Spokane, Washington -- April 25, 2013 - MINES MANAGEMENT, INC. (NYSE-MARKET: MGN, TSX: MGT) announces financial and operating results for the fiscal year, which ended December 31st, 2012, and subsequent progress on the permitting process for the Montanore Project.
Mr. Glenn M. Dobbs, the Company`s Chairman and CEO, stated, "There was significant progress made on the permitting process for the Montanore in 2012, setting the stage for advancement through the final phase toward completion. We are pleased that the Biological Consultation has commenced, marking a significant milestone that leaves the Final Environmental Impact Statement, concluding with the Record of Decision, the only remaining major activity following the Biological Opinion. In addition, an important new front for potentially adding value came from exploration on the Estrella gold-silver project in Peru. Data gathered from surface exploration and drilling activities has significantly expanded the known zone of gold and silver mineralization, and identified additional new targets, justifying extension of our exploration agreement into the second year."
"We continue to manage our funds in a prudent manner, and plan to balance expenditures in accordance with our priorities," Mr. Dobbs added. "Suffice to say, both the Montanore and Estrella projects have advanced markedly during the year, although declining valuations have plagued the entire minerals sector and we are hopeful for a rebound in the junior metals market. Set forth below is a summary of the Company`s accomplishments during 2012, and a discussion of our individual activities."
Montanore Project biological assessments ("BA") for aquatics and terrestrial species were advanced during the year, leading to the initiation of the biological consultation between the U.S. Forest Service ("USFS") and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("USFWS") in March 2013.
Development of the Final Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") is underway. During the year, the USFS and Montana Department of Environmental Quality incorporated into the Final EIS responses to comments on the Supplemental Draft EIS, completed in September 2011.
The Company continued an active communication program by meeting with federal and state agencies, members of Congress, Montana legislators, local Lincoln County commissioners and City of Libby officials, business leaders and community members in an effort to keep them informed of the Project`s status.
The Company executed an Exploration Earn-In Agreement with Estrella Gold Corporation, for an option to acquire 75% of the La Estrella gold and silver exploration property located in central Peru.
During the year, the Company exceeded work commitments under the Earn-In Agreement on the La Estrella project by completing 2,700 meters of diamond core drilling and conducting a 3D IP/Resistivity survey which included 21 lines consisting of a total of 38 line kilometers.
Results of the exploration were encouraging and the Company decided to extend exploration activities into the second year.
The Company continues to control expenditures and conserve cash pending the completion of Montanore permitting.
Cash and investment position remains strong at $11.8 million, as of December 31, 2012.
Montanore Permitting Update
In 2012 the USFS and Montana Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") continued to develop the Final EIS that assesses the environmental impacts of the Montanore Project, including wetlands mitigation and water quality analyses. In working to develop the Final EIS, the USFS and MDEQ incorporated public comments which were invited following release of the Supplement Draft EIS in September 2011.
As a result of public comments, new and updated technical data generated by the EIS contractor, the Company and its consultants was incorporated into the Final EIS, and the agencies prepared updates to monitoring requirements and mitigation for each of the alternatives analyzed.
The USFS prepared BA`s for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife for review by the USFWS in support of a biological opinion ("BO"), which the USFWS is required to complete prior to the granting of a record of decision by the USFS. The USFWS provided general comments to the USFS early in 2012, and the USFS completed both BA`s in early 2013.
Also, as part of the development of the Final EIS and determination of the agencies` preferred alternatives, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("USACE") must complete an analysis of potential Project discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. These discharges are regulated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act which requires a permit for construction of the tailings facility and subsequent discharge of dredged or fill material.
In 2012, the Company completed a conceptual mitigation plan for aquatic resources affected by the proposed tailings impoundment and continues to work with the USACE to analyze extensive aquatic habitat data and advance the mitigation plan. During 2012, the Company also provided extensive technical analyses for alternative tailings impoundment areas and the feasibility of each site in connection with the 404 analysis.
