URSA Major Minerals Incorporated
TSX : UMJ

URSA Major Minerals Incorporated

March 14, 2011 10:03 ET

URSA Major Minerals Provides Production Forecast and Exploration Update for the Shakespeare Mine

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) -

THIS PRESS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO ANY U.S. NEWS WIRE SERVICE OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES.

URSA Major Minerals Incorporated ("URSA Major" or the "Company") (TSX:UMJ) is pleased to provide production guidance for mining operations at the Company's Shakespeare Nickel-Copper Mine located 70 km west of Sudbury, Ontario.  

Highlights:

  • Total shipments for year to total 199,000 tonnes of ore grading 0.373% nickel, 0.419% copper, 0.027% cobalt, 0.397 g/t platinum, 0.420 g/t palladium, 0.252 g/t gold (plus silver equivalent);
  • Revenues from metal sales forecasted to be $18.2 million;
  • Significantly increased exploration program, specifically at Shakespeare East down-plunge extension.

This is the second year of open pit mining operations at Shakespeare with truck haulage to the Strathcona Mill.  For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2012 ("fiscal 2012"), URSA Major forecasts production of approximately 199,000 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.373% nickel, 0.419% copper, 0.027% cobalt, 0.397 g/t platinum, 0.420 g/t palladium, 0.252 g/t gold (plus silver equivalent).  This compares with 198,191 tonnes at a grade of 0.357% nickel, 0.408% copper, 0.024% cobalt, 0.373 g/t platinum, 0.410 g/t palladium, 0.247 g/t gold produced to January 31, 2011.

In anticipation of expanded production at the Shakespeare Mine, the Company has significantly increased its exploration activity for 2011.  Specifically, the 2011 exploration program will include a minimum 7,000 metre drilling program on the Shakespeare East Deposit Extension to delineate additional resources.  The drilling program is currently underway and initial results are expected in late-March.

Richard Sutcliffe, URSA Major Minerals' President and CEO, reflected, "Over the past year, we achieved significant milestones with the resumption of production from Shakespeare that resulted in a stronger balance sheet and an opportunity to expand our properties.  We started mining from the west pit, shipping 50,000 tonnes of ore in 2007, followed by over 100,000 tonnes in 2008, before ceasing production due to very weak metal prices.  After resuming in February 2010, we have been very successful with mining operations that are significantly leveraged to increasing nickel, copper and platinum prices. We believe metal prices will remain strong in 2011 providing the basis for further growth and development at Shakespeare and our satellite projects."

Revenues from metal sales for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2012 are forecast to be CDN$18.2 million and were calculated using an exchange rate at par and metal prices quoted in US dollars as follows; nickel $11.00/lb, copper $4.00/lb, cobalt $17.00/lb, platinum $1,700/oz, palladium $700/oz and gold $1,350/oz.  Metal prices are management's estimate of average metal prices for the fiscal year and are based on analyst consensus forecasts for the same period.  The processing rates for milling, treatment and refining charges were established under contract with Xstrata Nickel in December 2006.

Total contained nickel and copper in ore are expected to be 1.6 million pounds and 1.8 million pounds, respectively, in fiscal 2012.  Contained metals are subject to mill and smelter recoveries.  Total production cost for fiscal 2012 is forecast to be CDN$43.65 per tonne of ore and CDN$4.45 per lb of nickel net of by-product credits for copper, platinum, palladium, gold and cobalt.  Fiscal 2012 total production costs are forecast to increase over the previous fiscal year as a result of higher fuel costs and an increase in waste rock removal.  After taking into account the cost of drilling and blasting, mucking and crushing, and haulage to the mill, net revenue for fiscal 2012 is forecasted at CDN$12.23 per tonne of ore.  Gross operating margin for fiscal 2012 is forecast at $2.4 million.

The mine plan for the Shakespeare Mine will continue at a nominal rate of 1,000 tonnes per day.  Trucking operations will be temporarily suspended on March 15, 2011, due to the spring season half-load trucking restriction.  This restriction is an annual event and is taken into consideration in the annual operating plan for the Shakespeare Mine. Full-load trucking resumes when the spring load restriction is removed by the Municipality of Sudbury, which typically occurs in late May.

As announced previously, URSA Major Minerals has initiated a 7,000 metre drilling program consisting of both infill and step out drilling (see press release dated February 10, 2011). The intent is to update the resource estimate beneath the Shakespeare East Deposit, and to assess the economics of underground mining operations, with the Company's own mill onsite. A long section illustrating the proposed targets in relation to the current mining operations, reserves and resources and previous drilling is available on the Company's website at www.ursamajorminerals.com.  P&E Mining Consultants Inc. has been engaged to produce a technical report on the updated resource estimate and economic analysis.  The work program will take approximately six months to complete.

About URSA Major Minerals Incorporated

URSA Major is a Canadian mining company with an operating mine in the Sudbury area and nickel sulphide deposits containing significant NI43-101 compliant nickel and copper reserves and resources.  The Company is focused on maintaining profitable operations at the Shakespeare Mine expanding its nickel, copper and platinum group metal (PGM) production and increasing mineral resources through exploration and development, primarily in Ontario, Canada.

Some statements contained in this release are forward-looking and, therefore, involve uncertainties or risks that could cause actual results to differ materially. Such forward-looking statements include comments regarding mining and milling operations, mineral resource statements and exploration program performance. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include metal price volatility, economic and political events affecting metal supply and demand, fluctuations in mineralization grade, geological, technical, mining or processing problems, exploration programs and future results of exploration programs, future profitability and production.

This release was prepared by management of the Company who takes full responsibility for its contents. The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information