Equinox Releases Results for Year Ended December 31, 2009, Records First
Annual Operating Profit of $195.7 Million

TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX and ASX symbol: "EQN") ("Equinox" or the "Company") today released its results of operations and financial condition for the 12 months ended December 31, 2009, and its financial position as at December 31, 2009.

All currencies specified in this press release are denominated in U.S. dollars.

    
    HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE YEAR
    -----------------------

    Financial

    -   In its first year of production at Lumwana, Equinox has achieved a
        solid financial performance.

    -   The Company recorded an operating profit for the year(1) of
        $195.7 million and at year end held cash reserves of $109.1 million.

    -   C1 operating costs for the year averaged $1.49 per pound of copper.
        The Company is continuing to focus on cost management initiatives as
        Lumwana ramps up to full production.

    -   The Company secured and closed a new $400 million corporate loan
        facility to replace the existing Lumwana project senior and
        subordinated debt facilities.

    -   The Company raised C$184,023,000 through the issuance of 102,235,000
        common shares of the Company.
    

Lumwana Mine

Following handover to the Company of the Lumwana copper plant and other associated infrastructure from the engineering contractor in late 2008, mine commissioning and ramp-up commenced and Lumwana transitioned from a development project to a producing copper mine. Some of the key highlights and activities throughout the year included:

    
    -   Ore mined and copper in concentrate produced demonstrated quarter on
        quarter improvement throughout the year as ramp-up continued towards
        design production levels.

    -   Strong first annual copper production of 109,413 tonnes of copper in
        concentrate delivered with Lumwana steadily improving towards
        nameplate capacity.

    -   Operating profit achieved was of $195.7 million. Operating profit is
        stated for the nine month period ended December 31, 2009 due to
        commercial production commencing April 1, 2009.

    -   Operating profit was subsequently offset by non-cash derivative
        instrument losses resulting from the rising copper price leading to a
        net loss position, after tax, of $183.1 million. This is primarily
        related to the remaining hedge book being marked to market at a
        copper price that has strengthened throughout the reporting period.
        Revenue was positively impacted by the same rising copper price.

    -   Realized copper price, net of smelter treatment charges, was $2.61
        per pound and 20,402 tonnes of payable copper was provisionally
        priced at $3.33 per pound ($7,356 per tonne) and remained subject to
        final pricing adjustment during Q1-10.

    -   Improved mine productivity, with total annual ore production of
        13.1 million tonnes being achieved.

    -   Process plant recoveries achieved 92% in the final quarter, the
        improved performance reflecting the reduced proportion of
        transitional ore being processed.

    -   Plant feed grade averaged 0.95% copper for the year.

    -   Average C1 operating cost per pound of copper of $1.49.

    -   Mining and stockpiling of uranium mineralization continued with the
        stockpile at year end standing at approximately 2.5mt @ 1,000ppm
        uranium and 0.8% copper.

    -   A steady improvement occurred in the Hitachi mine truck and shovel
        availability and performance.

    -   Hitachi has agreed to deliver five additional EH4500 dump trucks (240
        tonnes) by mid-2010 to expedite the recovery of lost availability
        hours on the existing fleet.

    -   An additional Caterpillar light mining fleet including 16 x 40-tonne
        dump trucks, 5 x 100-tonne dump trucks, 2 x excavators and 3 x
        bulldozers was acquired to help accelerate stripping of weathered
        material.

    -   Continued development of a self sustaining Lumwana town site and
        advancement in the commercial and retail developments including the
        Lumwana supermarket.
    

The ramp up to full production of the Lumwana Mine will continue through the first half of 2010, with a target of achieving design throughput rate of 20 Mtpa for the mine and mill in H2-2010. Target 2010 production guidance remains at 135,000 tonnes (300 M lbs) of copper in concentrate at a C1 cash cost of $1.35/lb Cu.

The Lumwana project achieved an excellent health and safety record during development. This has continued into the operations phase and Lumwana recorded a lost-time-injury frequency rate for every 200,000 man hours worked of 0.10 to December 31, 2009. Safety remains a key focus throughout Equinox's operations.

