International Nickel Ventures acquires FNX Mining’s non-Sudbury Ontario nickel properties
TORONTO, ON – November 12, 2007 – FNX Mining Company Inc. (“FNX”-TSX) and International Nickel Ventures Corporation (“INV”-TSX) announced today that they have entered into a binding agreement under which INV will purchase 100% ownership in three non-Sudbury, northern Ontario mineral properties from FNX’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Platinum Corp., in exchange for INV issuing 2.9 million common shares to FNX.
Two of the properties, Lansdowne House and Fishtrap, are located in the James Bay Lowlands area and contain mafic-ultramafic igneous complexes emplaced along major structures which appear to mark the same geological terrane boundary that hosts the recently discovered McFaulds Lake high-grade, nickel-copper-precious metal deposit.
The large Lansdowne House property (14,880 hectares) was first identified as having nickel-precious metal potential by the former Inco Limited, now CVRD Inco (“Inco”) when it conducted extensive exploration on the property in the mid 1970’s. Historic diamond drilling on the property intersected numerous significant nickel-copper-precious metal values, ranging from weakly anomalous to 21.5 metres grading 0.79% copper and 0.64% nickel, including 1.0% copper and 0.83% nickel over 14.9 metres (see details below). Aurora Platinum Corp. (“Aurora”) acquired and explored the property for precious metals in the early 2000’s and drill-intersected anomalous precious metal values, including 1.04 g/t precious metals (platinum+ palladium + gold = “TPM”) over 25.5 metres, including 3.1 g/t TPM over 1.5 metres, and 0.32 g/t TPM over 220.6 metres (see below details). In 2006, FNX carried out a modern airborne geophysical survey over the property and identified numerous untested conductors, but has not carried out any ground surveys or drilling to date.
The third property, Montcalm, is contiguous to Xstrata Nickel’s producing Montcalm nickel-copper mine northwest of Timmins and covers four kilometres of the interpreted strike extension of the Montcalm deposit’s host rocks, but to date this high-priority target has received little exploration and only two known historic boreholes within this trend.
Upon closing, INV will enter into a Technical Assistance Agreement with FNX under which FNX will agree to provide technical assistance to INV, if requested, with respect to mineral exploration programs on the acquired properties at market rates.
Robert Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer of INV stated, “INV is very pleased to be able to acquire such high-potential nickel sulphide-precious metal properties in Canada. In 2007, the Company expanded its exploration efforts from exclusively nickel laterites in Brazil to include nickel sulphides in Brazil. This strategic move has already paid off with the identification and acquisition of very prospective mineral properties. The acquisition of FNX’s non-Sudbury, nickel-precious metal properties in northern Ontario, offers the Company a great opportunity to further expand its nickel sulphide-precious metals efforts into Canada, where the Company’s management also has a great deal of experience and expertise.”
Mr. Bell added, “Nickel deposits tend to occur in clusters within mafic-ultramafic complexes and all of these properties are located in areas with such geology. Lansdowne has known nickel-copper-precious metal mineralization and Montcalm is adjacent to a producer. This acquisition is part of our growth strategy of focusing on high potential base metal properties in jurisdictions with rich mining histories such as Brazil and Canada. We believe that FNX’s exchanging of these assets for INV shares is an endorsement of its confidence in both the potential of the properties and INV’s ability to add value to them.”
Gord Morrison, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development of FNX, stated, “We are very pleased with this transaction and the opportunity to transfer these very prospective nickel-precious metal properties into the hands of a highly motivated and skilled management team with significant expertise in nickel sulphide exploration worldwide. In addition, it allows FNX to continue to focus its exploration efforts on our Sudbury Basin properties while maintaining a significant upside in any discoveries made on the properties through our equity ownership in INV.”
The large 66 claim (930 units totalling 14,880 hectares) Lansdowne House property is located approximately 80 kilometres west of the recently discovered McFaulds Lake high-grade, nickel-copper-precious metal deposit. The Lansdowne House property covers a large mafic-ultramafic complex that is a typical host of magmatic copper-nickel-precious metal sulphide deposits. The complex can be broadly subdivided into three zones: 1) a predominantly ultramafic basal zone comprising layered peridotite-pyroxenite sequences, a classic nickel sulphide target; 2) a middle zone, comprising predominantly cumulate gabbroic and gabbroic breccias zone, a classic precious metal and/or nickel target and 3) an upper zone, consisting of predominantly diorite-leucogabbro-anorthosite-gabbro-magnetite-cumulate.
In the 1970’s Inco discovered copper-nickel mineralization in the middle zone of the complex, drilling 47 holes totalling 5,839 metres. Drilling was concentrated on a three-kilometre long trend of electromagnetic anomalies coincident with magnetic highs. Broad zones of highly anomalous mineralization were encountered, with intersections ranging from weakly anomalous to an average of 0.30% copper and 0.12% nickel over 33.3 metres and 0.74% copper and 0.40% nickel over 17.7 metres in one zone and ranging from 0.32% copper and 0.13% nickel average over 4.6 metres to 0.79% copper and 0.64% nickel over 21.5 metres in another zone (Ontario assessment files). In 1992 a subsequent explorer, Blue Falcon Mines Ltd., estimated a resource on these zones however the historical estimate cannot be relied upon as a qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves and INV is not treating the historical estimate as current as it is not NI 43-101 compliant. Nonetheless INV considers these intersections significant as they demonstrate the copper-nickel sulphide potential of this large intrusive complex.
