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Mercator Minerals Announces Mineral Resource & Mineral Reserve Update for Mineral Park Mine

Jun 26 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/13 -- Mercator Minerals Ltd (TSX: ML) ("Mercator" or the "Company") today announced an updated Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimate (the "June 2013 Estimate") for the Company's wholly-owned Mineral Park mine in Arizona ("Mineral Park").

The June 2013 Estimate updates the previously published 2006 mineral resource and mineral reserve statement contained in the Technical Report - Preliminary Feasibility Study on Phase I & Phase II Copper - Moly Milling Expansion, Mineral Park Mine, Mohave County, Arizona ("2006 Study") to better reflect actual mined grades, especially in the transition zone from supergene to hypogene mineralization. The calculation of the June 2013 Estimate has been accomplished through two major enhancements from the 2006 Study: (1) mineralized zones were indentified and modeled, including the leach cap, supergene, transition, and hypogene zones; and (2) blasthole data from the last six years of mining, along with a portion of the blastholes from pre-Mercator operations, were digitized and entered into the database for interpolation purposes. This hybrid dataset, which includes both blasthole and drillhole information, was used to define the model for the new mineral resource estimate, and the interpolated grades were reconciled against a blasthole model. The updated mineral reserve estimate reconciles to within 1% of contained metal in areas mined in 2012.

The differences between the June 2013 mineral reserve estimate of 369 million tons grading 0.12% copper and 0.037% molybdenum and the mineral reserve reported in the Company's 2012 Annual Information Form (brought forward from the 2006 Study) of 389 million tons grading 0.138% copper and 0.040% molybdenum can primarily be attributed to: (1) mining of higher grade supergene material over the past six years, (2) lower copper grade in the transition zone, and (3) interpolation using a hybrid dataset (incorporating both drillholes and blastholes) to model the new mineral resource. The new mineral reserve estimate also incorporates updated operating costs, metal recoveries and metal prices of $2.60 per pound for copper and $9.65 per pound for molybdenum. The new mineral reserve results in an estimated mine life of 20 years.

"The updated mineral reserve and resource estimate confirms Mineral Park as a long life, large tonnage mine and provides more accuracy and predictability in our long term and short term mine planning," stated D. Bruce McLeod, Mercator's President and CEO. "Given current metal prices, we have also designed an optimized five-year pit, which correlates with our production guidance, and will maximize cash flows until the debt repayment and copper hedging programs are complete."

Five-year Mineral Reserve

The projected production for the 67-month period of June 1, 2013 to December 31, 2018 (see Table 1 below) totals 102 million tons grading 0.15% copper and 0.038% molybdenum. Estimated copper production during this period is 254 million pounds of copper ("Cu") and 63 million pounds of molybdenum ("Mo").

Table 1: June 1, 2013 to December 31, 2018 production---------------------------------------------------------Destination: Mill---------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 101,951---------------------------------------------------------Copper Equivalent Grade (%)(i) 0.324Cu Grade (%) 0.15Mo Grade (%) 0.038Ag Grade (oz/ton) 0.087---------------------------------------------------------Recoverable Cu lbs (000) 244,095Recoverable Mo lbs (000) 62,602Recoverable Ag oz (000) 3,563---------------------------------------------------------Destination: Leach---------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 11,328---------------------------------------------------------Cu Grade (%) 0.10Recoverable Cu lbs (000) 10,420---------------------------------------------------------Total: Mill and Leach---------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 113,279Waste Tons (000) 64,422Pit Tons (000) 177,702Strip ratio (waste: ore) 0.57---------------------------------------------------------



(i) Copper Equivalent (CuEq) is the equivalent quantity of grade of copper estimated by converting the molybdenum quantity or grade (using a molybdenum factor based on economic value) into copper and adding it to the copper quantity or grade.

Life-of-Mine Mineral Reserves

Proven and Probable ("P&P") Mineral Reserves (see Table 2 below) totals 369 million tons grading 0.12% copper and 0.037% molybdenum, yielding contained copper of 876 million pounds and contained molybdenum of 273 million pounds, plus 33 million tons of leach ore grading 0.11% copper, yielding an additional contained copper of 72 million pounds, thereby totalling 948 million pounds of contained copper.

