Mirabela starts mining nickel at Santa Rita



    KALGOORLIE, Australia, Aug. 3 /CNW/ - Mirabela Nickel Limited (TSX: MNB,
ASX: MBN) is pleased to announce a major milestone with the commencement of
owner-operator mining today at its Santa Rita open-cut nickel sulphide mine in
    Mirabela is the first Australian company to mine nickel in Brazil. The
mine will start with a production capacity of 4.6mtpa moving to a capacity of
6.4mtpa in Q2 2010 and has a life of 19 years based on proven and probable
    Speaking at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie Managing
Director Nick Poll said "The commencement of owner-operator mining at Santa
Rita is an important milestone for Mirabela shareholders. Only five years ago
we made the largest nickel sulphide discovery in over a decade and we remain
on track to be the largest independently-owned nickel sulphide project
worldwide. This is a great achievement for an independent company and
testimony to the benefits of operating in Brazil."
    In May 2009, contractors completed pre-stripping and stockpiled about
170,000t of ROM ore. Float test recovery work on this ore is in line with
expectations. An additional 800,000t of ore was pre-stripped with a strip
ratio of about 2:1. The stockpiled and pre-stripped ore are adequate for
commissioning the plant, due to commence upon completion of construction in
late September 2009. This start-up schedule allows several months to prepare
the mine and mining team for the onset of full production requirements during
the ramp-up phase.
    The initial mining fleet, comprised of four Caterpillar 777 trucks (100
tonne), two D9 tracked bulldozers and a grader, will be mining a pre-blasted
bench and preparing the pit for larger scale operations. From September 2009,
a second delivery of larger capacity Caterpillar 785 trucks (150 tonne), an
additional two Caterpillar 777 trucks, Terex O&K RH90 and RH120 excavators is
expected. Maintenance and training is to be provided by the local Caterpillar
dealerships Marcosa SA and Sotreq SA. The mining fleet is owned and operated
by the Company under a lease finance arrangement with Caterpillar Financial.
    Mirabela's commencement of mining operations follows a significantly
oversubscribed private placement of A$117.5m (US$97.2m) to leading
institutional investors in Australia, Europe and Canada on 29 July 2009.

    For and on behalf of the Board

    Nick Poll                               Craig Burton
    Managing Director                       Corporate Director


    Mirabela Nickel Ltd owns 100% of the Santa Rita nickel sulphide project
and is listed on the Australian and Toronto stock exchanges.
    Construction of a 6.4 mtpa nickel sulphide concentrator commenced in
November 2007 and is currently over 90% complete. Operation is expected to
commence with a name plate capacity of 18,500 tpa of nickel in concentrate
increasing to 26,000 tpa of nickel by mid-2010.


    This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy securities in the United States or any other
jurisdiction outside of Canada, nor shall there be any sale of the securities
in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be
unlawful. The Shares offered have not been, and will not be, registered under
the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "1933 Act"), or any
state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States or
to U.S. persons absent registration or an applicable exemption from the
registration requirements of the 1933 Act and applicable state securities

    Competent Persons Statement:

    The technical information in this report has been reviewed by Nicholas
Poll, who is a Member of The Australasia 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 Concerning Forward-Looking Statements:

    This news release contains "forward-looking statements" and
"forward-looking information", which may include, but is not limited to the
timing of the commencement of production at the Santa Rita Project. The
purpose of forward-looking information is to provide the reader with
information about management's expectations and plans. In making and providing
the forward-looking information included in this new release, the Company has
made numerous assumptions. These assumptions include among other things: (i)
assumptions about the price of nickel and other base metals; (ii) that there
are no material delays in development of the Santa Rita Project; (iii)
anticipated costs and expenditures; (iv) future production and recovery; (v)
that the supply and demand for nickel develops as expected; (vi) that there is
no unanticipated fluctuation in interest rates and foreign exchange rates; and
(vii) that there is no further material deterioration in general economic
conditions. Although management believes that the assumptions made and the
expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable,
there can be no assurance that the forward-looking information will prove to
be accurate. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking information involve
known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the
actual results, performance or achievements of Mirabela and/or its
subsidiaries to be materially different from future results, performance or
achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Such
risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, those discussed
in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the amended and restated preliminary
short form prospectus and the document incorporated therein and include the
following: (i) the risk that production from the Santa Rita Project will be
delayed; (ii) the risk that additional financing will not be obtained as and
when required; (iii) capital and operating costs are higher than anticipated;
(iv) decreases in the price of nickel; (v) the Company's financial condition
may, among other things, make it difficult for the Company to obtain
financing; (vi) adverse fluctuations in foreign exchange rates; (vii) adverse
fluctuations in interest rates; (viii) failure to comply with restrictions and
covenants in senior loan agreement; (ix) discretion in the use of proceeds; (*)
changes in the terms of the Company's senior loan in order to achieve
successful syndication; (xi) changes in the terms of the Company's equipment
leasing facility in order to achieve successful syndication; (xii) structural
subordination of the Company's ordinary shares; and (xiii) future sales or
issuances of the Company's ordinary shares lowering the price thereof,
diluting investors' voting power and reducing the Company's earnings per
share. Forward-looking information contained herein are made as of the date of
this document based on the opinions and estimates of management on the date
statements containing such forward looking information are made, and Mirabela
disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as
a result of new information, estimates or opinions, future events or results
or otherwise, except as required by law. There can be no assurance that
forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and
future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such
information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward
looking information.

For further information:

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

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Mirabela Nickel Ltd.

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