Searchlight Minerals Corp. provides update on Clarkdale Slag Project

    Company reviews recent achievements, upcoming milestones and plans for
    2,000 ton-per day production facility

    HENDERSON, NV, June 18 /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.


    Searchlight Minerals today announced that on June 17, 2008, the City of
Clarkdale, Arizona issued a Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory
facilities located within the building that is anticipated to house 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
located in Clarkdale, Arizona. The slag pile is 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.
    "We view receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory as
the achievement of an important milestone in our journey to complete the
construction, installation, testing and start-up of our initial production
module in Clarkdale," stated Ian McNeil, Chief Executive Officer of
Searchlight Minerals Corp. "In coming weeks, we will install state-of-the-art
analytical equipment in the laboratory that will allow our chemists to conduct
immediate, on-site analyses of leaching results to further optimize the metals
extraction process."
    During the first half of 2008, the Company has been involved primarily in
the renovation of an existing 26,000 sq. ft. building at the Clarkdale site.
The building will 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 major equipment items, such as impact mills, a
vibratory mill, leaching tanks, filter presses, ion exchange systems and lab
equipment. A majority of the critical equipment is on site and currently being
installed in the building. Remaining items are slated for delivery within the
next few weeks.
    "The renovation process has been enormously complex," observed McNeil.
"We have overcome some very challenging engineering issues in order to
integrate full-scale production equipment into the existing building. In the
process, the Company has significantly upgraded service utilities and
installed an operating well that will provide water service to the first
module. A new electrical room and transformer were added, and underground
power lines are now coupled to the transformer. The building should transition
from temporary generators to the Arizona Public Service power grid later this


    The Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory is one of three such
occupancy certificates that the Company must obtain in order to operate at the
Clarkdale site. Additional occupancy certificates will be required for the
main processing building and a separate building for the electrowinning
    Obtaining an occupancy certificate for the main processing building
represents the most significant milestone the Company will need to achieve in
the development program, and the issuance of such certificate is anticipated
in the third quarter of 2008. At that point, the Company will be in a position
to commence the equipment testing and start-up procedures for full-scale
operation of the module. The vast majority of operations related to production
are expected to occur within the main processing building. Several key
structural and integrated components, including the hopper pit and
superstructure for the hammer-impact mill / screens, are scheduled for
delivery over the next few weeks. Following the installation of these items,
the exterior of the building will be completed, and a Certificate of Occupancy
for the entire building should be issued. Process engineers and metallurgical
personnel can then begin operational testing of major equipment components,
including the crushing, grinding, leaching and filtering circuits. The gold
and silver extraction circuit will be tested and fine-tuned for optimum
performance. Pre-operational systems integration and equipment de-bugging are
a critical phase in the start-up process. During these procedures, the Company
will attempt to ensure that the precursory steps to metals liberation are
achieved with the full-scale equipment.
    After extensive deliberations with one of the world's leading
manufacturers of electrowinning ("EW") systems, the Company elected to
significantly upgrade such systems, which will be responsible for the final
extraction of copper and zinc, along with the recycling of chemicals used to
remove the metals from the resins. The state-of-the-art EW components will be
housed in a separate building, adjacent to the primary processing building.
The copper EW equipment has already been delivered to the site, and the zinc
EW equipment has been ordered. Completion of the newly designed EW building,
and receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy, represent the final milestone that
must be achieved in phase-one operations, and this is expected to occur in the
fourth quarter of 2008.
    "The complexity of designing the EW systems upgrade has caused an
unanticipated time delay in completing the initial production module," noted
McNeil. "However, I am pleased to report that we broke ground on construction
of the EW building earlier this week. Construction of this building, along
with installation of the copper/zinc electrowinning equipment and the
integration of that system, will represent 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 and precious metal leaching and extraction circuits. Engineers
anticipate that the integration of the EW circuit will be a fairly seamless


    While Searchlight Minerals' primary focus is centered on completion of
the initial production module, the Company has budgeted approximately one
million dollars for fiscal year 2008 in order to complete key engineering,
permitting and development prerequisites for construction of a 2,000 tpd
production facility. The Company is currently completing a large-scale
demolition and grading project that will clear approximately twelve acres of
land immediately adjacent to the slag pile. This reclaimed parcel will serve
as the central location for the improvements that will house the Company's
full-scale production modules.


    "It is very difficult to simply outline the milestones associated with
this project," continued McNeil. "The engineering, design and operational
complexities are enormous, and assembly of equipment modules within the
confines of renovating a World War I era industrial building has been
extremely challenging. We have engaged over fifty consultants and equipment
suppliers from around the world to develop, design and construct the first
Clarkdale production module, and bringing this facility into operational
status is a complicated process of systems integration. While there are
defined milestones along the way, the prediction of time-specific events is
difficult, because each such event is inextricably tied to so many others. The
objective of this update, and others that will follow more frequently, is to
allow our investors to more fully appreciate the significant progress that has
been made. Most importantly, we want to underscore our continued confidence
regarding the transition from construction to production later this year."
    "We have encountered a number of unanticipated delays in recent months,
ranging from equipment delivery schedules to our decision to upgrade the
electrowinning systems, but we consider none of these delays outside the scope
of acceptable complications for a project of this magnitude. 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 that certification will allow us to determine critical aspects
of our development and expansion strategy."

    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,
    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 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, (702) 939-5247,; RJ Falkner & Company, Inc., Investor Relations
Counsel, (800) 377-9893,

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