Table 2 - Total Mineral Reserves as of June 1, 2013----------------------------------------------------------------------------Destination: Mill Proven Probable Proven + Probable----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 208,905 160,035 368,940----------------------------------------------------------------------------Copper Equivalent Grade (%) 0.300 0.279 0.291Cu Grade (%) 0.13 0.11 0.12Mo Grade (%) 0.037 0.037 0.037Ag Grade (oz/ton) 0.081 0.087 0.084----------------------------------------------------------------------------Contained Cu lbs (000) 538,557 338,098 876,656Contained Mo lbs (000) 154,172 119,060 273,232Contained Ag oz (000) 16,942 13,963 30,905----------------------------------------------------------------------------Destination: Leach Proven Probable Proven + Probable----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 18,758 14,685 33,443----------------------------------------------------------------------------Cu Grade (%) 0.11 0.11 0.11Contained Cu lbs (000) 40,667 30,936 71,603----------------------------------------------------------------------------Total: Mill & Leach Proven + Probable----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mineral Reserve tons (000) 402,383Waste Tons (000) 112,092Pit Tons (000) 514,475Strip ratio (waste: ore) 0.28----------------------------------------------------------------------------Notes:1) Metal prices used for calculation of reserves were $2.60/lb Cu, $9.95/lb Mo, and $3.90/oz Ag2) Reserve metallurgical recoveries used are 82% for Cu, 80% for Mo and 50% for leach Cu3) Variable $/ton cutoff optimization used to estimate reserves starting at the internal cutoff4) Variable $/ton cutoff optimization results in approximately 0.21 CuEq cutoff5) A Mo factor of 4.65 was used in calculating CuEq = Cu% + Mo% (i) 4.65



Mineral Resources

Measured and indicated ("M&I") mineral resources, inclusive of mineral reserves, (see Tables 3 and 4 below) total 1,035 million tons of M&I mineral resources grading 0.098% copper and 0.032% molybdenum, and an additional 399 million tons of inferred mineral resources grading 0.102% copper and 0.023% molybdenum at a 0.136% copper equivalent cutoff (which results from applying three year trailing average metal prices for copper and molybdenum of $3.66 per pound and $13.65 per pound respectively).

Table 3 - Total Mineral Resources (including Reserve) as of June 1, 2013---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Measured----------------------------------------------------------------------------Cu Eq Insitu Ag Pounds Pounds OuncesCutoff Tons CuEq Cu Mo (Oz/ Cu Mo Ag(%) (000s) (%) (%) (%) ton) (000s) (000s) (000s)----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.136 317,025 0.274 0.118 0.034 0.076 750,081 212,407 24,0300.200 261,503 0.296 0.126 0.037 0.077 656,896 191,420 20,1880.300 100,281 0.368 0.168 0.043 0.079 336,944 86,442 7,9020.400 22,346 0.484 0.266 0.047 0.081 118,657 20,961 1,8080.500 6,347 0.592 0.377 0.046 0.074 47,831 5,877 472---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Indicated----------------------------------------------------------------------------Cu Eq Insitu Ag Pounds Pounds OuncesCutoff Tons CuEq Cu Mo (Oz/ Cu Mo Ag(%) (000s) (%) (%) (%) ton) (000s) (000s) (000s)----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.136 717,857 0.237 0.089 0.032 0.071 1,273,478 457,993 50,9680.200 490,742 0.268 0.094 0.038 0.072 918,669 368,057 35,5300.300 109,105 0.339 0.114 0.048 0.077 249,196 105,395 8,3680.400 9,081 0.440 0.205 0.051 0.094 37,305 9,172 8510.500 445 0.526 0.316 0.045 0.069 2,814 401 31---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Measured + Indicated----------------------------------------------------------------------------Cu Eq Insitu Ag Pounds Pounds OuncesCutoff Tons CuEq Cu Mo (Oz/ Cu Mo Ag(%) (000s) (%) (%) (%) ton) (000s) (000s) (000s)----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.136 1,034,882 0.248 0.098 0.032 0.072 2,023,559 670,400 74,9980.200 752,245 0.278 0.105 0.037 0.074 1,575,565 559,477 55,7180.300 209,386 0.353 0.140 0.046 0.078 586,140 191,838 16,2700.400 31,427 0.471 0.248 0.048 0.085 155,962 30,132 2,6590.500 6,792 0.588 0.373 0.046 0.074 50,645 6,279 502----------------------------------------------------------------------------Table 4 - Total Inferred Mineral Resources as of June 1, 2013---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total Inferred----------------------------------------------------------------------------CuEq Insitu Ag Pounds Pounds OuncesCutoff tons CuEq Cu Mo (Oz/ Cu Mo Ag(%) (000s) (%) (%) (%) ton) (000s) (000s) (000s)----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.136 399,275 0.207 0.102 0.023 0.078 812,924 180,472 31,1830.200 189,696 0.247 0.104 0.031 0.083 394,947 116,473 15,6500.300 19,086 0.322 0.107 0.046 0.073 40,882 17,674 1,3840.400 92 0.410 0.073 0.073 0.035 135 133 30.500 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0 0----------------------------------------------------------------------------Notes:1) Metal prices used for calculation of an economic pit shell were the three year trailing averages or $3.66/lb Cu and $13.65/lb Mo.2) Metallurgical recoveries used are 80% for Cu and 80% for Mo.3) Cutoff grade used was a breakeven cutoff of approximately 0.136% CuEq4) A Mo factor of 4.65 was used in calculating CuEq = Cu% + Mo% (i) 4.65



