News Column

Firestone Releases Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Torlon Hill Zinc-Lead-Silver Deposit, Guatemala

Mar 6 2013 12:00AM



EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/06/13 -- Firestone Ventures Inc. ("Firestone" or the "Corporation") (TSX VENTURE: FV)(FRANKFURT: F5V) is pleased to announce the results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") completed on its Torlon Hill Zinc-Lead-Silver Project located in Guatemala (the "Project") by ProMet Dadi Pty. ("ProMet") based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The PEA outlines an operation with a 617,000 tonne per year throughput, projecting an after-tax 97% internal rate of return ("IRR") and an after-tax US $45.4 Million net present value ("NPV") at a 5% discount rate.

Firestone's plan is to construct the mine and mill facility that will produce a zinc concentrate and a silver-rich lead concentrate that will be direct shipped to market. Firestone continues to advance the social, environmental and technical aspects of the Project that will allow for the completion of a Feasibility Study and advance the project to production.

ProMet Study Base Case Highlights

-- After-tax and after-royalty Net Present Value ("NPV") at a 5% discount rate of US$45.4 Million and an after-tax Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 97% that assumes expenditure and commissioning happen in the same year,-- Payback of 1.2 years after tax and after plant start-up,-- Initial capital cost ("Capex") of US$26 Million over a 12-month development period,-- An initial 5 year mine life from the mining and processing of three million tonnes at a processing rate of 617,000 tonnes per year from one open pit operation with a strip ratio estimate of 2.57:1,-- Life of Mine ("LOM") payable production of 106,392 tonnes of contained zinc metal, 42,979 tonnes of contained lead metal and 766,800 ounces of silver from the production of a zinc concentrate and a silver-rich lead concentrate,-- Estimated Operating Costs for the initial 5 year mine-life are $42.42/tonne,-- Commodity price assumptions for base case of $1.00/lb zinc, $1.00/lb lead and $30/ounce silver.

The PEA is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the estimates of the PEA will be realized.

Firestone's President and CEO, Pamela Strand commented, "The operation outlined by this PEA for the Torlon Hill Project indicates the potential for a fast track to market approach for our zinc project. The projected NPV, net cash flows, and relatively low capital costs arise from Firestone's advantages, including a deposit near significant infrastructure (including the Pan American highway, multiple ports and future hydro power). Our results to date, coupled with this engineering study make a compelling case for expediting the development of the Torlon Hill Project."

Economic Sensitivities

The economics of the Project are most sensitive to metal prices, recovery and the grade of the potentially mineable mineralization. The results of the sensitivity analysis are illustrated below.

Note: To view the "NPV Sensitivity" graph, please click the following link:

Financial Sensitivities at Various Zinc Prices (5%discount rate)------------------------------------------------------ Price of Zinc After-tax NPV (US$/lb) US$ Millions After-tax IRR------------------------------------------------------ $1.05 $48.0 102%------------------------------------------------------ $1.00 $45.4 97%------------------------------------------------------ $0.95 $42.5 91%------------------------------------------------------ $0.90 $39.6 84%------------------------------------------------------

The Project has favorable economic potential across a range of discount rates and commodity prices. The operations outlined in this PEA are projected to generate over $49.4 Million in revenue after-tax over the 5 years of mine life at an 5% discount rate.

The metallurgical test work completed by Firestone and used within this PEA is preliminary in scope and results in the generation of the concentrates from the process proposed. Firstly a zinc concentrate with 30-40% zinc as carbonate with 45% payable metal and a lead concentrate with 60% lead and greater than 300 g/t silver with 95% payable. These initial terms have been obtained from metal traders in China using specific assumptions although no specific contracts have been finalized. Costs in this PEA are CIF Chinese Port and all transport costs, treatments charges and fees are included.

The Company has completed significant drilling of the current National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") defined resource whereby 92% of the resource estimate and the ore included in this PEA is in the measured and indicated categories. The ore body is open in two directions and this PEA recommended continued definition drill program to expand the existing resource. All past resource estimates have had a 3% zinc equivalent cut off within the defined pit shell confines. With a successful definition drill program and remodeling of the current resource, Firestone expects to be able to support increased production scenarios, which would further increase the already favorable Project NPV.

