Vancouver, January 16, 2012 – First Point Minerals Corp. (FPX-TSX.V) (“First Point” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce positive drill results for the remaining 27 of the 36 holes completed during the 2011 drilling campaign at the Decar nickel-iron alloy project in central British Columbia. The Decar project is managed by Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc., an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) (“Cliffs”).
The drill results confirm earlier indications of the presence of long intervals of relatively uniform nickel grades. Highlights from this second and final batch of results of the 2011 program include:
||11BAP-09||226m of 0.132%||magnetically-recovered nickel*|
||11BAP-13||208m of 0.144%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-17||269m of 0.119%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-20||269m of 0.134%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-21||249m of 0.129%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-23||268m of 0.125%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-29||290m of 0.129%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-32||240m of 0.114%||“||“||“|
||11BAP-35||293m of 0.121%||“||“||“|
*Throughout this news release, unless stated otherwise, the reported nickel assay is the magnetically-recovered nickel as determined using the Davis Tube method. See the footnote following Table 1 for an explanation of this method.
Table 1 attached presents the results of the 35 holes completed in 2011 and the 7 holes drilled in 2010 to test the Baptiste target. The drill-tested zone is defined over an open-ended strike length of at least 2,300 metres and a width ranging from 450 to 600 metres. This large zone of nickel-iron alloy mineralization reaches an average 220 metres of vertical depth in most holes, with the single deep hole, 11BAP-09, extending the mineralization to at least 430 metres vertically. Many of the holes bottomed in mineralization. The long intervals of continuous nickel-iron alloy mineralization in serpentinized peridotite at Baptiste represent a potential open-pit target.
A weighted average grade of 0.128% magnetically-recovered nickel is based on all the intervals listed in Table 1 using a threshold of 0.1%. This is not a resource grade calculation. At the direction of Cliffs, Caracle Creek International Consulting Inc. (“Caracle Creek”), a consulting group managing the 2011 drill program, is preparing a National Instrument (“NI”) 43-101 mineral resource estimate that is expected to be completed in the next several weeks.
The continuity of the nickel grade of the mineralized zone is remarkably consistent, particularly in the west and central parts of the Baptiste target. The twenty highest grade samples range from 0.193% to 0.275% magnetically-recovered nickel.
A drill hole location map at www.firstpointminerals.com provides a plan projection interpreted by First Point from Davis Tube analyses of all the Baptiste drill holes. Specific gravity measurements taken on 325 samples from the 2011 drill core range from 2.49 to 3.23, for an average of 2.72 grams per cubic centimetre. These will be used in the mineral resource estimate.
The Baptiste zone resembles the shape of a boomerang in plan view and remains open in several directions, including along strike in both the east and west directions, to the south in the central area and at depth over the entire system. The overburden ranges from 2 to 36 metres deep, averaging about 10 metres.
The Baptiste target was tested in 2011 on 200-metre centres by 35 delineation core holes totalling 10,861 metres. The holes were drilled at a -50 degree angle in a northerly direction and tested the arcuate or boomerang-shaped zone of nickel-iron alloy mineralization to a depth of roughly 300 metres down-hole, representing a vertical depth of 230 metres. The deepest hole, 11BAP-09, was drilled in the centre of the Baptiste zone to a down-hole depth of 606 metres, or about 460 metres vertically.
Starting 5.9 metres below surface, hole 11BAP-09 intersected 226.1 metres grading 0.132% magnetically-recovered nickel; followed closely by 136 metres of 0.148% between 256 and 392 metres down-hole and 124 metres averaging 0.125% from 436 to 560 metres depth; ending in 46.3 metres of below threshold value grading 0.084% at the bottom of the hole beyond the northern mineralized boundary. The mineralized sections of hole 11BAP-09 are separated by two lower-grade sections of weakly mineralized peridotite and non-mineralized dykes.
The Baptiste zone remains open along strike in both directions. The most westerly drilled hole, 11BAP-28, intersected 104.4 metres of 0.131% magnetically-recovered nickel in the bottom half of the hole, which ended in mineralization at a down-hole depth of 298.4 metres. Hole 11BAP-30 is one of the most easterly drilled holes, intersecting 149 metres of 0.125% magnetically-recovered nickel beginning at the top of the hole, followed closely by a 124.5-metre section averaging 0.141% at the bottom of the hole.
The dip or orientation of the limits of mineralization as defined by drilling appears to correlate with the boundaries of relatively coarse-grained nickel-iron alloy mineralization mapped at surface. Both the northwest and southwest boundaries can be traced up the hillside over a distance of 300 metres in elevation indicating a sub-vertical orientation of the limits of the Baptiste mineralization. Holes 11BAP-03, 11BAP-09 and 11BAP-17 are collared on the same section, where weight averaged values for each hole or interval are shown on cross section 03-09-17 at www.fpxnickel.com and indicate a sub-vertical 80-degree south dip of the mineralized body’s northern boundary. The cross section also demonstrates the width and the depths of mineralization, and was interpreted by First Point from data received from Cliffs.