    

    Summary of Results         ----------------------------------------------
                                    Fourth Quarter         Financial Year
    (thousands of dollars,     ----------------------------------------------
    except otherwise noted)         2009        2008      2009(1)       2008
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gross sales revenue         $233,431           -    $531,962           -
    Net income/(loss)           ($27,465)   $183,296   ($183,063)   $172,681
    Earnings/(loss) per share     ($0.04)      $0.31      ($0.27)      $0.30
    Copper produced in tonnes     34,626           -      87,150           -
    Copper produced in pounds
     (millions)                     76.3           -       192.1           -
    Copper sold in tonnes         31,410           -      81,520           -
    Copper sold in pounds
     (millions)                    69.24           -      179.72           -
    Realized copper price per
     pound  (net of smelter
     charges)                      $2.97           -       $2.61           -
    C1 operating cost per
     pound of copper(2)            $1.53           -       $1.49           -
    Cash and cash equivalents   $109,130     $51,327    $109,130     $51,327
    Weighted average shares
     outstanding (000s)          706,210     593,651     670,385     583,800
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) Production and sales related figures are for the nine month period
        ended December 31, 2009 due to commercial production commencing
        April 1, 2009.

    (2) C1 operating cost is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "Non-GAAP
        Information" in the "Cautionary Statements" at the end of this press
        release for more details.
    

At the end of Q4-09, the Company had, 20,402 tonnes of payable copper provisionally priced at $3.33 per pound ($7,356 per tonne) remain subject to final pricing adjustment during Q1-10. The final pricing adjustments recognized during the quarter from the Q3-09 provisionally priced copper sales was revenue of $5.5 million which is included in the gross sales for the quarter.

    
    OPERATIONS
    ----------
    

An operating profit of $195.7 million was generated at the Lumwana Mine for the year ended December 31, 2009. Operating profit is stated for the nine month period ended December 31, 2009 due to commercial production commencing April 1, 2009. This operating profit was offset by a non-cash hedging instrument loss of $329.8 million related to the remaining hedge positions which no longer qualify for hedge accounting, leading to a net loss, after tax, for the year of $183.1 million or $0.27 per share.

During the year, mine and process plant operations continued to ramp up at the Lumwana Mine. Ore processed at the Lumwana Mine for the year was 13.7 million dry metric tonnes of ore, producing 253,917 dry metric tonnes of concentrate at an average copper grade of approximately 43.09%. This resulted in copper produced in concentrate of 109,413 tonnes (241.2 million pounds) at an average C1 operating cost of $1.49 per pound.

During the quarter ended December 31, 2009, Lumwana continued the ramp up phase for both the mine and process plant operations. The production results have shown continued improvement quarter on quarter over 2009, an improvement of copper in concentrate production of 23% between the third and fourth quarters of 2009. This was achieved notwithstanding the onset of the wet season, which impacted productivity during the fourth quarter.

The Lumwana operations team has continued to focus on the availability and utilization of mining equipment. Progress has been made with equipment suppliers on improving their maintenance and repair contract performance. Further improvement is necessary to meet equipment availability requirements, however it is expected these issues will be resolved over the coming quarters. The wet season has had a negative impact on equipment utilization and this is reflected in the reduced total material movement during the fourth quarter of 2009. The mining team is working on a number of strategies to improve performance and mine productivity. Process plant recoveries during the quarter have shown marked improvement to 93%, reflecting the reduced proportion of transitional ore processed during the fourth quarter.

Mining and stockpiling of uranium mineralization also continued during the fourth quarter of 2009. The uranium ore stockpile on the ROM pad currently stands at approximately 2.5Mt of 1,000 ppm U and 0.8% Cu. This copper-uranium ore is being diverted away from the copper concentrator, and is being classified as "waste" to the copper project. This uranium-rich copper ore stockpile may be treated at a later date, if and when the Company builds a uranium processing plant.

The 20 Mtpa copper processing plant continues to perform to expectation and is capable of producing in excess of its design capacity based on achieved throughput rates to date.

    
    Lumwana Mine Production Statistics

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Production Statistic              Measure           2009    2008    2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total mine material movement    Tonnes (m)         81.21       -       -
    Ore mined                       Tonnes (m)         13.09       -       -
    Ore processed                   Tonnes (m)         13.69       -       -
    Head grade                       Copper %           0.95       -       -
    Copper recovery                  Copper %          84.51       -       -
    Concentrate grade                Copper %          43.09       -       -
    Copper produced in concentrate     Tonnes        109,413       -       -
    Copper produced in concentrate  Pounds (m)   241,214,541       -       -
    Average C1 operating cost(3)    Per Pound          $1.49       -       -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) C1 operating cost is a non-GAAP financial measure. See "Non-GAAP
        Information" in the "Cautionary Statements" at the end of this press
        release for more details.
    

