Equinox Reaches Settlement with ZESCO

TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX and ASX symbol: "EQN") ("Equinox" or the "Company") and ZESCO Limited ("ZESCO"), the Zambian power authority, are pleased to announce that on March 17, 2010, a settlement agreement (the "Settlement Agreement") was executed in relation to electrical power supply charges incurred during the construction phase of the Lumwana Copper Mine in Zambia.

The terms of the US$4 million Settlement Agreement affords Equinox full and final satisfaction and release from all claims and causes relating to the dispute that involved ZESCO electrical power off-take supplied to the Lumwana Copper Mine up to and including December, 2009.

The Settlement Agreement re-affirms the integrity and continuity of Equinox's long term Lumwana Power Supply Agreement as announced by Equinox on February 16, 2006.

In a joint statement made subsequent to signing the Settlement Agreement, Mr Craig Williams (Equinox President and Chief Executive Officer) and Mr Ernest Mupwaya (ZESCO Acting Managing Director) commented, "We are very pleased that the dispute has been resolved in an amicable manner and we reiterate that this Settlement Agreement underscores our strong commitment to develop and grow a long term relationship and partnership."

Lumwana is the first 'greenfields' copper investment in Zambia in a generation and has brought significant infrastructure development and employment to what was an economically depressed area of Zambia. Electrical supply to Lumwana represents a key extension of the interconnected power grid in Zambia, and apart from providing bulk power supply to the Lumwana mining operations, interconnected power has also been made available for the first time to the Lumwana region through domestic reticulation to residential housing in a town development constructed by the Company as part of its development agreements and construction commitments to the nation.

The line also makes it possible for ZESCO to connect the rest of the North western Province to the national grid.

    
    Craig R. Williams - President & Chief Executive Officer
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    Ernest Mupwaya - Acting Managing Director, ZESCO Limited
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About Equinox

Equinox Minerals Limited is an international mining company dual listed on the Canadian (Toronto) and Australian stock exchanges.

The Company is currently focused on operating its 100% owned large scale Lumwana Copper Mine in Zambia, one of the largest new copper mines to be developed globally over the last few years.

Equinox acquired the Lumwana project in 1999 and following nearly 10 years of feasibility, financing and construction, commissioned the mine, plant and infrastructure in December 2008.

Situated 220 km northwest of the Zambian Copperbelt, Lumwana is now a major copper mine which will establish Equinox as one of the world's top 20 copper producing companies.

At initial design capacity, Lumwana will process in excess of 20 million tonnes of ore per year, mined at an average life of mine strip ratio of 4.2:1. Lumwana ore, which is predominantly sulphide, is treated through a large, yet conventional plant, producing a copper concentrate for sale to local and international offtakers.

In addition, Equinox is looking at opportunities to grow the Company through both internal expansion (potential uranium plant to process the high grade uranium stockpile and an expansion of the Lumwana copper plant throughput rate) and through the international search for mergers and acquisitions.

For information on Equinox and technical details on the Lumwana Project please refer to the company website at www.equinoxminerals.com

    
    Cautionary Statements
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Certain information contained or incorporated by reference in this press release, including any information as to the Company's strategy, projects, plans, prospects, future outlook, anticipated events or results or future financial or operating performance, constitutes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can often, but not always, be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "is expecting", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", "predicts", "potential", "continue" or "believes", or variation (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "should", "might", "potential to", or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts.

Without limitation, statements that the Lumwana mine will establish Equinox as one of the world's top 20 copper producing companies and that the Lumwana mine will process in excess of 20 million tonnes per year, mined at an average life of mine strip ratio of 4.2:1, including the timing and other related matters of such statements, are forward-looking statements. The purpose of forward-looking statements is to provide the reader with information about management's expectations and plans for 2010 and subsequent years. Actual results may vary.

Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on a number of factors, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Such factors, estimates and assumptions include, but are not limited to, anticipated financial or operating performances of Equinox, it subsidiaries and their respective projects; future prices of copper and uranium; the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; the realization of mineral reserve estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production; estimated costs of future production; the grade, quality and content of the concentrate produced; the sale of production and the performance of offtakers; capital, operating and exploration expenditures; costs and timing of the development of the Lumwana Mine, the costs of Equinox's hedging policy; costs and timing of future exploration; requirements for additional capital; government regulation of exploration, development and mining operations; environmental risks; reclamation and rehabilitation expenses; title disputes or claims; and limitations of insurance coverage. While the Company considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. These factors, estimates and assumptions are fully discussed in the Company's Annual Information Form filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.equinoxminerals.com.

Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Equinox and/or its subsidiaries, including costs, production and returns, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, risks inherent in the exploration and development of mineral deposits; operational risks inherent in the conduct of mining activities; risks relating to changes in copper and uranium prices; changes in demand and supply of copper and uranium; uncertainties inherent in the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; risks inherent in the estimation of future production and future production costs; the estimation of cash costs of copper production; risks related to the Company's indebtedness including risks related to meeting its financial covenants; financing risks; risks related to interest rates; exchange rates; inflation or deflation; changes in the value of the U.S. dollar to foreign currencies; political and economic conditions of major copper producing countries; risks inherent in securing offtake arrangements and terms and/or enforcing such terms; insurance and uninsured risks; government regulation; titles, licences and permits; environmental risks; risks inherent in the estimation of reclamation costs; risks related to the Company's hedging activities; estimation of asset carrying values; litigation; competition; reliance on key personnel; global financial conditions. These risks are discussed in the Company's annual information form filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.equinoxminerals.com. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements.

Although Equinox has attempted to identify statements containing important factors that could cause actual actions, event or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. Forward-looking information contained herein are made as of the date of this document based on the opinions and estimates of management on the date statements containing such forward looking information are made, and Equinox disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, estimates or opinions, future events or results or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking information.

Non-GAAP Information

The term "C1 operating cost" is a non-GAAP performance measure reported in this press release and prepared on a per pound of payable copper basis. The term C1 operating cost does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and is therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. C1 operating cost is a common performance measure in the copper industry and is prepared and presented herein on a basis consistent with the industry standard definitions. The Company believes that, in addition to conventional measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, certain investors use this information to evaluate the Company. The term is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. C1 operating costs includes all mining and processing costs, mine site overheads and realization costs through to refined metal.

The term "operating profit" is a non-GAAP performance measure reported in this press release and represents net sales revenue less cost of sales as reported on the GAAP income statement presented in the financial statements. The term operating profit does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. The Company believes that, in addition to conventional measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, certain investors use the above terms and information to evaluate the Company. It is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Technical Information

Certain technical information in this MD&A is summarized or extracted from the "Technical Report on the Lumwana Project, North Western Province, Republic of Zambia" dated June 2008 as re-filed in April 2009 (the "Technical Report"), prepared by Ross Bertinshaw, Principal, Golder Associates Pty Ltd Daniel Guibal, Corporate Consultant, SRK Consulting (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Andrew Daley, Director, Investor Resources Finance Pty Ltd, and Robert Rigo, Vice-President - Project Development, Equinox, each of whom is a "Qualified Person" in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). Information of a scientific or technical nature contained in this MD&A arising since the date of the Technical Report is provided by Equinox management and was prepared under the supervision of Robert Rigo, Vice-President - Project Development or John Cooke, Exploration Manager, each of whom is a "Qualified Person" in accordance with NI 43-101. Readers are cautioned not to rely solely on the summary of such information contained in this MD&A, but should read the Technical Report which is posted on Equinox's website (www.equinoxminerals.com) and filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and any future amendments to such report. Readers are also directed to the cautionary notices and disclaimers contained herein and therein.

SOURCE Equinox Minerals Limited

For further information: For further information: Craig R. Williams (President and Chief Executive Officer), Michael Klessens (Vice President - Finance and Chief Financial Officer), Phone: +61 (0) 8 9322 3318, Email: equinox@equinoxminerals.com; or Kevin van Niekerk (V.P. Investor Relations), Phone: (416) 865-3393, Email: kevin.van.niekerk@equinoxminerals.com; or David Griffiths (Gryphon Management Australia), Phone +61 (0) 419 912 496, Email: david.griffiths@gryphon.net.au

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Equinox Minerals Limited

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