URSA Major Minerals Incorporated
TSX : UMJ

URSA Major Minerals Incorporated

February 10, 2011 13:19 ET

URSA Major Minerals Updates Exploration Plans for Its Ontario Nickel, Copper and PGM Projects and Fourth Quarter Operations at the Shakespeare Mine

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2011) -

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URSA Major Minerals Incorporated ("URSA Major" or the "Company") (TSX:UMJ) is pleased to provide an update on exploration plans for the Company's nickel, copper and PGM projects in 2011 and provide results from the fourth quarter mining operations.

Highlights include:

  • Drilling and borehole geophysics at the Shakespeare East target identified additional sulphide mineralization and a strong borehole EM conductor 200 meters east of previous drill intersections;
  • Nickel Offsets drilling and borehole geophysics provided additional high-grade massive sulphide targets below the 1550 foot level of the past-producing mine workings;
  • Acquired an additional PGM property in the Thunder Bay area and airborne geophysical survey completed at Disraeli Lake property;
  • Shakespeare Mine delivered 64,947 tonnes of ore at a grade of 0.34% nickel, 0.40% copper, and 0.98 g/t PGM in quarter ended January 31, 2011, compared with 66,769 tonnes at a grade of 0.38% nickel, 0.43% copper, and 1.08 g/t PGM in the previous fiscal quarter.

URSA Major Minerals' President and CEO, Richard Sutcliffe, commented "Our main focus during the past two years has been to bring the Shakespeare Mine into profitable production. During the past year, we have demonstrated that consistent ore production and grades can be achieved at Shakespeare. We have now shifted our attention to expanding exploration activity in order to develop the resources at our Ontario properties with an immediate goal to increase the size of our Shakespeare deposit and assess the potential for underground production. We continue to evaluate various options to improve the economics of a proposed 4,500 tpd mining and milling operation contained in the 2008 feasibility study. In addition to the Shakespeare program, we continue exploration of the highly prospective Nickel Offsets Property and our PGM properties in the Thunder Bay area."

Shakespeare East Exploration – The strike length of mineralization at Shakespeare is currently defined over 1.4 kms and includes the producing West Pit, the fully permitted Shakespeare East Deposit discovered by URSA Major in 2002, and the down plunge resources extending east from the Shakespeare East Deposit. The Shakespeare East Deposit remains open down plunge to the northeast. Highlights of previous drilling east of the planned Shakespeare East Pit, that intersected significant widths of mineralization include (see July 8, 2008 press release): U3-112 with 3.0 metres of 0.87% nickel, 0.28% copper, 0.06% cobalt and 0.72 g/t precious metals and 11.0 meters of 0.48% nickel, 0.59% copper, 0.03% cobalt and 1.39 g/t precious metals and; U3-113 with 13.0 meters of 0.46% nickel 0.59% copper, 0.03% cobalt and 1.31 g/t precious metals.

In December 2010, URSA Major initiated a drill program to test the down plunge extension of the Shakespeare East Deposit. An immediate goal of the program is to expand the size of the Shakespeare East Deposit and assess the potential of underground production from this section of the Deposit. 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.

To date, the Company has drilled two holes totalling 1,365 meters on the Shakespeare East down plunge target. U8-01, located 200 meters northeast of previous drilling by the Company, was drilled to a depth of 798 meters and intersected a narrow 0.35 meter interval of sulphide mineralization at 684 meters that was truncated by a fault structure. A borehole time domain electromagnetic (EM) survey identified a strong off-hole conductive response at a depth of 675 meters down the hole. Modelling indicated a conductive plate with a 60° north dip and terminating just above the trace of U8-01. This orientation is consistent with that of the Shakespeare mineralization. Hole U8-01 is located east of the 100% owned Shakespeare property on ground that is currently under a joint venture agreement with Xstrata Nickel. URSA Major has earned a greater than 81% interest in the property, subject to certain back-in rights to Xstrata. A follow up hole, U8-02 has been collared to test the conductive response detected above U8-01.

Hole U3-115, located on property that is 100% owned by the Company and 60 meters northeast of hole U3-112 was drilled to a depth of 567 meters. This drill hole intersected 30.0 meters of sulphide mineralization from a depth of 472.1 to 502.1 meters down hole. Assay samples from U8-01 and U3-115 are in process.