Offtake

During the year, concentrate delivery was predominantly directed to the Chambishi Copper Smelter Limited ("CCS") operated by China Non-ferrous Metal Mining and Yunnan Copper, and the Konkola Copper Mines Plc ("KCM") smelter at Nchanga on the Zambian Copperbelt, which when combined, account for a large majority of Lumwana's forecast production.

Town Development

The Lumwana town development continues to advance with 734 houses completed as at December 31, 2009. The commercial and retail developments, including the recently opened Lumwana supermarket, are advancing and a self-sustaining modern town environment is being developed.

Corporate Activities

In October 2009, Mr. Adam Wright commenced in the position of Managing Director, Lumwana Mining Company Limited ("LMC"). In December 2009, Mr. Cobb Johnstone was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Equinox effective January 2010. Both Mr. Wright and Mr. Johnstone bring extensive mining and plant operating experience to Lumwana and Equinox.

In September 2009, Equinox's wholly-owned subsidiary LMC exercised its option to extinguish Phelps Dodge Mining (Zambia) Limited's (PD Zambia) right to receive a 1% net smelter return royalty from the Lumwana project at a cost of US$12.8 million. The royalty had been a part of the original sale agreement in respect of Lumwana between Equinox and PD Zambia.

In February 2010, Equinox secured commitments from four leading commercial banks a new $400.0 million corporate loan facility (the "Corporate Facility"). The Corporate Facility affords Equinox greater flexibility than the existing Lumwana Project debt facilities therefore the Company will utilize the Corporate Facility to repay its existing senior and subordinated project debt facilities. The key features of the corporate facility are a three year US$220.0 million term loan (the "Term Loan") with quarterly principal and interest repayments and a five year US$180.0 million revolving facility (the "Revolving Facility") that allows the Company to repay and redraw up to the facility limit over its term. This new corporate loan facility will provide the much greater flexibility than the project debt facility, reducing the number of restrictive covenants and eliminates the requirements for a cash sweep, the cost overrun facility and hedging. Financial close under the Corporate Facility was achieved on March 9, 2010.

Expansion and Optimization Plans

Significant opportunities exist at the Lumwana Mine following the completion of ramp up: (i) to further expand and optimize the mine and concentrator throughput rate, (ii) to assess and evaluate the additional near mine deposits discovered to date, and (iii) to develop the Lumwana Mine uranium resource. Equinox will continue to assess these opportunities for expansion and organic growth at the Lumwana Mine.

The Lumwana processing plant is capable of treating ore at rates above the design capacity of 20 Mtpa and management believes it is capable of treating about 24 Mtpa without any significant modification. Once Lumwana reaches design capacity, it is the Company's objective over an expected period of 18 months, to increase mine output to achieve this 24 Mtpa target. However, given the very large resource and long mine life of the Lumwana project, there is potential to increase mine output further to in excess of 30 Mtpa. Such an increase will require expansion of the processing plant and mining fleet. Studies have commenced to optimize the expanded throughput rate and determine the scale and cost of such an expansion.

In 2008, Equinox completed its uranium feasibility study (UFS) investigating the onsite treatment of discrete and high grade uranium mineralization contained within the Lumwana Mine copper pitshells. The UFS confirmed the potential viability of onsite uranium treatment.

Should Equinox be successful in negotiating viable uranium offtake agreements and securing the requisite project capital financing, the Company estimates uranium plant construction to take approximately 18 to 24 months. The decision to proceed with the development of the Lumwana uranium project will depend, subject to approval by the Equinox board of directors, on a number of factors including satisfactory financing and the negotiation of offtake terms. The stockpiling of Lumwana Mine uranium ore is ongoing and at December 31, 2009 the stockpile totalled 2.5Mt of 1,000 ppm uranium and 0.80% copper.

Equinox will continue to review and assess opportunities for organic growth and expansion, and corporate opportunities to grow the Company.

