North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : NTC

North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.

February 23, 2009 09:26 ET

North American Tungsten Announces Positive Results From Mactung Feasibility Study

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:NTC) -

HIGHLIGHTS

- Wardrop Engineering Inc. has completed a bankable feasibility ("BFS") study of North American Tungsten's tungsten deposit in the Yukon ("MacTung").

- MacTung economics are positive with a 23.5% Internal Rate of Return and a pre-tax Net Present Value of CDN$277 million discounted at 8%.

- The BFS is based on an initial 2,000 tpd underground mine with an 11 year Life of Mine ("LOM").

- There is potential to expand the initial LOM by another 17 years with open pit exploitation of near surface, lower grade mineral resources.

- MacTung is forecast to produce an annual average of 752,000 Metric Tonne Units (MTU's) of WO3 over its first five years of operation.

- The average operating cost for the first five years of operation is estimated to be CDN$104/MTU.

- MacTung's estimated capital cost: CDN$356.5 million plus a CDN$45.6 million contingency.

- Capital payback is expected within 2.9 years.

North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd (TSX VENTURE:NTC) (the "Company") is pleased to announce the positive results of the recently completed bankable feasibility study for its 100% owned MacTung Project in the Yukon Territory. Wardrop Engineering Inc. ("Wardrop") provided the principal engineering services for the project design and the capital and operating cost estimates. Geotechnical and environmental input was provided by EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. ("EBA").

MacTung is one of the the world's largest known undeveloped high grade tungsten-skarn deposit, providing significant long-term future growth for North American Tungsten.

Total indicated resources for the mineral deposit are 33.0 million tonnes grading 0.88% WO3 (tungsten trioxide) with an additional 11.8 million tonnes grading 0.78% WO3 in the inferred resource category. (For further details, please refer to the Company's April 27, 2007 press release.) Underground indicated mineral reserves have been calculated to be 8.2 million tonnes grading 1.09% WO3. The project is based on an 11.2 year underground mine with the potential to expand the mine life by another 17 years with open pit exploitation of the near surface, lower grade mineral resources. This additional potential mine life would further enhance the project economics but it has not been included in the current BFS.

The MacTung Project is forecast to run at 2,000 tonnes per day from an underground operation using conventional long hole plus cut and fill mining methods. An underground primary crusher and conveyor will supply ore to the surface facility where the ore will be processed into both a premium gravity concentrate (67% WO3) and a flotation concentrate (55% WO3). Recovery of WO3 is expected to average 81.7% and the mine will average 752,000 MTU's of WO3 in concentrates during its first five years of operation.

The marketing study for tungsten concentrates to support the economics of the project was completed by Goodall Business and Resources Management Pty. Ltd. (GBRM). The global market for tungsten is forecast to remain strong over the next five years and beyond. While China continues to dominate global tungsten mining, the availability of tungsten raw materials to non-Chinese markets will continue to decline due to the strong growth of internal Chinese tungsten consumption. A strong escalation in prices has already occurred over the past three years. However, with producers struggling to meet demand, global mining costs continuing to escalate, mining grades continuing to drop, and the Chinese government likely to impose tighter production quotas and higher export tariffs to maintain reserves, further global price escalation appears likely. Forecast ammonium paratungstate ("APT") prices are projected at US$300 per MTU in 2013 when the MacTung Project is due to reach full production.

Key parameters that form the basis of the economic evaluation of the MacTung Project are as follows:



Underground Mineral Reserve: 8.2 million tonnes
Annual Throughput: 730,000 tpa
Recovery first 5 years: 81.7%
Average annual production first 5 years: 752,000 MTU's
Operating cash cost first 5 years: CDN$104/MTU of WO3
Capex including contingency: CDN$ 402.1 million
APT pricing: US$300/MTU of WO3
Exchange Rate $US/$CDN: 0.88


The capital expenditure estimate is comprised of a project capital cost of CDN$356.5 million plus a contingency of CDN$45.6 million. The capital cost also includes CDN$ 39.6 million for underground mine equipment and development. In December, the Company commenced the process of project review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB); a decision document by YESAB is expected to take between 12 and 15 months. Basic and detailed engineering will proceed concurrently with the project permitting process. The Company is projecting that construction will start in the second quarter of 2010 and require 27 months to complete. Pursuant to this schedule, the plant will be commissioned during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Based on an 11.2 year mine life and the base case parameters, the project's pre-tax net present value is calculated as follows:



Discount Rate Pre-Tax Net Present Value
------------- -------------------------
8% CDN$276.8 million
6% CDN$346.4 million


The pre-tax internal rate of return for the project is 23.5%. Payback of invested capital is anticipated to occur within 2.9 years after production starts.

On the financing side, the Company has initiated discussions and negotiations with several financial institutions and potential industry partners.

The MacTung Feasibility Study was prepared by Wardrop and EBA under the direction of Mr. Nory Narcisco P.Eng. - a "Qualified Person" as the term is defined under NI 43-101. Mr. Narcisco has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release. Mr. Nigel Goodall, Principal of GBRM, who is a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release regarding the marketing study information presented.

ABOUT NORTH AMERICAN TUNGSTEN CORPORATION LTD.

The Company is a publicly listed Tier 1 Junior Resource Company engaged primarily in the operation, development, and acquisition of tungsten and other related mineral properties in Canada. The Company's 100% owned Cantung mine and MacTung development project make it one of the few tungsten producers with both a producing mine and strategic development asset in the western world. MacTung is one of the world's largest known undeveloped high grade tungsten-skarn deposits.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Stephen M. Leahy, Chairman & CEO

Cautionary Note: The Company relies upon litigation protection for "forward-looking" statements.

Cautionary Note

Safe Harbour Statement under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian legislation: Except for the statements of historical fact contained herein, the information presented contains "Forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian legislation. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects," "budget," "scheduled," "estimates," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates," "believes," or variation of such words and phrases that refer to certain actions, events or results to be taken, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. To be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the actual results of reclamation activities, the estimation or realization of mineral reserves and resources, the timing and amount of estimated future production, costs of production, capital expenditures, future prices of commodities, possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates, efficacy and efficiency of milling process, failure of plant, equipments or processes to operate as anticipated, accidents, labour disputes and other risks in the mining industry. Although North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements contained herein and in North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.'s other filing incorporated by reference.

Cautionary Note to United States Investors Concerning Estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources: This press release may use the terms "Measured," "indicated" and "inferred" Resources. United States investors are advised that while such terms are recognized and required by Canadian regulators, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. "Inferred Mineral Resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of Inferred Mineral Resources may not form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies. United States investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources will ever be converted into Mineral Reserves. United States investors are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource exists, or is economically or legally mineable.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term as defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release."

Contact Information

  • North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.
    Toni Williamson
    Corporate Geologist
    Vancouver: (604) 684-5300 / Toronto: (416) 602-2665
    (604) 684-2992 (FAX)
    Email: info@natungsten.com
    Website: www.natungsten.com