Orvana Minerals Corp.

Orvana Minerals Corp.

June 24, 2011 08:45 ET

Orvana Announces Prefeasibility Study Results for Copperwood Project, Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 24, 2011) - Orvana Minerals Corp. (TSX:ORV), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Orvana Resources US Corp ("Orvana USA"), announces today the highlights of their 43-101-compliant Prefeasibility Study for the Copperwood copper project, Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA. The study contemplates a 14-year underground operation that applies both conventional drill-and-blast and mechanized methods to room-and-pillar mining and develops a detailed mine plan for each. The fully-diluted mineable reserves using conventional drill-and-blast methods with 50% pillar recovery, which is considered the base case, are 24.9 million short tons of 1.37% copper and 4.2 ppm silver proven and 5.1 million short tons of 1.11% copper and 2.8 ppm silver probable, for a total of 30.0 million short tons of 1.33% copper (798 million pounds) and 3.9 ppm silver (3.46 million ounces). The table below is a summary of the financial results.

Summary of Key Financial Parameters (Drill-and-Blast Case)
Copper Price (US$)/Silver Price (US$)
2.25 / 22.502.50 / 25.003.00 / 30.003.50 / 35.004.00 / 40.00
NPV(8), (000's)-1,01559,302176,993287,558391,538
IRR (After Corporate Taxes)-23.1%15.7%27.2%36.1%43.6%
Payback, yrs6.
Note: Property tax liabilities are not included since no assessment has been completed

The mine plan resulting from the use of a continuous miner projects slightly higher copper production, a longer mine life, and greater after-tax cash flow mostly due to projected lower operating costs (see table below). Furthermore, it mitigates risk at lower copper prices. Orvana USA will continue to evaluate this innovative method for copper mining in order to reduce associated risks and maximise the economics.

Summary of Key Financial Parameters (Continuous Miner Case)
Copper Price (US$)/Silver Price (US$)
2.25 / 22.502.50 / 25.003.00 / 30.003.50 / 35.004.00 / 40.00
NPV(8), (000's)22,53780,601194,489298,755400,027
IRR (After Corporate Taxes)10.8%16.9%26.4%33.9%40.4%
Payback, yrs6.
Note: Property tax liabilities are not included since no assessment has been completed

"This prefeasibility study provides a baseline from which we can improve upon the designs and costs related to this proposed operation," said Bill Williams, President of Orvana USA. "It is believed that the use of a continuous miner would greatly improve the economics of the project and studies to minimize the risk of applying it to the Copperwood deposit are ongoing. We plan to complete the mine-permit application for submittal this summer. We gratefully acknowledge the overwhelming support of the communities and their representatives and will continue our efforts to make a copper mine a reality in this part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula."

Both mine plans call for the development of a ramp and box cut to access the ore bed. All development will be focused on the ore bed and virtually no waste rock will be handled. Average production for the drill-and-blast case over the 14-year mine life will be about 24,000 short tons of copper per year and peak production reaches 38,000 short tons of copper during the fourth year when throughput is at the 7,500 short tons of ore per day capacity. The mine plan calls for 50% of pillar recovery on retreat. Copper will be extracted by conventional flotation. Life-of-mine direct cash costs are $1.16 per pound net of the silver credit.

Base-case operational parameters for the drill-and-blast case with 50% pillar recovery are as follows:

Minable Reserve:30,038,000 short tons
Copper grade:1.33%
Silver grade:3.95 ppm
Throughput:2,620,000 short tons/year (reached after 4 years)
Avg. Annual Production (LOM):23,900 short tons per year Cu
111,200 ounces per year Ag
Copper recovery:87%
Copper concentrate grade:23%
Silver grade in concentrate:40 ppm (average)
Key financial input parameters are (all values in US dollars):
Pre-production capital (including contingencies):$198,505,000
Working & sustaining capital (LOM):$212,504,000
Mine operating cost (LOM)$13.51 per short ton ore
Processing cost (at 7,500 short tons per day):$12.21 per short ton ore
G&A:$1.11 per short ton ore

A net smelter return royalty, which will be determined quarterly, ranges from 2% to 4% on a sliding scale based on inflation-adjusted copper prices.

The prefeasibility study identifies various opportunities whereby the project's economics could be improved. These include the reduction of dilution, additional metallurgical testing to improve recoveries and concentrate grade, refinement of the design and reduction of the costs of the tailings facility, and, most importantly, continued vigorous study of the application of a continuous miner. KD Engineering of Tucson, Arizona has been retained to supervise the pursuit of these opportunities and to move the project forward to construction.

Copperwood is a stratiform copper deposit hosted by the shales and siltstones of the lowermost Nonesuch Formation along the shallow-dipping southern limb of the westward-plunging Western Syncline. Copper occurs as very fine-grained chalcocite. Orvana has options to lease mineral rights on the other stratiform copper deposits within the Western Syncline and recently announced 43-101-compliant resources therein (see 14 December 2010 press release).