Exploration Activities

Equinox has been granted the 2,200km(2) Mufapanda licence, an iron oxide-copper-gold target some 200 km west-north-west of Lusaka. A reconnaissance field visit identified an outcropping zone over 8 km of hematite-magnetite breccias above a magnetically active granitoid. Following anomalous assay samples from this zone the Company plans to undertake an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey of 10,820 line kilometres to provide the foundation for future exploration activities in 2010.

The Company holds additional regional exploration tenements and applications elsewhere in Zambia that have been affected by the introduction of new legislation in 2008 which govern the title and commitments on prospecting licenses. The Company is working closely with the Government of the Republic of Zambia ("GRZ") to resolve the inconsistencies and ambiguities in the legislation before committing expenditure to the regional tenements.

    
    FINANCIAL CONDITION
    -------------------
    

As at December 31, 2009, Equinox had cash resources of $109.1 million, an increase of $57.8 million from December 31, 2008 due to the April 2009 common share offering and operating cash flows from the Lumwana Mine. In addition, the Company had capital assets of $1,102.8 million which consist primarily of the Lumwana assets compared to $1,067.3 million at December 31, 2008 due to the capitalization in 2009 of Lumwana development costs prior to achieving commercial production and the ongoing construction of the Lumwana village. As at December 31, 2009, long-term debt, consisting of outstanding amounts under project and fleet debt facilities was $518.7 million compared to $613.4 million as at December 31, 2008 due to principal repayments made during 2009.

    
    Financial Position                      ---------------------------------
                                                      As at December 31
    (thousands of dollars, except as        ---------------------------------
     otherwise noted)                             2009       2008       2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents                  109,130     51,327     73,367
    Property, plant and equipment            1,102,773  1,067,290    684,249
    Total assets                             1,457,674  1,471,131    828,002
    Long-term debt                             518,652    613,407    276,573
    Total liabilities                          777,102    760,923    409,664
    Shareholders' equity                       680,572    710,208    418,338
    Weighted average number of outstanding
     shares (000's)                            670,385    583,800    538,313
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

Increasing cash and trade receivables from operations offset by derivative movements

Total assets, year on year, have remained steady ($1,457.7 million as at December 31, 2009 compared to $1,471.1 million as at December 31, 2008) despite positive operating cash flows, increasing trade receivables and inventory build-up as a result of the ramp up of the Lumwana Mine. This is primarily due to the copper price increasing during the year from $1.38 per pound at January 1, 2009 to close at $3.33 per pound at December 31, 2009. As a result the derivative instrument copper contracts (the "hedge book" or "hedging") closed the 2009 financial year out of the money, the value declining by $364.0 million and switching from an asset of $256.7 million at December 31, 2008 to a liability of $107.3 million at December 31, 2009. Revenue was positively impacted by the strengthening copper price.

Reductions in long term debt offset by derivative movements

Net long term debt repayments of $134.9 million made during the year reduced the total long term debt balance at December 31, 2009. This reduction has been partially offset by the inclusion of $18.6 million of break fees associated with the refinancing of the Lumwana senior and subordinated project debt facilities and the resultant accelerated write down of previously capitalised loan origination costs. The long term debt balance at December 31, 2009 is $518.7 million, a reduction of $94.8 million from the prior year.

The increasing copper price during the year has resulted in the Company's hedge book closing out of the money and in a liability position of $107.3 million as discussed above.

The income tax benefit of $56.9 million recorded on the loss for 2009 has resulted in a reduction of the future income tax liability from $62.8 million in 2008 to $5.9 million in 2009.

Payment of mineral royalties, customs duties and withholding taxes totalling $36.2 million for 2009 were deferred under the terms of the Development Agreement. Under the terms of the Development Agreement these amounts are deferred until the Lumwana debt is eliminated.

Shareholders' equity decreases due to non-cash hedging losses

Despite recording an operating profit of $195.7 million for the year, the Company has posted a loss for the year of $183.1 million primarily due to non-cash hedging losses of $329.8 million related to the remaining hedge book being marked to market at the current strengthening copper price. Revenue has been positively impacted by the strengthening copper price.

Share capital increased over the year to $737.8 million at December 31, 2009 mainly due to the public offering of 102,235,000 common shares in April 2009, raising gross proceeds of C$184.0 million ($148.3 million).

Outlook

The ramp up of production at Lumwana will continue through the first half of 2010, with a target of achieving a plant design throughput rate of 20 Mtpa for the mine and mill in the second half of the year.