Higher in the middle zone of the complex, work by Aurora resulted in the discovery of broad zones of highly anomalous precious metals. Intersections range from only weakly anomalous to those quoted above (Aurora Platinum Corp., April 12, 2002 NI 43-101F1 report “Lansdowne House Property, Bartman Lake Area, northwestern Ontario”). INV considers the amount of metal in the system to be very significant, and will explore both for structural traps which could enhance the grade and for high-grade reefs.
Like Lansdowne House, the 49 claim (760 units totalling 12,160 hectares) Fishtrap property covers a large layered mafic-ultramafic complex located approximately 60 km south of the McFaulds Lake discovery. The eastern half of the complex is being actively explored by third parties for precious metals. There is no record of any previous drilling on the Fishtrap property.
FNX’s 2006 AeroTem survey identified a number of conductive zones associated with the basal portions of the complex. These conductors will become a high-priority exploration target for INV.
The 11 claim (145 unit, 2,320 hectares) Montcalm property, located 65 km northwest of Timmins, is adjacent to Xstrata Nickel’s producing Montcalm mine and covers four kilometres of the interpreted strike extension of the host geology, with only two known historic boreholes within that trend. The most recent ground electromagnetic survey was in 1995 and it detected a number of conductors.
The potential quality and grade of mineralization described in this news release is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource on any of the Property Interests outlined in this press release, and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the targets being delineated as mineral resources.
The interests being purchased (collectively, the “Property Interests”) are: (1) a 100% interest in the Lansdowne House Property, which interest is subject to (i) a 2.5% Net Smelter Return Royalty on two claims thereof in favour of PGM Ventures Corporation, which Royalty is subject to a buy-back right whereby Aurora may buy back up to 1.5% of the Royalty by paying $500,000 per 0.5%; and (ii) the rights of Inco with respect to one claim thereof pursuant to the Stull Lake and Rowlandson Lake AEM Evaluation Agreement dated December 18, 2000, between Aurora and Inco, pursuant to which rights Inco is entitled to elect to either (A) acquire 50% of Aurora’s interest in such portion of the Lansdowne House Property by paying two times Aurora’s property expenditures incurred in respect of such portion of the Lansdowne House Property, or (B) receive a 1.5% Net Smelter Return Royalty on such portion of the Lansdowne House Property, which Royalty is subject to a maximum cap of $2,500,000); (2) a 100% interest in the Fishtrap property; and (3) a 100% interest in the Montcalm property (which interest is subject to (i) a 2% Net Smelter Return Royalty on a portion thereof in favour of Kevin Filo, which Royalty is subject to a buy-back right whereby Aurora may buy back up to 1% of the Royalty by paying $500,000 per 0.5%; and (ii) a 1.5% Net Smelter Return Royalty in favour of Inco, which Royalty is subject to a maximum cap of $2,500,000, after which it is converted into a 0.75% Net Smelter Return Royalty for the lifetime of the Montcalm Property.
In the event that, within twenty (20) years of the Closing Date, INV makes a production decision on any one of the three Property Interests, or if FNX completes a feasibility study (“FS”) at its own cost with respect to a Property Interest, which the FS recommends a production decision and is approved for implementation by FNX, then FNX shall be entitled to elect within ninety days to acquire 50% of INV’s then beneficial interest in that one of the three Property Interests which is the subject of the FS or the production decision by paying to INV two times the aggregate of all expenditures made by INV on that Property Interest. FNX shall be appointed as the operator of the venture.
BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. (“BMO Capital Markets”) was engaged by INV to prepare and deliver to its board of directors an opinion (the “Opinion”) as to the fairness, from a financial point of view, to INV of the Consideration to be paid by INV pursuant to the Transaction. BMO Capital Markets concluded that the Consideration to be paid by INV pursuant to the Transaction is fair, from a financial point of view, to INV, subject to the limitations, qualifications and assumptions set forth in the Opinion. INV agreed to pay BMO Capital Markets a fixed fee for preparation and delivery of the Opinion regardless of the Opinion conclusions.
Completion of the transaction is subject to receipt of the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
After completion of this transaction, and assuming no further changes to the share capital of INV, FNX will own and control 7,662,060 common shares of INV and 3,153,801 share purchase warrants of INV, representing approximately 14.9% of the issued and outstanding common shares of INV or approximately 19.8% of the issued and outstanding common shares on a partially diluted basis assuming exercise of the share purchase warrants owned by FNX only.
The acquisition of the INV shares is being made by FNX for investment purposes. FNX may from time to time acquire additional securities of INV, dispose of some or all of the existing or additional securities of INV it holds or will hold, or may continue to hold its current position.
INV will engage the services of Clark Expl. Consulting, based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to manage the exploration of the Property Interests. An aggressive program including gridding, ground geophysics and drilling, to be initiated as soon as all required permits and access agreements are obtained, is currently being planned. INV’s cash position as of the end of the second quarter of 2007 is CDN$32,882,745.
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements about the acquisition by INV of certain assets from FNX, the proposed terms and timing of the transaction and the anticipated benefits of the acquisition to FNX and INV. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties beyond the ability of FNX and INV to control or predict, which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements, including risks relating to the parties’ ability to complete the transaction and to obtain the necessary approvals, risks relating to either company’s ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the transaction and other risks disclosed in filings with the Canadian securities regulators made by FNX and INV. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.