Based on the encouraging results to date, URSA Major intends to use part of the proceeds from the recent financing to accelerate and expand this exploration program. The Company plans to complete approximately 7,000 meters of drilling, a new resource estimate on the Shakespeare East down plunge extension and conduct a preliminary economic analysis of underground mining of this resource. 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.

The Company regrets to report that on January 18, an accident resulting in a critical injury to a contracted drill operator occurred at the Shakespeare East exploration site. The accident was investigated by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and a stop work order was issued for the specific diamond drill equipment. Contrary to initial reports in the local press, this accident did not affect operations at the Shakespeare Mine. The Company anticipates that drilling will resume early next week, once the equipment has been fitted with additional safety guards. The Company appreciates and thanks site employees and contractors for their decisive first aid treatment and rapid evacuation of the injured driller. Our thoughts are with the injured man and his family and wish him an expeditious recovery.

Nickel Offsets Property – At Nickel Offsets, the Company completed a seven hole, 2,582 meter diamond drilling program in November 2010. Since optioning the Nickel Offsets Property in 2008, URSA has undertaken two diamond drill programs totalling 4,389 meters in 12 holes.

Assay results for holes U15-6, 7, and 10 were reported on November 24, 2010. Hole U15-10 is of particular interest, intersecting 2.89 meters of nickel-rich massive sulphides grading 2.90% nickel, 0.97% copper, 0.16% cobalt, 0.94 g/t platinum, 1.28 g/t palladium, and 0.11 g/t gold. Hole U15-10 also intersected an additional 2.0 meters of platinum group metal mineralization grading 3.04 g/t platinum, 2.00 g/t palladium, 0.82 g/t gold, with 0.07% nickel and 0.37% copper in disseminated sulphides in the footwall of the nickel-rich massive sulphides. As reported in November, holes U15-8, 9, 11 and 12 did not intersect visually significant sulphides, and subsequent careful logging and assaying for potential precious metal bearing disseminated sulphides did not reveal any significant mineralization.

Drilling to date indicates that the previously mined number 2 and 4 ore lenses were probably truncated by a longitudinal fault structure that parallels the strike of the offset dyke and the contained mineralization. URSA Major contracted Crone Geophysics to conduct bore-hole time-domain EM surveys of the recently drilled holes to target new massive sulphide lenses. Hole U15-8 targeted the interpreted down-dip extension of lens 3, below the 1550 foot level of the past producing Nickel Offset No. 1 Mine. While this diamond drill hole did not encounter significant sulphides, a bore-hole EM survey of hole U15-8 has defined a conductive target down plunge from lens 3 and below the existing mine workings. The results of current drilling and the geophysical surveys will be compiled into a 3-dimensional model to generate targets for the next round of drilling. The Company plans to complete a five hole, 2,500 meter program with further bore-hole EM surveys at Nickel Offsets over the next six months.

The Nickel Offsets Property consists of 12 contiguous patented mining claims and five unpatented mining claims covering a total of 358 ha (884 acres). The highly prospective property is located 15 km northeast of Vale's Coleman Mine and Xstrata Nickel's Strathcona mill. The Foy Offset Dyke is one of four major nickel and copper mineralized offset dykes in the Sudbury Basin. Nickel-Copper-PGE mineralization on URSA Major's Nickel Offsets Property is typical of that hosted by quartz diorite offset dykes in the Sudbury mining camp. Examples include the significant deposits at Vale's North and South Mines hosted by the Copper Cliff offset dyke; Vale's Totten deposit under development in the Worthington offset dyke; and Quadra FNX's recent discovery on its Victoria project, also hosted in the Worthington offset dyke. URSA Major has successfully utilized diamond drilling and bore-hole EM geophysics to target and identify nickel-copper sulphide mineralization which also carries high-grade platinum group metal values.

