Bear Creek provides project update: Engineering studies rapidly advancing to completion at Corani and Santa Ana silver deposits



    VANCOUVER, April 1 /CNW/ - Bear Creek Mining (TSX Venture: BCM) ("Bear
Creek" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on the status of
project development work. Following successful renegotiation of its
obligations with respect to the purchase of the remaining interest in the
Corani silver project, the Company has sufficient funds to complete all needed
development activities through 2010 while maintaining its aggressive
generative exploration programs.
    The work completed to date on the Corani prefeasibility study ("PFS")
demonstrates that the project has favorable development characteristics and
metallurgical behavior that make for a straight-forward mining project with
robust economics. Engineering and development work on Corani and Santa Ana has
continued and will be accelerated now that the Rio Tinto obligation has been
restructured and precious metals prices are improving. Importantly, in the
face of strengthening silver prices, the Company now holds 410 million ounces
of silver in measured and indicated resources along with a large base metal
resource containing another 204 million ounces of equivalent silver.
    Andrew Swarthout, President and CEO, states, "We are very excited with
the advanced status of the engineering studies being performed by a widely
recognized group of independent mining consultants and testing laboratories.
We believe that these important milestones, the Corani prefeasibility study as
well as the Santa Ana scoping study/preliminary economic assessment ("PEA")
will demonstrate the high quality of our silver assets and enhance shareholder
value by establishing that these projects are among the best undeveloped
silver assets in the world. The engineering studies will further define how
each of the projects can be developed in a low capital cost manner with
initial production coming from the higher grade portions of each deposit at a
very attractive cost per ounce."

    
    Corporate Funding
    -----------------
    

    The Company has a strong cash position with US$12 million on hand at the
end of March, 2009. These funds are sufficient to complete the Corani PFS and
the Santa Ana PEA and to continue its grassroots exploration programs in an
environment where many new opportunities will arise as less well-funded
companies are forced to release mining claims or to seek joint venture
partners. The Company maintains this strong commitment to grassroots
exploration by keeping three teams of experienced exploration geologists in
the field in Peru exploring for new precious metal discoveries.

    
    Project Development
    -------------------

    Corani
    

    The Company's flagship asset continues to be the Corani silver-lead-zinc
deposit. The Corani PFS commenced in mid-2008 with the work being performed by
Vector Engineering, Samuel Engineering and Independent Mining Consultants.
Prior to initiating this study, the project was "right-sized" in order to
focus on the higher-grade cores of the deposits at an optimum throughput rate
with reduced capital and operating costs (see news release dated 2 Sept.
2008). These design criteria are:

    
    -   15,000 tonne per day flotation process plant focusing on processing
        the higher grade and higher recovery sulfide ores early in the mine
        life
    -   Conventional flotation technology producing high-quality commercial
        silver-lead and zinc concentrates
    -   Recoveries of 80% silver, 60% lead, and 75% zinc; more precise
        recoveries to be defined upon incorporating optimized test results
        with mine-sequencing in the PFS
    -   Capital expenditures expected to be in the range of $300M
    -   Targeting the average head grade at 70g/t Ag, 1.1% Pb and 0.6% Zn,
        equivalent to 127 g/t Ag, for life of the project.
    -   Schedule higher-grade pits yielding silver production of
        10-14 million ounces per year during the first 7 years
    -   Schedule the approximately 100 million tonnes of the resource that
        contains 210 million higher-grade ounces of silver within mining
        pits having a low strip ratio (1.4:1)
    -   Establish cash costs per ounce silver (net of base metals) of
        $3.50/ounce in the first 7 years of operation (updated to current
        metals prices)
    -   Evaluate the opportunity to increase future silver production with
        limited additional capital by either mine expansion and/or extension
        of mine life for processing the remaining 150 million ounces in
        resource; leverage to future silver prices.

    Note: Certain statements particularly with respect to expectations on
    capital and operating costs are subject to change pending completion of
    the Corani PFS
    

    The vast majority of the field studies were completed during 2008 and the
engineering groups are now focusing on final processing design and costing
studies. Additional cost to complete the pre feasibility is approximately
US$1.3M and, as metallurgical test work is in the final stages and no further
drilling is required to convert resources to reserve categories, the study is
expected to be completed in the third quarter, 2009.

