Mr. Larry W. Reaugh, President & Chief Executive Officer of Rocher Deboule Minerals Corp. (TSX.V: RD; Pink Sheets: RDBHF) (“Rocher Deboule” or the “Company”) is pleased to report N. Tribe & Associates Ltd. has completed the preliminary economic assessment (the “Report”) of the Company’s 100% owned Artillery Mountains Manganese Project (Mohave County, Arizona). The Report will be filed with regulators on SEDAR within 45 days of this news release.
The Report is based on the NI-43-101 resource study by N. Tribe & Associates Ltd. (“NTA”) dated February 2, 2009, using 0.91% Manganese (“Mn”) cut-off, in which the indicated resource was estimated at 10.9 million tonnes containing about 1.1 billion pounds of Mn at an average grade of 4.56% Mn; and an inferred resource was estimated at 96.9 million tonnes containing about 9.6 billion pounds Mn at an average grade of 4.25 % Mn.
The Report indicates the potential development of the Artillery Mountains Manganese Project on the Lake and MacGregor claims is economically attractive and robust. Initially the Macgregor Pit and contiguous Lake claims, which are estimated to contain near surface indicated resources of 10.866 million tonnes at 4.46% Mn and inferred resources of 10.382 million tonnes at 4.7% Mn, can be mined by conventional open pit mining methods at a rate of 3500 tonnes/day. Here, the Report estimates the resources are sufficient for 17 years continuous operation from which high purity manganese metal could be produced at a rate of 108 million pounds/year (49,000 tonnes/year).
The process will be a sulphurus acid leach followed by removal of dithionate and trace metal impurities from pregnant leach solution prior to production of manganese metal by conventional electrolysis. Sulphuric acid is a by-product of electrolysis. This is recovered for re-use and production of ammonium sulphate [(NH4)2 SO4] fertilizer. Manganese recovery is estimated at 90% using this method.
The Report estimates capital costs to be US $90 million (+ 25%) and average on-site operating costs estimated at US $0.44 per pound manganese recovered. Product transportation and marketing would add a further $0.10 per pound to overall costs. The strip ratio advances from zero to 5/1 in later years averaging 2.5/1. Recoveries at 90% Mn were used in the Report.
A preliminary financial modeling, on pre-tax basis, using for the base case a manganese price of $1.10/lb is shown below:
The preliminary economic assessment is based on a number of technical, cost and other assumptions. These assumptions may be changed in the future as additional information becomes available.
[Present world price for manganese is US $1.10. Landed price in USA with tariffs is $1.37. There is no commercial production in USA.]
The breakeven manganese selling price, including capital recovery, under the Base Case assumptions was calculated to be US $0.63/lb.
The project will initially entail 45 and eventually 69 employees as the stripping ratio increases.
The resource estimate, exploration and associated work was prepared in compliance with requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 by Norm Tribe, P.Eng, of N. Tribe & Associates Ltd., Kelowna, BC.
The Artillery Mountains Manganese Project’s preliminary economic assessment was completed by Michael MacLeod, P.Eng, assisting NTA and the Artillery Mountains Project metallurgical test work and processing design was carried out by John W. Fisher, P.Eng, all under the supervision of NTA.
Larry W. Reaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer comments; “The preliminary economic assessment demonstrates the positive economics that we need to move the project forward towards final feasibility. Results indicate that the Artillery Mountain Manganese Project could become the first United States pure manganese producer in several decades”.
Mr. Reaugh concludes; “the development of Artillery Mountain can provide a secure new low cost source of manganese to North American markets and consequently warrants further work consisting of drilling, metallurgical testing and process design, geotechnical investigations, environmental baseline studies, manganese marketing studies and a preliminary feasibility study estimated at a cost of $4.44 million US.”
*It is recognized that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The preliminary economic assessment includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the preliminary assessment will be realized*.
Manganese is used in the production of iron and steel. As the demand for iron and steel rises the demand for manganese rises proportionally. Worldwide production of manganese alloys reached 11.8 million tonnes in 2006 (up 14% from 2005) and 13.3 million tonnes in 2007 (up 13.3% from 2006) with China producing 46% or 6.2 million tonnes. China is currently looking at measures to control production by increasing export taxes by 20%. The world production of Electrolytic Manganese Metal (pure Mn) is measured at approximately 1,000,000 tonnes in 2007 by the International Manganese Institute; prices are currently at $1.10 US/lb.
About Rocher Deboule Minerals Corp.
Rocher Deboule Minerals Corp. is a diversified exploration and development company focusing its attention on mineral properties and commodities used in the steel manufacturing industry and their British Columbia (IOCG) gold project.
This release has been reviewed by Norman L. Tribe, P.Eng, a qualified person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101.
On behalf of Management
ROCHER DEBOULE MINERALS CORP.
Larry W. Reaugh
President and Chief Executive Officer