VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2012) - First Point Minerals Corp. (TSX VENTURE:FPX) ("First Point" or the "Company") is pleased to report on the 2012 drilling progress at the Decar nickel alloy project in central British Columbia. The Decar project is in the Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") phase, and is managed and operated by Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc., an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF)(PARIS:CLF) ("Cliffs").
With three drill rigs in operation at Decar since the beginning of July, 19 holes totalling 13, 212 metres of core drilling have been completed to the end of August. The objective of the 2012 drill program is to test the limits of higher grade zones by stepping out in the south-central and northwest areas of the Baptiste deposit, and to better define the overall boundaries of the mineralized body. All of the step-out holes are being drilled to a targeted down-hole depth of 600 metres. To date, 2,282 samples have been shipped in seven batches to Activation Laboratories in Ancaster, Ontario, for analysis.
Based on visual assessments, and pending assay results, the 2012 drilling to date indicates expansion of the northwest boundary by 400 metres, extension of the south-central area by an additional 500 metres to the south and deepening of the zone of mineralization in all of the new holes to 600 metres down-hole, equivalent to roughly 460 metres vertically.
As reported in First Point's April 16, 2012 news release, the Baptiste zone at Decar is estimated to contain an inferred 1.3 billion tonnes of Davis Tube ("DT") magnetically-recoverable nickel grading 0.113%, equivalent to almost 3 billion pounds nickel based on a 0.06% cut-off grade. The geological model is 2.3 kilometres long, 350 to 600 metres wide and extends up to 350 metres vertically.
In addition to the resource definition drilling, a geotechnical program and a 10-hole hydrological drilling program totalling 1,550 metres are currently underway. The geotechnical program, recommended by Tetra Tech WEI Inc., which is preparing the NI 43-101 compliant PEA of the Decar project, will include the geotechnical logging of four 2012 resource definition holes, point load testing and laboratory testing of selected drill core samples.
Decar is a greenfield discovery of nickel mineralization in the form of a naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy called awaruite. It represents a promising target for bulk-tonnage, open-pit mining. This deposit's negligible content of sulphides means little or no capacity to generate acid mine drainage during exploitation. Initial metallurgical test work demonstrates the nickel-iron alloy is recoverable using conventional two-stage grinding and magnetic separation to produce a ferronickel concentrate grading 2.6% nickel, 52% iron as magnetite and 2.2% chromite. Using additional gravity separation, high-grade concentrates containing up to 15% nickel are producible.
During the 2011 exploration program at Decar, a 250-tonne bulk sample of mineralized host rock was collected from the surface of the Baptiste deposit. A 10-tonne portion of this bulk sample is being used for further metallurgical test work. The objective of the proposed metallurgical program is to: generate additional high-grade concentrate for downstream testing; refine nickel recovery estimates; generate samples for environmental and materials handling test work; and obtain closed-loop grinding power estimates and cyclone performance estimates for the fine grinding stage of processing.
Cliffs is advancing the Decar nickel project under an option/ joint venture agreement with First Point that was signed in November 2009. Under the original agreement, Cliffs could earn an initial 51% interest in Decar by spending US$4.5 million over a period of four years. In September 2011, Cliffs was deemed to have earned a 51% stake, more than two years ahead of schedule. Cliffs has the right to increase its ownership (i) to 60% by completing a NI 43-101 compliant PEA by March 2013, (ii) to 65% by completing a NI 43-101 prefeasibility 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.
Representative half-core samples were collected every four metres down each hole as part of the 2012 drill program, with the exception of HQ-size core where the sample weight would be too high. For HQ core, quarter-core samples were collected. Drill core samples were shipped in batches to Activation Laboratories 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 X-Ray Fluorescence ("XRF") that generates high quality multi-element data, including nickel analysis. The Davis Tube recoverable 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 are inserted in the batches to provide quality control.
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.
About First Point
First Point Minerals Corp. is a Canadian base and precious metal exploration company operating worldwide. For more information, please view the Company's website at www.firstpointminerals.com.
On behalf of First Point Minerals Corp.
Jim Gilbert, President and CEO
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.Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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