|July 16, 2012|
Heatherdale Initiates 2012 Drill Program & Provides Update On Alaska'S Niblack Project
July 16 2012, Vancouver, BC -- Heatherdale Resources Ltd. ("Heatherdale" or the "Company") (TSXV: HTR) announces the details of its 2012 program to advance its 100% owned Niblack Copper-Gold-Zinc-Silver Project in southeast Alaska.
2012 Site Program Underway
Drills are currently being mobilized to site to initiate Heatherdale's 2012 drilling program. The 2012 program is designed to further build the resource base and progress the Niblack Project toward the pre-feasibility stage.
Heatherdale has completed extensive and successful underground drilling over the past three years to expand the Lookout and Trio deposits. The 2012 program will be staged from surface locations, and facilitate stepping out from areas that could not be efficiently tested from existing underground workings. It mainly targets the open extensions of the Lookout and Trio deposits, as well as focusing on several other key targets along the property's six miles of prospective felsic stratigraphy, which is known to host at least six massive sulphide zones. Approximately 15,000 feet of drilling is planned for 2012, using two rigs.
"Upon reviewing all of the results from previous underground drill programs it became apparent that a surface drill program was the most effective way to offset mineralized drill hole intercepts and expand the resource," said Heatherdale President & CEO Patrick Smith. "We were not able to access those important drill locations last September due to poor weather conditions, so I am very pleased to finally get out there and drill-test these obvious targets and demonstrate this property's further resource potential."
Substantial Progress Achieved to Date
In addition to expanding known mineral resources at the Niblack property since 2009, Heatherdale has completed important corporate transactions and advanced other technical and engineering studies, which are adding significant value to the project.
An important milestone was achieved in January 2012, when the Company acquired 100% ownership of the Niblack Project. Consolidating the ownership of Niblack in Heatherdale has provided more flexibility for development and financing options, and the ability to move the project forward more aggressively.
Two resource expansions have been announced during Heatherdale's tenure with Niblack, the most recent in November 2011. At a US$50 net smelter return (NSR) cut offi , the current resources comprise 5.6 million tonnes of indicated grading 0.95% copper, 1.75 g/t gold, 1.73% zinc, 29.52 g/t silver and an additional 3.4 million tonnes of inferred grading 0.81% copper, 1.32 g/t gold, 1.29% zinc, 20.10 g/t silver. Within the indicated resource, there is a continuous high grade zone which, at a US$150 NSR cut off, comprises 1.2 million tonnes grading 1.71% copper, 3.21 g/t gold, 3.83% zinc, 62.68 g/t silver. These mineral resource expansions laid the foundation for engineering studies that were initiated in 2011.
Over the past several months, Heatherdale's work has focused on environmental baseline data collection, permitting for various planned activities, community meetings and other stakeholder outreach, engineering studies and planning for the 2012 site program.
On the engineering side, preliminary consideration of options for locating project infrastructure for a potential mine development has been undertaken. Initial results indicate there would be both economic and logistical advantages to direct-shipping material from an underground mine at Niblack to an offsite location for mill processing. Several locations for the processing plant and tailings storage facility have been investigated over the past six months. Two of the three alternatives are industrial sites in southeast Alaska's Ketchikan area, with advantages such as a locally available and skilled workforce, existing transportation infrastructure; and direct access to hydroelectric power.
Proactive Involvement by Communities
"A key strength of the Niblack Project that cannot be over emphasized is the strong interest and involvement that the people of southeast Alaska have demonstrated in the project," Smith said. "We are tremendously pleased and thankful that the communities of southeast Alaska, as well as elected leadership at the local, state and federal levels, have embraced our efforts to develop an environmentally sound and socially responsible project at Niblack, and one that contributes in a meaningful way to the economic health of this region."
A bill to authorize the establishment of a Niblack mining-area road corridor was introduced in the US Congress last June by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) and co-sponsored by Alaska Senator Mark Begich (D). The road initiative is the result of a grassroots effort led by the communities on Prince of Wales Island. The Niblack Project has also received support from elected officials, business and community leaders throughout southeast Alaska as a potential solution to the employment and economic challenges facing the region.
"In June 2012, I attended a three-day event, called the Prince of Wales Island-Wide Mining Symposium II, put on by the Organized Village of Kasaan -- a forum that was focused on opportunities for economic development," Smith said. "From that forum and many other engagements we've had in the region, it is abundantly clear that there is strong local support for responsible resource development in southeast Alaska. We are proud to be working in partnership with local communities and local people to deliver a project that meaningfully addresses their priorities and concerns."
The State of Alaska and Heatherdale have been in preliminary discussions regarding potential plans to assist Heatherdale with financing energy facilities and other infrastructure development through the Alaska Industrial Development of Export Authority (AIDEA), the state's development corporation, and the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). AIDEA typically can assist in the financing of infrastructure projects, but can also make investments through public -- private partnerships. Notable AIDEA projects include the DeLong Mountain Transportation System (road and port facilities at the Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue) and the Skagway Ore Terminal. A spokesman for the authority, Karsten Rodvik, said: "We are working with local communities and mine developers on infrastructure projects throughout Alaska, including port facilities and energy supply. We are interested in the development of the Niblack project and an associated mill in the Ketchikan area because these projects could have a positive economic impact in the region and would create a significant number of highly skilled year round jobs."
"We gratefully acknowledge the support and proactive involvement of local communities, political leaders and government agencies like AIDEA" Smith said. "For its part, Heatherdale is committed to continuing to work with the people of southeast Alaska to find ways to optimize local benefits associated with development at Niblack."
About the Niblack Project
Niblack's location at tidewater on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska presents a number of project benefits, including year-round marine access, a well-trained labour force, a mature supply and service sector, proximity to Asian markets, and the support of community and Alaska Native corporation partners. The project is located 27 miles (44 km) from Ketchikan, a community of 8000 people with important services to support project development, including a deep water port and international airport. The State's burgeoning minerals industry also enjoys a competitive tax regime and stable, predictable permitting and regulatory oversight coordinated by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' 'Large Mine Permitting Team'. For reference, Hecla's Greens Creek, a 2,100-ton per day underground massive sulphide mine, operates 225 miles (370 km) to the northwest of Niblack on Admirality Island.
Heatherdale Resources Ltd. is a Vancouver-based exploration and development company focused on advancing the high-grade mine development opportunity at the Niblack Project. It also holds a 60% interest, with the option to acquire 100% in the mid-stage Delta copper-lead-zinc-gold-silver project, located in east-central Alaska. Heatherdale is associated with the Hunter Dickinson group, which has a track record of successful mineral exploration and development projects around the world.
Mark Rebagliati, P. Eng., a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101, is supervising the exploration and quality assurance and quality control programs on behalf of Heatherdale and has reviewed the content of this release.
For further details on Heatherdale Resources Ltd., please visit the website at www.heatherdaleresources.com or contact Investor Services at (604) 684-6365 or within North America at 1-800-667-2114.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
i Net Smelter Return (NSR) cutoff uses long-term metal forecasts: gold US$1150/oz, silver US$20.00/oz, copper US$2.50/lb, and zinc US$1.00/lb; Recoveries (used for all NSR calculations) to Cu concentrate of 95% Cu, 56% Au and 53% Ag with payable metal factors of 96.5% for Cu, 90.7% for Au, and 89.5% for Ag; to Zn concentrate of 93% Zn, 16% Au, and 24% Ag with payable metal factors of 85% for Zn, 80% for Au and 20% for Ag.
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