Terry Tucker, Firestone Director, elaborated on the preliminary economics of the Project, "We are pleased with the level of engineering expertise behind this PEA. Through the process we gained considerable insight into potential opportunities for further improvement in the already attractive overall potential economics, including future zinc concentrate concepts that will be validated during the Feasibility Study phase. The relatively low unit operating cost of production coupled with demand for zinc concentrate by various smelters, means this operation has the potential to remain profitable and we are predicting that the zinc price to remain strong as both demand and supply increase in the future."

Project Description--------------------------------------------------Capital Costs US$--------------------------------------------------Process Plant $11,255,074--------------------------------------------------Infrastructure $ 2,927,605--------------------------------------------------Indirect Costs $ 7,621,414--------------------------------------------------Project Sub Costs $21,804,094--------------------------------------------------Contingency (20%) $ 4,455,873--------------------------------------------------PROJECT TOTAL $26,259,967--------------------------------------------------

Mining at Torlon will be by standard open pit methods using a mining contractor with a bench height of 5m. Waste haulage distance is estimated at 500m with ore haulage at 2km. It is assumed that 75% of the rock will be free digging with ripping and hydraulic breaking and that the balance of 25% will require light blasting. Based on a 617,000 tonne per year of ore milled and 1,700 tonnes per day of ore mined, the cost estimates for mining ore and waste are $2.47 and $1.80 per ton respectively with a 2.57 stripping ratio.

The process plant proposed has been based on a three stage crushing and screening, DMS pre concentration, then milling of the DMS concentrate. The mill product will then by subjected to differential floatation to generate both a zinc and lead concentrate. The concentrates will then be washed, dewatered and shipped from the site.

ProMet has concept designed the location for deposition of slimes and tailings. All materials to be mined at Torlon would be oxidized forms of mineralization.

Estimated power requirements for the site infrastructure were estimated at 3000kW that is envisioned to be supplied by four 1000 kVA diesel generating units with a fifth for standby.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------Operating cost summary------------------------------------------------------------ Total MonthlyItem Cost (US$) % of Total------------------------------------------------------------Fixed costs------------------------------------------------------------Overheads $ 2 353 1%------------------------------------------------------------Sub Total $ 2 353 1%------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Variable costs------------------------------------------------------------Power $ 238 021 62%------------------------------------------------------------Water $ 13 129 3%------------------------------------------------------------Reagents $ 49 270 13%------------------------------------------------------------Grinding Media (Primary and Secondary Mills) $ 7 492 2%------------------------------------------------------------Mill Liners (Primary and Secondary Mills) $ 4 911 1%------------------------------------------------------------Crusher Liners $ 11 090 3%------------------------------------------------------------Laboratory Costs $ 20 899 5%------------------------------------------------------------Maintenance Costs $ 38 074 10%------------------------------------------------------------Concentrate Transport $ -------------------------------------------------------------Sub total $ 382 886 99%------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Total $ 385 239 $ 7.49 per ROM-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Cash Costs per ton processed US$----------------------------------------Mining $ 7.09----------------------------------------Processing $ 7.49----------------------------------------Slimes $ 0.12----------------------------------------Fixed $ 5.09----------------------------------------Off Mine $12.58----------------------------------------Capex Inc Financing $ 10.04----------------------------------------TOTAL COST/TON ROM $42.42----------------------------------------

Areas for Optimization

The PEA has been successful in achieving the target set by Firestone to provide a low Capex fast track to market operation. A series of recommendations have been outlined in the PEA to meet a potential 18-24 month Project execution timeline. The budget for this work is $1.2 Million. These areas include:

-- Resource optimization to identify additional mineral resources including remodeling for a total metal content to include low grade ore,-- Remodel the resource using a new block and geological model,-- Quantification and design of the upgrades to the existing road access route,-- Continue environmental baseline studies, socioeconomic studies and completion of an EIA,-- Additional metallurgical analysis to quantify the key design criteria to include but not limited to crushing work, milling liberation, screening performance, flotation tests and upgrade testwork on the zinc concentrates,-- Geotechnical studies, and-- Finalize formal off take agreements.

