VANCOUVER, May 23, 2012 /CNW/ - Search Minerals Inc. ("Search" or the "Company") (TSXV: SMY), is pleased to announce that the Company and PT ANTAM (Persero)
Tbk("ANTAM") (ASX:ATM; IDX:ANTM) have signed a Heads of Agreement
("HOA") to cooperate in developing a Starved Acid Leach Technology
("SALT") plant to apply the Company's SALT technology in processing low
grade saprolite nickel ore from ANTAM's mining permits in one or more
of Halmahera, Pomalaa or other mining projects located within
Indonesia. Subject to satisfactory results of the parties respective
due diligence and evaluation, Search will design, construct and operate
the plant in Indonesia and ANTAM will commit to a long term ore supply
capable of supporting a 30 year mine plan for each Indonesian project
that ANTAM and the Company mutually agree on for the implementation of
SALT, once proven. Subject to studies, the initial supply is
anticipated to be approximately 2 million dry tonnes of ore per year.
Nickel produced from the plant would be available to ANTAM at market
pricing under an off take agreement. If ANTAM's refineries can
feasibly extract any produced cobalt from the plant then the parties
would transact for such cobalt based on market pricing and
alternatively Search would be unencumbered in how it disposes of any
such cobalt product in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations.
Search has already received approximately 160 kilograms of material from
ANTAM's Pomalaa mine to begin testing with Dr. Dreisinger and his team
at the University of British Columbia. Laboratory testing will proceed
while the parties complete pertinent due diligence, determine a
favorable transaction structure and negotiate definitive transaction
agreements. Subject to satisfactory results of the parties' respective
due diligence, the parties intend to execute definitive agreements
within six months.
The Indonesian plant will be the second plant to test the Company's SALT
process. Through its participation with Votorantim Group in Brazil (see
News Release - August 9, 2011), Search has advanced the development of
the SALT process via the Votorantim pilot plant in Rio de Janeiro with
respect to leaching of Caron plant tailings and laterite (saprolite)
Jim Clucas, President of Search, states "We are very excited to be
working with two world class mining companies looking to achieve
efficiencies with their existing resources."
The scope of cooperation in the HOA includes the following:
Feed to the plant will consist of saprolite from ANTAM's Indonesian
project(s) with nickel cut-off grades ranging from:
upper cut-off: immediately below the cut off used for defining ore for
ANTAM's own production of ferronickel; to
lower cut-off: to be determined based on the technical and economic
factors and mutual agreement by ANTAM and Search.
Search will be responsible for all activities and bear all costs and
expenses related to laboratory test work, pilot plant test work,
pre-feasibility, feasibility and optimization studies with respect to
the SALT process. ANTAM will be welcome to participate in the
technology development activities (lab tests, discussions, etc).
Search will also be responsible for the design of the plant and
management of the development, construction and operation of the SALT
plant. Search may, at its costs and with ANTAM's consent, employ ANTAM
personnel at the SALT plant.
ANTAM will be responsible for all activities and costs required to
produce a JORC resource capable of supporting a 30 year mine plan.
Where available and practical, ANTAM will provide Search, at Search's
cost (based on arms-length market pricing, less any discount negotiated
between ANTAM and Search), with access to and use of existing
infrastructure including port site, roads, water, tailings disposal and
space for plant and ancillary facilities.
The SALT plant will be owned and operated by Search. ANTAM will,
however, have the right and option to acquire up to a 30% (or a
mutually agreed higher) interest in the plant, which option will be
valid and subject to exercise for a period of 6 months after delivery
by Search of the definitive and bankable feasibility study for the
project. The exercise price of the option will be equal to the product
obtained by multiplying the percentage interest ANTAM elects to acquire
by the aggregate estimated cost of construction and commissioning of
the plant as set forth in the feasibility study. If ANTAM elects not to
exercise the option, Search will be free to continue with the plant on
its own, independent of ANTAM.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider
(as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange)
accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
About Search Minerals
Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV:SMY) is a TSX Venture Exchange listed
company, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. Search is the discoverer of
the Port Hope Simpson REE District, a highly prospective light and
heavy REE belt located in southeast Labrador where the company controls
a dominant land position in a belt 135km long and up to 12km wide. In
addition, Search has a number of other mineral prospects in its
portfolio located in Newfoundland and Labrador, including a number of
claims in the Strange Lake Complex, where Quest Rare Minerals has an
earn-in agreement with the Company; and at the Red Wine Complex, where
Great Western Minerals Group has a Joint Venture with the Company.
Furthermore, Search Minerals is the owner of patents relating to the
Starved Acid Leaching Technology (SALT), a process with the potential
to economically recover nickel and cobalt from known deposits currently
considered sub economic.
Search Minerals is led by a management team and Board of Directors with
a proven track record in the mining industry. The Company has
experienced geological and metallurgical teams led by Dr. Randy Miller
and Dr. David Dreisinger respectively.
All material information on the Company may be found on its website at www.searchminerals.ca and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
About PT ANTAM (Persero) Tbk
ANTAM (ASX:ATM; IDX:ANTM), is a vertically integrated, export-oriented,
diversified mining and metals company. With operations spread
throughout the mineral-rich Indonesian archipelago, ANTAM undertakes
all activities from exploration, excavation, processing through to
marketing of nickel ore, ferronickel, gold, silver and bauxite.
This news release contains forward-looking statements that are not
historical facts, including future plans and objectives of the Company.
Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other
factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects, and
opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by
such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual
results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements
include unsatisfactory results of due diligence reviews conducted by
either Search or ANTAM, failure to negotiate definitive agreements on
terms satisfactory to both parties, inability of one or both parties to
meet their respective obligations under the agreements and other risks
set out in Search's public documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although Search believes that the assumptions and factors used in
preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance
should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the
date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such
events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Except where
required by law, Search disclaims any intention or obligation to update
or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise.