Mirabela announces strong results expected to deepen open-pit and confirm underground potential



    TSX: MNB, ASX: MBN
    Ordinary shares outstanding: 129,781,100

    PERTH, Australia, June 24 /CNW/ - Mirabela Nickel Limited (TSX: MNB,
ASX: MBN) is pleased to announce further drilling results that are expected to
deepen and extend its Santa Rita open-pit mine in Brazil and open up the
possibility of developing an underground mine.
    "The results of drilling near and below the base of the currently
designed open-pit have far exceeded our expectations. The new intersections
are about three times wider, 15% higher grade, and more consistent than
previous typical intersections used in the reserve estimate," said Managing
Director Nick Poll. "The current open-pit reserve is about 400m deep without
the benefit of results as strong as these, so we can be confident that these
new results will push the open-pit design deeper and increase the mining
reserve," he said.
    "A second drill hole designed to test the underground mining potential at
about 700m below surface, and 300m deeper than previous drilling, has returned
a composite intersection of 62m at 0.95% Ni. Our first such hole intersected
119m at 0.93% Ni. We believe that these grades and widths are amenable to
underground mining," said Mr Poll. "These holes indicate that the strong
mineralization encountered near the base of the current open-pit continues for
at least another 300m and remains open at depth. If so, an underground mining
operation is a real possibility for Santa Rita. We are currently using 4 rigs
to drill up this underground potential." he said.
    Santa Rita is slated to be the third largest open-pit nickel mine in the
world containing over 500,000t of contained Ni in reserves. Mine construction
is about 30% complete and production is expected to commence mid 2009. The
Company is on track to complete a debt financing facility by end of July.
Photos of the construction progress are regularly published on the Company
website at: www.mirabela.com.au/projects_galleries.asp.

    
    Results from Southern High Grade Zone

    Results of drilling for potential open-pit mineralization in the Southern
High Grade zone are as follows:

       Composite results from the Southern High Grade zone

    -----------------------------------------------------------
                                        Composite
                                         downhole
    Hole ID              From (m)        width (m)        Ni%
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    MBS-538               405              109           0.62
    MBS-540               439              172           0.70
    MBS-549               407              159           0.76
    MBS-555               479               81           0.71
    MBS-563               441              110           0.68
    MBS-564               483              174           0.71
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    0.4% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    

    The average of the above results, being all new results in this zone, is
134m at 0.70% Ni. The average of all (eleven) holes drilled in Southern High
Grade zone since the last resource calculation is 126m at 0.72% Ni. These
holes test depth extensions across 6 sections along a strike length of 230m.
The true widths in this zone are about 90% of the down-hole widths. A
long-section and cross-sections showing these and the April results will be
posted on the Company's website shortly.
    Studies of nickel distribution in the Santa Rita deposit indicate that
the widths, grades and consistency of mineralization in the Southern High
Grade zone are far better than anywhere else in the Santa Rita deposit and
might continue to improve with depth (see long-section). This provides strong
encouragement for a possible underground operation (see below).

    
    Results from Other Areas of the Southern Zone

    Drilling has continued in other areas of the Southern zone, outside of the
High Grade zone discussed above, to prove up more mineralization within
potential open-pit limits towards the south. The results are as follows:

    Composite drilling results from the remaining Southern zone

    -----------------------------------------------------------
                                        Composite
                                         downhole
    Hole ID              From (m)        width (m)        Ni%
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    MBS-550               398               62           0.52
    MBS-557               421               97           0.79
    MBS-565               377               79           0.55
    MBS-569               270               67           0.55
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    0.4% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    

    The average composite intersection for these holes, being all new results
in the remainder of the Southern zone, is 76m at 0.62% Ni. These are strong
results that will further extend the open-pit limits in these areas. The true
width of mineralization for these results is about 80% of the down-hole width.

    
    Results from Extended Deeps Drilling and Underground Study

    Drilling designed to test well below current open-pit limits, in the
Extended Deeps zone, has returned excellent results and provides strong
encouragement for an underground mining study. The results from new drill hole
MBS 547 and previously announced drill hole MBS 532 are reported below using a
0.5% cut-off grade.