On 1 April 2011, Jim Jacques became Director of Mining and Engineering for the Copperwood Project. He joins Dave Anderson, Director of Health, Safety, & Environment and Public Relations, and Tom Repaal, Sr. Environmental Engineer, in the Orvana USA Ironwood, Michigan office. These employees have the needed expertise required for and are the key drivers to the success of the Copperwood project.

The information presented herein was completed by or under the supervision of Joseph M. Keane, P.E., Lynn Partington, P.E., and Thomas Kerr, P.E., Independent Qualified Persons for the purposes of NI 43-101. A summary report will be made available on the Company's website, www.orvana.com, and on SEDAR, www.sedar.com within 45 days.

About Orvana

Orvana is transforming itself into a multi-mine gold and copper producer. Orvana's primary asset is the El Valle-Boinás/Carlés ("EVBC") gold-copper project in northern Spain, which is currently in operation. Orvana also operates the Don Mario mine in Bolivia where a newly completed leaching-precipitation-flotation ("LPF") plant is processing ore from the copper-gold-silver Upper Mineralized Zone ("UMZ") deposit. Orvana is also advancing its Copperwood copper project in Michigan, USA. Additional information is available at Orvana´s website (www.orvana.com).

Forward Looking Disclaimer

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements or forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, potentials, future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "believes", "expects" "plans", "estimates" or "intends" or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", "will" or "are projected to" be taken or achieved) are not statements of historical fact, but are forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, all aspects of the development of the Upper Mineralized Zone ("UMZ") deposit at the Don Mario Mine in Bolivia, the El Valle-Boinás/Carlés project in Spain and the Copperwood project in Michigan and their potential operations and production; the outcome and timing of decisions with respect to whether and how to proceed with such development and production; the timing and outcome of any such development and production; estimates of future capital expenditures; mineral resource estimates; estimates of permitting time lines; statements and information regarding future feasibility studies and their results; production forecasts; future transactions; future metal prices; the ability to achieve additional growth and geographic diversification; future production costs; future financial performance, including the ability to increase cash flow and profits; future financing requirements; and mine development plans.

Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by Orvana as of the date of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. The estimates and assumptions of Orvana contained or incorporated by reference in this news release, which may prove to be incorrect, include, but are not limited to, the various assumptions set forth herein and in the Company's most recently filed Annual Information Form, or as otherwise expressly incorporated herein by reference as well as: there being no significant disruptions affecting operations, whether due to labour disruptions, supply disruptions, power disruptions, damage to equipment or otherwise; permitting, development, operations, expansion and acquisitions at the UMZ deposit, El Valle-Boinás/Carle╠üs and the Copperwood projects being consistent with the Company's current expectations; political developments in any jurisdiction in which the Company operates being consistent with its current expectations; certain price assumptions for gold, copper and silver; prices for key supplies being approximately consistent with current levels; production and cost of sales forecasts meeting expectations; the accuracy of the Company's current mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates; and labour and materials costs increasing on a basis consistent with Orvana's current expectations.

A variety of inherent risks, uncertainties and factors, many of which are beyond the Company's control, affect the operations, performance and results of the Company and its business, and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from estimated or anticipated events or results expressed or implied by forward looking statements. Some of these risks, uncertainties and factors include fluctuations in the price of gold, silver and copper; the need to recalculate estimates of resources based on actual production experience; the failure to achieve production estimates; variations in the grade of ore mined; variations in the cost of operations; the availability of qualified personnel; the Company's ability to obtain and maintain all necessary regulatory approvals and licenses; the Company's ability to use cyanide in its mining operations; risks generally associated with mineral exploration and development, including the Company's ability to develop the UMZ deposit, the Copperwood project or the El Valle-Boinás/Carle╠üs project; the Company's ability to acquire and develop mineral properties and to successfully integrate such acquisitions; the Company's ability to obtain financing when required on terms that are acceptable to the Company; challenges to the Company's interests in its property and mineral rights; current, pending and proposed legislative or regulatory developments or changes in political, social or economic conditions in the countries in which the Company operates; general economic conditions worldwide; and the risks identified in Orvana's Management's Discussion and Analysis for the period ended September 30, 2009 under the heading "Risks and Uncertainties". This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the Company's forward-looking statements and reference should also be made to the Company's Annual Information Form for a description of additional risk factors.

Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Contact Information

  • Orvana Minerals Corp.
    Natalie Frame
    Investor Relations
    (289) 200-7640

    Orvana Minerals Corp.
    Bill Williams
    Vice President, Corporate Development
    (480) 522-7925

    Orvana Minerals Corp.
    Roland Horst
    Chief Executive Officer
    (416) 369-1629