VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – November 10, 2015) – Baja Mining Corp. ("Baja" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE: BAJ) (OTCQB: BAJFF) is pleased to report that its Executive Management (Tom Ogryzlo – Interim CEO, Nigel Kirkwood – CFO and David Dreisinger – VP Metallurgy ) visited the Boleo Project on October 30 and 31, 2015, and met with operations management of Minera y Metalúrgica del Boleo, S.A. P.I. de C.V. ("MMB") to discuss progress at Boleo, including the process plant production ramp-up and both the underground and open pit mining.
Copper shipment, Boleo production ramp-up
Baja has been advised by MMB that in late October 2015, Boleo shipped a further 2,750 tonnes of copper cathode (1,919 tonnes shipped on July 12, 2015, see Baja news release dated July 20, 2015) and that MMB plant personnel have been working to address process and equipment issues, which have become apparent during the ramp-up of copper production. The zinc-cobalt circuit is being commissioned and Baja management was informed that zinc sulphate production is now expected to commence in December 2015 and cobalt metal production in January 2016. MMB management reported that the ramp-up and operation of the Boleo plant was significantly disrupted by the access restrictions imposed by the former President of the Municipio of Mulegé at the Boleo site in September 2015. The newly elected President removed these restrictions as one of her first acts after taking office.
MMB management is working to increase copper extraction rates to design levels. The sulphur dioxide (SO2) circuit is being prepared for start-up and is scheduled to come online on November 11, 2015, which is expected to improve copper recovery. Plant management is also investigating other parameters such as operating temperature and acid dosage rates affecting copper recovery in order to make process adjustments in the leaching circuit. These adjustments are also intended to reduce high levels of gypsum present in the circuit. It may take several months to make these adjustments, particularly if plant design modifications are required.
The materials handling circuit is functioning satisfactorily and can achieve design capacity throughput rates. However, certain modifications are being introduced to address material sizing to improve the performance of the scrubber and crusher, which at times have been hampered by excessive clay in the plant feed. A fourth tailings pump has just been installed to provide added flexibility and back-up. Several minor but disruptive equipment failures have occurred, which plant management have rectified, including the replacement of a number of blades on leach tank agitators.
The plant continues to be fed from low-grade stockpiles while the operation is being ramped up. Baja management was advised that expected total copper production for 2015 will be approximately 7,500 tonnes, as compared to 20,000 tonnes previously targeted (see Baja news release dated April 30, 2015).
Underground and surface mining
New underground mining methods continue to be evaluated. MMB mining crews are advancing access tunnels in three mines at the manto level, and Mexican contract miners are carrying out trials using short-wall mining techniques. Underground mining currently employs approximately 140 miners on three production shifts. MMB mine management advised Baja that underground mining conditions remain constrained by very difficult ground conditions, availability of experienced personnel and equipment. Underground production is averaging approximately 450 tonnes per day. This is programmed to increase to 1,000 tonnes per day before year end with the delivery of additional equipment expected this month.
Surface mining continues to provide the bulk of the material delivered to stockpiles. Year to date through September 2015, surface mining has added approximately 260,000 tonnes to stockpiles with an average grade of 1.43%. Mining strip ratios are currently between 7:1 and 8:1, with an average haul distance of approximately 6 kms. Both surface and underground mining was halted by the site access restrictions imposed by the Municipio.
MMB mine management are preparing a long-term mine plan that is expected to be finalized before year end.
Baja management will be attending the next MMB Board meeting scheduled to take place at site in December.
MMB Shareholders' Agreement
Baja management met with KORES in Vancouver in late October to continue discussions on the revised MMB shareholders' agreement (the "Shareholders' Agreement"). Baja believes that meaningful progress has been made on the key issues, including dilution, the manganese production decision and related payments (see Baja news release dated April 2, 2014), as well as the management services agreement ("MSA") margin amount owing to Baja pursuant to the MSA prior to its termination effective in February 2013. The parties are working to finalize the Shareholders' Agreement and related matters before the end of the year.
The technical content of this news release has been prepared by Baja management and approved by Baja's VP Metallurgy, Dr. David Dreisinger, Ph.D., P.Eng., F.C.I.M., F.C.A.E, who is a Qualified Person as defined in NI 43-101. Dr. Dreisinger holds the position of Professor and Industrial Research Chair in Hydrometallurgy at the University of British Columbia, where he has been a professor since 1988. He has published over 250 papers and has been involved as a process consultant in industrial research programs with metallurgical companies. He has participated in 19 U.S. patents for work in areas such as pressure leaching, ion exchange removal of impurities from process solutions, use of thiosulfate as an
alternative to cyanide in gold leaching, and leach-electrolysis treatment of copper matte. Dr. Dreisinger also co-invented the Mt. Gordon Copper Process for copper recovery from sulfide ores and the Sepon Copper Process for copper recovery from sulfidic-clayey ores. He has been actively involved in the development of the metallurgical flow sheet for Boleo, and is a world recognized expert in the field of hydrometallurgy.
The technical information in respect of the Boleo operations disclosed herein has been provided or disclosed to Baja by MMB management during the site visit of Baja management on October 30 and 31, 2015. Baja is a minority 10% shareholder in MMB, a company indirectly controlled by KORES, a Korean state-owned company. Therefore, Baja does not have access to information relating to the operations of MMB customary for a controlling shareholder or project operator, and it is dependent upon information provided by MMB and/or KORES either routinely to shareholders, or at specific request. Accordingly, Dr. Dreisinger has been unable to verify the technical disclosures in the news release relating to current and prospective Boleo process plant production tonnages and operational performance, stockpiles and mining and, therefore cannot provide definitive assurance that the technical information disclosed is correct.
For further information, please contact Baja's Interim CEO Tom Ogryzlo at 604?685?2323 or via email at [email protected]
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS: This press release contains forward-looking statements or forward-looking information (forward-looking statements). These statements can be identified by expressions of belief, expectation or intention, as well as those statements that are not historical fact. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on our current estimates, expectations and projections, which the Company believes are reasonable as of the current date. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements and as a result undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. Additional risks and uncertainties can be found in the Company's reporting documents filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com), including its Management Discussion and Analysis. Forward-looking statements are given only as at the date of this press release and the Company disclaims any obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
For further information, please contact:
Baja's Interim CEO