Mirabela's Santa Rita mineralization continues 120 meters below open-pit reserve



    TSX: MNB, ASX: MBN

    Ordinary shares outstanding: 127,776,100

    PERTH, Australia, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Mirabela Nickel Limited (TSX: MNB, ASX:
MBN) is pleased to announce new drilling results that extend mineralization
about 120m down dip of the recently announced open-cut mining reserve, with
composite intersections up to 135m width grading 0.83% nickel located in the
Southern High Grade zone of its Santa Rita project. This mineralization
appears to be at a flatter dip, and is expected to substantially increase the
current mining reserve of 84 mt grading 0.61% nickel.
    The occurrence of such thick mineralization is very encouraging and is
expected to contribute to the open-pit mining reserve. Work is continuing to
fully evaluate the resource potential of the Southern High Grade zone and its
amenability to open pit and underground mining.
    "We have always believed that mineralization continues at depth and the
latest results 120m below the current open-pit mining reserve confirm it,"
said Managing Director Nick Poll. "These widths and grades are expected to add
significant tonnage to the open-pit reserve. And any further down dip
extensions at similar widths and grades will provide a strong basis for
underground mining evaluations." he said.
    Drilling is continuing with 6 rigs on site. Another 2 holes have been
drilled in the Southern high grade zone below the open pit reserve and results
are expected in March.
    The new drilling results coincide with today's announcement of positive
results from a smelter scoping study.
    A summary of the results is provided below. Schematic long and cross
section diagrams with results can be downloaded from
http://www.mirabela.com.au/projects_galleries.asp.

    
    Southern High Grade Zone

    The Southern High Grade zone continues to return excellent intersections.
The results are as follows:

             Composite results from the Southern High Grade zone

                    --------------------------------------
                                      Composite
                                 From  downhole
                     Hole ID      (m)     width       Ni%
                    --------------------------------------
                     MBS 474      360       129      0.76
                     MBS 475      346        72      0.61
                     MBS 477      463       135      0.83
                     MBS 478      354        77      0.73
                    --------------------------------------
               0.4% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    

    These holes confirm the Southern High Grade zone continues 120m down dip
of the open pit mining reserve and remains open at depth. Drill holes MBS 474
(129m at 0.76% Ni) and MBS 477 (135m at 0.83% Ni) are on the same section
(8430400mN) as Santa Rita's previous best composite intersection to date - MBS
427 (156m at 0.88% Ni). A schematic cross section of this area can be
downloaded at http://www.mirabela.com.au/projects_galleries.asp.
    The high grade section is located at the centre of the Southern High
Grade zone. This zone is now about 200m in strike length and 300m down dip
from about 250m below surface. The average true width of mineralization for
these Southern High Grade zone results is about 92% of the down-hole width.
    Similar mineralization with encouraging initial visual estimates was
intersected in the other two holes, one 70m to the north and the other 90m to
the south of MBS 477. The drilling of these holes was completed mid-January
and results are expected in March.

    Remaining Southern Zone

    Drilling has also continued along strike of the Southern High Grade zone,
where mineralization continues to meet expectations and appears to be
thickening. New significant results are as follows:

    
         Composite drilling results from the remaining Southern zone

                    --------------------------------------
                                      Composite
                                 From  downhole
                     Hole ID      (m)     width       Ni%
                    --------------------------------------
                     MBS 466      207        91      0.61
                     MBS 467      194        70      0.53
                     MBS 468      192        33      0.56
                     MBS 469      288        50      0.49
                     MBS 470      314        71      0.49
                     MBS 471      342        30      0.54
                     MBS 472      326        47      0.54
                     MBS 476      302        51      0.52
                    --------------------------------------
               0.4% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    

    These new results demonstrate that the width of mineralization in the
Southern zone is improving at depth. Whilst they have a lower than average
resource grade, this tends to be offset by a higher recovery rate, as the
Southern zone contains mostly pyroxenite hosted mineralization that has less
non-sulfide (unrecoverable) nickel. For example, a 0.50% nickel grade in
pyroxenite is similar to a 0.63% nickel grade in harzburghite - the dominant
host of mineralization in Northern zone. Accordingly, these results are
expected to make a significant contribution to the open-pit mining reserve.
    The average true width of mineralization for these remaining Southern
zone results is about 80% of the down-hole width.

