Vancouver, B.C. - Bear Creek Mining (TSX Venture: BCM / BVL: BCM) (“Bear Creek” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that Lisa May will become Director of Investor Relations for the Company, effective January 3. Ms. May previously held positions with Rimfire Minerals Corporation and Indicator Minerals Inc., before creating Lisa D. May & Associates, an IR consulting firm. Most recently, Ms. May was the Director of Investor Relations for Plutonic Power Corporation (an alternative energy company) that merged with Magma Energy Corp. to form Alterra Power Corp. In conjunction with the hiring, 75,000 stock options at an exercise price of $3.67 per share, exercisable on or before January 4, 2017, have been awarded in accordance with provisions of the Company’s Stock Option Plan.
Andrew Swarthout, CEO, states “Lisa brings strong experience in the junior mining sector, including expertise with resource companies having projects on the development path. Lisa will continue the important liaison with our investors and will strengthen our management team as Bear Creek moves the Corani and Santa Ana projects through development. We thank Patrick De Witt, who is leaving to concentrate his efforts on his securities advisory firm, for his significant contributions over the past 7 years towards making Bear Creek one of the premier silver companies in today’s mining sector.”
Also, on December 22, 2011, the Company SEDAR filed the 43-101 report entitled “Corani Project, Form 43-101F1 Technical Report, Feasibility Study” (the “FS” or “Feasibility Study”) following the completion of the Corani Silver-Lead-Zinc deposit Feasibility Study (see news release dated November 9, 2011). The 43-101 report describes an optimized mine plan with robust economics for one of the world’s largest, undeveloped silver and base metals deposits. Highlights of the 43-101 report are (all figures in US dollars):
- Defines a significant undeveloped silver deposit containing proven and probable mineral reserves of 270 million ounces of silver, 3.1 billion pounds of lead and 1.7 billion pounds of zinc (156 million tonnes grading 53.8 g/t silver, 0.90% lead and 0.49% zinc).
- The base case after-tax net present value (“NPV”) is $463 million at a 5% discount rate with an internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 17.6% ($18/oz silver, $0.85/lb lead and $0.85/lb zinc). On a pre-tax basis, the base case NPV at a 5% discount rate is $907 million with an IRR of 29.7%.
- At spot metals prices ($29.30/oz silver, $0.83/lb zinc, $0.90/lb lead on December 22, 2011, the date the FS was filed on SEDAR), Corani has an after-tax NPV of approximately $1.2 billion at a 5% discount rate and a 32% IRR ($2.1 billion NPV and 51% IRR on a pre-tax basis). The December 22, 2011 spot metal prices were used in the economic model contained in the FS to calculate the NPV and IRR, without adjusting any of the other inputs. Readers are cautioned that this information is supplementary only and although the FS does contain some sensitivity analysis, this information should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the net present values and internal rates of return contained in the FS.
- Average annual payable silver production is 13.4 million ounces per year for the first five years and 8 million ounces per year over the life-of-mine (“LOM”). On a silver equivalent ounce basis, average annual payable production is 23.0 million ounces per year for the first five years and 14.7 million ounces per year over the LOM.
- Total cash cost is a negative $(0.45) per ounce of silver for the first five years, with a LOM total cash cost of $3.40 per ounce of silver (net of base metal credits at $0.85/lb lead and $0.85/lb zinc).
- Project produces marketable lead and zinc concentrates. Metallurgical testing has established conventional flotation recoveries.
- Initial capital cost is $574 million with capital payback of 3.8 years at base case metal prices, and 2.4 years at metal prices on December 22, 2011, the date the FS was filed on SEDAR. The capital payback period using December 22, 2011 spot metal prices ($29.30 silver, $0.83 zinc and $0.90 lead) was calculated using the economic model contained in the FS, without adjusting any of the other inputs. Readers are cautioned that this information is supplementary only and although the FS does contain some sensitivity analysis, this information should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the capital payback periods contained in the FS.
- Mine life is 20 years.
- Mill capacity is 22,500 tonnes per day.
- Stripping ratio is 1.69:1 (waste:ore).
- 89 million ounces of measured and indicated silver resource ounces (134 million tonnes grading 20.5 g/t silver) represent potential future reserve conversion. Additional new mineralization was intersected in recent drilling near perimeter of proposed tailings dam.
