Aurora Metals Enters into Lease Agreement for Platinum Group Metals and Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Exploration.
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 11, 2004
Aurora Metals (BVI) Limited ("the Company") (OTCBB:AURMF), announces that it has entered into an arm's length agreement with two private companies ("Lessors") for exploration for platinum group metals ("PGM"), and nickel-copper-cobalt mineralization, in the Stillwater Complex, Montana. the Stillwater Complex is located in the Beartooth Mountains in south-central Montana, some 90 miles by road southwest of Billings. The agreement, known as the Basal Zone Lease Agreement ("Lease Agreement") covers an area of approximately 903 acres, in nine unpatented claims and 34 patented claims in Stillwater County, and 17 unpatented claims, covering approximately 345 acres, in Sweet Grass County.
The Lease Agreement has a Primary Term of ten years from the date of execution, extendable for a further five years. Aurora Metals will pay the Lessors a monthly fee of $500 commencing on the first anniversary of the Agreement, $1,000 per month from the second anniversary, $1,500 per month from the third anniversary and $2,000 per month from the sixth anniversary, and, thereafter, for the term of the Agreement. In addition, Aurora Metals will be responsible for payment of annual fees to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for the unpatented claims, and property ownership taxes on patented claims. A Net Smelter Return of 2% will apply to all products from future mining operations.
There are two distinct geological targets for PGM which the Company has identified from available data on surface sampling, geophysical survey and prior drilling. One target is the A and B Chromitites at two locations: within the Ultramafic Series in the Nye Basin east of the Stillwater River, and at Crescent Creek further to the west. The other target is in nickel-copper-cobalt sulfide mineralization within the Basal Series, east of the Stillwater River, also in the Nye Basin.
A and B Chromitites -- Nye Basin
In 1985, Anaconda Minerals Company ("Anaconda") drilled five holes in the A and B Chromitites at Nye Basin, with the highest grade intercept recorded as 0.55 ounces of combined platinum and palladium per short ton ("oz/st (Pt + Pd)") over five feet. The Company intends to drill below two major outcrops with up to six holes, totaling 3,000 feet.
A and B Chromitites -- Crescent Creek
At Crescent Creek, an independent estimate of mineralized material in the A and B Chromitites has been reported as 7.8 million st at 0.46 oz/st (Pt + Pd). The estimate is based on data from a total of 24 holes drilled by four companies. Continuity and potentially economic concentrations of PGM were confirmed by surface sampling and shallow drilling of 11 holes by Anaconda in 1979 and 1982, eight holes by Chrome Corporation of America in 1986 and 1987, one deep hole drilled by Phelps Dodge Corporation in 1990 and four intermediate-depth holes drilled by Pan Palladium USA, Inc. in 2003.
Prior drilling at Crescent Creek indicates that, at least locally, the stratigraphic package hosting the "A" and "B" Chromitites appears to thicken down dip, with the stratigraphy thickening to the west, within the claims covered by the Lease Agreement. The thickening may be indicative of the presence of a primary basin(s). The Stillwater Complex is generally recognized as having similarities to the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, and such thickened basin stratigraphy in the latter exhibits economically viable grades and widths of PGM mineralization.
The Company's proposed program at Crescent Creek is to drill up to five holes, totaling 3,500 feet, in the "A" and "B" Chromitites.
Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Mineralization -- Basal Series -- Nye Basin
The second geological target, nickel-copper-cobalt sulfide mineralization in the Basal Series in the Nye Basin, has not been systematically tested for PGM. The sulfide mineralization is within a series of onlapping, massive lenses that may extend up to 4,000 feet along strike and to 4,000 feet down dip. Estimates of mineralized material range up to 90 million st with grades of 0.70% nickel, 0.70% copper and 0.07% cobalt, based on 23 core holes drilled by Anaconda, but not assayed for PGM. Core from these holes is not available as it was used in metallurgical test work by Anaconda. Electron probe microscopy on a sample from the test work identified significant PGM within each sulfide phase with platinum preferentially enriched in nickel-bearing pentlandite, and palladium preferentially enriched in copper-bearing chalcopyrite.
Up to six holes, totaling 3,500 feet, are planned in the nickel-copper-cobalt mineralization in the Basal Series.
The Lease Agreement claims in the Nye Basin are to the east-southeast of the claims held by the Stillwater Mining Company ("SMC") and SMC's Stillwater Mine. SMC's claims cover some 28 miles of the exposed strike length of the east-southeasterly trending, PGM-enriched, J-M Reef within the Stillwater Complex. SMC mines and processes PGM ore from the J-M Reef at two mines, Stillwater and East Boulder, with subsequent treatment of concentrates at its smelting and refining facilities in Columbus, Montana. SMC, with production of 617,000 ounces of palladium and platinum in 2002, is one of the world's leading producers of these precious metals.
The Company's block of claims in Nye Basin extend over five miles, roughly parallel to, and within one mile of SMC's claims towards their eastern extremity. The Crescent Creek claims extend over 2.5 miles, parallel to, and within two miles south of SMC's claims, approximately eight miles west of the Stillwater Mine.
Aurora Metals (BVI) Limited is a mineral exploration and resource-related company whose stock trades under the symbol "AURMF" on the NASD Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board ("OTC BB").
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
This News Release includes "Forward-Looking Statements" within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in the News Release, including without limitation, statements regarding potential mineralization and reserves, exploration results and future plans and objectives of the Company are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations are disclosed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in the Company's documents filed from time to time with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities. All dollar amounts are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise stated.
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|Date:||Feb 11, 2004|
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