|February 27, 2012|
Imperial Reports Production for 2011 and Forecast for 2012
Vancouver - February 27, 2012 - Imperial Metals Corporation (III-TSX) reports its 2011 share of base and precious metals production(1) from the Mount Polley and Huckleberry mines was 47.86 million pounds copper, 44,274 ounces gold, 204,861 ounces silver and 3,465 pounds molybdenum.
Base and precious metals production(1)(2) allocable to Imperial in 2012 from the Mount Polley and Huckleberry mines is anticipated to be 50.5 million pounds copper, 48,000 ounces gold and 160,000 ounces silver.
While Imperial's share of Huckleberry copper production was higher than the 2011 estimate as a result of higher head grades, lower production at Mount Polley was attributed to lower grade and recovery. Imperial's 2011 copper production was 7% below the 51.5 million pounds estimate, gold production was 2.5% below the 45,400 ounces estimate, and silver production was substantially higher at 37% above the 149,000 ounces estimate. Virtually all 2011 production at Mount Polley was mined from the Springer pit.
Springer pit historic drilling had not been assayed for silver, as a result silver production for 2011 was conservatively estimated at 55,000 ounces. Mount Polley's silver production was almost double that estimate, totalling 95,768 ounces for 2011.
(2) refer to Cautionary Note Regarding "Forward-Looking Information"
MOUNT POLLEY MINE
Mount Polley is expected to produce(2) 34.0 million pounds copper, 46,800 ounces gold and 90,000 ounces silver in 2012, with all ore mined from the Springer pit. The recovery formula used for the Springer pit ore was adjusted to reflect the lower than budgeted recovery obtained in 2011. Mining in 2012 will focus on lower benches of the phase 3 Springer pit and will generate higher grades with lower levels of oxide than in 2011.
Mount Polley is an open pit copper/gold mine milling approximately 20,000 tonnes per day. The mine is located eight kilometres southwest of Likely and 100 kilometres (by road) northeast of Williams Lake, British Columbia.
In 2012 a large portion of mill feed will be from low grade stockpiles, and Imperial's share of 2012 production(1)(2) is estimated to be 16.5 million pounds.
Following receipt of Huckleberry mine permit amendments in December 2011, the board of directors of Huckleberry Mines Ltd. approved the Main Zone Optimization (MZO) plan to extend the life of mine to 2021. The MZO plan is based on the development of a mineral reserve (beneath the original Main zone pit) of 39.7 million tonnes grading 0.343% copper.
Huckleberry is an open pit copper/molybdenum mine milling approximately 16,500 tonnes per day. Imperial holds a 50% interest in Huckleberry Mines Ltd. The remaining 50% interest is held by a consortium consisting of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Dowa Mining Co. Ltd. and Furukawa Co. The Huckleberry mine is located 123 kilometres southwest of Houston, British Columbia.
MOUNT POLLEY EXPLORATION
Exploration in 2011(3)(4) totalled 52,106 metres of diamond drilling in 156 holes, including 45,865 metres on surface and 6,241 from underground at the Boundary zone. Several zones were investigated near the Springer pit in an attempt to find potential for additional reserves in the Springer, C2, Cariboo, Junction and WX zones. Results(4) were particularly encouraging in the WX where the known zone was both confirmed and found to be more expansive.
New results from the C2 zone drilling include high grade intercepts 100 metres south of the nearest high grade intercept in this zone. Drill hole C211-97 intersected a 117.0 metre zone grading 0.69% copper and 1.17 g/t gold, including 35.0 metres of 1.33% copper and 3.02 g/t gold. Drill hole C211-97 was undercut with a 60 metre step-out hole intersecting equally impressive grades. Drill hole C211-100 intersected 264.3 metres grading 0.31% copper and 0.35 g/t gold including 64.3 metres of 0.72% copper and 0.99 g/t gold.
Work is expected to continue in all of the zones near the Springer pit based on the results achieved in 2011. Drilling commenced in the Springer zone in early February 2012 to test areas below the current mine plan.
At the Boundary zone both surface and underground drilling were conducted in early 2011 to provide confidence in those areas currently being developed by underground mining. Some copper/gold mineralized magnetite breccias have already been delivered to the mill, and development from the Boundary zone will be accelerated in 2012. Further exploration of the numerous underground targets at Boundary zone will be considered.
Exploration of early stage targets was also undertaken at the Polley Mountain, Skid and Ace zones. The Skid zone drilling was the most encouraging with three of the four holes encountering mineralization and providing good incentive for additional work in 2012.
Steve Robertson, P.Geo. is the designated Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 for the exploration programs and he has reviewed this news release. Mount Polley samples for the diamond drilling reported were analyzed at the Mount Polley mine laboratory and at Acme Analytical Laboratories in Vancouver. A full QA/QC program using blanks, standards and duplicates was maintained for all diamond drilling samples submitted to the labs. The porphyry and breccia related deposits at Mount Polley are irregular in shape and true thicknesses have not been estimated.
