August 18, 2009 North American Tungsten Announces Updated 43-101 Reserves For Significant Extended Life Of Mine Plan At Cantung
North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. ("NATCL", "the Company") is pleased to announce the updating of the Cantung Mine's mineral reserves as of July 1, 2009.
The Cantung Mine is a primary producer of tungsten concentrate from underground mining operations.
Currently, the major features and facilities associated with Cantung are as follows:
The Cantung deposits, consisting of the Open Pit resource near surface, and the E Zone reserve, underground.
The physical plant site including an underground mine, a small open pit, process plant, diesel power plant, workshops, warehouses, administration buildings, a town site and single status accommodation, and an airstrip.
Waste rock dumps and a tailings storage facility.
The updated Mineral Reserves are summarized in Table 1-1.
Grade (WO3 %)
West Extension Below 3700 elv.
West Extension Below 3570 elv.
Main Zone Pillars
TOTAL Probable Reserves
Mineral Reserves conform to CIM and NI43-101 requirements.
All Mineral Reserves are classified as Probable.
Mineral Reserves are estimated at a cutoff grade of 0.80% WO3.
A minimum mining width of 15 feet was used.
NATCL notes that some mining zone nomenclature may cause confusion for those unfamiliar with the Cantung deposits. The E-Zone refers both to the entire underground orebody, and also to the few remaining stopes that do not fit into a subzone category such as Main, South Flats, or West Extension.
The reserve estimate is based on NATCL's forecast of a long-term base case G1 price scenario of US$205/MTU; an operating cost of $152.22 per ton milled and a cut off grade of 0.80% WO3 for the life of mine. The Mine has operated successfully in the past, however, it should be noted that it is a relatively high cost producer, and has experienced previous shutdowns during periods of low tungsten prices. In NATCL's opinion, the key risk to mine profitability lies in tungsten price sustainability and mined grades over the remaining mine life.
The Cantung Mine produces ore at a rate of 1,100 stpd. Mineral Reserves support a mine life of 2.5 years. Primary mining methods included, cut and fill and longhole stoping with and without delayed backfill, and pillar-remnant ore recovery using different techniques. Currently, longhole methods are planned for the majority of the remaining reserves, both for pillar recovery and for primary mining in areas with favourable geometry.
Processing is carried out by gravity and flotation circuits. Final products include a premium gravity concentrate (G1), containing 65% WO3 and a flotation concentrate containing 47% WO3.
Production and Exploration
When production is taken into account, Mineral Reserves have increased significantly since the previous reserve estimate in 2008. A significant portion of the increase in the reserves is a result of exploration and definition diamond drilling, as well as data mining (i.e. 3D modeling of the ore body and previously thought to be mined out openings).
There are Mineral Resources in the Open Pit/PUG Zone that could potentially be mined. Past open pit and PUG designs proposed production in the order of more than one year of mill feed.
As long as development and stope preparation continues in a timely manner, longhole mining should provide steady production at a lower cost than cut and fill mining. Longhole pillar mining carries a risk of lower grades from higher dilution; however, life of mine plan production estimates carry a reasonable and appropriate allowance for expected dilution.
The Company has announced a temporary suspension of production at its CanTung tungsten mine in the Northwest Territories, effective October 15, 2009 due to increased product inventory and declining tungsten prices. The mine will be placed on a care and maintenance program that will enable a timely and cost effective return to production when market conditions improve. (See News Release dated June 29, 2009)
MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATES
Mineral Resources for the Cantung Mine, as of July 1, 2009, are listed below in Table 1-2.
TABLE 1-2 CANTUNG INDICATED MINERAL RESOURCES
Grade (WO3 %)
West Extension Below 3700 elv.
Main Zone Pillars
TOTAL Indicated Resources
Mineral Resources conform to CIM and NI43-101 requirements.
Mineral Resources are estimated at a cutoff grade of 0.8% WO3 for underground as well as Pit and Pug
All Mineral Resources are listed as INDICATED
Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves; excess resources may at some time in the future become reserves, however, at present they cannot be included in the estimate of Mineral Reserves. The Mineral Reserves include material for which there is a mining plan, and at least a conceptual design. Mineral Reserves for the Cantung Mine, as of July 1, 2009, are summarized in Table 1-1 above.
Robert D. Baldwin, P. Eng., the Company's Senior Mining Engineer and Finley J. Bakker, P. Geo., the Company's Chief Geologist both qualified persons as defined by NI 43-101 have reviewed and approved the technical disclosure of the reserves and resources contained in the news release.
ABOUT NORTH AMERICAN TUNGSTEN CORPORATION LTD
The Company is a publicly listed Tier 1 Junior Resource Company engaged primarily in the operation, development, and acquisition of tungsten and other related mineral properties in Canada. The Company's 100% owned Cantung mine and Mactung development project make it one of the few tungsten producers with a strategic asset in the western world. Mactung is one of the world's largest known undeveloped high grade tungsten-skarn deposits.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Stephen M. Leahy
Chairman & CEO
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term as defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Safe Harbour Statement under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian legislation: Except for the statements of historical fact contained herein, the information presented contains "Forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian legislation. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects," "budget," "scheduled," "estimates," "forecasts," "intends," "anticipates," "believes," or variation of such words and phrases that refer to certain actions, events or results to be taken, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. To be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the actual results of reclamation activities, the estimation or realization of mineral reserves and resources, the timing and amount of estimated future production, costs of production, capital expenditures, future prices of commodities, possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates, efficacy and efficiency of milling process, failure of plant, equipments or processes to operate as anticipated, accidents, labour disputes and other risks in the mining industry. Although North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. has attempted to identify important factors that could cause 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 such 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 contained herein and in North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.'s other filing incorporated by reference.
Cautionary Note to United States Investors Concerning Estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources: This press release may use the terms "Measured," "indicated" and "inferred" Resources. United States investors are advised that while such terms are recognized and required by Canadian regulators, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. "Inferred Mineral Resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of Inferred Mineral Resources may not form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies. United States investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources will ever be converted into Mineral Reserves. United States investors are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resource exists, or is economically or legally mineable.
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