Searchlight Minerals Corp. receives occupancy permit for main processing building at Clarkdale Slag Project



    MARKS OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF TESTING AND START-UP PROCESS FOR INITIAL
    PRODUCTION MODULE

    HENDERSON, NV, Aug. 11 /CNW/ - Searchlight Minerals Corp. (OTC BB: SRCH)
(the "Company"), is pleased to provide investors with the following update on
the development and construction activities at its Clarkdale Slag Project in
Clarkdale, Arizona.

    RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS

    Searchlight Minerals today announced that on August 8, 2008, the Town of
Clarkdale, Arizona issued a Certificate of Occupancy for the main production
building that is anticipated to house the majority of the Company's initial
100 to 250 ton-per-day (tpd) commercial production module for the extraction
of precious and base metals from a 20 million-ton slag pile in Clarkdale,
Arizona.
    The slag pile is located approximately six miles from the historic United
Verde Copper Mine in Jerome, Arizona, which produced some of the richest
copper ore ever mined in the U.S. Clarkdale housed a smelter operation for the
United Verde Mine, and when smelting activities ceased in 1947, a
metal-bearing slag was left at the Clarkdale site. Independent engineers,
operating under chain-of-custody procedures, have estimated that the slag pile
is comprised of approximately 20.2 million tons of material that contains
approximately 0.50 ounces of gold per ton, along with silver, copper, zinc and
a ferro silicate byproduct.
    During 2008, the Company has been involved primarily in the renovation of
an existing 26,000 sq. ft. building at the Clarkdale site. The building is
anticipated to house most of the components of the initial full-scale
production module, including crushing, grinding, leaching, filtering and ion
exchange (IX) circuits. Concurrent with the building's renovation, the Company
has been taking delivery of and installing major equipment items, such as
conveyer systems, impact mills, a vibratory mill, leaching tanks, filter
presses, ion exchange systems and lab equipment.
    The vast majority of operations related to the production of precious and
base metals will occur within the main processing building. With full access
to the building, the Company is now in a position to commence the testing and
start-up procedures involving major equipment components, including the
crushing, grinding, leaching and filtering circuits that are key to the
full-scale operation of the module. Pre-operational systems integration and
equipment de-bugging represent a critical element in the start-up process.
During the testing and start-up phase, the Company will specifically focus on
the grinding circuit to ensure that the precursory steps to metals liberation
are effectively achieved with the full-scale equipment.
    "We view receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy for the main production
building as the official beginning of the testing and start-up process at our
initial production module in Clarkdale," stated Ian McNeil, Chief Executive
Officer of Searchlight Minerals Corp. "In coming weeks, we will complete the
final electrical and plumbing work necessary to operate and test individual
equipment components and sequential production circuits. Our technical team
looks forward to running slag material through the grinding/crushing circuit
and utilizing our well-equipped laboratory to conduct immediate, on-site
analyses of leaching results in order to further optimize the metals
extraction process."

    FUTURE MILESTONES

    The Certificate of Occupancy for the main building represents the second
of three occupancy certificates that the Company must obtain in order to fully
operate the first production module at the Clarkdale site. In June 2008, the
Company received the Certificate of Occupancy for its on-site laboratory
facilities. A final occupancy certificate will be required for a separate
building, currently under construction, that is anticipated to house the
electrowinning (EW) equipment.
    The Company elected to significantly upgrade its EW systems, which will
be responsible for the final extraction of copper and zinc. The
state-of-the-art copper and zinc EW equipment has already been delivered to
the site and is anticipated to be housed in a separate building, currently
under construction, adjacent to the primary processing building. The relative
efficiency of the initial production module in extracting gold, silver,
copper, zinc and ferro silicates from the slag will serve as the basis for a
proposed full-scale production facility that is intended to contain a number
of modules with a total production capacity of 2,000 tons per day.
    "I am pleased to report that we are on track to complete construction of
the EW building in the fourth quarter," continued McNeil. "Construction of
this building, installation of the copper/zinc electrowinning equipment, and
integration of the EW system into the production process will comprise the
final milestone in the completion of a fully functioning production module
that can run as a continuous circuit, from start to finish. The Company will
use the time during which the EW building is under construction to fine tune
the grinding, filtering, leaching and precious metals extraction circuits."

    CONCLUSION

    "We continue to work with a team of over fifty consultants and equipment
suppliers from around the world to develop, design, construct and soon operate
the first Clarkdale production module. Bringing this facility on line is a
complicated process of systems integration, and while there are defined
milestones along the way, the timing of specific events is often difficult,
because each such event is inextricably tied to so many others. However, it
remains the Company's goal to have a complete and operating module before the
end of 2008."
    "Once the metals recovery module is fully tested and optimized, we will
retain an independent engineering firm to conduct a formal, commercial
feasibility certification. Completion of such certification will allow us to
determine critical aspects of our development and expansion strategy,"
concluded McNeil.
    The objective of this update, and others that will follow, is to allow
our investors and other stakeholders to more fully appreciate the Company's
interim accomplishments and progress towards its stated goals and objectives.

    About Searchlight Minerals Corp.

    Searchlight Minerals Corp. is a minerals exploration company focused on
the acquisition and development of projects in the southwestern United States.
The Company is currently involved in two projects: (1) the Clarkdale Slag
Project, located in Clarkdale, Arizona, is a reclamation project to recover
precious and base metals from the reprocessing of slag produced from the
smelting of copper ores mined at the United Verde Copper Mine in Jerome,
Arizona; and (2) the Searchlight Gold Project, which involves exploration for
precious metals on mining claims near Searchlight, Nevada. The Clarkdale
Project is the more advanced of two ongoing projects that the Company is
pursuing. The Searchlight Gold Project is an early-stage gold exploration
endeavor on 3,200 acres located approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas,
Nevada.
    Searchlight Minerals Corp. is headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, and its
common stock is listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol "SRCH".
Additional information is available on the Company's website at
www.searchlightminerals.com and in the Company's filings with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This Press Release may contain, in addition to historical information,
forward-looking statements. Statements in this news release that are
forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties
concerning the specific factors disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" and
elsewhere in the Company's periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission. When used in this news release, the words such as
"could," "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", "potential", "should",
and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. The risk factors that
could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements
include, but are not restricted to the Company's limited operating history,
uncertainties about the availability of additional financing, geological or
mechanical difficulties affecting the Company's planned geological or other
work programs, uncertainty of estimates of mineralized material, operational
risk, environmental risk, financial risk, currency risk and other statements
that are not historical facts as disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors"
and elsewhere in the Company's periodic filings with securities regulators in
the United States. Consequently, risk factors including, but not limited to
the aforementioned, may result in significant delays to the projected or
anticipated production target dates.





For further information:

For further information: Carl Ager, Vice President at (702) 939-5247 or
via email at ir@searchlightminerals.com; or RJ Falkner & Company, Inc.,
Investor Relations Counsel at (800) 377-9893 or via email at
info@rjfalkner.com

Organization Profile

SEARCHLIGHT MINERALS CORP.

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