Mirabela Nickel Limited - Proven and probable reserve for Santa Rita


    Ordinary shares outstanding: 126,871,100

    PERTH, Australia, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Mirabela Nickel Limited (TSX: MNB,
ASX: MBN) is pleased to announce the first Proven and Probable Reserve for
Santa Rita as follows:

    Proven and Probable Reserve - 84mt grading 0.61% Ni
    Contained nickel - 508,000t (1.1MM lb)
    Strip ratio - 7.96:1
    Weighted average recovery - 69.4% Ni

    "With over half a million tonnes of contained nickel, Santa Rita now has
the world's third largest open-cut nickel sulphide reserve after BHP
Billiton's Mt Keith deposit and Vale's Voisey's Bay deposit. And we are still
finding more," said Mirabela Nickel Managing Director Nick Poll. "This is a
remarkable achievement for a Company that listed in 2004 and discovered the
Santa Rita deposit two months later," he said.
    The Reserve estimate is based upon the Potential Mill Feed Resource
Estimate announced in November 2007 as follows:

    Measured and Indicated Resource - 90mt grading 0.60% Ni
    Inferred Resource - 10.7mt grading 0.60% Ni
    Strip ratio - 7.7:1

    The Reserve estimate cannot include the 10.7mt of Inferred Resource and
therefore uses a smaller pit design based only upon the Measured and Indicated
Resource. The Company has already completed additional drilling to upgrade the
Inferred Resource to Indicated status and assays are expected over the next
four weeks. Upon receipt of these results, the Reserve estimate is expected to
be upgraded to a larger pit broadly in line with that used in the Potential
Mill Feed Resource Estimate.
    "While we are pleased with this maiden Reserve estimate, we see this as
an intermediate step for the growing Santa Rita deposit," said Mr Poll. "We
have already completed drilling out the Inferred Resource and core logging is
consistent with expectations, so this is expected to provide an early addition
to the Reserve. There is also great exploration potential for additional
resource in the Southern zone, so we expect to continue adding to the Reserve,
particularly over the next six months," he said.
    Equity financing was completed in June, 2007 and the Company has cash
reserves of about US$150m. A debt financing facility for up to $260m was
mandated to BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse in January, 2008. It is expected
that the debt facility will be ready for drawdown in mid 2008.
    Advanced negotiations are underway to sell the concentrate product to a
smelter. At the same time, the Company is finalizing a scoping study to build
a smelter at Santa Rita and is expected to announce the results of this work
    The conversion of resources to reserves (as defined by the Canadian
NI 43-101 and Australian JORC mining codes) requires detailed estimates of
economic and physical parameters for mining. The resultant average mining
costs (US$ per tonne of material) are as follows:

    Operating cost - $1.17/t
    Capital allowance - $0.14/t
    Total mining cost - $1.31/t

    The Reserve estimate is based on a mining rate of 4.6mtpa and a nickel
price of US$7/lb as used for the November 2007 resource estimate and the
NI 43-101 report currently lodged on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) under the Company's
    These mining costs are similar to the previous costs used for the
November 2007 pit optimization studies (US$1.34/t). Both the mining cost and
the capital allowance are based on a long term exchange rate of R$2.00 to the
US dollar.
    The detailed analysis carried out for the Reserve estimate will be
included in an updated Santa Rita NI 43.101 report that will be published
within the next 45 days.


    Mirabela Nickel is listed on the Australian and Toronto stock exchanges.
With an in-pit Indicated Resource of 90mt at 0.60% Ni, Santa Rita is the
largest greenfields nickel sulphide discovery worldwide in the last 12 years
and the largest nickel sulphide deposit in Latin America. Exploration is
underway to determine underground mining potential below 500m deep, as
mineralization appears to continue well below current drilling.
    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.

    Nick Poll
    Managing Director

    The information in this report that relates to mine scheduling studies,
ore reserve and mining costs estimation is based on information compiled by
Carlos Guzman who is a professional Mining Engineer and Project Manager with
NCL Brasil and a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
and is a Qualified Person in accordance with NI 43-101. Carlos Guzman is a
consultant to Mirabela Nickel Limited. Mr. Guzman consents to the inclusion in
the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in
which it appears.
    All other technical information in this report has been reviewed by
Nicholas Poll, who is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy. Nicholas Poll is the Managing Director of the Company. Nicholas
Poll 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: The forward-looking
statements made in this announcement 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 resource
targets or the development of a mine and/or a smelter at Santa Rita and the
Company's capital expenditures and estimated future production 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 factors disclosed in the Company's filed documents.

For further information:

For further information: Australia contact: Nick Poll, Managing
Director, Telephone: +61 8 9324 1177, nickp@mirabela.com.au; Toronto contact
(media): Eric Tang, Porter Novelli, Telephone: (416) 422-7200,
eric.tang@porternovelli.com; www.mirabela.com.au

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