VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2012) - First Point Minerals Corp. (TSX VENTURE:FPX) ("First Point" or the "Company") is pleased to announce results for the first four of 27 resource definition holes completed during this year's drilling campaign at the Decar nickel-iron alloy project in central British Columbia. One of the main objectives of the program was to test the lateral and deeper limits of higher grade zones by stepping out in the south-central and northwest areas of the Baptiste deposit, and extending the mineralization to an average vertical distance of 450 metres from surface. Highlights, reported in Davis Tube magnetically-recovered ("DTR") nickel, include:
- 12BAP-36: 563m of 0.156% DTR nickel
- 12BAP-40: 550m of 0.153% DTR nickel
- 12BAP-41: 534m of 0.140% DTR nickel
The 2012 results from the first two holes indicate an expanding higher-grade zone in the south-central area of the deposit, where assays from an additional nine 2012 holes remain pending. These initial 2012 nickel values compare favourably to the average DTR grade of 0.113% in the inaugural 1.2-billion-tonne inferred resource previously reported for Decar, using a 0.06% cut-off (as disclosed in First Point's April 16, 2012 news release).
During the 2012 drill program at Decar, three drill rigs were used to test the Baptiste zone with 27 core holes totalling 15,205 metres. All but one of the holes had a targeted down-hole length of 600 metres, which is double the depth of all previous drilling with the exception of a single deep hole drilled in 2011 that extended the nickel-iron alloy mineralization to at least 430 metres vertically. Assay results for the remaining 23 holes of the 2012 program are pending. A drill hole location map can be viewed at www.firstpointminerals.com.
Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc., an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF)(PARIS:CLF) ("Cliffs"), is managing the exploration and development at Decar, which is currently held 51% by Cliffs and 49% by First Point. Cliffs can earn an additional 9% interest in Decar by completing a NI 43-101compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") no later than March 12, 2013. Tetra Tech WEI Inc. is managing the Decar PEA. Drill results from this year's campaign will be used to update the mineral resource estimate, which will be incorporated into the PEA.
Table 1: 2012 Baptiste Drill Hole Results
The 2012 results, presented in the table above (Table 1), are for the first four holes in the Baptiste zone, including two step-out holes (12BAP-36 and 12BAP-40) in the south-central area and two holes (12BAP-38 and 12BAP-41) in the northwest portion.
Drill holes 36 and 40 have extended the deposit's south-central boundary to the south. Both holes were oriented north at minus 50 degrees. Hole 36, collared 150 metres from the resource model's edge, initially drilled through 31.1 metres of unconsolidated overburden, followed by 59 metres of 0.122% DTR nickel near the top of the hole, before penetrating an un-mineralized 5.7-metre dyke and cutting an impressive 504.3 metres averaging 0.160% DTR nickel to the bottom of the hole.
Hole 40 was positioned 350 metres east of hole 36 and 220 metres south from the resource boundary. Below 33 metres of overburden, the hole encountered 53.8 metres of 0.127% DTR nickel, a 7.9-metre wide dyke, which was followed closely by 496.1 metres grading 0.156% DTR nickel extending to the end of the hole.
Drill holes 38 and 41 were collared in the northwest area of the deposit and oriented at minus 50 degrees northeast and southwest, respectively. Hole 41, collared between 2011 drill holes 20 and 32, penetrated 10 metres of overburden, then intersected 286.7 metres averaging 0.136% DTR nickel, before encountering a 6-metre wide dyke, followed by a 126.8-metre section of 0.135% DTR nickel, a second 1.7-metre dyke and 120.1 metres of 0.157% DTR nickel to a depth of 551 metres down-hole. Hole 41 appears to define the steeply-dipping, southwest edge of the Baptiste mineralization, which is interpreted to dip about 82 degrees northeast based on previous 2011 drill results.
Below 6 metres of overburden, hole 38 intersected 108 metres of 0.114% DTR nickel, defining the northern edge of the mineralization. Hole 38 encountered pockets of resource-grade material at depth, including 21.7 metres of 0.111% DTR nickel at 478 metres down-hole, and 19 metres of 0.116% DTR nickel at 506 metres depth. It is likely that this deeper material is at too great a depth to be considered mineable using open pit methods.
In addition to the resource definition drilling, an 8-hole hydrological drilling program totalling 1,473 metres was completed, allowing water quality sampling and flow testing of the hydrological monitoring wells to be done. A geotechnical program was partially completed in 2012 including the geotechnical logging of four 2012 resource definition holes and four hydrological holes, as well as point load testing and laboratory testing of selected drill core samples.
Caracle Creek International Consulting Inc. ("Caracle Creek") supervised and managed the 2012 drilling programs at Decar on behalf of Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc.
Sampling and Analytical Method
The 2012 drill NQ core was sawn in half and sampled every four metres down-hole unless there was a change in rock type. Larger diameter HQ core was quartered for the sampling in the same fashion. Davis Tube magnetically-recovered ("DTR") 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. Cliffs employs large scale magnetic separation methods in several of its operating iron ore mines, and the Davis Tube method is 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. Final recoveries of nickel using both magnetic and gravity separation processes are subject to confirmation in the PEA currently underway.
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. Davis Tube analyses are traditionally time intensive.
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.
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 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.