Mr. Swarthout continues “We remain extremely pleased with the results of the Corani Feasibility Study. Using metals prices on December 22, 2011 the date the FS was filed on SEDAR, of $29.30/oz silver, $0.83/lb zinc and $0.90/lb lead, Corani has an after-tax NPV of $1.2 billion at a 5% discount rate reflecting robust economics with strong leverage to rising metals prices. The Feasibility Study establishes that the project can be built using conventional mining and processing technology. The Feasibility Study maximizes the value of the project by defining a very large primary silver mine that leverages the base metal credits resulting in very low cash costs per ounce of silver for the first five years. Additionally, the production of high-quality lead and zinc concentrates (126,000 tonnes per year) provides for excellent financing alternatives in the form of concentrate off-take agreements. The Feasibility Study, which provides the basis for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to be submitted as the master permitting document in Q2 2012, defines a project which complies with, and in many respects exceeds, the standards for environmental and social standards. Our timeline for approval is 12 months; however, based upon indications from the Peruvian government that permitting times will be shortened, we are hopeful that approval will be significantly sooner so that we can consider financing alternatives prior to year-end 2012. Production startup is targeted for 2015.”
In other news, the Company will restart phase II drilling on its Tassa gold–silver prospect following the holiday break on January 8th. Drilling is to begin on hole #4 of a planned 10 drill hole program. Drilling will also restart on the Company’s La Yegua copper-moly porphyry target in joint venture with JOGMEC in early January. Discussions will continue with the Peruvian government regarding a negotiated solution to the Santa Ana Supreme Decree issued in June, 2011.
The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Andrew Swarthout - CEO, or Lisa May - Director of Investor Relations
Phone: 604-685-6269 ext 247 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 and Andrew Swarthout, P.Geo., CEO, who serve as the Qualified Persons under the definitions of NI 43-101. The block model estimate, mine design and schedules were prepared by Independent Mining Consultants of Tucson Arizona. John Marek P.E. acted as the independent qualified person as defined by Canada’s National Instrument 43-101. Additionally the methods used in determining and reporting the mineral reserves and resources are consistent with the CIM Best Practices Guidelines. The method used in the resource calculation is equivalent to the method used in the resource calculation shown in our August 23, 2006 Press Release. For this resource estimate we have used metal prices based on a 3-year backward average and a 2-year forward price based on the metal markets in August 2011.
Assumptions used in the mineral reserve and FS model by IMC are: Silver Price=$18.00/oz; Zinc Price=$0.85/lb; Lead Price=$0.85/lb; Mixed Sulfide Material Silver Recovery is fixed at 62% to lead con and an additional14% to the zinc con when zinc head grade is greater than 0.7%, 10.4% Ag recovery when zinc head grade is from 0.7% to 0.5%, 6.3% recovery of silver to the zinc con when zinc head grade is from 0.5% to 0.3% and no silver recovery to the zinc con when zinc head grades are less than 0.3%. Zinc Recovery=67.5% to zinc con when the zinc head grade is greater than 0.7%, 50% Zn recovery when zinc head grade is from 0.7% to 0.5%, 30% recovery of zinc to the zinc con when zinc head grade is from 0.5% to 0.3% and no zinc recovery to the zinc con when zinc head grades are less than 0.3%. Lead Recovery=75% to lead con. For Transitional Material Silver Recovery= 38.5%+.2*Ag Grade (g/t) (Maximum 70% recovery) to lead con and 0% to the zinc con, Zinc Recovery= 0% to zinc con and Lead Recovery= 38%+10.9*Lead Grade (%) (Maximum 65% recovery) to lead con. Average smelter charges including Treatment Charges and Refining Charges (“TCRC”) and metal deducts against saleable metal: Silver= $1.52 per ounce; Zinc= $0.62 per pound; Lead= $0.41 per pound; Mining Costs per tonne= $1.34; Process cost per tonne= $8.00; G&A per processed tonne= $1.20; Pit Slopes= 42 degrees in mineralized tuff and 46 degrees in post-mineralized tuff. The resulting mineral reserve cutoff is $10.54/tonne ore NSR. The mineral reserves are contained within a practical mining plan that utilized the ‘floating-cone” method as an initial guide for design.
The mineral resource portion of the project is contained in a larger pit than the FS design pit, which was a floating cone using the following input assumptions: Silver Price=$30.00/oz; Zinc Price=$1.00/lb; Lead Price=$1.00/lb; Mixed oxide material that was given 0% recovery for the reserves was assumed to have an 85% recovery of silver, all other recoveries remained the same. The Mineral Resource cut-off was $9.20/tonne which represents the internal process cutoff. All metallurgical material types were included in the resource.