    Metallurgical testing - During the past six months, activities have
focused on extensive metallurgical testing at SGS Vancouver. Final testing is
in progress on two "master" composite samples under optimized reagent and
grinding conditions to conclude testing for the PFS. Test results are
summarized as follows:

    
    -   13 Locked cycle tests have been completed on different ore composites
        and blends.
    -   Marketable concentrates were produced in all tests. Average
        concentrate grades are 56% lead, 1.9 kgs silver (lead concentrates)
        and 53% zinc, 470 g silver (zinc concentrates) with concentrate
        grades of 79% lead and 2.2 kgs being obtained on coarser sulfide
        ores.
    -   No bulk concentrate will be produced, thus enhancing smelter payment
        terms.
    -   Blending of sulfide ore with transitional ore shows that recoveries
        are basically additive. This represents a significant breakthrough as
        mine sequencing and stockpiling can be largely simplified with no
        adverse effect on overall recoveries.
    -   Silver reports predominantly to the lead concentrate which optimizes
        smelter payment terms.
    -   Recent addition of scavenger circuits in the test work has improved
        concentrate grades significantly with no detrimental effects to
        overall recoveries. Scavenger circuits are a low-capital cost common
        technology.
    -   Leach optimization test work completed on two oxide ore composites
        which shows average silver recovery of 86%, with cyanide consumption
        of 1.5 kg/t. These excellent leach test results will be used to
        evaluate the treatment of lower grade oxide material in the outer
        deposit areas (later years) as well as potential treatment of oxide
        ores encountered during early mine-life, and possibly converting
        internal waste to ore, thus further reducing the stripping ratio
    -   All material types contained within the deposits are now demonstrated
        to have a conventional metallurgical extraction process at recoveries
        in line with similar operating mines worldwide.
    

    According to Andrew Swarthout, President and CEO, "The Corani PFS is very
advanced and test results aimed at specific operating criteria demonstrate
that Corani is a buildable, robust project. Two of the most significant inputs
have now been addressed; marketable concentrates are achievable with no bulk
concentrate production envisioned, and blending of material-types during
mining is viable while maintaining recoveries and product quality. We are now
in a position to quickly wrap up the PFS and demonstrate that Corani has all
the attributes to be a major, operating silver-base metals mine."

    Santa Ana

    Drilling continued at the Santa Ana silver heap leach project up to the
end of the drilling season in October 2008. Fifty-two remaining drill holes
will be incorporated into the third resource estimate to be released in April
and a preliminary economic assessment ("PEA") will be commenced, with expected
completion in the second quarter, 2009. The additional drilling extended the
known area of mineralization and filled in several areas of higher grade
mineralization. Importantly, the deposit remains open, especially to the north
where strong intercepts containing 74m @ 51.4 g/t Ag and 22m @ 123.9 g/t Ag
were found in the northern-most drill holes to date (see news release dated 22
January 2009. For the PEA the Company will be focusing on the higher grade
areas of the deposit which are expected to average greater than 55 g/t Ag
while developing a production plan that focuses on a low-capital cost and
quick to develop heap leach silver mine.
    Highlights of the Santa Ana project are summarized below and are subject
to further definition upon completion of the PEA:

    
    -   Low cost, open pit mining methods with low stripping ratios.
    -   Mine sequencing in progress to optimize low-cash cost/ounce,
        particularly in early mine-life.
    -   Metallurgical test work indicating 70% silver recoveries under heap
        leach conditions are completed for the PEA (see news release dated
        21 July 2008).
    -   Mine sequencing focusing on higher grade (55g/t Ag plus) silver pits
        over an up to 10 year mine life.
    -   Low capital costs expected to be less than $50 million through the
        use of mobile crushers and contract mining
    -   Annual production in the range of 4-6 million ounces silver at a
        10,000 tpd throughput.
    -   Favorable infrastructure and straight-forward permit path.
    -   High leverage to silver prices with excellent opportunity to quickly
        access lower grade material in the event of higher silver prices.
    -   Resource growth potential as under the expected plan only
        approximately one half of the total resource would be mined and
        untested exploration targets exist in the district.

