboratory).
Assay results are reported once rigorous QA/QC procedures have been approved.
Independent Audit Programmes
Towards maintaining compliancy with international standards as they pertain to the minerals industry resource evaluation and estimation procedure, MIRL regularly contracts the services of industry experts to conduct detailed audits of established QAQC procedures.
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