During 2012, the Company expanded its Project monitoring activities, as well, in order to establish baseline conditions prior to the initiation of Project development activities. The increased monitoring activities are tied to expected agency requirements prior to or during initial Project development activities that will be incorporated into the Final EIS.
Also during 2012, the Company developed water rights applications which request authorization for beneficial use of water resources and submitted them to the State of Montana. Submittal of these applications followed selection of the preferred alternatives, and comments from the agencies are pending.
La Estrella Exploration Update
On April 10, 2012, following a period of due diligence, the Company announced an Earn-In Agreement on the Estrella gold-silver exploration property located in central Peru. Previous exploration on the property had identified a zone of gold and silver mineralization approximately 1,500 meters long, north to south by 300 meters wide, east to west. Terms of the agreement are described in the press release 12-03 on April 10, 2012.
The Company rapidly mobilized, and by August had completed approximately 2,700 meters of diamond core drilling in eight holes in the southwestern quadrant of the area of mineralization. Seven holes intercepted mineralization exceeding 100 meters in thickness over an additional area approximately 500 meters long, north to south, which extended known mineralization by 300 meters to the west.
Results from drilling and surface exploration activities, including a 3D IP/Resistivity survey, indicate that the mineralized zone remains open to the north, south and west.
Subsequent to year-end 2012, the Company decided to extend exploration activities into a second year. Permit modifications are underway, and the Company is assessing plans for further exploration including 2,300 meters of additional drilling required to fulfill the requirements of the agreement for the second year.
Financial and Operating Results
For 2012, our net cash expenditures for operating activities totaled $7.2 million. Cash outlays were less than projected due to delays in the USFS approval of our EIS and the absence of additional expense for adit rehabilitation. In 2013, we plan to continue to focus on planning for our exploration and delineation drilling program at the Montanore Project pending the final permitting approvals. Our current cash position should be sufficient to complete the permitting process and initiate the adit rehabilitation and drill station development. Additional external financing would be required to complete the evaluation drilling program and a bankable feasibility study. Development activities would be deferred if the permitting process is delayed or if commodity prices make the project difficult to finance or increase the cost of such financing.
We reported a net loss for the year ended December 31, 2012 of $8.2 million or $0.28 per share compared to a loss of $5.6 million or $0.20 per share for the year ended December 31, 2011. The following table summarizes expenses and other income by category and year:
|Montanore Project Expense||$||2.7||$||2.9|
|Estrella Project Expense||$||1.2||$||0.0|
|Non Cash Stock Option Expense||$||0.3||$||1.6|
Montanore Project Expense includes exploration, fees, filing and licenses, and technical services, including environmental, engineering and permitting expense. Montanore Project Expense decreased by $0.2 million during 2012, compared to 2011, because of the absence in 2012 of (i) $0.1 million in compensation of the general manager of the Project who retired in February 2012, and (ii) $0.1 million in stock exchange listing fees for the 2011 public offering.
Estrella project expenses, which commenced in 2012, included drilling and related technical services.
Administrative Expense, which includes general overhead and office expense, legal, accounting, compensation, rent, taxes, and investor relations expense, decreased in 2012 by $0.5 million. This decrease resulted from: (i) a decrease in investor and public relations expenditures of $0.2 million, (ii) a decrease in expenditures related to the evaluation of mineral properties of $0.2 million, and (iii) a decrease in salaries and bonuses of $0.1 million.
Non-Cash Stock Option Expense (which is included in general and administrative and technical services expenses in our statement of operations) decreased by $1.3 million during 2012 because the number of options granted and the fair value of options granted during 2012 was lower than those granted during 2011.
