Peruvian Unrest at Juliaca Airport Occurring 160KM from Project Site
Vancouver, B.C. - Bear Creek Mining (TSX Venture: BCM / BVL: BCM) (“Bear Creek” or the “Company”) reports that on June 25, 2011 the Peruvian government issued a Supreme Decree signed by President Garcia reversing the Supreme Decree issued in 2007 which granted the Company title over the mineral concessions covering the Santa Ana Project. The Company and its legal advisors continue to strongly assert that Bear Creek has complied with all legal requirements in obtaining its rights to title under the 2007 Supreme Decree. Furthermore, the Company and its advisors maintain that Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (“ESIA”) procedures, including public consultations which exceeded the ESIA requirements were strictly followed in accordance with Peruvian law. Therefore, the Company takes the firm position that any modification or annulment to the Supreme Decree which in 2007 granted Bear Creek titles to the mineral concessions in full accordance with Peruvian law is illegal and without basis.
The 2007 decree was required in order for a foreign company to obtain title to mineral rights located within the 50 kilometer border regions of Peru. There are as many as fifteen other foreign companies investing in mineral exploration projects located within the Peruvian border regions under similar decrees. This morning’s decree states that while the 2007 decree complied with all requirements for its approval, the basis for reversing the 2007 decree are that conditions have changed relating to the measure being in the public and State’s best interest; one of the requisite conditions for granting title to a foreign controlled interest. The Company does not believe that the conditions have changed that support the project being in the public’s and State’s best interest. The rationale for the new decree apparently stems from the prolonged anti-mining protests in the southern Puno region most of which occurred 150 kilometers from Santa Ana and never involved protests at site. Other conditions of this morning’s decree include the prohibition of any activity, including artisanal mining, to extract minerals from the Santa Ana area. Bear Creek firmly believes that stopping the Santa Ana project will not serve the best interest of either the local communities or those of Peru.
Mr. Andrew Swarthout, Bear Creek CEO, stated “The Company intends to immediately and vigorously defend its rights at Santa Ana through all available avenues, including provisions under the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement and Peruvian appeal processes. Every effort was made on the part of the Company to assist the national and local authorities in reaching a solution to the politically motivated protests, even though far removed from our project, while respecting our local communities’ desire for Bear Creek to build the Santa Ana Project as demonstrated by their strong support and ratification, after over 200 public meetings and workshops, at the final formal public hearing on February 23, 2011. We firmly believe this was not the right decision for Peru, its vibrant mining sector, local inhabitants or foreign investors.”
Mr. Swarthout continued “The project is designed incorporating international standards of environmental safeguards utilizing a zero-discharge heap leach project design. In addition to having no discharge, the project is located in a separate hydrologic basin; therefore, the potential for contamination of Lake Titicaca is not possible as alleged by the outside protestors. The project also incorporates strong commitments to social sustainability and benefits to local communities including job training, agricultural, educational and health improvement programs. The Santa Ana project will provide 1,000 direct jobs, 1,500 indirect jobs, and provide over US$330 million in royalties and taxes for the Peruvian people and our surrounding communities. Therefore, we continue to believe that Santa Ana will assist the new government in achieving its goals of further reducing poverty through the execution of environmentally sound mining projects and look forward to once again moving the project forward once legal actions are resolved. As well, the Company will be focusing on moving the larger Corani project through its feasibility study for release this fall.”
The Company will be holding a conference call Monday June 27th 2011. Details of the conference call will be disseminated Sunday June 26th, 2011.
About Bear Creek:
Bear Creek Mining has recently completed a Pre-Feasibility Study on its Corani Project and a Feasibility Study on its Santa Ana Project, which together estimate measured and indicated resources in excess of 500 million ounces of silver of which over 320 million ounces are in proven and probable reserves providing near-term production potential and excellent leverage to silver prices. The Feasibility Study for Santa Ana defines a low-cost “pure silver” mine producing 5 million ounces annually in the first six years of an estimated 11-year mine life (subject to the disclosure above). The Pre-Feasibility Study for the flagship Corani Project estimates average annual production of 10 million ounces for the first six years of an estimated 27-year mine life, with low cash costs and fast payback of capital costs. Santa Ana is proceeding towards permitting and construction (subject to the disclosure above) while Corani is undergoing a Feasibility Study.
The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Andrew Swarthout - CEO, or Patrick De Witt - Investor Relations
Phone: 604-685-6269 Direct: 604-628-1111
For further information, please visit the Company’s website (www.bearcreekmining.com)
All of Bear Creek’s exploration programs and pertinent disclosure of a technical or scientific nature are prepared by or prepared under the direct supervision of Marc Leduc, P. Eng., President and COO, Christian Rios, P.Geo. Exploration Manager and the CEO, Andrew Swarthout, P.Geo., who serve as the Qualified Persons under the definitions of NI 43-101. All diamond drilling has been performed using HQ diameter core with recoveries averaging greater than 95%. Core is logged and split on site under the supervision of Bear Creek geologists. Sampling is done on two-meter intervals and samples are transported by Company staff to Arequipa, Peru for direct shipping to ALS Chemex, Laboratories in Lima, Peru. ALS Chemex is an ISO 9001:2000-registered laboratory and is preparing for ISO 17025 certification. Silver, lead, and zinc assays utilize a multi-acid digestion with atomic absorption (“ore-grade assay method”). The QC/QA program includes the insertion every 20th sample of known standards prepared by SGS Laboratories, Lima. A section in Bear Creek’s website is dedicated to sampling, assay and quality control procedures.
Certain disclosure in this release, including management’s assessment of Bear Creek’s plans and projects, constitutes forward-looking statements that are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to Bear Creek’s operation as a mineral exploration company that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are disclosed in Bear Creek’s continuous disclosure filings with Canadian securities regulators including its most recent annual information form, available on www.sedar.com. Bear Creek expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.