The mineral reserves and mineral resource estimates have been prepared in accordance with Canadian Securities Administrators National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") and the Canadian Institute of Mining ("CIM") definitions for mineral resources. Mineral resources for Mineral Park are estimated at a cut-off grade of 0.136% copper equivalent.

The mineral reserve and mineral resource estimate for Mineral Park was calculated under the supervision of Gary Simmerman, BSc. Mining Eng, FAusIMM, a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Garth Kirkham, P. Geo. (Association of Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia), an independent geoscientist and an Outside Expert assisted in the grade estimate of the hybrid model.

Mineral resources that are not Mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Mineral resource estimates do not account for mineability, selectivity, mining loss and dilution. These mineral resource estimates include inferred mineral resources that are normally considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is also no certainty that these inferred mineral resources will be converted to measured and indicated categories through further drilling, or into mineral reserves, once economic considerations are applied.

Technical Report

The Technical Report supporting the disclosure of the June 2013 Estimate will be prepared as a NI 43-101F1 compliant Technical Report and filed under Mercator's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com within 45 days of this news release. For readers to fully understand the information in this news release, they should read the Technical Report (when available on SEDAR or at www.mercatorminerals.com) in its entirety, including all qualifications, assumptions and exclusions that relate to the information set out in this news release which qualifies the Technical Information. The Technical Report intended to be read as a whole, and summaries or sections should not be read or relied upon out of context. The technical information in that report is subject to the assumptions and qualifications contained in the Technical Report.

About Mercator Minerals Ltd.

Mercator Minerals Ltd., a TSX listed Canadian mining company with one of the fastest growing base metal profiles in its peer group, is a leading copper, molybdenum and silver producer with a diversified portfolio of high quality operations and projects in the USA and Mexico. Mercator provides investors exposure to current copper, molybdenum and silver production from the large tonnage long life Mineral Park Mine in Arizona, as well as mid-term exposure to copper at the El Pilar deposit in the State of Sonora in northern Mexico and longer term exposure of molybdenum and copper through the development of the El Creston deposit also in the State of Sonora in northern Mexico.

For further information please visit www.mercatorminerals.com.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors

MERCATOR MINERALS LTD.

D. Bruce McLeod, P.Eng, President and CEO

Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains certain forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements, referred to herein as "forward-looking statements", are not historical facts, are made as of the date of this press release and include without limitation, statements regarding discussions of future plans, guidance, projections, objectives, estimates and forecasts and statements as to management's expectations with respect to, among other things, the size, grade and quality of the Company's mineral reserves and mineral resources, potential mineralization, and possible extensions of zones. In addition, estimates of mineral reserves and mineral resources may constitute forward looking statements to the extent they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered during operations, should such material be mined. These forward-looking statements involve numerous risks and uncertainties and actual results may vary. Important factors that may cause actual results to vary include without limitation, certain transactions, certain approvals, changes in commodity and power prices, changes in interest and currency exchange rates, risks inherent in exploration results, timing and success, inaccurate geological and metallurgical assumptions (including with respect to the size, grade and recoverability of mineral reserves and resources), unanticipated operational difficulties (including failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate in accordance with specifications, cost escalation, unavailability of materials, equipment and third-party contractors, delays in the receipt of government approvals, industrial disturbances or other job action, and unanticipated events related to health, safety and environmental matters), political risk, social unrest, and changes in general economic conditions or conditions in the financial markets.

