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Message: Re: Stingray expects El Pilar feasibility study in April

Dec 01, 2008 08:47AM

Feb 10, 2009 08:35AM

Mar 04, 2009 08:17AM

2009-02-09 16:49 EST - News Release

Mr. Peter Mordaunt reports


Stingray Copper Inc. is providing an update on its El Pilar project in Mexico.

Peter Mordaunt, chief executive officer, states: "Stingray's mandate to complete the feasibility study of the El Pilar oxide copper project located in Sonora, Mexico, remains on schedule for delivery in April. The metallurgical program has been completed and we are pleased with the results as presented below in table 1 and that are being incorporated into the study. This series of tests completed at Metcon Research Inc. in Tucson has been under way for more than a year and the results are viewed as consistent with the earlier testwork developed by Noranda Mexico at the project."

The El Pilar feasibility study is well advanced. Third party consultants have contributed their work for inclusion to the study. M3 Engineering & Technology Corp. is overseeing the integration of all components of the study to be completed in April of 2009. Stingray has financed the majority of the budgeted study work. Several elements of engineering and government liaison (permitting, for example) are expected to continue seamlessly beyond the delivery of the study. This will ensure that the project continues to advance. Associated costs are expected to be nominal but will maintain the timelines for an early start for the El Pilar project.

The feasibility study is expected to be delivered at a time of lower commodity prices. Volatile price swings make financial forecasting an artistic adventure. As such, it is anticipated that the project will be presented in a conservative commodity context. Stingray emphasizes that there are many countervailing factors that may be beneficial at a time when copper prices have declined. As an example, one of the principal operating costs of an SX-EW (solvent extraction-electrowinning) project is the cost of sulphuric acid. As an update to the corporation's last release, the spot price of sulphuric acid, as reported by the research firm PentaSul, has ranged from a high of $650 (U.S.) per tonne to a recent price of $75 (U.S.) per tonne. Stingray is considering the construction of a stand-alone, 600-tonne-per-day acid plant, as the declining price of sulphur is outpacing the declining price of sulphuric acid. Current weekly PEMEX quotes for sulphur are quoted at less than $20 (U.S.) per tonne. One tonne of sulphur produces three tonnes of sulphuric acid. This sulphur price is down from $510 (U.S.) per tonne as recently as October, 2008. Stingray expects that operating cost reductions of this type, including fuel, will have positive effects upon the viability of the El Pilar project.

Mr. Mordaunt explains, "We expect to have many options available to advance the El Pilar project and add value for our shareholders, subject to a positive feasibility study."

Stingray has approximately $17-million of working capital, principally cash held on deposit at a major Canadian bank, with no debt and all its current financial obligations met. This represents 29 cents of cash per Stingray common share. Stingray will be able to preserve its cash and maintain the opportunity that El Pilar represents for its shareholders for an extended period. Stingray's annual expenditures can be easily scaled back to modest levels while still advancing the project by completing internal detailed engineering, thus reducing project risks. Many other trade-off studies can be completed as prices for equipment and materials decline in the current financial landscape.

Metallurgical update

Metcon has completed the preparation of five composite samples from drill cores that are representative of the mine schedule (year 1, year 2, year 3, years 4 to 6, years 7 to 9), and performed the following metallurgical testwork:

  1. Bottle roll tests;
  2. Mini-column leach tests;
  3. Open-cycle column leach tests;
  4. Locked-cycle column leach tests.

The locked-cycle column leach results of the five composite samples are presented in the table. Metcon reports that the copper recoveries and associated sulphuric acid consumption can be achieved at El Pilar. Additional metallurgical work for the study will focus on optimizing economic recovery by considering longer leach times and the cost of additional sulphuric acid consumption as a function of declining sulphuric acid/sulphur prices.


Composite year    Copper extraction    Acid consumption    Acid consumption
                                 (%)           kg/kg Cu                kg/t

Year 1                           68                 6.6                  19
Year 2                           71                 6.3                  19
Year 3                           64                 7.9                  18
Years 4 - 6                      60                 7.5                  15
Years 7 - 9                      58                 9.1                  15


Leach test parameters --  crush size, 80 per cent passing 37.5 milli-
metres, flow rate average of 6.1 and 7.8 litres per hour per square metre,
years 1, 2 and 3 leach cycle of 128 days, years 4 to 6 leach cycle of 120 
days, years 7 to 9 leach cycle of 121 days.

Feasibility study update

Stingray's technical team and consultants are working with M3 on all aspects of the study:

  • Independent Mining Consultants (IMC) is finalizing the geologic/resource/reserve models and reviewing the report on database quality assurance and quality control.
  • IMC is completing the mine plan and mine schedule.
  • Stingray is preparing a trade-off study of Contract Mining versus Company Mining Fleet.
  • Golder Associates recently established the open-pit slope design criteria for the final mine plan and schedule.
  • Golder has completed its work to establish the heap-leach facility location and design.
  • Metcon has completed the preparation of five composite samples representative of the mine schedule (year 1, year 2, year 3, years 4 to 6, years 7 to 9), and completed testwork designed to provide metallurgical copper recovery estimates and sulphuric acid and reagent consumptions.
  • Stingray has developed the process flow design.
  • Stingray has developed the SX-EW plant design.
  • Stingray has developed the material handling and comparative trade-off studies.
  • Aguayo Consultants has completed environmental baseline reports, socio-economic studies and is developing the environmental impact statement (MIA) for submission to the government prior to permitting.
  • IDEAS has completed its hydrological assessment report of the Santa Cruz basin and has presented submissions to government prior to an application for the water permit.
  • Stingray has determined the project power requirements, power availability and costing for delivery from the Mexican Power Authority (CFE).
  • M3 is investigating alternative power line routes for power delivery.
  • Stingray has designed the site facilities and the general arrangement plan.
  • Stingray is establishing sources and costs for sulphuric acid and sulphur and related costs for delivery.
  • Stingray is preparing a trade-off study for the construction of an acid generating plant with byproduct power generation capability.
  • Stingray and M3 engineers are calculating capital and operating cost estimations.
  • Stingray and M3 are preparing the financial evaluation/modelling and sensitivity analysis.
  • M3 has been engaged to review, audit, supplement and finalize the content of the El Pilar feasibility study for completion in April, 2009.

Stingray, M3 and the experienced group of contributing consultants will deliver a quality study that will outline the feasibility of the El Pilar project. It is designed for presentation of the project to financial institutions, governments and regulatory agencies. Stingray's objective is to develop the El Pilar project as an open-pit, heap-leach, SX-EW, LME Grade A, cathode copper mine.

Mr. Mordaunt, PGeo, is the qualified person responsible for the technical content of this news release; Joe Keane, PE, is the qualified person responsible for information related to the metallurgy.

Mar 20, 2009 05:44AM

Mar 23, 2009 06:16AM
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