    Note: Certain statements particularly with respect to expectations on
    capital and operating costs are subject to completion of the Santa Ana
    PEA. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have
    demonstrated economic viability.
    

    Mr. Swarthout summarizes as follows: "In short, Bear Creek's two silver
deposits contain 410 million ounces of silver in the Measured and Indicated
categories. Both projects are advancing to completion of their respective
engineering studies by the middle of this year, placing Bear Creek's
shareholders in a position to benefit from recently strong silver markets as
these studies outline the economics of mining what we believe are amongst the
best undeveloped silver deposits in the world."

    
                               RE

SOURCE TABLES Corani Deposit $9.35/tonne NSR cut-off and Prudent Open Pit Constraints; December 2007 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eq. Silver Lead Zinc Silver Mill- Mill- Mill- Mill- Eq. Silver Lead Zinc ion ion ion ion Silver Category Ktonnes Gm/t % % Ozs Lbs Lbs Ozs Gm/t ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Meas+Ind 248,421 40.9 0.73 0.45 327.1 3,976.8 2,467.7 531.2 66.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inferred 33,152 32.6 0.54 0.37 34.8 398.2 271.2 55.8 52.3 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Note: Silver Equivalency calculated on 28/1/09 metal prices ($12.00/oz Ag, 0.51/lb Pb and 0.50/lb Zn. Recoveries of 80% for silver and 60% for both lead and zinc also assumed in the calculation. 1 oz Ag = 31.37 lb Pb and 1 oz Ag = 32.00 lb Zn. Silver equivalency only applied to Corani base metal resources. Santa Ana Deposit Based on 20 g/t Ag Cutoff and Prudent Open Pit Constraints; September 2008 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Silver Lead Zinc Silver Lead Zinc Million Million Million Category Ktonnes Gm/t % % Ozs Lbs Lbs ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Measured 10,385 48.1 0.36 0.64 16.1 82.4 146.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Indicated 45,592 45.1 0.33 0.56 66.1 331.7 562.9 --------- ------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ----- ----- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Measured + Indicated 55,977 45.7 0.34 0.57 82.2 414.1 709.4 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Inferred 23,333 50.3 0.32 0.51 37.7 164.6 262.3 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Resource estimate was based on 47,436 meters of drilling in 260 diamond drill holes completed through July 2008 and was prepared by Independent Mining Consultants (IMC) of Tucson Arizona, with John Marek, P.E. acting as the Independent Qualified Person under NI 43 101 The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Regulatory footnotes: All of Bear Creek's exploration programs and pertinent disclosure of a technical or scientific nature are prepared by or prepared under the direct supervision of Marc Leduc, P. Eng., Senior Vice President of Engineering and Development and the President and CEO, Andrew Swarthout, P.Geo., who serve as the Qualified Persons under the definitions of NI 43-101. All diamond drilling has been performed using HQ diameter core with recoveries averaging greater than 95%. Core is logged and split on site under the supervision of Bear Creek geologists. Sampling is done on two-meter intervals and samples are transported by Company staff to Juliaca or Cusco, Peru for direct shipping to ALS Chemex, Laboratories in Lima, Peru. ALS Chemex is an ISO 9001:2000-registered laboratory and is preparing for ISO 17025 certification. Silver, lead, and zinc assays utilize a multi-acid digestion with atomic absorption ("ore-grade assay method"). The QC/QA program includes the insertion every 20th sample of known standards prepared by SGS Laboratories, Lima. A section in Bear Creek's website is dedicated to sampling, assay and quality control procedures. Certain disclosure in this release, including management's assessment of Bear Creek's plans and projects, constitutes forward-looking statements that are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to Bear Creek's operation as a mineral exploration company that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are disclosed in Bear Creek's continuous disclosure filings with Canadian securities regulators including its most recent annual information form, available on www.sedar.com. Bear Creek expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For further information:

For further information: Andrew Swarthout - President and CEO, or
Patrick De Witt - Investor Relations, Phone: (604) 685-6269, Direct: (604)
628-1111, E-mail: info@bearcreekmining.com; For further information, please
visit the Company's website (www.bearcreekmining.com)


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