Freeport Advances Hutton Garnet Sands Project



    TSX Venture Exchange: FRI
    Shares Issued: 13,266,232

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - FREEPORT RE

SOURCES INC. (TSX-V: FRI) is pleased to provide an update on the status of its Hutton project, including its Request For Proposals (RFP) which closed this past spring. The Hutton consists of several high-grade alluvial garnet deposits located on tidewater in northern Labrador now moving towards the development stage. Current work is focused on export market development, site logistics and environmental planning, as summarized below. 1. EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT Request for Proposals The Hutton Request for Proposals (RFP) garnered much interest from North America, Europe and SE Asia. It was an open-ended proposal call to evaluate the Hutton Garnet Beaches as a potential development opportunity, closing January 17, 2007. Freeport was prepared to evaluate "a range of options, including proposals with a limited role for the RFP Proponent (i.e. marketing, sales or distribution); a significant role in project development and operation (i.e. option, joint venture, contractor etc.), outright sale of a portion of all of the project (with or without a residual royalty to Freeport), or any combination of the foregoing". Proponents could respond to "permitting (mining lease and other required permits), site work (garnet extraction, and on-site processing if applicable), shipping/transportation of bulk or upgraded material to a processing site, and mineral processing, as well as marketing and distribution of the Hutton garnet product on the world market". The RFP states, "Freeport Resources Inc. wishes to see the Hutton project developed in a way that maximizes the value to its shareholders, respects the interests of the Labrador Inuit, and minimizes its environmental footprint. It is important to understand the seasonal nature of this project." It may be viewed at sedar.com as a public company document of Freeport Resources. To date, Freeport has been in discussions with many of the major players in the garnet industry, from suppliers to distributors, and from service providers to garnet consumers. Several groups visited the site last summer, testing bulk sample material provided as part of the RFP process. Freeport is currently involved with a number of parties interested in advancement of the project as a whole, while others are focused on specific aspects such as transportation, processing, marketing and distribution. Further details will be released at a later date. Waterjet grade garnet is in high demand. Many suppliers have advised that they cannot keep enough material in stock to meet this demand, and have expressed interest in a new North American product, especially a high-quality product such as the Hutton garnet. Waterjet Concentrates & Testing As part of the ongoing Export Market Development (EMD) Plan, commercial-quality waterjet concentrates were prepared from Hutton garnet. Different separation techniques were used at a number of independent commercial laboratories. The concentrates have been tested by groups in the US, Europe and Canada. One US waterjet manufacturer which recently conducted an industry-wide study of commercially available waterjet products advised that Freeport should be confident in the Hutton product, which performed "really well". Another major North American supplier/distributor testing its own products and Hutton garnet advised that it performed equal or better to a hard-rock product imported from China. As all waterjet tests to date have met with strongly positive responses, Freeport believes that the Hutton garnet will command a respectable place in the market once it becomes commercially available. Our next step is to test the Hutton garnet at a pilot plant level in order to prepare larger amounts of product for broader market testing. Processing methods are straightforward with limited equipment required and therefore minimal capital costs. This work is just commencing and will make use of bulk sample material previously collected from both the South and North Beaches. Transportation Analysis Freeport is conducting in-depth transportation analysis as part of the export market development plan, in order to evaluate possible locations for a pilot plant. Several under consideration have already been visited. The location will be finalized once container vs. bulk shipping rates to and from various locations in North America and Europe are better understood. 2. SITE LOGISTICS C-Core, the Centre for Cold Ocean Research, part of the Memorial University of NL (MUN) in St. John's, recently completed an independent review of various ways to extract garnet. This work is moving to a second, more detailed stage, to determine what approaches will be most effective and also most environmentally friendly. At this time, the Hutton project is generally being considered as a tug and barge operation. It is possible that long-term alternatives may be developed, such as backhaul arrangements with arctic supply vessels returning empty to major ports in eastern Canada. These ideas require a better understanding of loading time and logistics. Methods under consideration include pumping sand from shore to a barge or ship offshore, or possibly a tandem barge arrangement where a smaller barge could be beached and used as a portable dock, thereby limiting need for infrastructure on site. In this option, small earth-moving equipment could be used to move bagged or bulk material across the landing barge to a larger vessel in deeper water. Spud barges could also be considered. Freeport plans continued work with C-Core on logistics-related issues, such as upcoming tests of pumps on Hutton garnet sand. Tests will be planned to simulate site conditions, to be followed up in summer 2008 once the loading strategy is more fully resolved. Over 100 tonnes of Hutton sand is currently available for logistics planning as well as for pilot plant tests. Further work will include cost analysis for on-site and off-site processing alternatives, including uses for by-products such as quartz sand, magnetite and ilmenite. Site contouring and reclamation will also be considered in conjunction with production and processing strategies. 3. ENVIRONMENTAL Site Documentation & Monitoring Freeport has commenced a compilation of site documentation which will be used as a basis for long-term monitoring. The site may also be visited at key times in different seasons, such as prior to winter freeze-up, to study year-round conditions. Several beach formation and environmental consultants are involved in this work. A photographic record of site conditions over the past 10 years will be used to study any possible changes. Several observation points have been established to photograph the sites on an annual and ongoing basis. High resolution imagery, both air and satellite photos, will also be used to assist in mapping the beaches and shoreline, and to study any changes over time. As part of site documentation, the 1999 Legal Survey was repeated last summer. The South and North Beaches were accurately mapped in 3 dimensions, with a high degree of precision in plan as well as in elevation. The two sets of topographic data will be analyzed and compared to evaluate any natural changes over the 7 year period between the surveys. The 2006 topographic survey was conducted as part of an archeological study which is nearing completion. It accurately pinpointed sites such as tent rings on rocky headlands approximately 6m (20 ft) above the beaches. This work was important as publicly available maps of northern Labrador are largely based on air photos and do not reflect actual site conditions. Offshore Studies Last summer, detailed underwater surveys were carried out by divers in the vicinity of the South Beach, confirming that the ocean floor is predominantly flat and sandy for kilometres. Sampling of the sea bottom confirmed elevated garnet content as seen in previous results, proving that the offshore sediments are the source of the heavy minerals composing the Hutton garnet beaches. Over the past 2 years, the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) has conducted offshore mapping in northern Labrador. This work will greatly assist in improving site access for large-scale commercial vessels, thereby expanding the range of companies able to provide marine services. Information from CHS, including side-scan sonar data, will be analyzed once available to plan how marine vessels could best approach the beaches. The data may also be very helpful in understanding of beach formation processes. CONCLUSION In closing, Freeport is now assembling a technical team to assist with a) North American and European marketing; b) mineral processing and product development; c) pilot plant design; d) transportation analysis; e) site logistics, and; f) environmental and site monitoring. This work will form the foundation for a full-scale Feasibility Study. Zdenek Hora, P.Geo., is the Qualified Person who has reviewed this release. Freeport Resources, founded in 1981, is a junior mineral exploration company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. Freeport has landholdings in Labrador and B.C., with a special focus on industrial minerals, precious and base metals, and gemstones. THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE HAS NOT REVIEWED AND DOES NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THE CONTENT OF THIS NEWS RELEASE. %SEDAR: 00006031E

For further information:

For further information: Freeport Resources Inc., Brenda Clark, MAIBC,
President & CEO, 1-888-275-7335 (toll free), (604) 275-7335 (tel.),
freeportresources@shaw.ca

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