The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Press release from Marketwire

Revett Provides Update on Rock Creek Permitting and Development Timeline

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Revett Provides Update on Rock Creek Permitting and Development Timeline09:01 EST Wednesday, November 30, 2011SPOKANE VALLEY, WASHINGTON--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2011) - Revett Minerals Inc. (NYSE Amex:RVM) (TSX:RVM) is pleased to provide a detailed update regarding the November 16th, 2011 opinion issued by United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit. This opinion upheld the May 2010 decision from the U.S. Federal District Court of Montana, dismissing Endangered Species Act (ESA) challenges to the Company's proposed Rock Creek silver and copper mine in northwest Montana. John Shanahan, President & CEO stated "We are pleased and greatly encouraged that the Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the Federal District Court's ruling. We now look forward to continuing our work with the agencies and advancing the project through its next steps with the completion of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and re-issuing the Record of Decision, hopefully by end of 2012." Legal Challenges and Next Steps The 2003 Record of Decision (RoD), issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), along with the Biological Opinion, issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), have been challenged by various Non Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in State and Federal courts on a number of occasions. In general, these challenges have been successfully defended by the federal agencies through the Department of Justice and by Revett as an intervener/co-defendant.Essentially, there were two main legal challenges. One against the Record of Decision, which looks at all impacts in accord with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and one against the Biological Opinion, which addresses potential impacts to species listed as threatened or endangered. Because of overlapping issues in the two legal challenges, the challenges were subsequently combined by the District Court of Montana in 2008.In May 2010, the District Court of Montana dismissed the plaintiffs' challenges relating to the Endangered Species Act along with challenges to the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, but set aside and remanded the 2003 RoD to the USFS for further action with regard to NEPA procedural matters. The District Court identified several items requiring further clarification in the 2001 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and therefore required the issuance of a SEIS under the NEPA. The items requiring further clarification included location of facilities near Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas, sediment mitigation measures during Phase I development, and incorporating several Supplemental Informational Reports into the administrative record. After the District Court's ruling in May 2010, the NGO's subsequently appealed the District Court's ruling related to the ESA challenges to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with the Ninth Circuit then dismissing the Appeal on November 16, 2011. The eight page decision is available at www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/11/16/10-35596.pdf.The Company is currently working with the USFS to complete a SEIS which will incorporate latest available project information and address administrative issues raised in the District Court's May 2010 ruling. We anticipate release of the SEIS by mid 2012 and hope to receive a revised RoD in late 2012. While the Company believes that it cannot rule out further litigation once the revised RoD has been issued, it does believe that legal action is limited now that major issues such as the Endangered Species Act have been conclusively addressed. Upon the issuance of a revised RoD, along with the issuance of an individual MPDES storm water discharge permit for construction activities from the Montana DEQ, the company is planning for development of the Phase I evaluation adit in mid 2013. Rock Creek Background The Rock Creek project is located in northwestern Montana and is North America's largest known undeveloped silver deposit. Located approximately 16 air miles southeast from Revett's Troy Mine, it contains an inferred and historic resource of 300 million ounces of silver (229M. inferred/79M oz. historic) and 2.5 billion pounds of copper (2B lb. inferred/.5B lb. historic). The original exploration program (1979-1983) consisted of 121 drill holes and over 120,000 feet of core. Revett acquired the project from Kennecott and Asarco in 1999 and completed the necessary permitting steps. A Record of Decision (RoD) was issued jointly by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Montana DEQ in 2003. The RoD is based upon the 2001 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the 2003 Biological Opinion (BiOp) issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Mitigation Requirements The cornerstone of the Company's commitment to protection of wildlife and the environment are the various mitigation programs. With regard to grizzly bears, the Company is required to provide 2,450 acres of suitable mitigation land and fund the positions of two wildlife biologists and a law enforcement officer working on the staff of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department for the life of the project. Also included in the grizzly bear mitigation plan is funding for fencing of garbage transfer sites, purchase of bear resistant garbage containers for residents in bear territory and monitoring of bears.The company has already acquired significant grizzly bear habitat acreage and has preliminary approval for 928 acres towards the total 2,450 acres of required mitigation lands. Specifically, 153 acres are required prior to the commencement of the Phase I evaluation program with 100 acres to be located within the north-south grizzly bear corridor. In addition, the company owns and maintains an additional 1,206 acres of fee land at the Troy Mine and 875 acres