      Composite drilling results from the Extended Deeps zone

    -----------------------------------------------------------
                                        Composite
                                         downhole
    Hole ID              From (m)        width (m)        Ni%
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    MBS-532(*)            783              119           0.93
    MBS-547               787               62           0.95
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    0.5% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    (*) Previously reported at 0.4% Ni cut off grade
    

    MBS 547 is located at about the same depth as MBS 532 and 105m along
strike to the north. Both holes are about 300m deeper than any previous
drilling and intersect mineralisation about 700m below surface. The
intersections appear to extend the Southern High Grade zone which plunges
through the base of the current open-pit and remains open at depth.
    These excellent results have encouraged the Company to embark upon a wide
spaced Extended Deeps drilling program, with the aim to prove up a substantial
inferred resource at depths well below the current open-pit limits. This
program is underway with 4 holes drilled and awaiting assays, 4 additional
holes in progress, and a further 4 holes planned. Drilling is likely to
continue beyond this initial program.
    The Company believes that underground mining at Santa Rita is likely to
be economic, based on the drilling results so far and preliminary benchmarking
of underground mining costs. The distribution of mineralization and
geotechnical characteristics of the deposit appear to be favourable for
underground mining and it is possible to upgrade the plant capacity to
accommodate underground production without major modifications.
    In conjunction with the Extended Deeps drilling program, the Company has
commenced a scoping study into potential underground mining at Santa Rita,
including further expansion of the plant to accommodate additional underground
throughput.

    New Resource Estimate

    The current pit extension drilling program is complete with only 2 holes
awaiting assays. A new in-pit resource estimate will be undertaken immediately
upon return of these last assays. This resource upgrade is now expected to be
completed by August. The corresponding open-pit mining reserve is expected by
September.

    More Details

    More details of these latest results are provided in Attachments 1, 2 and
3. Schematic long and cross section diagrams with results can be downloaded
from www.mirabela.com.au/projects_galleries.asp. These diagrams might take a
few days to publish to the website after release of this announcement.

    
    (signed)                     (signed)

    Nick Poll                    Craig Burton
    Managing Director            Corporate Director
    

    Background

    Mirabela Nickel Ltd is listed on the Australian and Toronto stock
exchanges. With an open-cut mining reserve of 84mt grading 0.61% Ni, Santa
Rita is the largest greenfields nickel sulphide discovery in the last 12 years
and the third largest open-cut nickel sulphide mining reserve worldwide.
    Construction of a nickel sulphide concentrator commenced in November 2007
and is progressing well. The plant is expected to produce 18,500 tpa of nickel
in a sulphide concentrate from one open-cut mine starting from mid 2009
increasing to 25,000 tpa by mid 2010. At this rate of production the project
will have a mine life of at least 14 years.

    The information in this report that relates to Exploration Results,
Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Lauritz
Barnes, who is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Lauritz
Barnes is a consultant employed by Mirabela Nickel Ltd.
    Lauritz Barnes has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style
of mineralization and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity
which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the
2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results,
Mineral Resources and Ore Reserve'. Lauritz Barnes consents to the inclusion
in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context
in which it appears.

    Caution Regarding Forward Looking Statements: There can be no assurance
that an expanded mineral resource or reserve will be established at the Santa
Rita Project. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are
based on assumptions and judgments of management regarding future events and
results. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results,
performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any
anticipated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied
by such forward-looking statements.

    
                             www.mirabela.com.au


    Attachment 1: New significant intersections - Southern Zone drilling
                         (0.4% Ni cut off grade)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Downhole
    Hole ID        From (m)     To (m)      width       Ni%          Cu%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    MBS-538         405          420          15       0.48         0.20
    MBS-538         469          499          30       0.71         0.28
    MBS-538         506          537          31       0.56         0.19
    MBS-538         555          562           7       0.42         0.11
    MBS-538         581          588           7       0.63         0.15
    MBS-538         598          609          11       0.89         0.18
    MBS-538         616          624           8       0.50         0.07

    MBS-540         439          443           4       0.42         0.18
    MBS-540         461          523          62       0.68         0.22
    MBS-540         530          591          61       0.85         0.24
    MBS-540         604          608           4       0.54         0.09
    MBS-540         613          617           4       0.77         0.17
    MBS-540         629          636           7       0.41         0.04
    MBS-540         639          650          11       0.71         0.12
    MBS-540         653          657           4       0.41         0.05
    MBS-540         667          682          15       0.46         0.02

    MBS-549         407          418          11       0.42         0.17
    MBS-549         425          549         124       0.83         0.25
    MBS-549         567          571           4       0.72         0.14
    MBS-549         595          599           4       0.43         0.04
    MBS-549         625          641          16       0.53         0.07

    MBS-550         398          418          20       0.46         0.16
    MBS-550         472          484          12       0.62         0.19
    MBS-550         499          504           5       0.43         0.14
    MBS-550         508          512           4       0.42         0.13
    MBS-550         519          530          11       0.52         0.17
    MBS-550         538          542           4       0.66         0.27
    MBS-550         620          626           6       0.58         0.08