    South East Extension Area

    New results from the South East Extension area drilling have confirmed a
substantial zone of mineralization starting about 200m southeast of the
current Santa Rita open-pit mining reserve and extending over a strike length
of about 240m. The results are as follows:

    
             Composite results from the Southeast Extension area

                    --------------------------------------
                                      Composite
                                 From  downhole
                     Hole ID      (m)     width       Ni%
                    --------------------------------------
                     MBS 455       24        87      0.50
                     MBS 456       11        21      0.47
                     MBS 458      269        15      0.66
                     MBS 459      175       102      0.55
                     MBS 460       76        10      0.45
                     MBS 461      207        55      0.65
                     MBS 463      284         7      0.52
                     MBS 465      289        90      0.56
                     MBS 479      404        39      0.52
                     MBS 480      323        12      0.43
                    --------------------------------------
               0.4% Ni cut off grade, 4m minimum mining width
    

    Drill hole MBS 461 (55m at 0.65% Ni) intersected the mineralized zone
160m down dip of previously announced MBS 439 (89m at 0.69% Ni), so confirms
thickness and continuity of the mineralization at depth. The mineralization in
the South East Extension area is dominantly hosted by the pyroxenite unit. A
schematic plan of this area can be downloaded at
http://www.mirabela.com.au/projects_galleries.asp.
    Being near surface, this zone is expected to make a significant
contribution to the open-pit mining reserve. The average true width of
mineralization for these Southeast Extension results is about 85% of the
down-hole width.

    Santa Rita drilling program

    Resource drilling recommenced at Santa Rita early this month after a
three week Christmas break. Three drill rigs are allocated to more deep
drilling in the Southern zones and a further two rigs are continuing with
infill drilling converting the first 3.5 years of mine life from Indicated to
Measured Resource status.

    Palestina drilling program

    Drilling has commenced at Palestina. A total of 270m of the 2700m program
has now been drilled in two holes. First results from this program are
expected in a few months.

    (signed)

    Nick Poll
    Managing Director

    Background

    Mirabela Nickel 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 18,500t a year of
nickel in a sulphide concentrate from one open-cut mine starting from mid
2009. At this rate of production the project is expected to have a mine life
of at least 18 years. Studies are underway to increase nickel production to
25,000t a year.

    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, including but not limited to those
with respect to the construction and development of a 18,500 tonnes per year
and subsequently a 25,000 tonnes per year nickel sulphide concentrator and a
nickel smelter at the Santa Rita Project and the required capital expenditures
and estimated future production and operating cash costs 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. Such factors include, among
others, the actual market prices of nickel, the actual results of current
exploration, the actual results of future mining, processing and development
activities, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated,
as well as those other factors disclosed in the Company's filed documents.

    
     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 466        207        211           4     0.55    0.24
           MBS 466        243        257          14     0.59    0.23
           MBS 466        295        299           4     0.58    0.20
           MBS 466        303        313          10     0.55    0.18
           MBS 466        317        323           6     0.42    0.12
           MBS 466        329        341          12     0.75    0.21
           MBS 466        348        366          18     0.64    0.26
           MBS 466        406        429          23     0.64    0.15

           MBS 467        194        203           9     0.53    0.19
           MBS 467        247        251           4     0.42    0.12
           MBS 467        257        267          10     0.40    0.13
           MBS 467        294        299           5     0.70    0.27
           MBS 467        303        318          15     0.48    0.13
           MBS 467        331        335           4     0.41    0.12
           MBS 467        341        347           6     0.57    0.19
           MBS 467        351        355           4     0.56    0.13
           MBS 467        358        362           4     0.58    0.16
           MBS 467        379        383           4     0.51    0.15
           MBS 467        409        414           5     0.90    0.23