In 2011 Huckleberry Mines Ltd. conducted exploration which included a ground geophysics (Titan 24) survey consisting of four lines, each averaging 2.5 kilometres. The lines extended from the eastern portions of the mining claim to the west, encompassing an area that includes the mined out Main Zone pit and a portion of the MZO pit. Exploration also included 3,695 metres of diamond drilling designed to test the Titan 24 targets and to investigate a possible extension of the MZO pit into the old NAG (non acid generating) quarry. Drilling in the old NAG quarry yielded interesting near surface results. While the grades are low, this mineralization starts near the surface and mining in this area could generate NAG waste which would be used, rather than quarried rock, for construction of the new tailings facility. Drilling in the NAG quarry area will continue into 2012 as part of Huckleberry's 2012 exploration initiative.
Imperial is a mine development and operating company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Company's key properties are two open pit mines: Mount Polley copper/gold mine and Huckleberry copper/molybdenum mine, both in British Columbia, as well as the development stage Red Chris copper/gold property in British Columbia and the Sterling gold property in Nevada.
Documents available on www.imperialmetals.com: (3) Mount Polley Drill Plan; (4) Mount Polley Updated Drill Summary
Contact: Brian Kynoch, President 604.669.8959; Patrick McAndless, VP Exploration 604.488.2665;
Sabine Goetz, Investor Relations 604.488.2657 // website: www.imperialmetals.com // email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING "FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION":
THIS NEWS RELEASE CONTAINS "FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF CANADIAN AND UNITED STATES SECURITIES LAWS. EXCEPT FOR STATEMENTS OF FACT RELATING TO THE COMPANY, CERTAIN INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN CONSTITUTES FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS.
WHEN WE DISCUSS OUR SHARE OF PLANNED PRODUCTION FROM HUCKLEBERRY; PRODUCTION FROM MOUNT POLLEY; COSTS AND TIMING OF CURRENT AND PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION AND MARKETING; TIMING OF SHIPMENTS TO JAPAN; CAPITAL EXPENDITURES; CASH FLOW, WORKING CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS AND THE REQUIREMENT FOR ADDITIONAL CAPITAL; REVENUE, MARGINS AND EARNINGS; FUTURE PRICE OF COPPER AND GOLD; FUTURE FOREIGN CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES; FUTURE ACCOUNTING CHANGES; FUTURE PRICES FOR MARKETABLE SECURITIES; FUTURE RESOLUTION OF CONTINGENT LIABILITIES, OR OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE NOT YET HAPPENED IN THIS NEWS RELEASE, WE ARE MAKING STATEMENTS CONSIDERED TO BE FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION OR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS UNDER CANADIAN AND UNITED STATES SECURITIES LAWS. WE REFER TO THEM IN THIS NEWS RELEASE AS FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION. THE FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION IN THIS NEWS RELEASE TYPICALLY INCLUDES WORDS AND PHRASES ABOUT THE FUTURE, SUCH AS: PLAN, EXPECT, FORECAST, INTEND, ANTICIPATE, ESTIMATE, BUDGET, SCHEDULED, BELIEVE, MAY, COULD, WOULD, MIGHT AND WILL.
WE CAN GIVE NO ASSURANCE THAT THE FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION WILL PROVE TO BE ACCURATE. IT IS BASED ON A NUMBER OF ASSUMPTIONS MANAGEMENT BELIEVES TO BE REASONABLE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: THE CONTINUED OPERATION OF THE COMPANY'S MINING OPERATIONS, THAT THE MINING OPERATIONS WILL OPERATE AND THE MINING PROJECTS WILL BE COMPLETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR ESTIMATES AND ACHIEVE STATED PRODUCTION OUTCOMES, AND SUCH OTHER ASSUMPTIONS AND FACTORS AS SET OUT HEREIN. IT IS ALSO SUBJECT TO RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BUSINESS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: RISKS INHERENT IN THE MINING AND METALS BUSINESS; COMMODITY PRICE FLUCTUATIONS AND HEDGING; COMPETITION FOR MINING PROPERTIES; SALE OF PRODUCTS AND FUTURE MARKET ACCESS; MINERAL RESERVES AND RECOVERY ESTIMATES; CURRENCY FLUCTUATIONS; INTEREST RATE RISK; FINANCING RISKS; ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS; FOREIGN ACTIVITIES; LEGAL PROCEEDINGS; AND OTHER RISKS THAT ARE SET OUT IN OUR ANNUAL INFORMATION FORM AND MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION & ANALYSIS. IF OUR ASSUMPTIONS PROVE TO BE INCORRECT OR RISKS MATERIALIZE, OUR ACTUAL RESULTS AND EVENTS MAY VARY MATERIALLY FROM WHAT WE CURRENTLY EXPECT AS SET OUT IN THIS NEWS RELEASE.
WE RECOMMEND YOU REVIEW OUR ANNUAL INFORMATION FORM AND ANNUAL MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS, WHICH INCLUDE A DISCUSSION OF MATERIAL RISKS THAT COULD CAUSE ACTUAL RESULTS TO DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM OUR CURRENT EXPECTATIONS. FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION IS DESIGNED TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND MANAGEMENT'S CURRENT VIEWS OF OUR NEAR AND LONGER TIME PROSPECTS, AND IT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR OTHER PURPOSES. WE WILL NOT NECESSARILY UPDATE THIS INFORMATION UNLESS WE ARE REQUIRED TO BY SECURITIES LAWS.
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