Baja Mining Corp. ("Baja" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE: BAJ) (OTCQB: BAJFF) is pleased to provide an update on the Cinto Colorado Tailings Project and to report on management's latest visit to the Boleo Project on December 17, 2015.
Cinto Colorado Tailings Project
Further to its news release dated July 2, 2015, the Company is pleased to report that initial metallurgical test work on samples taken from the Cinto Colorado leach/precipitation/flotation (LPF) tailings located in Santa Rosalia, adjacent to the Boleo mine site, have yielded positive results. The Company engaged Met-Solve Laboratories ("Met-Solve") in Langley, BC to undertake and coordinate the testing, which was supervised by Dr. Dreisinger, with Dr. Thomas Glück, the former Director of Process Technology at Baja and a co-author of the 2010 Boleo Technical Report, as project manager.
Test work confirmed that the Cinto tailings are suitable for leaching. Recoveries from bench scale testing approached 70% with modest acid consumption. Ion exchange (IX) testing using a copper selective, chelating resin, produced concentrated copper solutions potentially suitable for direct addition to the Boleo plant copper recovery process or, alternatively, for direct electrolysis to copper metal. One option for direct electrolysis would be to use Electrometal's EMEW technology.
Baja has recently presented its concepts for the development of the Cinto tailings to MMB and KORES, including simply trucking the tailings on an existing haul road to be fed into the Boleo plant, or producing and supplying an enriched copper pregnant liquor solution (PLS), pumped a distance of approximately 2 km from the Cinto plant to the Boleo plant. The Company has agreed with KORES that it will advance these concepts for further review with KORES and MMB. A key aspect of its discussions with KORES will be to determine what level of cooperation in terms of access to infrastructure and process consumables that Baja and Cinto may be able to secure from MMB.
"We are very encouraged with the results from our initial metallurgical testing on the Cinto tailings," commented Tom Ogryzlo, Interim CEO. "We believe that the successful enrichment results using the ion exchange process demonstrate the attractive potential for processing the tailings either by the provision of an enriched PLS solution into the Boleo processing plant, or as an independent processing operation. We plan to continue negotiations with our Korean partners to reach agreement on how we can work together to process the Cinto tailings for the benefit of both parties and the community of Santa Rosalia."
Cinto Colorado and Baja management previously met with the newly-elected President of the Municipio of Mulege to introduce plans for processing the Cinto tailings. Most recently, at a meeting with Cinto Colorado on December 18, 2015, the President pledged to present the Cinto tailings project to the "Cabilido", the newly-elected counsel of the Municipio, to obtain its formal support for the project. Cinto Colorado and the Company expect to attend that meeting, which is currently scheduled for later this month. With the anticipated support from the Municipio, the Company intends to further advance its pre-feasibility/concept study and continue its metallurgical testing for producing an enriched PLS copper solution to Boleo, as well as the possibility of producing copper independently using an EMEW plant.
An extension to the Cinto Colorado option agreement through December 31, 2016, has been agreed by the parties.
Tom Ogryzlo, Baja Interim CEO, and Nigel Kirkwood, Baja CFO, attended the Minera y Metalúrgica del Boleo, S.A. P.I. de C.V. ("MMB") Board meeting at Boleo on December 17, 2015. At the meeting, the Directors, including representatives of KORES and the Korean Consortium, were presented with an update on operations at Boleo. MMB reported that copper production for 2015 is forecast at 7,319 tonnes, in line with its latest guidance (see Baja news release dated November 10, 2015). A production and operating budget for 2016 was presented to the Board but remains under discussion. MMB will require additional funding through 2016. Commissioning of the cobalt and zinc sulphate circuits is underway, and commercial production is targeted for February 2016. A Life of Mine plan (MMB27) was also presented by MMB management to the Board, based on underground production using shortwall mining methods to achieve 3,000 tonnes per day by the end of 2016.
The technical content of this news release has been prepared by Baja management and approved by 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 one of the recognized experts in the world in the area 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 visit of Baja management on December 15, 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.
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.