           MBS 468        192        199           7     0.44    0.17
           MBS 468        276        284           8     0.45    0.14
           MBS 468        338        342           4     0.46    0.11
           MBS 468        362        369           7     0.66    0.18
           MBS 468        374        381           7     0.75    0.15

           MBS 469        288        292           4     0.53    0.15
           MBS 469        305        313           8     0.40    0.10
           MBS 469        328        334           6     0.44    0.14
           MBS 469        371        378           7     0.52    0.13
           MBS 469        412        420           8     0.51    0.15
           MBS 469        435        439           4     0.50    0.12
           MBS 469        443        450           7     0.60    0.19
           MBS 469        457        463           6     0.46    0.08

           MBS 470        314        350          36     0.40    0.14
           MBS 470        355        360           5     0.60    0.15
           MBS 470        380        384           4     0.43    0.14
           MBS 470        397        401           4     0.48    0.15
           MBS 470        410        422          12     0.46    0.13
           MBS 470        428        438          10     0.81    0.22

           MBS 471        342        352          10     0.56    0.19
           MBS 471        365        375          10     0.51    0.17
           MBS 471        385        389           4     0.58    0.18
           MBS 471        416        422           6     0.49    0.13
          ------------------------------------------------------------

           MBS 472        326        352          26     0.56    0.18
           MBS 472        357        361           4     0.44    0.13
           MBS 472        368        375           7     0.55    0.17
           MBS 472        390        396           6     0.46    0.14
           MBS 472        404        408           4     0.58    0.14

           MBS 474        360        367           7     0.41    0.17
           MBS 474        370        374           4     0.42    0.14
           MBS 474        378        478         100     0.82    0.26
           MBS 474        504        522          18     0.65    0.14

           MBS 475        346        356          10     0.40    0.16
           MBS 475        392        396           4     0.47    0.15
           MBS 475        400        404           4     0.51    0.13
           MBS 475        407        414           7     0.53    0.17
           MBS 475        431        435           4     0.40    0.11
           MBS 475        444        465          21     0.68    0.20
           MBS 475        471        475           4     0.45    0.13
           MBS 475        487        492           5     0.86    0.27
           MBS 475        509        513           4     0.70    0.32
           MBS 475        517        522           5     0.82    0.18
           MBS 475        527        531           4     0.80    0.16

           MBS 476        302        306           4     0.45    0.15
           MBS 476        324        328           4     0.42    0.13
           MBS 476        329        333           4     0.40    0.13
           MBS 476        370        380          10     0.49    0.20
           MBS 476        388        392           4     0.40    0.13
           MBS 476        410        414           4     0.58    0.16
           MBS 476        422        426           4     0.41    0.10
           MBS 476        450        467          17     0.65    0.23

           MBS 477        463        531          68     0.83    0.27
           MBS 477        537        559          22     0.81    0.27
           MBS 477        563        584          21     0.75    0.21
           MBS 477        593        613          20     0.98    0.35
           MBS 477        619        623           4     0.66    0.11

           MBS 478        354        363           9     0.58    0.26
           MBS 478        416        428          12     0.79    0.27
           MBS 478        442        466          24     0.88    0.26
           MBS 478        487        495           8     0.44    0.14
           MBS 478        518        542          24     0.70    0.18
          ------------------------------------------------------------
           All chemical analyses were completed by ALS Chemex,
           Vancouver, Canada


    Attachment 2: New significant intersections - Southern Extension area
                                   drilling
                           (0.4% Ni cut off grade)
          ------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Downhole
           Hole ID    From (m)     To (m)      width      Ni%     Cu%
          ------------------------------------------------------------
           MBS 455         24         72          48     0.51    0.13
           MBS 455         77         81           4     0.62    0.22
           MBS 455         85         91           6     0.41    0.08
           MBS 455         99        107           8     0.50    0.17
           MBS 455        110        116           6     0.55    0.15
           MBS 455        120        128           8     0.52    0.16
           MBS 455        141        144           3     0.40    0.11
           MBS 455        147        151           4     0.43    0.06