URSA Major has an option to earn a 70% interest in the property from United Reef Limited (TSX VENTURE:URP). (See March 6, 2008 press release for the terms of the option agreement.) The historical pre-production resource at the Nickel Offsets Mine (pre NI 43-101 -- see below) was 359,000 tons grading 1.9 % Ni and 1.45 % Cu (Nickel Offset Mines Limited Annual Report 1940). Between 1943 and 1957, the Nickel Offsets Mine, produced 208,551 tons of nickel and copper ore with reported recoveries of 4.56 million lbs of nickel and 3.32 million lbs of copper. Historical underground exploration and mining development at the Nickel Offset Mine included 1,599 feet of shaft sinking, approximately 10,000 feet of drifting and 3,980 feet of raising on nine levels at the No. 1 Mine and 1,056 feet of shaft sinking, approximately 6,000 feet of drifting and 410 feet of raising on five levels in the No. 2 Mine.

Thunder Bay Properties – In November 2010, URSA Major contracted Aeroquest Limited to complete a 610 line km airborne magnetic and time domain EM survey of the Company's Disraeli Property (total 207 claim units) that hosts ultramafic and gabbroic intrusions and is located 25 km north of Magma Metals' Thunder Bay North Property. In late November, URSA Major also acquired 144 claim units on the Seagull Intrusion that are contiguous with the Disraeli property. The Seagull Intrusion is known to contain platinum-palladium mineralization with selected drill results of up to 7.9 g/t platinum plus palladium and gold, 0.47% copper and 0.33% nickel reported on adjacent ground in 2005. The Disraeli property has several copper showings hosted by both intrusive rocks and Sibley group sediments. The Company is naming the combined property the Fox Mountain project.

The Aeroquest survey identified a number of anomalous targets that are being evaluated for drilling. The Company is targeting a similar geologic environment as the Magma Metals Current Lake deposit, the Duluth complex and Marathon PGM's recently sold property in Marathon, ON. Proceeds from the recent financing will fund follow up exploration on the Fox Mountain property.

Shakespeare Nickel-Copper Mine – In the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2011, URSA Major delivered 64,947 tonnes of ore the Strathcona Mill at an average grade of 0.34% nickel, 0.40% copper, 0.02% cobalt, 0.36 g/t platinum, 0.39 g/t palladium, 0.19 g/t gold, and 2.25 g/t silver compared with 66,769 tonnes at a grade of 0.38% nickel, 0.43% copper, 0.03% cobalt and 1.08 g/t PGM in the previous fiscal quarter. The grade for the fourth quarter was approximately 90% of budgeted grade. Shipments for the year ended January 31, 2011 totalled 198,181 tonnes of ore. The Company will provide guidance on anticipated production for 2011 mining operations and it is anticipated that produced tonnes and grade will be similar to the results for the past year. Mining at Shakespeare and trucking at a nominal rate of 1,000 tonnes per day will continue until approximately March 15th when trucking operations will be temporarily suspended 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 Mine. Trucking resumes when the spring load restriction is removed by the Municipality of Sudbury, which typically occurs in late May.

URSA Major intends to use the proceeds raised from its private placement of January 31, 2011 to accelerate and expand its exploration programs at the Shakespeare nickel-copper deposit, Nickel Offsets property and other Ontario properties. Inspiration Mining Corporation ("ISM") has delivered a notice of application to URSA Major advising that ISM will be bringing an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) under sections 106 and 248 of the Business Corporations Act, Ontario seeking a declaration that the private placement that closed on January 31, 2011 be reversed. URSA Major intends to vigorously defend its position. URSA Major believes that ISM is a 16.5% shareholder in URSA Major (based on the number of issued and outstanding shares of URSA Major after completion of the Offering on January 31, 2011).

About URSA Major Minerals Incorporated

URSA Major is a Canadian mining company with an operating nickel-copper mine in the Sudbury area and nickel sulphide deposits containing significant NI 43-101 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.

NI43-101. Harold Tracanelli, P.Geo. is the qualified person for drilling results reported from the Nickel Offsets and Shakespeare properties and has reviewed and approved the contents of this release.    

This release was prepared by management of the Company who takes full responsibility for its contents. 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.                        

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

Contact Information

  • URSA Major Minerals Incorporated
    Dr. Richard Sutcliffe
    President & CEO
    416-864-0615
    or
    URSA Major Minerals Incorporated
    Alison Tullis
    Investor Relations Manager
    416-864-0615
    atullis@bellnet.ca
    www.ursamajorminerals.com