Sherwood Copper Corporation

Sherwood Copper Corporation

February 25, 2008 07:00 ET

Sherwood Reports 2007 Production Results & 2008 Production Estimate for Minto Mine

Higher Production Increases Exposure to Current High Metal Prices while Downside is Protected

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2008) - Sherwood Copper Corporation (TSX VENTURE:SWC)(TSX VENTURE:SWC.DB) today announced its operating results for 2007, which included production of 9.66 million pounds of copper in concentrate including 5.35 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter of 2007. This production level is less than set out in the 2006 detailed feasibility study ("DFS") but in line with revised forecasts set out in the 2007 pre-feasibility study ("PFS") as a result of decisions to (1) process lower grades during the commissioning and ramp up of the mill in order to avoid unnecessary metal losses until recoveries reached design levels and, (2) to construct the Phase 2 mill expansion earlier than contemplated in the DFS, resulting in some production being deferred into 2008 as the plant expansion was constructed and tied in.

In addition, Sherwood announced its production estimate for 2008 of approximately 55 million pounds of payable copper and 24,000 oz of payable gold, significantly higher than projected in its 2006 DFS, as a result of (1) completing the Phase 2 mill expansion earlier than planned and (2) further optimization of the open pit schedule for 2008, resulting in higher grade ore being processed sooner. In fact, for the next several months, grades mined from the pit are forecast to exceed 4% copper, but mill feed will likely be capped at 4% copper in order to not overload the circuit with too much concentrate.

"Our copper & gold production from the high grade Minto copper-gold mine was very close to the revised target for the entire year and in the first quarter of commercial production," said Stephen Quin, President & CEO. "This is a tremendous achievement for our operating personnel, especially given the challenges inherent in commissioning a new mine and in tying in the Phase 2 mill expansion while still operating the mine," he added. "Further, Sherwood has been successful in advancing a number of project optimizations to the point that they could be brought into our production plans, boosting metal production estimates for 2008 and beyond. Additional opportunities for further enhancements and increases in production are still being evaluated as part of Sherwood's relentless pursuit of value."

Sherwood Objectives

Sherwood's objective for the Minto Mine is twofold: firstly to aggressively increase reserves and production in a staged manner, resulting in a natural dehedging through increased production and, secondly, to continually optimize and improve the production profile and costs of operation through its relentless pursuit of value. In both of these areas, Sherwood has made considerable progress since the DFS was published in mid-2006, but continues to strive to extract maximum value from its Minto Mine to the benefit of all stakeholders, as discussed below. In addition, Sherwood recently acquired a controlling interest in Western Keltic Mines, which owns the high grade Kutcho copper-zinc-silver-gold project in NW British Columbia. Based on what is a very similar scale of project, this acquisition provides Sherwood with the opportunity to repeat its experience at Minto to repeat the successful optimization, construction and operation at Kutcho.

Forward Sales

As a result of the expanded production profile outlined in the recently completed PFS, forward sales now account for approximately 50% of the next four years production and approximately 32% of current life-of-mine production. This represents a marked decrease in forward sales from the previously forecast 75% of its metal production in the first four years based on production levels set out in the original DFS. A decrease in forward sales provides Sherwood with increased exposure to current high spot prices for copper, gold and silver. The percentage forward sold excludes any consideration of potential production from the Kutcho project, which is entirely unhedged. Details of the current forward sales positions on a quarterly basis are attached to this press release.

2007 Operating Results

Key operating statistics for the Minto Mine in the third and fourth quarters of 2007, and for the entire year (including waste stripping for the entire 12 months and limited concentrate production in the second quarter of 2007), are presented below. All costs and production prior to October 1, 2007 were capitalized, and commercial operations commenced on October 1, 2007.