           MBS 456         11         20           9     0.45    0.14
           MBS 456         27         31           4     0.42    0.11
           MBS 456         40         44           4     0.53    0.12
           MBS 456         51         55           4     0.51    0.15

           MBS 458        269        280          11     0.59    0.13
           MBS 458        326        330           4     0.84    0.19

           MBS 459        175        194          19     0.63    0.23
           MBS 459        212        291          79     0.53    0.18
           MBS 459        301        305           4     0.41    0.10

           MBS 460         76         86          10     0.45    0.11

           MBS 461        207        223          16     0.75    0.21
           MBS 461        231        235           4     0.47    0.09
           MBS 461        246        277          31     0.64    0.19
           MBS 461        349        353           4     0.58    0.08

           MBS 463        284        291           7     0.52    0.12

           MBS 465        289        379          90     0.56    0.15

           MBS 479        404        417          13     0.44    0.15
           MBS 479        426        443          17     0.48    0.17
           MBS 479        462        467           5     0.89    1.31
           MBS 479        493        497           4     0.48    0.15

           MBS 480        323        335          12     0.43    0.13
          ------------------------------------------------------------
           All chemical analyses were completed by ALS Chemex,
           Vancouver, Canada


                  Attachment 3: Drill hole collar locations
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Hole        Survey                        Hole      Azi-
    Hole ID         type         type  Easting Northing  RL   Depth Dip muth
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MBS 455  Southern Extension   TS    423175  8429800  129   452  -60  180
    MBS 456  Southern Extension   TS    423175  8429950  133   270  -60  180
    MBS 457  Southern Extension   TS    423275  8429750  126   107  -60  180
    MBS 458  Southern Extension   TS    423325  8429870  126   358  -60  180
    MBS 459  Southern Extension   TS    423275  8429870  127   335  -60  180
    MBS 460  Southern Extension   TS    423175  8429870  127   274  -60  180
    MBS 461  Southern Extension   TS    423225  8429950  130   400  -60  180
    MBS 462  Southern Extension   TS    423225  8429700  126    61  -60  180
    MBS 463  Southern Extension   TS    423375  8429870  126   355  -60  180
    MBS 465  Southern Extension   TS    423325  8429950  129   421  -60  180
    MBS 466      Southern Deeps   TS    422904  8430270  135   440  -60  270
    MBS 467      Southern Deeps   TS    422908  8430230  135   427  -60  270
    MBS 468      Southern Deeps   TS    422924  8430190  134   400  -60  270
    MBS 469      Southern Deeps   TS    423044  8430150  132   470  -60  270
    MBS 470      Southern Deeps   TS    423088  8430110  136   453  -60  270
    MBS 471      Southern Deeps   TS    423167  8430070  140   491  -60  270
    MBS 472      Southern Deeps   TS    423159  8430030  141   440  -60  270
    MBS 473      Southern Deeps   TS    423153  8429990  140   389  -60  270
    MBS 474      Southern Deeps   TS    422914  8430400  139   536  -60  270
    MBS 475      Southern Deeps   TS    422974  8430310  134   544  -60  270
    MBS 476      Southern Deeps   TS    422973  8430270  134   481  -60  270
    MBS 477      Southern Deeps   TS    423051  8430400  135   640  -60  270
    MBS 478      Southern Deeps   TS    422867  8430470  144 561.5  -60  270
    MBS 479  Southern Extension   TS    423425  8429950  133   506  -60  180
    MBS 480  Southern Extension   TS    423525  8429950  133   437  -60  180
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     (1) TS - Total Station Survey Tool
    





For further information:

For further information: Australia contact: Nick Poll, Telephone: +61 8
9324 1177, nickp@mirabela.com.au; Toronto contact, (media): Managing Director
Eric Tang, Porter Novelli, Telephone: +1 (416) 422-7200,
eric.tang@porternovelli.com; Australia contact (media): Caroline de Mori,
Purple Communications, Telephone: +61 8 9485 1254, cdemori@purplecom.com.au

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