In making the forward-looking statements in this press release, the Company has applied several material assumptions, including without limitation, the assumptions that: (1) market fundamentals will result in sustained copper and molybdenum demand and prices; (2) the current copper leach operations at Mineral Park remain viable, operationally and economically; and (3) the milling operations at Mineral Park will continue to be viable, operationally and economically. Statements concerning mineral reserves and mineral resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward-looking statements to the extent that they involve estimates of the mineralization that may be encountered during current or future operations. The words "guidance", "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "may," "will," "should," "intend," "believe," "target," "budget," "plan," "projection" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Information concerning mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates also may be considered forward-looking statements, as such information constitutes a prediction of what mineralization might be found to be present if and when a project is actually developed. The risks and assumptions are described in more detail in the Company's Annual Information Form, audited financial statements and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2012 on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. The Company does not assume the obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements after the date of this news release or to revise them to reflect the occurrence of future unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.

Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimation

The database used to estimate the mineral resources and mineral reserves for Mineral Park was prepared under the supervision of Gary Simmerman, BSC, Mining Eng., FAusIMM. In the opinion of Mr. Simmerman, the sampling method and the current density of drill holes is appropriate for the nature of mineralization at Mineral Park and the database is acceptable for the mineral resource and mineral reserve calculations for which he is responsible, and the block model, mineral resource estimate and mineral resource classification reported herein are adequate for feasibility level evaluations of Mineral Park, and meet the "reasonable prospects for economic extraction" conditions of NI 43-101. The mineral resources and the mineral reserves presented herein have been estimated in conformity with CIM guidelines and are reported in accordance with NI 43-101. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Note to US Investors

This news release has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ from the requirements of United States securities laws. The terms "mineral reserve", "proven mineral reserve" and "probable mineral reserve" are Canadian mining terms as defined in accordance with NI 43-101 and the CIM Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, adopted by the CIM Council, as amended. These definitions differ from the definitions in SEC Industry Guide 7 under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act").

Under SEC Industry Guide 7 standards, a "final" or "bankable" feasibility study is required to report reserves, the three-year historical average price is used in any reserve or cash flow analysis to designate reserves and the primary environmental analysis or report must be filed with the appropriate governmental authority. In addition, the terms "mineral resource", "measured mineral resource", "indicated mineral resource" and "inferred mineral resource" are defined in and required to be disclosed by NI 43-101; however, these terms are not defined terms under SEC Industry Guide 7 and are normally not permitted to be used in reports and registration statements filed with the SEC. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves. "Inferred mineral resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of feasibility or pre-feasibility studies, except in rare cases. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource exists or is economically or legally mineable. Disclosure of "contained ounces" in a resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian regulations; however, the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute "reserves" by SEC Industry Guide 7 standards as in place tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. "Indicated mineral resource" and "inferred mineral resource" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence and a great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an "indicated mineral resource" or "inferred mineral resource" will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves. Accordingly, information contained in this News Release contain descriptions of the Company's mineral deposits that may not be comparable to similar information made public by U.S. companies subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements under the United States federal securities laws and the rules and regulations there under.

National Instrument 43-101 Compliance

Unless otherwise indicated, Mercator has prepared the technical information in this news release ("Technical Information") based on information contained in the technical reports, news releases, material change reports and quarterly and annual consolidated financial statements and management discussion and analysis (collectively the "Disclosure Documents") available under Mercator Minerals Ltd.'s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Each Disclosure Document was prepared by or under the supervision of a qualified person (a "Qualified Person") as defined in National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects of the Canadian Securities Administration ("NI 43-101"). Readers are encouraged to review the full text of the Disclosure Documents that qualifies the Technical Information. Readers are advised that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Disclosure Documents are each intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context. The Technical Information is subject to the assumptions and qualifications contained in the Disclosure Documents.

The Technical Information contained in this news release has been prepared under the supervision of, and its disclosure has been reviewed by Gary Simmerman, BSC, Mining Eng., FAusIMM, who is a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101.



Contacts:
Mercator Minerals Ltd.
D. Bruce McLeod. P.Eng.
President & CEO
778.330.1290
bmcleod@mercatorminerals.com

Mercator Minerals Ltd.
David Jan, CA
Head of Investor Relations & Communications
778.330.1295
djan@mercatorminerals.com
www.mercatorminerals.com





Source: Marketwire


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