at Rock Creek.Beginning in February 2007, the company funded a wildlife biologist position and by year end 2011 will have contributed US$418,000 in funding to this important position for reduction of grizzly bear mortality. The biologist has provided an important educational role and has helped with augmentation and monitoring of the Cabinet Mountain grizzly bear population. With regard to bull trout, the Company has committed to an extensive sediment mitigation plan for Rock Creek that will start from day one with any construction activities. Development Timeline The Company continues to operate and extend the mine life at the nearby Troy Mine. The Troy Mine, which will produce approximately 1.3 million ounces of silver and 11 million pounds of copper in 2011, provides operating cash flow, important environmental knowledge base, and a pool of 195 experienced miners and mining infrastructure that can be utilized for development and operation at Rock Creek. The mining and ore processing operations at Rock Creek are expected to be identical to our current operations at Troy. Rock Creek is expected to employ approximately 300 workers for about 25 years once in full production.Phase I development at Rock Creek consists of an underground evaluation program of approximately 3,000 feet of adit decline and a 4,000 foot drift in the mineralized horizon. The adit is designed to provide access for additional underground delineation drilling and collection of critical data to verify hydrologic and geotechnical assumptions. This work is expected to take approximately two years and cost around US$20 million (including reclamation bonding), culminating in a technical and economic feasibility study. To date, an office and core storage building have been constructed on site approximately one mile off Montana State Highway 200. Other facilities required in Phase I will include a water treatment plant and shop/warehouse facilities along with other facilities at the portal site.Phase II development, which the Company will pursue following a positive feasibility study, would be the construction of the mine and a 10,000 ton per day mill using conventional flotation. Completion of phase two is estimated to take approximately three years..It is anticipated, in the absence of any further legal challenges following a Revised Record of Decision in late 2012, that the Company will commence Phase I development in late spring 2013 and be in position to commence Phase II construction in 2015. It is further expected, based on this timeline, that commercial production of concentrates will commence in late 2018. Resources Rock Creek ResourcesGradesContained MetalsLocation / Classification(1)Tons (Mst)(2,3)Silver (opt)Copper (%)Silver (Moz)Copper (Mlbs)Chicago781.450.65%1131025St. Paul482.100.92%101883Moran101.500.57%15114Total Inferred1371.670.72%2292,022Historic Resource Adjacent Properties(3)481.660.54%795181. Mineral Resources have been categorized in accordance with the classifications defined by the CIMM.2. The estimated mineral resources are based upon a technical report (the " Rock Creek Report") dated May 7, 2004, amended as of January 27, 2005, prepared by SRK Consulting, Toronto in accordance with NI 43-101. They are stated using a cut-off grade of US$ 10.00 net smelter return per ton. 3. Resources listed for the Adjacent Properties are Historic Resources as defined by the CIMM and have not been audited by a Qualified Person. This historical mineral resource estimate, which was prepared before the adoption of National Instrument 43-101 and uses categories other than the ones set out in section 1.2 of NI 43-101, is considered relevant. A Qualified Person has not, however, done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources and accordingly, Revett does not treat the historical estimate as current mineral resources. Larry Erickson, an employee of Revett and a Qualified Person ("QP"), has reviewed the technical disclosure contained in this news release.An independent technical study completed by SRK Consulting was completed in November 2005. This report and additional information on the Rock Creek project can be viewed on the Company's web site at www.revettminerals.com.About RevettRevett Minerals, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates the currently producing Troy Mine in Lincoln County, Montana and development-stage Rock Creek Project located in Sanders County, Montana, USA. The proven reserves at the Troy Mine and significant resources at the Rock Creek project form the basis of Revett's plan to become a premier mid-tier base and precious metals producer. Revett plans on expanding production through exploration in and around its current properties, as well as through targeted business combinations of advanced stage projects.John Shanahan, President & CEO Except for the statements of historical fact contained herein, the information presented in this press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Generally, these forward looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "expects", or "does not expect", "is expected", "is not expected", "budget", "plans", "schedule", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", "or does not anticipate" or "believes" or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include but are not limited to statements with respect to, possible timing for the issuance of a Final SEIS and new Record of Decision and possible development timeline. Actual results and developments could be affected by development risks and production risks, additional legal challenges and appeals, additional permitting requirements, metal prices, the ability of the Company to raise the necessary financing as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in the Form 10-K filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and with the SEC on EDGAR. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Revett Minerals does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are incorporated by reference herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Monique HayesRevett Minerals Inc.Director of Corporate & Investor Communications(509) 921-2294www.revettminerals.com