|Vancouver, British Columbia: Roca Mines Inc. (ROK: TSX-V) ("Roca" or the "Company") provides the following update on construction and development activities at the MAX Molybdenum Project southeast of Revelstoke, British Columbia.|
Development of the MAX Molybdenum mine has advanced dramatically since the Company's last update with site work continuing toward production targeted for mid-2007.
Progress milestones have been met in the following areas:
Underground Development - Decline development work has progressed well utilizing a 5 yd LHD scooptram and a twin boom electric/hydraulic drill jumbo. Development muck has been moved to surface from the working areas at rates up to 1,000 tpd utilizing the existing underground rail system and 10 tonne mine cars. The ongoing development of 25 metre (m) sub-levels will provide access to open stopes for the Phase I mine plan. A program of long-hole production drilling from the upper stoping area will commence shortly. Development and commissioning of other underground facilities, such as refuge stations, shop, muck transfer points and other work is now complete.
Crusher / Mill & Concentrator - Concrete work for all of the required equipment bases, bin supports, internal and perimeter walls was completed in February 2007. All of the heavy equipment, including; crushers, feeders, primary grinding mills, regrind mill and thickener tanks have been installed on their bases. Where required, new liners, bearings, motors and other items are also being fitted prior to commissioning. The mill building structural steel has been erected and roof cladding will be applied shortly. The steelwork for the separate crusher building and transfer tower is currently being completed.
Electrical Systems Installation - Primary diesel generator sets were delivered to the site in November, 2006 with an electrical power distribution system for the MAX mine and mill to be installed shortly. Currently the site works off of construction gen-sets as required.
Tailings Facility - The tailings area was prepared in the summer of 2006, including; tree clearing and ditching for the planned facility. Construction delays arose in late due to severe weather and prompted the re-evaluation of previous plans to build using local borrow materials. Work at the facility has continued though early 2007 with the development of a rockfill quarry and crushing of required filter zone material. Quantities of these materials have been developed and stockpiled at the site for completion of the starter dams. With these materials on hand, and a well prepared site, actual construction of the dams is expected to be completed very rapidly. Pipelines for tailings and reclaim water from the mill site to the tailings facility were completed in November 2006 and will be pressure tested shortly.
Accelerated Phase II Development - As reported on February 27, 2007 the Company is advancing its plans for its PHASE II development at the MAX Molybdenum project, including; additional underground work, further mill upgrades and other infrastructure improvements. Plans for the development of a second adit (tunnel) to the deposit are currently being permitted. When completed, this new access will lower operating costs and improve ventilation of the underground mine. This aspect of the PHASE II plan is being coordinated with current underground development activities so as not to impact production from the PHASE I mine. The project's mining contractors, Genex Mining, are mobilizing an additional jumbo drill and scooptram to the site to begin this work shortly.
The Company's decision to expedite PHASE II development work at MAX reflects management's opinion that present and near-term opportunities exist to sell molybdenum concentrates at strong commodity prices.
2007 Exploration Programs - As reported on March 14, 2007 the Company has accelerated a diamond drilling exploration program that will focus on expanding the known molybdenite resource at depth. Work will initially concentrate on areas below the existing resource and will test exploration models evaluated by the Company's exploration advisory board and supported by mineralized zones discovered in drill holes completed in the 1980's by previous operators. A permit for this drill program is pending. A diamond drill has been secured for the project and will mobilize to the MAX site shortly.
Roca also plans to advance its tungsten exploration on the property as soon as practicable; both underground and surface tungsten targets will be evaluated. The surface strike length of known tungsten mineralization on the property now totals 1,450 metres in length and extends over a vertical range of 600 metres (see Company press release dated December 12, 2006).
The Company's accelerated exploration program will not impact mine development or planned production.
Roca plans to be the first new primary molybdenum producer in Canada, with production to commence in mid-2007. The permitted PHASE I mine plan for MAX will focus on the deposit's high-grade zone containing 280,000 measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.95% MoS2 (refer to T.N. Macauley's 43-101 compliant technical report dated September 2004 available via SEDAR). Molybdenum currently trades in the US$28 - 30/lb range and is a key alloy in the manufacture of stainless and specialty steels, including pipelines and other energy-related steel infrastructure.
ROCA MINES INC.
Scott E. Broughton, P.Eng. -- President & CEO
For further information contact:
Email: [email protected]
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