North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : NTC

North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.

February 09, 2011 20:53 ET

North American Tungsten Announces an Updated 43-101 Compliant Technical Report for the Cantung Mine

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2011) - North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. (the "Company" or "NATCL") (TSX VENTURE:NTC) is pleased to announce that the National Instrument 43-101 Compliant TECHNICAL REPORT ON THE CANTUNG MINE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, CANADA" dated January 31, 2011 ("Technical Report"), has been filed for public access on SEDAR.

The Mine

The Cantung Mine is a primary producer of tungsten concentrate from underground mining operations. 

Currently, the major features and facilities associated with Cantung are as follows:

  • The Cantung deposits, consisting of the Pit Underground ("Pit/PUG") resource near surface, and the E Zone reserve, underground.
  • The physical plant site including an underground mine, a small open pit, process plant, diesel power plant, workshops, warehouses, administration buildings, a town site and single status accommodation, and an airstrip.
  • Waste rock dumps and a tailings storage facility.

The updated Mineral Reserves are summarized in Table 1-1.

TABLE 1-1 CANTUNG PROBABLE MINERAL RESERVES AS OF OCTOBER 2010
Zone Tons Grade (WO3 %)  STU'S
West Extension 3600 AREA 553,402 1.47 813,650
E Zone Pillars 541,860 1.00 539,701
Pit Underground 598,192 1.05 627,986
       
TOTAL Probable Reserves   1,693,454 1.17 1,981,337

Short Ton Unit ("STU")

 Notes:

  1. Mineral Reserves conform to CIM and NI43-101 requirements.
  2. All Mineral Reserves are classified as Probable.
  3. Mineral Reserves are estimated at a cutoff grade of 0.80% WO3.
  4. A minimum mining width of 15 feet was used.
  5. The E Zone Pillars include the West Extension, E-Zone, Main Zone Pillars

NATCL notes that some mining zone nomenclature may cause confusion for those unfamiliar with the Cantung deposits. The E-Zone refers both to the entire underground orebody, and also to the few remaining stopes that do not fit into a subzone category such as Main, South Flats, or West Extension. 

The reserve estimate is based on NATCL's forecast of a long-term base case G1 price scenario of US$262/Metric Tonne Unit ("MTU") and US$244/MTU for flotation concentrates is reasonable for the entire life of mine; an operating cost of $149 per ton milled and a cut off grade of 0.80% WO3 for the life of mine. In NATCL's opinion, the key risk to mine profitability lies in tungsten price sustainability and mined grades over the remaining mine life.

The Cantung Mine produces ore at a rate of 1,160 short tons per day ("stpd"). Mineral Reserves support a mine life of 4 years, ending in Q4 2014. Primary mining methods include, longhole stoping and pillar-remnant ore recovery using different techniques. Currently, longhole methods are planned for mining the majority of the remaining reserves, both for pillar recovery and for primary mining in areas with favourable geometry.

Processing is carried out by gravity and flotation circuits. Final products include a premium gravity concentrate (G1), containing 65% WO3 and a flotation concentrate containing 45% WO3.

Production and Exploration

When production is taken into account, Mineral Reserves have increased since the previous reserve estimate of October 1, 2009. Increases are due to exploration of new zones, inclusion of lower-grade areas rendered economic by higher prices, and planned pillar recovery in previously mined areas through the use of longhole mining methods. 

Based on the new mine plan, the Mineral Resources in the Pit/PUG Zone have now been placed into the reserves. Past Pit/PUG designs proposed production in the order of more than one year of mill feed. The new mine plan has production from the PUG Zone in its second year of its Life of Mine Plan.

As long as development and stope preparation continues in a timely manner, longhole mining should provide steady production at a lower cost than cut and fill mining. Longhole pillar mining carries a risk of lower grades from higher dilution; however, life of mine plan production estimates carry a reasonable and appropriate allowance for expected dilution.

MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATES

Mineral Resources for the Cantung Mine, as of October 2010, are listed below in Table 1-2 and Table 1-3. 

TABLE 1-2 CANTUNG INDICATED MINERAL RESOURCES AS OF OCTOBER 2010  

         Zone Tons Grade (WO3 %)  STU'S
West Extension Below 3700el        344,485 1.49      513,283
West Extension Below 3570el        305,324 1.46      445,773
West Extension        115,601 1.20      138,652
E-Zone          24,183 1.97        47,738
Main Zone Pillars        387,448 1.27      491,461
Central Flats            6,198 1.07          6,646
South Flats          38,990 1.64        64,079
Pit/PUG     1,230,580 0.83    1,021,381
       
TOTAL Indicated Resources     2,452,809 1.11   2,729,013

Notes:

  1. Mineral Resources conform to CIM and NI43-101 requirements.
  2. Mineral Resources are estimated at a cutoff grade of 0.5% WO3 for underground as well as Pit and PUG
  3. All Mineral Resources are listed as Indicated
  4. Pit/PUG refers to Pit Underground

TABLE 1-3 CANTUNG INFERRED MINERAL RESOURCES AS OF OCTOBER 2010

Zone Tons Grade (WO3%) STU'S
West Extension Below 3700el 571 0.92 525
West Extension Below 3700el 15,371 1.15 17,677
Pit/PUG 417,323 0.83 346,378
TOTAL Inferred Resources 433,265 0.84 364,580
       

Notes:

  1. Mineral Resources conform to CIM and NI43-101 requirements.
  2. Mineral Resources are estimated at a cutoff grade of 0.5% WO3 for underground as well as Pit and PUG
  3. All Mineral Resources are listed as Inferred
  4. Pit/PUG refers to Pit Underground

The mineral resource estimate was carried out using Minesight TM software to create a 3D block model of the various ore bodies and mine openings which were used to limit the material available to be mined. The dimension of the block size used in the model was 10 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet oriented parallel to the EW and NS grid direction. Historically, capping was not deemed necessary. A cutoff grade of 0.5% WO3 was used for the mineral resource estimate. Blocks within a 100 foot radius of a diamond drill hole were used. 

Mineral Reserves were estimated by applying extraction and dilution estimates to the insitu mineral resources on a stope by stope basis.

QUALIFIED PERSON

Kevin Fitzpatrick, P. Eng., the Company's Chief Mine Engineer and Finley J. Bakker, P. Geo., the Company's former Chief Geologist both qualified persons as defined by NI 43-101 have reviewed and approved the technical disclosure of the reserves and resources contained in the news release.

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 a strategic 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

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.
    Vancouver Office
    +1.604.684.5300
    +1.604.684.2992 (FAX)
    info@natungsten.com