Q3/2007 Q4/2007 Total 2007(i)
Tonnes mined 2,836,571 2,299,882 14,919,032
- Ore 495,870 131,162 700,398
- Waste(ii) 2,340,701 2,168,720 (iii)14,218,634
Ore grade
- Copper (%) 1.69% 2.02% 1.70%
- Gold (g/t) 0.45 0.61 0.45
- Silver (g/t) 7.0 7.6 6.8
Mill throughput
- Tonnes processed 117,382 100,811 238,446
- Copper grade (%) 1.90% 2.57% 2.16%
- Gold grade (g/t)(ii) N/A N/A N/A
- Silver grade (g/t) 6.9 9.1 7.7
- Copper 78.1% 93.7% 85.1%
- Gold(i) N/A N/A N/A
- Silver 68.6% 87.7% 77.5%
- Tonnes produced (dmt) 4,965 7,086 12,630
- Copper grade (%) 35.1% 34.3% 34.7%
- Gold grade (g/t)(i) N/A N/A N/A
- Silver grade (g/t) 112.4 113.8 113.0
Contained Metal
- Copper (lbs) 3,837,143 5,350,602 9,662,003
- Gold (oz)(i) N/A N/A N/A
- Silver (oz) 17,940 25,932 45,890
(i) From June - December 2007 inclusive, except the mining
quantities are inclusive of all pit production through
the end of 2007.
(ii) Gold is not assayed on site, resulting in a significant
lag in receiving this data.
(iii) Includes capitalized pre-stripping treated as
pre-production costs in the DFS.

The key points related to the 2007 and early 2008 production are as follows:

- Copper recoveries are now averaging 93-94% on a consistent basis with individual days as high as 98% versus plan of 90-93%, while concentrate grades have averaged 37% versus plan of 30-33% during commissioning of the Phase 2 expansion.

- As previously disclosed through 2007, mill throughput was hampered in the early months of operation by poor mechanical performance of the flotation cells and limitations in the tailings and concentrate filtration. By year-end 2007, these issues had been resolved and the plant is currently ramping up to full capacity of 2,400 tonnes per day, with minor on-going tie-ins completed in January and February 2008. In the meantime, when throughput is less than full capacity, higher than planned grade has been fed to the mill (2.6 - 2.9% versus 1.9 - 2.0% planned) so that copper metal production in each of December 2007 and January 2008 have met budget.

- Reconciliation of ore mined during 2007, based on blast hole assays, suggest approximately 18-20% more tonnes of ore at similar grades as compared to those estimated in the reserve block model used in the DFS and PFS. This upside was an opportunity identified in the 2006 DFS. The higher tonnages are an encouraging trend, but no definitive conclusions can be made until additional data is generated throughout the reserves.

- Stripping at the Minto pit is accelerated in the early years and decreases thereafter, as set out in the PFS.

- Sherwood currently has more than 13,000 dmt of concentrate stored between the Skagway ore terminal and its on-site storage facility at Minto, with a ship scheduled to pick up approximately 10,000 tonnes of concentrate in early March.

Production Outlook & Forward Sales

As announced December 12, 2007, Sherwood reported details of an independent pre-feasibility ("PFS") for the Minto Mine that incorporated a Phase 3 expansion of the mill commencing in 2009 and the mining of the Area 2 deposit commencing in 2011. The following table summarizes the estimated payable metal production set out in the PFS and the quantities forward sold. This combination provides significant downside protection but considerable upside opportunity as production plans increase.

Pre-Feasibility Study (Dec. 2007)
2008 2009 2010 2011

Payable Copper 000's lbs Cu 57,155 51,778 81,666 42,491
- Copper Forwards 000's lbs Cu 25,190 32,825 27,798 24,251
- Average forward pricing US$/lb $2.85 $2.49 $2.19 $2.41
- Uncommitted copper 000's lbs Cu 31,965 18,954 53,868 18,240
- Copper committed (%) 44.1% 63.4% 34.0% 57.1%

Payable Gold Oz Au 24,504 18,662 35,455 21,059
- Gold Forwards Oz Au 12,126 14,424 14,025 13,520
- Average forward pricing US$/oz $653 $653 $653 $718
- Uncommitted Gold Oz Au 12,378 4,238 21,430 7,539
- Gold committed (%) 49.5% 77.3% 39.6% 64.2%

Payable Silver 000's oz Ag 262.1 262.4 436.1 195.5
- Silver Forwards 000's oz Ag 162.8 156.6 132.0 151.4
- Average forward pricing US$/oz $11.88 $11.90 $11.90 $13.50
- Uncommitted Silver 000's oz Ag 425 419 568 347
- Silver committed (%) 62.1% 59.7% 30.3% 77.5%

2012 2013 2014 2015 Ave.