We had Other Income of $0.4 million and $3.8 million in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Other income in 2012 includes a gain from the change in fair value of our derivative liability of $0.4 million and a minor amount of interest income. Other income in 2011 includes a gain from the change in fair value of our derivative liability of $1.7 million, a gain on the sale of marketable securities of $2.0 million, and interest income of $0.1 million.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2012, our aggregate cash, short term investments and long term investments totaled $11.8 million compared to $18.7 million at December 31, 2011. Cash flows provided by financing activities were $0.3 million in proceeds from stock options exercised during 2012 compared to $15.3 million in 2011, primarily from the public offering completed during the year. The net cash used in operating activities during 2012 was $7.2 million, which consisted primarily of permitting, environmental, exploration, engineering expenses for the Montanore Project, the Estrella exploration program and general and administrative expenses, compared with $6.9 million of cash used in operating activities in 2011. Cash provided by investing activities for 2011 was $3.8 million of proceeds from the sale of marketable securities compared with a nominal amount derived from investing activity in 2012. The net decrease in cash and cash equivalents for the year ending December 31, 2012 was $6.9 million.
We anticipate expenditures in 2013 of approximately $6.2 million, consisting of (i) $1.2 million in each quarter for ongoing operating and general administrative expenses, (ii) $0.3 million in each quarter for permitting, engineering and geologic studies to finalize our permitting of the Montanore Project, and (iii) $0.25 million on exploration at La Estrella during 2013. We expect to use cash on hand to fund ongoing environmental, engineering, permitting and general administrative expenses for 2013. Additional financing, however, would be required to complete the evaluation drilling program and a bankable feasibility study and increased exploration efforts at the La Estrella property in 2014 based on current year drilling results.
About Mines Management
Mines Management, Inc. is engaged in the business of acquiring and exploring, and if exploration is successful, developing mineral properties containing precious and base metals. The Company`s primary focus is on the advancement of the Montanore silver-copper project located in northwestern Montana. The Montanore is an advanced stage exploration project containing a Canadian NI 43-101 compliant measured resource of 4.03 million tons of material grading 1.85 ounces per ton ("opt") silver and 0.74% copper, an indicated resource of 77.5 million tons grading 2.05 opt silver and 0.75% copper, and an inferred resource of 35.1 million tons grading 1.85 opt silver and 0.71% copper, and is currently undergoing the process to obtain permitting approval. Additional information is available at Mines Management`s website: www.minesmanagement.com.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources:
This press release uses the terms "Measured Mineral Resource", "Indicated Mineral Resource", and "Inferred Mineral Resource." We advise U.S. investors that while those terms are recognized and required by Canadian NI 43-101, the Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of the mineral deposits in these categories will ever be converted into mineral reserves. Inferred Mineral Resources have a greater amount of uncertainty as to their existence and as to their economic and legal feasibility. In accordance with Canadian rules, estimates of Inferred Mineral Resources cannot form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that part or all of the Inferred Mineral Resources exists, or is economically or legally mineable. Disclosure of "contained ounces" in a Mineral Resource is permitted under Canadian regulations, however, the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute `reserves` by SEC standards as "in place" tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. Accordingly, the information contained in this press release may not be comparable to similar information made public by U.S. companies that are not subject to NI 43-101.
Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information: Some statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other applicable U.S. and Canadian securities laws. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including comments regarding anticipated permitting and engineering activities and geologic studies, planning for the exploration and delineation drilling program at the Montanore Project pending permitting approvals, planned exploration expenditures and activities at the La Estrella exploration property in Peru, interpretation of the significance of initial drilling results at La Estrella including the extension of the gold and silver mineralized zone, financing needs, including the financing required to fund the final phases of the advanced exploration and delineation drilling program and a bankable feasibility study, the sufficiency of cash on hand to complete certain planned activities for 2013 and 2014. Actual results may differ materially from those presented. Factors that could cause results to differ materially include delays in and increases in the cost of permitting at Montanore, delays in and the increase of the cost of exploration at La Estrella, changes in interpretation of geological information, political unrest or delays in obtaining community agreements or permitting in Peru in connection with planned exploration activities, world economic conditions or fluctuations in silver, gold and copper prices, and inability to obtain external funding on acceptable terms or at all. Mines Management, Inc. assumes no obligation to update this information. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting Mines Management, Inc. will be those anticipated by management. Please refer to the discussion of risk factors in the Company`s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, as amended.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
President, Mines Management, Inc.
905 West Riverside - Suite 311
Spokane, Washington 99201
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