Table 1. 2011 Baptiste Drill Hole Results
|For the sake of completeness, the results for following eight holes from the 2011 Baptiste target drilling campaign (previously reported in the Company’s News Release dated December 16, 2011) are included in this table.|
|The following seven holes from the 2010 Baptiste target drilling campaign were reported in the Company’s News Releases dated September 22 & 29, 2010. The samples were reanalyzed using the Davis Tube procedure to determine their magnetically recoverable nickel content, and the results are as follows:|
The reported nickel grades are based on a threshold of 0.10%. Intercepts of non-mineralized dykes greater than 1 metre wide are reported as zero grade.
*”Magnetically-recovered nickel” is the nickel content recovered by magnetic separation using a Davis Tube followed by standard assaying procedures to determine the nickel assay of the concentrate; in effect a mini-scale metallurgical test. This procedure recovers the highly magnetic nickel-iron alloy, as well as any other magnetic material, including magnetite, a primary ore mineral in many iron ores. Cliffs employs large scale magnetic separation methods in several of its operating iron ore mines, and the Davis Tube method was used to provide a more accurate measure of variability in recoverable nickel. The Davis Tube method is the global, industry standard geometallurgical test for magnetic recovery operations and exploration projects.
The previously released 2010 drill results were reanalysed using the Davis Tube technique to assist in the interpretation of the geological model in preparation of the forthcoming mineral resource estimate.
The potential for additional similar nickel alloy mineralization at Decar is illustrated by limited drilling on the Sidney and Target B prospects in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The Sidney target area is located 3 kilometres north of Baptiste on a broad ridge at approximately 600 metres higher elevation. The Sidney target currently measures 500 by 400 metres by surface mapping and is open to the northwest and southeast, where it is covered by overburden. Sidney was drilled with two holes in 2010 that intersected a previously reported 0.129% nickel-in-alloy across 163 metres in the lower half of hole 10SID-09 and 0.143% nickel-in-alloy across 282 metres in hole 10SID-10 (see News Release dated October 19, 2010).
As previously reported (see News Release dated December 16, 2011), Target B, located 4.6 km north-northwest of Baptiste, was tested with a single exploration hole during the 2011 drilling campaign. Hole 11B-01 cut 258 metres averaging 0.138% magnetically-recovered nickel.
The Decar project represents a potential new source for nickel. The naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy mineralization contains negligible sulphur, which eliminates a number of environmental issues typically associated with nickel sulphide deposits.
Representative 1-metre-long samples of split drill core were collected every 4 metres down each hole. The remaining core was retained for future metallurgical testing. Drill core samples were shipped in batches to Activation Laboratories in Ancaster, Ontario for analysis. The laboratory protocol involves a grinding/pulverizing stage (95% of crushed material to pass a 75 micron sieve), following which a 30-gram split of the sample is passed through a Davis Tube magnetic separator in slurry form to produce a magnetic fraction. This magnetic fraction is dried, weighed and analyzed by standard fusion XRF analysis that generates high quality multi-element data, including nickel analysis. The magnetically recovered nickel is calculated by multiplying the fusion XRF nickel value by the weight of the magnetic fraction, divided by total recorded weight. Standards, blanks and duplicates were inserted in the batches to provide quality control.
Caracle Creek is preparing a NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate that is expected to be completed in the next several weeks. If this mineral resource estimate is positive and other preliminary marketing and environmental studies are also positive, Cliffs will prepare a NI 43-101 compliant preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”) under the management of Tetra Tech WEI Inc., formerly known as Wardrop Engineering.
Cliffs currently owns a 51% interest in the project and has the right to increase its property ownership (i) to 60% by completing a NI 43-101 compliant preliminary economic assessment by March 2013, (ii) to 65% by completing a preliminary feasibility study; and (iii) ultimately to 75% by completing a bankable feasibility study. Should Cliffs earn a 75% interest in Decar, First Point would hold a 25% participating interest, plus a 1% net smelter return royalty interest. Completion of a PEA in compliance with the requirements under NI 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, will be dependent upon the delineation of a mineral resource.
Dr. Ron Britten, P. Eng., First Point’s Qualified Person under NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release. Qualified analytical data was supplied by Cliffs. Cliffs is the operator and technical work is supervised by Caracle Creek. QA/QC is under the direct supervision of Dr. Elisabeth Ronacher, P. Geo., a Qualified Person under NI 43-101.
About First Point
First Point Minerals Corp. is a Canadian base and precious metal exploration company. For more information, please view the Company’s website at www.fpxnickel.com or contact Peter Bradshaw, President and CEO, or Rob Robertson, VP Corporate Development, at (604) 681-8600.
On behalf of First Point Minerals Corp.
Peter Bradshaw, Ph.D., P. Eng., President
Certain of the statements made and information contained herein is considered “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. These statements address future events and conditions and so involve inherent risks and uncertainties, as disclosed in the Company’s periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Actual results could differ from those currently projected. The Company does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.
responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.