Payable Copper 000's lbs Cu 44,527 23,501 37,833 8,951 347,903
- Copper Forwards 000's lbs Cu 110,064
- Average forward
pricing US$/lb 2.5
- Uncommitted copper 000's lbs Cu 44,527 23,501 37,833 8,951 237,839
- Copper committed (%) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 31.6%

Payable Gold Oz Au 19,998 8,670 14,982 2,567 145,897
- Gold Forwards Oz Au 54,095
- Average forward
pricing US$/oz $669.45
- Uncommitted Gold Oz Au 19,998 8,670 14,982 2,567 91,802
- Gold committed (%) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 37.1%

Payable Silver 000's oz Ag 180.7 96.4 122.4 32.3 1,588
- Silver Forwards 000's oz Ag 603
- Average forward
pricing US$/oz $12.30
- Uncommitted Silver 000's oz Ag 181 96 122 32 2,191
- Silver committed (%) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 38.0%

Achievement of production levels set out in the PFS in 2008 is dependent on achieving and maintaining design grades, throughput and recoveries, but is achievable with existing permits, while the production levels in years 2009 and beyond are also dependent on amendments to operating permits to increase mill throughput and permit mining the Area 2 deposit. These forecasts take no account of exploration success in 2007 or the acquisition of the Kutcho project, which could result in increased unhedged production in future years.

An unusually long period of cold weather (minus 40 centigrade or below) in January and the first half of February did affect mining operations but, with more than 500,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled, the impact on milling operations was reduced. On the processing front, the very cold primarily affected crusher operations leading to occasional shortages of feed for the mill, but operations were able to adjust by feeding higher grade ore to the mill, mitigating the impact on January production and, to a lesser extent, February's production. However, sufficient high grade ore is expected to be available from the pit to allow overall 2008 goals to be met. A redesign of the crusher feed mechanism during the summer of 2008 should prevent this from being an issue going forward.

Sherwood also advises that the first and last quarters are projected to be lowest production quarters in 2008 due to the ore release schedule from the pit and, in the case of the first quarter, completion of commissioning and ramp-up to full Phase 2 mill capacity during the quarter.

Continued Optimization

As reported in the 2006 DFS, a number of opportunities to further optimize the Minto project beyond what was established in the DFS were identified. Since that study, a number of these opportunities have been incorporated and were addressed in the recent PFS, while several others are ready to implement and others are a matter of on-going work. The list following identifies these opportunities and updates the status on each.

1. Accelerate Phase 2 mill expansion to 2,400 tonnes per day of throughput. Construction was completed at the end of December, more than six months ahead of the feasibility schedule and commissioning is in progress with sustained tonnages of over 2,000 tonnes per day achieved to date. Included in the PFS.

2. Access grid power replacing more expensive diesel power. Construction of the power line commenced late 2007 and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2008. Line clearing and route survey is well advanced. Included in the PFS.

3. Reduce waste stripping by steepening the pit walls. A geotechnical program completed in early 2007 has allowed steepened pit walls to be utilized since mid-2007. Included in the PFS.

4. Utilization of coarser grinding in the mill, allowing increased throughput for minimal capital expenditures. Extensive metallurgical bench scale test work in 2007 confirmed that mill throughput can be increased significantly by utilizing a coarser grind with minimal impact on recoveries, which is the basis for the Phase 3 mill expansion to 3,500 tonnes per day incorporated in the PFS. Full scale testing of coarser grinding in the Minto mill will likely occur in 2008.

5. Rescheduled mining of the open pit bringing grade (and therefore higher metal production) forward. Given the northern part of the pit has higher copper grades, significantly higher precious metal grades and higher recoveries, and generates a higher grade concentrate (resulting in lower transportation and smelting costs per unit of metal), combined with current high metal prices, developing the pit northward in the early years from the initial cut, as opposed to southward, is expected to result in higher metal production and increased profitability. A preliminary version of a rescheduled pit is used in the PFS, resulting in increased production in 2008 vs. the DFS (from grade alone, assuming no throughput increase) and in 2009 and 2010 from a combination of higher grade and higher throughput. An additional iteration of this mining plan is currently being reviewed, with the objective of moving some of the exceptionally high grade production in 2010 forward into late 2008 and 2009.