The Company expects that it will produce 135,000 tonnes (297.6 million pounds) of copper metal in concentrates in 2010 at a C1 operating cost of $1.35 per pound. Meeting this target is dependent on a range of factors including mine and mill performance during the annual wet season, the improvement in the availability and utilization of the mining fleet and performance of the processing plant.

For further, detailed financial and other results of operations, readers are directed to such information contained in the accompanying 2009 financials posted on Equinox's website (www.equinoxminerals.com) and filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). Readers are also directed to the cautionary notices and disclaimers contained herein and therein.

    
    Q4-2009 & Full Year 2009 Conference Call and Webcast
    ----------------------------------------------------

    Date:                  Wednesday, March 10, 2010
    -----

    Time:                  17:00 HRS (Toronto time)
    -----                  17:00 HRS (New York time)
                           22:00 HRS (London time)
                           00:00 HRS (Lusaka time - Thursday, 11 March, 2010)
                           06:00 HRS (Perth time - Thursday, 11 March, 2010)
                           09:00 HRS (Sydney / Melbourne time - Thursday,
                                      11 March, 2010)


    Webcast:               The Company's website at www.equinoxminerals.com
    --------

    Dial-in International: +1 201-689-8035
    ----------------------

    Dial-in Australia:      0011-800-4626-6666 (Toll-free)
    ------------------

    Dial-in North America: +1 877-407-8035 (Toll-free)
    ----------------------

    Dial-in UK & EU:       00-800-4626-6666 (Toll-free)
    ----------------

    Conference ID:         343327
    --------------         Please call in 10 minutes prior to the call; an
                           operator will be available to assist you

    Replay:                A replay of the telephone conference will be
    -------                available approximately one hour after the
                           completion of the conference and until 23:59 HRS
                           (Eastern Time) on April 9, 2010.

    Replay International:  +1-201-612-7415 (International) and
    ---------------------  +1-877-660-6853 (North America)

                           To access the recording, please enter Account No.
                           286, followed by the Conference ID: 343327.  An
                           archived transcript of the call will also be
                           available on the Company's website.



                         CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                       As at December 31, 2009 and 2008
                                 (unaudited)

                                                   Year ended     Year ended
                                                  December 31    December 31
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                         2009           2008
                                                  ---------------------------
    ASSETS                                               $000           $000
    Current assets
      Cash and cash equivalents                       109,130         51,327
      Accounts receivable                             134,193         35,409
      Prepayments                                      16,080          6,471
      Inventories                                      67,428         27,473
      Current portion of derivative instruments             -        127,570
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                      326,831        248,250

    Restricted cash                                    26,164         26,076
    Property, plant and equipment                   1,102,773      1,067,290
    Derivative instruments                                  -        129,109
    Other financial assets                              1,906            406
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                    1,457,674      1,471,131
                                                  ---------------------------
    LIABILITIES
    Current liabilities
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities         62,504         65,816
      Current portion of long term debt               113,229        138,367
      Current portion of finance leases                 9,339            923
      Current portion of derivative instruments        85,179              -
      Current other liabilities                           160              -
                                                      270,411        205,106

    Long term debt                                    405,423        475,040
    Finance leases                                     16,762          3,418
    Income tax liability                                6,727          6,727
    Future income tax liability                         5,938         62,838
    Asset retirement obligation                         7,504          5,358
    Long term compensation                              2,469            269
    Derivative instruments                             22,131              -
    Other payables                                     39,737          2,167
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                      777,102        760,923
                                                  ---------------------------
    SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
    Share capital                                     737,838        581,477
    Retained (deficit)/earnings                       (74,720)       108,343
    Contributed surplus                                15,966         20,400
    Accumulated other comprehensive income/(loss)
     (net of tax)                                       1,488            (12)
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                      680,572        710,208
                                                  ---------------------------
                                                    1,457,674      1,471,131
                                                  ---------------------------



                      CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
         For the quarters and years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008
                                 (unaudited)

                                        Fourth Quarter        Financial Year
                                       2009       2008       2009       2008
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                       $000       $000       $000       $000

    Copper sales revenue            233,431          -    531,962          -
    Smelter treatment charges       (27,596)         -    (63,483)         -
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Net sales revenue               205,835          -    468,479          -