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 Juliaca, 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.
The FS was prepared by a team of independent engineering consultants. The mining and block model portion was prepared by Independent Mining Consultants of Tucson Arizona, John Marek, PE acting as QP. The process plant design was prepared by M3 Engineering, Dan Neff, PE acting as QP. Metallurgy and Process design criteria developed by Blue Coast Metallurgy Ltd. Chris Martin, CEng acting as QP. And geotechnical, environmental, infrastructure, waste stockpile and tailings designs were prepared by Global Resource Engineering Ltd., Chris Chapman, PE acting as the QP. Each of these individuals has read and approves the respective scientific and technical disclosure contained in this news release. Silver Equivalency calculation represents the contained equivalent silver ounces contained in the ground and is based on the resource metal prices assumptions of $18.00/oz Ag, 0.85/lb Pb and 0.85/lb Zn and recoveries to concentrate of 64.2% for silver and 71.1% for lead and 51.6% for zinc. The calculation does not take into account the net smelter payment terms for the different metals in the two separate concentrates. The resulting equivalency is 1 oz Ag = 19.1 lb Pb and 1 oz Ag = 26.3 lb Zn.
Total cash cost per ounce of silver is calculated in accordance with a standard approved by The Silver Institute, a nonprofit international association that draws its membership from across the breadth of the silver industry. Adoption of the standard is voluntary and the cost measures presented may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. Total cash cost includes mine site operating costs such as mining, processing, administration, and treatment and refining charges, but is exclusive of amortization, reclamation, capital, exploration costs and taxes on income. Total cash costs are reduced by lead and zinc by-product revenues, and then divided by silver ounces sold to arrive at total cash cost of per ounce of silver, net of by-product revenues. Previously, the Company included reclamation costs as a component of its total cash costs, which resulted in a total cash cost per ounce of silver of $3.66, net of lead and zinc credits. The Company has elected to follow the Silver Institute’s cash cost standard, and has therefore excluded reclamation costs from its calculation of total cash costs, which the Company believes is consistent with cash cost disclosure used by its peers.
This document contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements, referred to herein as “forward-looking statements” are made as of the date of this news release or as of the date of the effective date of information described in this news release, as applicable. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, without limitation, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of mineral reserves and mineral resources; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) net present value and internal rates of return of the proposed mining operation; (iv) capital costs, including start-up, sustaining capital and reclamation/closure costs; (v) operating costs, including credits from the sale of silver, lead and zinc; (vi) strip ratios and and mining rates; (vii) expected grades and payable ounces and pounds of metals and minerals; (viii) expected processing recoveries; (ix) expected time frames; (x) prices of metals and minerals; and (xi) mine life. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “projects”, “estimates”, “envisages”, “assumes”, “intends”, “strategy”, “goals”, “objectives” or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s or its consultants’ current beliefs as well as various assumptions made by and information currently available to them. These assumptions include, without limitation: (i) the presence of and continuity of metals at the project at modeled grades; (ii) the capacities of various machinery and equipment; (iii) the availability of personnel, machinery and equipment at estimated prices; (iv) exchange rates; (v) metals and minerals sales prices; (vi) appropriate discount rates; (vii) tax rates and royalty rates applicable to the proposed mining operation; (viii) financing structure and costs; (ix) anticipated mining losses and dilution; (x) metals recovery rates, (xi) reasonable contingency requirements; and (xiii) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms. Although management considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. Many forward-looking statements are made assuming the correctness of other forward looking statements, such as statements of net present value and internal rate of return, which are based on most of the other forward-looking statements and assumptions herein. The cost information is also prepared using current values, but the time for incurring the costs will be in the future and it is assumed costs will remain stable over the relevant period.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, but specifically include, without limitation, risks relating to variations in the mineral content within the material identified as mineral reserves and mineral resources from that predicted; variations in rates of recovery and extraction; developments in world metals and minerals markets; risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar relative to other currencies; increases in the estimated capital and operating costs or unanticipated costs; difficulties attracting the necessary work force; increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing, if any; tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; changes in development or mining plans due to changes in logistical, technical or other factors, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; risks relating to receipt of regulatory approvals; the effects of competition in the markets in which the Company operates; operational and infrastructure risks; and the additional risks described in the Company’s Annual Information Form, annual financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2010 and in the PFS and FS filed on the SEDAR website in Canada (available at www.sedar.com). The foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.
When relying on our forward-looking statements, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Company or on behalf of the Company, except as required by law.