6. Benefit from positive reserve reconciliation. As noted above, the blast hole assay data suggests approximately 18-20% more ore tonnes mined to date versus the reserve block model used in the DFS and PFS. This is likely due to undersampling of historic core and a number of other factors and was identified as an opportunity in the DFS. The trend observed to date will continue to be monitored and has not been incorporated in the PFS; Sherwood views this as an unquantified upside opportunity.

7. Increased reserves. Given the ability to increase mill throughput for minimal capital, the single biggest opportunity to increase value of the Minto Project is to add reserves. The 2006 Area 2 discovery was incorporated into the PFS, but the exploration successes of 2007 at Area 118, the southeast corner of Area 2 and Ridgetop offer near term potential for resource additions which were not included in the PFS. Resource estimates are in process for these areas, and additional drilling in planned in 2008 to more fully evaluate the potential of these and to drill test other areas.

8. Improved copper recoveries in the southern pit area. In the DFS, copper recovery for a limited amount of tonnage in the southern area of the Minto pit was assumed to be 75% in the DFS based on historic test work. Based on bench scale test work conducted during 2007 the recovery for this material has been increased to 85% in the PFS. Further metallurgical test work conducted in 2007 on all other ore in the pit, aside from this one area, yielded recoveries in the 93-94% range, as used in the PFS.

9. Gravity gold recovery. In addition to a base recovery of approximately 74% assumed in the DFS, coarse visible gold has been observed in core during 2006-2007 drilling and a field trial of a gravity gold recovery circuit is planned for mid- to late 2008. This opportunity has not been incorporated in the PFS.

10. Waste dump relocation. The PFS identified possible alternative locations for the waste rock dumps, which could reduce waste haulage costs. In order to determine the viability of these alternatives, geotechnical drilling is required, which will commence before the end of February. These geotechnical holes will be extended into bedrock to test buried geophysical targets that could represent additional mineralization not previously evaluated.

Kutcho Project

Now that Sherwood has acquired 91.7% ownership of Western Keltic Mines, owner of the high grade Kutcho copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit in northwestern British Columbia, Sherwood has begun its process of reassessing the development options for the deposit. Sherwood's objective will be to take a more Minto-like approach to the development of Kutcho, potentially by focusing on the rapid development of a smaller scale, lower capital cost operation that is focused on high grade production up front. In order to achieve this objective, Sherwood intends to:

1. Update the current resource estimate;

2. Re-design the open pit to optimize grade and tonnage production;

3. Re-scope the project scale to optimize profitability, while reducing capital;

4. Initiate an in fill drill program to better define near surface mineralization and higher grade trends, and re-optimize the open pit;

5. Conduct a metallurgical program focused on optimizing process design and recoveries to feasibility standards and explore opportunities to increase recoveries;

6. Continue the permitting process with the relevant authorities;

7. Engage local stakeholders, including First Nations, through community consultations.

More definitive information on the scope and timing of these activities will be provided as they are developed.


Sherwood's successful consolidation of the ownership of the Minto Project provides a unique investment opportunity - participation in a high-grade, open pit copper-gold mine located in Canada with tremendous exploration potential on the property. Aggressive exploration, in parallel with successful mine development and operations, provides Sherwood the opportunity to grow from within through resource and reserve additions in pursuit of further production expansions. Sherwood plans to continue this "growth from within" strategy, along with further operational optimizations and the pursuit of merger & acquisition opportunities, in its relentless pursuit of value. In parallel, Sherwood aims to repeat its success with the Minto project at the Kutcho project.

Quality Assurance

The technical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed by Stephen P. Quin, P. Geo., President & CEO for Sherwood Copper Corporation. The exploration activities at the Minto project site are carried out under the supervision of Brad Mercer, P. Geol., Exploration Manager with Sherwood. The operational information relating to the Minto Mine in this release have been carried out under the supervision of Ian Berzins, P.Eng., General Manager of the Minto Mine and Kevin Weston, P.Eng., Chief Operating Officer for Sherwood Copper.

