TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2012) - Bell Copper Corporation ("Bell Copper" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:BCU.V - News) is providing the following update on its La Balsa project in Michoacan, Mexico.
La Balsa Feasibility Study
Work on the bankable feasibility study for the open pit mining of copper hosted in surface breccias on the La Balsa property continues to progress, and the Company anticipates completion of the study in the second quarter of 2012, slightly delayed from the previously announced first quarter anticipated completion. The delays in completing the study are attributed to slow data acquisition from Mexico to support the technical work required for the study.
Bell Copper is presently exploring debt financing alternatives for bringing the La Balsa project into production, with hopes that project financing can be accomplished through an arrangement whereby a financial partner who desires to purchase the metal and concentrate from the La Balsa property will also provide project recourse debt funding. With the Company's recent announcement regarding the Van Dyke project in Arizona, the Company believes there is an opportunity to finance together the La Balsa and the Van Dyke projects, which may be attractive to a larger cross section of companies desiring a direct metal supply.
La Balsa Copper Exploration
In addition to work on the feasibility study, the Company has also been actively searching for the underlying source of the copper mineralization hosted in the surface breccia deposits at La Balsa. Although all three of the drill holes completed by the Company contain evidence of a significant porphyry system at depth, a review of all available geological information suggests that the displacement on the thrust fault under the breccias may not have been as extensive as projected, and that the target may lay down-plunge of the Iguana Prieta breccia pipe, where the highest grade primary copper and silver have been found to date. No drilling has been conducted in the area of the Iguana Prieta deeper than 150 meters, and should the porphyry source lay in closer proximity to the breccias, the target depth for continuing exploration would be approximately 275 meters, which is only 160 meters beneath the floor of the presently conceived pit design. Based on this information, the Company will design a new exploration program for La Balsa, which the Company intends to implement during the third quarter of 2012.
La Balsa Iron Ore
Modeling and interpretation of the results of a helicopter magnetic survey over the iron ore anomalies on the eastern La Balsa 14 portion of the property has been conducted by an experienced iron ore geophysicist who has identified a number of drill targets on the property. Prior to drilling, the Company intends to do approximately 1,200 meters of trenching on the five most prominent targets, using geological mapping and assaying results to help prioritize the targets. The Company is in the process of obtaining the permits necessary to carry out such work and expects to begin the work program in the second quarter of this year.
Given the proximity of these large anomalies to Arcelor-Mittal's 2 million tonne per year Las Truchas iron mine, which is approximately 22 kilometers west of the La Balsa 14 concession, the high-grade, direct-ship iron that has been mined on a small scale on the western portion (La Balsa 12) of the property, and the abundance of iron float that is found throughout La Balsa 14, management feels that continuing to pursue the iron opportunities at La Balsa is an additional way in which to add to the overall value of the Company. Several companies have approached Bell Copper expressing an interest in joint venturing both the further exploration and production of iron from the La Balsa 14 concession. However, at the present time management believes that Bell Copper and its shareholders can achieve maximum value by Bell Copper doing the initial work on La Balsa 14 before any joint venture options are considered.
Dr. Timothy Marsh, Ph.D., P.Eng., President of Bell Copper and a qualified person as such term is defined in NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information included in this news release.
About Bell Copper
Bell Copper is a public company with a focus on copper exploration, development and production in North America. The Company has an extensive portfolio of exploration and development projects located in two of North America's premier copper producing regions: Mexico and Arizona.
More information on Bell Copper: www.bellcopper.net.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Bell Copper Corporation
Michael Werner, CEO & Director
This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements regarding the anticipated timing of the completion of bankable feasibility study and the company's proposed work programs on its La Balsa property. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; acquisition risks, the actual results of current exploration activities; delay or failure to receive board or regulatory approvals; timing and availability of external financing on acceptable terms; the Property not being integrated successfully or such integration proving more difficult, time consuming or costly than expected, not realizing on the potential benefits of the proposed transaction; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of mineral prices; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and shortages and other risks of the mining industry; and, delays in obtaining governmental approvals or required financing or in the completion of activities. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
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- La Balsa