    Direct and indirect mining
     costs                           86,209          -    212,016          -
    Amortization & depletion         17,750          -     46,688          -
    Royalties                         6,484          -     14,114          -
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Cost of sales                   110,443          -    272,818          -
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                     95,392          -    195,661
                                  -------------------------------------------
    Expenses
    Derivative loss/(gain)           68,980   (262,545)   329,826   (271,520)
    Exploration                       1,706      2,977      5,119     10,262
    Other operating costs             2,009        314      5,870        314
    General and administration        3,452      2,393     10,241      8,388
    Financing costs                  44,465        685     76,871      3,660
    Incentive stock options
     expensed                           579        908      1,989      4,953
    Other expense                       196      7,339      5,708      3,325
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                    121,387   (247,929)   435,624   (240,618)
                                   ------------------------------------------
    (Loss)/income before income
     tax                            (25,995)   247,929   (239,963)   240,618

    Income tax benefit / (expense)   (1,470)   (64,632)    56,900    (67,937)
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Net (Loss)/income for the
     period                         (27,465)   183,297   (183,063)   172,681
                                   ------------------------------------------

    Basic (loss)/earnings per
     share                            (0.04)      0.31      (0.27)      0.30
    Diluted (loss)/earnings per
     share                            (0.04)      0.30      (0.27)      0.29

    Weighted average number of
     shares outstanding (000's)     706,210    593,651    670,385    583,800
    Diluted average number of
     shares outstanding (000's)     719,490    611,163    683,665    601,312



               CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
               For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008
                                 (unaudited)

                                        Fourth Quarter        Financial Year
                                       2009       2008       2009       2008
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                       $000       $000       $000       $000

    (Loss)/Income for the period    (27,465)   183,297   (183,063)   172,681
    Other comprehensive income/
     (losses)                             -
      Losses on derivatives
       designated as cash flow
       hedges (net of tax)                -    (18,516)         -    (40,197)
      Gains on derivatives
       designated as cash flow
       hedges transferred to net
       income in the current period
       (net of tax)                       -     86,862          -     86,862
      Fair value movements in
       available-for-sale securities    (70)    (1,999)     1,500     (2,521)
      Impairment loss on available-
       for-sale securities transferred
       to net income (net of tax)         -        946          -        946
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Total comprehensive (loss)/
     gain                           (27,535)   250,590   (181,563)   217,771
                                   ------------------------------------------



         CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
               For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008
                                 (unaudited)

                                        Fourth Quarter        Financial Year
                                       2009       2008       2009       2008
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                       $000       $000       $000       $000
    Share capital
      Balance at start of period    733,575    577,163    581,477    499,715
      Issue of shares                     -      4,314    148,325      8,628
      Share issue costs                   -          -     (7,356)         -
      Conversion of stock options     4,263          -     15,392      1,400
      Conversion of warrants              -          -          -     71,734
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Balance at end of period      737,838    581,477    737,838    581,477
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Retained earnings/(deficit)
      Balance at start of period    (47,255)   (74,954)   108,343    (64,338)
      Net (loss)/income for
       the period                   (27,465)   183,297   (183,063)   172,681
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Balance at end of period      (74,720)   108,343    (74,720)   108,343
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Contributed surplus
      Balance at start of period     16,967     19,492     20,400     15,941
      Stock based compensation          580        908      2,516      5,040
      Transferred to share capital
       on conversion of stock
       options                       (1,581)         -     (6,424)      (494)
      Forfeited stock options             -          -       (526)       (87)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Balance at end of period       15,966     20,400     15,966     20,400
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Warrants
      Balance at start of period          -          -          -     12,122
      Transferred to share capital
       on conversion of warrants          -          -          -    (12,121)
      Forfeited warrants                  -          -          -         (1)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Balance at end of period            -          -          -          -
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Accumulated other comprehensive
     income (loss)
      Balance at start of period      1,558    (67,305)       (12)   (45,102)
      Net unrealised derivative
       instrument gains (net of tax)      -     68,346          -     46,665
      Net unrealised gain/(losses)
       on available-for-sale
       securities                       (70)    (1,999)     1,500     (2,521)
      Impairment loss on
       available-for-sale
       securities transferred to
       net income (net of tax)            -        946          -        946
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Balance at end of period        1,488        (12)     1,488        (12)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                    CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
               For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008
                                 (unaudited)