Additional Information

Additional information on Sherwood and its Minto Project can be obtained on Sherwood's website at

On behalf of the board of directors


Stephen P. Quin, President & CEO

This document may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management's expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral reserves and resources, the realization of mineral reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, costs of production, capital expenditures, success of mining operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims and limitations on insurance coverage. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, risks related to actual results of current exploration activities; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of resources; possible variations in ore reserves, grade or recovery rates; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities; as well as those factors detailed from time to time in the Company's interim and annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of those statements, all of which are filed and available for review on SEDAR at Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual 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 forward-looking 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.

Sherwood Copper Corporation
Summary of Forward Sale Contracts (as of February
20, 2008) to Accompany Press Release Dated
February 25, 2008

Weighted Average
Price Price
Year Tonnes Lbs (US$/t) (US$/oz)
2008 Q1 1,233 2,718,300 6,500.40 2.95
2008 Q2 4,261 9,393,897 6,401.23 2.90
2008 Q3 3,357 7,400,918 6,322.63 2.87
2008 Q4 2,575 5,676,903 5,957.85 2.70
Total 2008 11,426 25,190,018 6,288.92 2.85

2009 Q1 3,624 7,989,552 5,768.53 2.62
2009 Q2 4,184 9,224,141 5,572.36 2.53
2009 Q3 3,700 8,157,104 5,381.96 2.44
2009 Q4 3,381 7,453,829 5,184.07 2.35
Total 2009 14,889 32,824,626 5,484.62 2.49

2010 Q1 3,381 7,453,829 5,036.62 2.28
2010 Q2 3,381 7,453,829 4,895.54 2.22
2010 Q3 3,015 6,646,937 4,757.50 2.16
2010 Q4 2,832 6,243,491 4,620.02 2.10
Total 2010 12,609 27,798,087 4,838.48 2.19

2011 Q1 2,832 6,243,491 4,541.62 2.06
2011 Q2 3,352 7,389,895 5,405.54 2.45
2011 Q3 3,612 7,963,097 5,704.59 2.59
2011 Q4 1,204 2,654,366 5,655.37 2.57
Total 2011 11,000 24,250,849 5,308.66 2.41


TOTAL 49,924 110,063,580 5,466.74 2.48

--------------------------- ----------------------------
Weighted Average Weighted Average
Price Price
Year OZS (US$/oz) Year OZS (US$/oz)
--------------------------- ----------------------------
2008 Q1 2,291 653.42 2008 Q1 31,733 11.90
2008 Q2 4,358 652.83 2008 Q2 61,514 11.87
2008 Q3 2,220 653.98 2008 Q3 34,881 11.86
2008 Q4 3,257 653.48 2008 Q4 34,664 11.90
Total 2008 12,126 653.33 Total 2008 162,792 11.88

2009 Q1 3,959 653.45 2009 Q1 40,636 11.90
2009 Q2 3,883 653.46 2009 Q2 42,017 11.90
2009 Q3 3,291 653.42 2009 Q3 36,963 11.90
2009 Q4 3,291 653.42 2009 Q4 36,963 11.90
Total 2009 14,424 653.44 Total 2009 156,579 11.90

2010 Q1 3,291 653.42 2010 Q1 36,963 11.90
2010 Q2 3,414 653.44 2010 Q2 34,693 11.90
2010 Q3 3,660 653.49 2010 Q3 30,153 11.90
2010 Q4 3,660 653.49 2010 Q4 30,153 11.90
Total 2010 14,025 653.46 Total 2010 131,962 11.90

2011 Q1 3,660 653.49 2011 Q1 30,153 11.90
2011 Q2 3,620 727.58 2011 Q2 40,005 13.83
2011 Q3 3,600 765.25 2011 Q3 44,931 14.47
2011 Q4 2,640 727.69 2011 Q4 36,327 13.26
Total 2011 13,520 717.58 Total 2011 151,416 13.50

--------------------------- ----------------------------

TOTAL 54,095 669.45 TOTAL 602,749 12.30
--------------------------- ----------------------------

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

Contact Information

  • Sherwood Copper Corporation
    Stephen Quin
    (604) 687-7545 or 1-888-338-2200
    Sherwood Copper Corporation
    Brad Kopp
    (604) 687-7545 or 1-888-338-2200
    Sherwood Copper Corporation
    Kristy Reynolds
    (604) 687-7545 or 1-888-338-2200
    (604) 689-5041 (FAX)