VANCOUVER, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - Mercator Minerals Ltd. ("Mercator") (TSX - ML) is pleased to announce that the commissioning of phase 1.5 at its wholly owned Mineral Park mine in Arizona is underway. Phase 1.5 will take Mineral Park daily production up from a design capacity of 25,000 tons per day to a design capacity of approximately 32,000 tons per day. The principal aspect of the Phase 1.5 was the installation of the Phase 2 SAG mill and its related conveying and pumping systems. The installation of the second SAG mill was completed late January and currently motor run-ins and belt aligning work are underway. "All start up activities are expected to be complete by the end of February and the mill is expected to be at capacity next month," said Mike Surratt, President and CEO.
Phase 1.5 includes a significant part of Phase 2 equipment including the SAG mill, the reclaim conveyors, thickner, most of the water system, and the first raise of the tailings impoundment. Phase 2 construction continues to proceed on schedule, with the ball mill gears, lube skids and gear covers on site. The Phase 2 ball mills are scheduled for delivery in May, and have been fully paid for. Concrete, mechanical and electrical work is ongoing for Phase 2 which is scheduled for completion around the end of the year.
Mercator announces an off take agreement is signed with Trafigura for 50,000 tons of copper in concentrate for delivery this year. The agreement is for delivery at domestic smelters, and is in addition to the current MRI contract. "This is a considerably better contract for us with the domestic shipping," stated Surratt.
"2009 was another milestone year for Mercator," stated Surratt. "We completed the construction and commenced operating the Phase 1 at Mineral Park, acquired a major copper project with a full feasibility study that has increased our copper reserves by 113% with only 7% share dilution, completed most of phase 1.5, and ended a year that saw one of the worst economic down turns in history with over $60 million in the bank (unaudited). Even though the mill commenced operations in April, Mineral Park produced more than 31 million pounds of copper, 1.9 million pounds of moly and 200,000 oz. of silver. With the increased production from phase 1.5, we look forward to another record year and continued growth from Phase 2 and the El Pilar project."
Gary Simmerman, BSc., Mercator's VP Engineering, a Qualified Person as defined by NI43-101, supervised the preparation of and verified the Mercator technical information contained in this release.
About Mercator Minerals Ltd.
Mercator Minerals Ltd. is a TSX listed mining company with an experienced management team that has brought the mill expansion at the Mineral Park Mine, one of the largest and most modern copper-moly mining-milling operations in North America to production in less than 2 years. Mercator management is dedicated to maximizing profits at the Mineral Park Mine and the development of the El Pilar copper project in Mexico.
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Forward Looking Information
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, which include estimates, forecasts, and statements as to management's expectations with respect to, among other things, the size and quality of the Company's mineral reserves and mineral resources, future production, capital and mine production costs, demand and market outlook for commodities, and the financial results of the Company and discussions of future plans, projections and objectives. In addition, estimates of mineral reserves and resources may constitute forward looking statements to the extent they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered if a property is developed. These forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties and actual results may vary. Factors that may cause actual results to vary include, but are not limited to, certain transactions, certain approvals, changes in commodity and power prices, changes in interest and currency exchange rates, inaccurate geological and metallurgical assumptions (including with respect to the size, grade and recoverability of mineral reserves and resources), unanticipated operational difficulties (including failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate in accordance with specifications, cost escalation, unavailability of materials and equipment, delays in the receipt of government approvals, industrial disturbances or other job action, and unanticipated events related to health, safety and environmental matters), political risk, social unrest, and changes in general economic conditions or conditions in the financial markets. These risks are described in more detail in the Annual Information Form of the Company. The Company does not assume the obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements after the date of this report or to revise them to reflect the occurrence of future unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. For a more complete discussion, please refer to the Company's audited financial statements and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2008 on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE Mercator Minerals Ltd.
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