                                        Fourth Quarter        Financial Year
                                       2009       2008       2009       2008
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Cash flows (used in)/provided
     by operating activities           $000       $000       $000       $000
      Net (loss)/income for the
       period                       (27,465)   183,297   (183,063)   172,681
      Items not affecting cash:
        Depletion and amortisation   21,241        107     50,179        314
        Unrealised foreign exchange
         loss/(gain)                 (2,624)     1,337        787       (903)
        Incentive stock option
         expense                        579        908      1,989      4,953
        Income tax (benefit)/expense  1,470     64,632    (56,900)    67,937
        Net financing costs          32,795     (7,152)    24,274    (33,003)
        Long term compensation
         expense/(benefit)              651       (154)     2,200       (152)
        Mark to market changes in
         derivative instruments      68,980   (338,681)   329,826   (347,656)
        Proceeds from settlement
         of derivative instruments  (10,615)    89,478     34,163     89,478
        Impairment loss on
         available for sale
         securities and other
         financial assets                 -      1,506          -      2,318
        Accretion expense                64          -        372          -
        Deferred payments            18,637          -     30,163          -
        Other                             -          2          -          4
      Changes in non-cash
       working capital
        Increase/(decrease) in
         accounts payable and
         accrued liabilities          7,317     (1,953)     9,488       (646)
        Increase in inventories     (10,080)   (12,816)   (39,954)   (27,473)
        Increase in accounts
         receivable and
         prepayments                (64,092)      (880)  (108,395)    (9,483)
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                     36,858    (20,369)    95,129    (81,631)
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Cash flows (used in)/provided
     by financing activities
      Issue of share capital          2,498          -    157,293     60,518
      Share issue costs                   -          -     (7,356)         -
      Proceeds from borrowings          426     99,862      4,470    349,967
      Repayment of borrowings       (43,905)   (14,095)  (139,323)   (23,587)
      Finance lease principal
       repayments                       (63)         -     (2,443)         -
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                    (41,044)    85,767     12,641    386,898
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Cash flows (used in)/provided
     by investing activities
      Increase in restricted cash       (57)      (207)       (88)      (475)
      Payments for property,
       plant and equipment           (6,734)   (64,052)   (50,164)  (327,322)
                                   ------------------------------------------
                                     (6,791)   (64,259)   (50,252)  (327,797)
                                   ------------------------------------------

    Net increase/(decrease) in
     cash and cash equivalents      (10,977)     1,139     57,518    (22,530)
    Cash and cash equivalents -
     start of period                119,862     51,775     51,327     73,367
    Effects of exchange rate
     changes on cash held in
     foreign currencies                 245     (1,587)       285        490
                                   ------------------------------------------
    Cash and cash equivalents -
     end of period                  109,130     51,327    109,130     51,327
                                   ------------------------------------------
    

Craig R. Williams - President & Chief Executive Officer

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

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 management expects the Lumwana plant to ramp up to 20 Mtpa in the second half of 2010, that 2010 production will be 135,000 tonnes of copper metal in concentrates at the average operating cost of $1.35 per pound; that the Company estimates uranium plant construction to take 18 to 24 months; that the Company will incur break fees of approximately $18.6 million; and that the Company believes that its Development Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Zambia overrides the current changes to the Zambian tax regime, 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.

Without limitation, in stating that management expects the Lumwana plant to ramp up to 20 Mtpa in the second half of 2010 and that 2010 production should be 135,000 tonnes of copper metal in concentrates at the average operating cost of $1.35 per pound, the Company has assumed improvements in mine productivity and that the onset of the wet season will not impact operations more than expected. In stating that the Company estimates uranium plant construction to take 18 to 24 months, the Company has assumed that the costs of building such a plant will be feasible, that the materials, labour, regulatory approvals and other requirements will be available and that the price and demand for uranium will be profitable and that the underlying assumptions and information in the uranium feasibility study are correct. Further in relation to the mining of the orebody, it assumes that it will successfully segregate the uranium mineralization within the copper orebody at the lower 200 ppm U cutoff grade and produce concentrates that meet smelter specifications. In stating that the Company will incur break fees of $18.6 million, it has assumed that its calculations of break fees in accordance with the terms of the existing facilities is accurate and complete and that the legal and accounting advice received is correct. In stating that the Company believes that its Development Agreement overrides the current changes to the Zambian tax regime the Company has assumed that the legal advice received from its local and international legal advisors is correct.

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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