TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - ROMARCO MINERALS INC. (TSX: R) (the "Company") is pleased to provide a review of the 2011 year and will highlight milestones and events that took place during this period. All dollar amounts in this news release are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise stated.
Diane Garrett, President and CEO stated: "2011 was a year filled with numerous achievements - completing the largest exploration program to date at Haile, continuing to discover new target areas, and increasing the underground knowledge of the Haile system through the discovery of Mustang and Palomino. The completion of the Kershaw Mineral Lab has been extremely beneficial to the exploration program - having assay results within 24 hours has increased efficiencies in planning additional drill holes. The lab has performed with accuracy when compared to the independent lab results and the lab is well into the accreditation process. While we were disappointed with the permit delay and resulting impact to our share price, the additional time has allowed the team to focus on increased efficiencies in the plant design, mine planning and trade-off studies. During the first quarter Romarco intends to report an updated mineral resource estimate from the 2011 exploration program including both open pit and underground resources. We look forward to working to advance Haile through the permitting and construction phase."
- Ordered long lead-time equipment
- Mill design ahead of schedule - orders pending
- Exceeded the planned 172,000 meter drill program on budget
- Completed approximately 179,000 meters of drilling
- Discovered two new underground targets - Mustang and Palomino
- Permitted and constructed the Kershaw Mineral Lab on time and under budget
- Passed the first two of three tests for the accreditation process
- No environmental fines or infractions for the year
- Acquired five regional exploration targets - 3 in South Carolina, 2 in North Carolina
- Permitted and initiated drilling at three of the five regional exploration targets - results pending
- Romarco was added to the following indices:
- Morgan Stanley Small Cap Index
- S&P / TSX Composite Index
- S&P / TSX Global Gold Index
- S&P / TSX Global Mining Index
- Dow Jones Junior Precious Metals Index
- Completed a C$92 million equity financing
- Maintained the Company's strong institutional shareholder base
The Company exceeded its goal of 172,000 meters of drilling in 2011. During the first half of the year, condemnation and infill drilling were the top exploration priorities in anticipation of receiving permits and commencing operations. The infill drilling focused on converting inferred material within the reserve pits to the measured and indicated categories as well as increasing the overall measured and indicated resources. With the delay in the permit schedule (see news release dated July 1, 2011), the Company focused primarily on step-out drilling during the second half of 2011. Romarco discovered two new high-grade, underground zones at Haile: Mustang and Palomino. The Company also extended mineralization down dip and along strike at Mill, South Pit, Ledbetter, Snake, and Horseshoe.
During the first quarter of 2012, the Company will announce an updated resource estimate at Haile. Upon finalizing its review of the results from the 2011 drill program, the Company will announce its exploration plans for 2012.
During 2011, the Company secured delivery of its long lead-time mobile mine fleet equipment and restructured payments to coincide with the permit schedule. The mobile equipment has been delivered to the local Caterpillar dealer where it is being warehoused. During the third quarter the primary SAG and secondary Ball grinding mills were ordered for delivery on a schedule aligned with the expected start-up of construction in early 2013. Approximately $5 million was spent on deposits to secure the mobile mining equipment and grinding equipment, approximately $5 million will be spent on milestone and holding costs during 2012, and the final payments of approximately $36 million will be due on delivery in late 2012 or early 2013.
Kershaw Mineral Lab
The Company completed construction of its previously announced analytical and metallurgical lab ("Kershaw Mineral Lab" or "KML") in June 2011. The project was completed on schedule and under budget.
The fully operational lab has improved the planning of future drill holes and has added value to the exploration program by decreased turn around time on assay data. All ore-grade assays reported to the public will be completed by third party, independent assay laboratories as has been conducted in the past. KML began the ISO17025-accreditation process in September 2011, which is anticipated to take approximately 18 months to complete. This accreditation process involves development, documentation, and approval of control systems and proficiency testing of round-robin samples issued by the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology ("CANMET"). KML has successfully passed the first two of its required three tests. The third test is anticipated to take place in 2012. KML will also be accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.
The Company made significant progress in advancing permitting for the Haile Gold Mine. Early in the third quarter of 2011, the US Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps"), the agency responsible for issuing the Company's 404 Wetlands Permit, decided to complete an Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") for its Federal 404 Wetlands Permit. Since the EIS determination, the Corps: (i) filed a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register, (ii) selected Cardno ENTRIX as the third-party engineering firm and contractor to complete the EIS, (iii) announced and held a Scoping and Public meeting, and (iv) completed the 30-day scoping comment period. The completion and filing of a Draft EIS is the next major milestone in the EIS process.
The Company completed a bought-deal financing with gross proceeds of C$92.6 million in the fourth quarter. The proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the development of Haile and general corporate purposes. The Company's cash position as at December 31, 2011 was approximately $115 million.
Management and Board
The Company reports that Edward van Ginkel has stepped down as Director and Chairman of the Board. Mr. Leendert Krol, a non-executive director and chair of the Company's Governance Committee, will assume the role of acting Chairman.
Mr. van Ginkel has agreed to act as a consultant to the Board and management of Romarco for one year, as his time allows. Mr. van Ginkel has enjoyed a 29-year career in the mining and metals industry, focused primarily on corporate development and exploration transactions and in financing and developing major mines in Canada and throughout the world.
Diane Garrett, President & CEO stated: "Ed has been a valuable member of the Board for over eight years and has contributed exceptional value to Romarco and its shareholders in his leadership role. On behalf of the Board and shareholders, I would like to thank him for his support and wish him well."
Joe Romagnolo and Dan Symons have been promoted to Vice President and Controller and Vice President, Investor Relations, respectively.
Mr. Romagnolo has been with the Company for approximately two years in the role of Corporate Controller. Previously, Mr. Romagnolo held the position of Corporate Controller at Centenario Copper from 2008 until it was acquired by QuadraFNX in 2009. From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Romagnolo worked for Atlas Cold Storage and held various positions ranging from Canadian Controller to VP Finance. Prior to joining Atlas Cold Storage, Mr. Romagnolo worked for The Molson Companies Limited from 1985 - 2001, with the majority of those years (1989 - 2001) being with Beaver Lumber in various finance positions. Mr. Romagnolo is a Chartered Accountant and earned his CA designation with Price Waterhouse (now Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and is a member of the Institute of Charted Accountants of Ontario.
Mr. Symons has been with the Company for approximately 18 months in the role of Manager, Investor Relations. Prior to joining Romarco, Mr. Symons held the position of Account Manager with Renmark Financial Communications Inc., where he acted as a marketing and communications consultant to several mining companies including Romarco Minerals Inc. Mr. Symons is responsible for building and maintaining a comprehensive investor relations program and for communicating with both institutional and retails investors globally.
Diane Garrett, President & CEO commented: "Both Joe and Dan have made significant contributions to the Company's success in their respective roles. We are pleased to promote them to the level of Vice President."
About Romarco Minerals Inc.
Romarco Minerals Inc. is a gold development company engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metals mineral properties. The Company has completed a positive Feasibility study and is continuing exploration and permitting for its flagship project, the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina.
This entire press release may be accessed via fax, e-mail, Romarco's website at www.romarco.com and through CNW Group's website at www.newswire.ca. All material information on Romarco Minerals Inc. can be found at www.sedar.com
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