VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2007) - Sherwood Copper Corporation (TSX VENTURE:SWC)(TSX VENTURE:SWC.DB) today reported that it has completed the commissioning process for its high grade Minto copper-gold mine in the Yukon and will declare commercial production as at October 1, 2007.
"Achieving commercial production at our high grade Minto copper-gold mine is a major milestone for Sherwood Copper," said Stephen P. Quin, President & CEO of Sherwood Copper. "Credit for this outstanding achievement belongs to the management and employees at the Minto Mine who have worked diligently through the commissioning process to achieve design throughput and recoveries. They have also benefited from having construction managers, JDS Energy & Mining, general contractors, Clark Builders, mining contractors, Pelly Construction, and their numerous other subcontractors, trades and suppliers available to participate in and assist with the commissioning process."
As announced September 5, 2007, the construction of the Minto mine was completed ahead of schedule and essentially on budget. The official mine opening, to be attended by representatives of the Yukon Government, Selkirk First Nation, people involved in the financing, construction and operation of the mine and others will be held on October 11, 2007 at the Minto Mine site.
Sherwood completed its commissioning of the Minto Mine in the latter part of September, 2007, on schedule. During the month of September, mill throughput averaged approximately 1,500 tpd with 98% availability but exceeded design capacity of 1,563 tonnes per day for extended periods during the month (the month average being affected by a limited number of days when mill was down for equipment modifications as part of the commissioning process). Mill copper recoveries exceeded 92% in the latter part of September and early October, essentially at design levels. Copper concentrate grades averaged 35% for the month of September, again at design levels.
As a result of these achievements, Sherwood is declaring that commercial production has commenced as of October 1, 2007, meaning that mine production from that date forward will be recorded as mineral sales revenues and costs of sales in the statement of earnings.
At the end of September, 2007, Sherwood had approximately 4,600 dry tonnes of copper-gold-silver concentrates stored at the port of Skagway, Alaska, and more than 1,000 additional dry tonnes of concentrates in the concentrate storage shed at the Minto mine. All of the latter concentrates, plus additional production post month-end, will be trucked to Skagway prior to the beginning of freeze up of the Yukon River and suspension of barge access to the mine. The first concentrate shipment, comprising up to 6,000 dry tonnes of concentrates (averaging approximately 9% moisture), is expected to depart Alaska for smelters in Asia in the latter part of October. The Skagway ore terminal, being refurbished under an agreement with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Agency, is available for ship loading purposes and the remaining components, not required for ship loading, should be completed by month end.
Phase 2 Mill Expansion
Construction of the Phase 2 mill expansion, which will take daily mill throughput from the current design of 1,563 metric tonnes per day (tpd) to 2,400 tpd, is well advanced, with the second ball mill and the additional flotation cells installed in the expanded mill building, and two additional tailings filters being installed in an expanded tailings filter building. Completion of the Phase 2 mill expansion is anticipated before year end-2007, well ahead of schedule, at a cost of approximately C$16 million. As a result of the tie in of the Phase 2 mill expansion, production in December will be affected, to a limited extent, by required shut downs to allow for piping and electrical tie ins to be completed.
This Phase 2 mill expansion includes a number of accommodations that would facilitate a Phase 3 mill expansion, to in the order of 3,300 to 3,500 tpd, including all the flotation capacity required for such a throughput increase now, and providing sufficient room in the expanded mill building to accommodate other equipment that may be required for grinding and flotation. Additional tailings capacity would also be required to achieve this throughput. A Phase 3 mill expansion is the subject of an independent pre-feasibility study currently nearing completion, as discussed below.
The independent pre-feasibility study being undertaken by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. is currently nearing completion and should be released in November. Completion has been delayed by incorporation of a number of developments post-completion of the August 2006 feasibility study, including, but not limited to, (a) conversion of a portion of the Area 2 resource to reserves, (b) improved geotechnical information enhancing pit optimization, (c) conversion of the mine planning model to an NSR basis from an in situ copper grade basis, (d) increased mill throughput from 2,400 tpd to 3,300 to 3,500 tpd based on a coarser primary grind, (e) provision of grid power by late 2008, and (f) update of the Minto mine cost assumptions based on actual contract terms for mining services, explosives supply, concentrate trucking, concentrate off-take, etc.
The Minto Mine is a high-grade open pit copper-gold deposit located in the Yukon Territory of Canada that was purchased, a feasibility study completed, financed and built in less than two years. In parallel with development activities, Sherwood has been running an exceptionally successful exploration program that has resulted in multiple discoveries of high grade copper-gold mineralization across its Minto Mine property.
Sherwood's successful consolidation of the ownership of the Minto Project provides a unique investment opportunity - participation in a fully permitted, operating, high-grade, open pit copper-gold mine located in Canada with tremendous exploration potential on the 100% owned property.
The technical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 and reviewed by Stephen P. Quin, P. Geo., President & CEO for Sherwood Copper Corporation. Technical information related to mine operations has been reviewed by Ian Berzins, P.Eng, General Manager, Minto Mine.
Additional information on Sherwood and its Minto Project can be obtained on Sherwood's website at http://www.sherwoodcopper.com.
On behalf of the board of directors
SHERWOOD COPPER CORPORATION
Stephen P. Quin, President & CEO
This news release may contain forward looking statements which are not historical facts, such as ore reserve estimates, anticipated production or results, sales, revenues, costs, or discussions of goals and exploration results, and involves a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, metal price volatility, volatility of metals production, project development, ore reserve estimates, future anticipated reserves and cost engineering estimate risks, geological factors and exploration results. See the Company's filings for a more detailed discussion of factors that may impact expected results.The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.