PEA Report

The PEA was prepared in accordance with the guidelines of National Instrument 43-101 by the independent engineering firm ProMet Dadi Africa (Pty) Ltd. ("ProMet") located in Cape Town, South Africa. ProMet is a leading full-service engineering firm and has experience in the sector that includes the design and construction supervision of mining projects in Africa. The complete PEA report will be filed on SEDAR and Firestone's website within 45 days of this news release.

Qualified Persons

The PEA was prepared under the supervision of Mr. Kevin Van Wouw, FSAIMM and Mr. Alan Minnaar, Pr. Eng., both independent Qualified Persons as defined by NI 43-101 and independent of Firestone. Mr. Van Wouw has reviewed and is responsible for the technical information contained in this news release. The geological block model and resource estimate are derived from the NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate dated December 2008 (, authored by Al Workman, P.Geo. and Kurt Breede., P.Eng., of Watts Griffis McOuat Limited, Toronto. ProMet has reviewed the 2008 estimate, and confirms that there is no material change to the resource since its initial publication and accepts the estimate as its own for use in the PEA. On behalf of the Company, the technical information in this news release has also been reviewed and approved by Pamela Strand, P.Geol., President of Firestone and a Qualified Person in accordance with NI 43-101.

About Firestone Ventures Inc.

Firestone is a Canadian-based exploration and development company with zinc-lead-silver and copper projects in Central America and has been working in Guatemala since 2004. Our main project is the Torlon Hill Zinc-Lead-Silver Project in Guatemala. The current NI 43-101 oxide resource (see news release 18 November 2008 on is summarized in the following table and the deposit remains open to expansion. The NI 43-101 resource used a 3% zinc equivalent cut-off grade and a 35.5% zinc top-cut.

Torlon Deposit Oxide Mineral Resource - as at March 6, 2013--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Zinc Zinc Lead Lead Silver Silver Tonnes % (lbs)(i) % (lbs)(i) (g/t) (oz)(i)---------------------------------------------------------------------------Measured and Indicated 1,891,636 7.32 304,905,997 2.41 100,294,541 14.25 866,663---------------------------------------------------------------------------Inferred 169,705 4.42 16,502,114 1.96 7,317,680 12.53 68,367---------------------------------------------------------------------------(i)The total contained metal assumes 100% metal recovery and does not indicate economic viability

Smithsonite (ZnCO3) is the prevalent zinc mineral at Torlon, occurring as a replacement to limestone and resulting in high grade mineralization locally exceeding 40% zinc. Other non-sulphide zinc minerals are relatively rare and there is no evidence of deleterious zinc-clay minerals.

In addition to Torlon, Firestone also has a large land position covering a significant portion of the Central Guatemala Zinc District with four drill ready targets and over fifty zinc mineral occurrences. The land position has excellent exploration potential and with systematic exploration could develop as the world's next major zinc district. The common shares of the Company are currently listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (symbol FV) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (symbol F5V).

Additional information about the Project can be found in the technical report filed on SEDAR at entitled "Report on the Geology, Exploration and Mineral Resources of the Torlon Hill 'Oxide' Zn-Pb-Ag Project District, Huehuetenango, Guatemala" dated December, 2008.

This news release may contain forward looking statements, being statements which are not historical facts, including, without limitation, statements regarding potential mineralization, exploration results, resource or reserve estimates, anticipated production or results, sales, revenues, costs, "best-efforts" financings or discussions of future plans and objectives. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove accurate. Such statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations are in Company documents filed from time to time with the TSX Venture Exchange and provincial securities regulators, most of which are available at The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to revise or update such statements unless required by law.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Firestone Ventures Inc.
Pamela Strand, P. Geol.
Toll Free: 1-888-221-5588
(780) 428-3476 (FAX)

Source: Marketwire

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