March 5, 2012 Vancouver, B.C. -- Northcliff Resources Ltd. ("Northcliff" or the "Company") (TSX:NCF) announces an update on its 2012 work program at the Sisson Tungsten-Molybdenum Project in New Brunswick, Canada, as well as a report on the progress of the Feasibility Study for proposed open-pit, high-volume tungsten and molybdenum production.
“Following a productive field season in 2011 and a robust start to the 2012 year for the Company and the tungsten market, I’m pleased to confirm that the Sisson Project Feasibility Study is advancing on schedule, with an anticipated completion date in Q3 2012,” said Northcliff President & CEO Chris Zahovskis. “Our engineering teams are making excellent progress on feasibility-level designs for the project, while parallel environmental studies are moving forward equally well. Our intent is to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Sisson Project in Q3 2012 and begin project permitting also around the same time”.
Northcliff recently facilitated public review of the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for its EIA report through open houses in local communities, and anticipates receiving final TOR in March. The Sisson Project EIA report will be submitted to both federal and provincial government agencies to enable an efficient and harmonized federal/provincial environmental assessment and project approval process.
In addition to its engineering, environmental and technical study programs, Northcliff is advancing consultation and engagement activities with project stakeholders and New Brunswick First Nations. “As a company, we recognize the importance of local involvement in our projects, and are investing significant time and effort to ensure that we develop positive, respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with local communities, stakeholder groups, First Nations communities and organizations,” Zahovskis said. “We’re pleased with the relationships and dialogues established to date, and are optimistic that we can advance the Sisson Project in a manner that optimizes benefits for nearby communities and all the people of New Brunswick, while respecting local interests and concerns.”
Beginning in Q2 of this year, Northcliff management, on behalf of the Sisson Project joint venture, will commence discussions with potential financing partners – including international banking institutions, smelter groups and others – to outline and advance a project financing strategy.
“We’re encouraged by recent announcements of project finance agreements and strategic partnerships on preferable terms for comparable tungsten mineral projects at the feasibility stage of development,” said Northcliff Chief Financial Officer Bryce Hamming. “We expect the market appetite for larger capital investments in North American and European tungsten properties to continue, given the strong price outlook for tungsten and ongoing tungsten export restrictions from China, the world’s largest producer. Given its advanced stage of development, its anticipated globally significant output of 6-8% of current world tungsten demand, and its potential for a long mine life, we are confident that Sisson will emerge as a high quality tungsten asset that captures the interest of the international investment community.”
Infrastructure availability is an important competitive advantage for the Sisson Project. The deposit is readily accessed by road and railway from all parts of New Brunswick, including deep sea ports to the north (Belledune) and south (Saint John). The New Brunswick Power Transmission Corporation recently completed a review of potential power sources for the proposed mine, and concluded that power could be supplied via a 42 km high voltage transmission line built by New Brunswick Power. Discussions concerning development of power infrastructure are progressing well, and the development is expected to match Northcliff’s timeline for the Sisson Project with construction anticipated to begin in the latter part of 2013.
“We’ve always maintained that the Canadian province of New Brunswick represents a preferred jurisdiction for modern mine development,” Zahovskis said. “It possesses a rich mining history and culture that includes the Bathurst mining camp to the north and the Sussex potash mine to the south, as well as a skilled and available workforce, unparalleled infrastructure availability and a mature and stable regulatory environment.”
Zahovskis noted a recent report published by the Fraser Institute that identifies New Brunswick as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mineral exploration and development...