    MBS-555         479          509          30       0.85         0.28
    MBS-555         516          526          10       0.52         0.15
    MBS-555         534          555          21       0.76         0.27
    MBS-555         593          597           4       0.41         0.02
    MBS-555         602          606           4       0.57         0.07
    MBS-555         612          620           8       0.72         0.10
    MBS-555         664          668           4       0.42         0.03

    MBS-557         421          472          51       0.70         0.20
    MBS-557         510          517           7       0.64         0.17
    MBS-557         525          545          20       0.97         0.25
    MBS-557         589          608          19       0.86         0.17

    MBS-563         441          453          12       0.61         0.22
    MBS-563         464          523          59       0.73         0.24
    MBS-563         534          547          13       0.65         0.18
    MBS-563         558          564           6       0.82         0.21
    MBS-563         579          583           4       0.70         0.20
    MBS-563         594          600           6       0.46         0.08
    MBS-563         660          664           4       0.64         0.10
    MBS-563         678          684           6       0.56         0.07

    MBS-564         483          495          12       0.52         0.23
    MBS-564         501          527          26       0.45         0.18
    MBS-564         534          630          96       0.81         0.28
    MBS-564         660          696          36       0.72         0.15
    MBS-564         717          721           4       0.49         0.04

    MBS-565         377          389          12       0.50         0.18
    MBS-565         443          455          12       0.60         0.20
    MBS-565         459          463           4       0.44         0.13
    MBS-565         481          489           8       0.59         0.17
    MBS-565         512          526          14       0.46         0.12
    MBS-565         543          568          25       0.63         0.14
    MBS-565         601          604           4       0.41         0.02

    MBS-569         270          274           4       0.52         0.21
    MBS-569         326          333           7       0.46         0.14
    MBS-569         409          444          35       0.59         0.17
    MBS-569         454          464          10       0.58         0.12
    MBS-569         502          508           6       0.47         0.07
    MBS-569         530          535           5       0.51         0.08
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    All chemical analyses were completed by ALS Chemex, Vancouver, Canada


    Attachment 2: Existing and new significant intersections - Southern Zone
                           Extended Deeps drilling
                           (0.5% Ni cut off grade)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Downhole
    Hole ID        From (m)     To (m)      width       Ni%          Cu%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    MBS-532(1)      783          867          84       0.99         0.28
    MBS-532         889          898           9       0.88         0.20
    MBS-532         909          915           6       0.75         0.12
    MBS-532         925          945          20       0.73         0.15

    MBS-547         787          824          37       1.01         0.28
    MBS-547         835          846          11       0.80         0.22
    MBS-547         869          877           8       1.03         0.25
    MBS-547         961          967           6       0.71         0.11
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    All chemical analyses were completed by ALS Chemex, Vancouver, Canada

    (1) MBS-532 - Previously reported in announcement dated 28 April 2008
        using 0.4% Ni cutoff


                  Attachment 3: Drill hole collar locations
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Survey                        Hole
    Hole ID       Hole type    type  Easting Northing  RL  Depth  Dip Azimuth
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MBS-532(1) Southern Deeps  TS(2)  423405  8430400  138  1022  -60   270

    MBS-538    Southern Deeps  TS     422935  8430470  141   665  -60   270

    MBS-540    Southern Deeps  TS     422987  8430430  136   695  -60   270

    MBS-547    Southern Deeps  TS     423335  8430505  137  1021  -60   270

    MBS-549    Southern Deeps  TS     422977  8430400  137   700  -60   270

    MBS-550    Southern Deeps  TS     423044  8430310  134   650  -60   270

    MBS-555    Southern Deeps  TS     422848  8430540  146   701  -60   270

    MBS-557    Southern Deeps  TS     423046  8430230  135   650  -60   270

    MBS-563    Southern Deeps  TS     423065  8430355  135   700  -60   270

    MBS-564    Southern Deeps  TS     423056  8430430  135   760  -60   270

    MBS-565    Southern Deeps  TS     423043  8430270  135   630  -60   270

    MBS-569    Southern Deeps  TS     422992  8430190  131   600  -60   270
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) MBS-532 - Previously reported in announcement dated 28 April 2008
    (2) TS - Total Station Survey Tool
    





For further information:

For further information: Australia contact: Nick Poll, Managing
Director, Telephone: +61 8 9324 1177, nickp@mirabela.com.au; Australia contact
(media): Caroline de Mori, Purple Communications, Telephone: +61 8 9485 1254,
cdemori@purplecom.com.au; Toronto contact (media): Eric Tang, Porter Novelli,
Telephone: (416) 422-7200, eric.tang@porternovelli.com

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