INV Enters Into Option – Joint Venture Agreement With Votorantim
Toronto, Ontario – May 27, 2008 – International Nickel Ventures (“INV” or the “Company”) (TSX: INV, INV.WT) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a binding option/joint venture agreement with Votorantim Metais Níquel S.A. (“Votorantim”) for all but two of INV’s nickel laterite exploration properties in Brazil (the “Properties”). The Properties consist of 124 claims totaling 228,861 hectares and are located in the states of Goiás, Tocantins, and Pará in central Brazil.
Robert Bell, President and CEO stated; “The agreement with the Votorantim Group is in keeping with INV’s stated goal to create maximum shareholder value from its extensive prospective land position in the Brazil. We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Votorantim, a highly successful, widely respected Brazilian private company. Votorantim is currently Brazil’s largest nickel producer and has a highly dedicated and experienced exploration team. This transaction will allow us to maintain our focus and to aggressively explore our Brazilian nickel-copper sulphide properties (Niquelândia, Taquaral and Damolândia) and our Canadian nickel-copper-precious metal sulphide properties in Ontario” (Montcalm, Lansdowne House and Fishtrap) (see INV’s press release of May 15, 2008 for details).
The INV-Votorantim option/joint venture agreement grants Votorantim an option to acquire up to a 70% interest in the nickel and base metals rights of the Properties. Votorantim will be the operator and can earn an initial 51% interest in the Properties by funding US$5.0 million in exploration expenditures over the first three years of the agreement, with a committed first year expenditure of US$1.0 million. After Votorantim earns its initial 51% interest, INV and Votorantim may form a joint venture to further advance the Properties. However, Votorantim can elect to continue to sole-fund the expenditures and earn an additional 19% by producing a bankable feasibility study within three years of earning its initial 51% interest in the Properties. Upon Votorantim providing a positive development decision with respect to the Properties and thereby earning a 70% interest, INV and Votorantim will form a joint venture to develop the Properties.
Each party will fund its pro-rata share of joint venture expenditures (INV=30% and Votorantim=70%). If either party elects not to fund its pro-rata share of joint venture expenditures, its interest shall be diluted accordingly and if its interest is diluted to less than 10%, that interest shall be converted to a 2% net smelter returns royalty.
Mr. Bell further added; “We now have partnerships with two major mining companies on our Brazilian nickel laterite properties; Votorantim on the properties subject to the transaction being announced today and Teck Cominco Limited on the Santa Fé/Iporá deposits. Our potential ownership, 30% with Votorantim and 20.25% with Teck Cominco, are levels that a junior company like INV can fund and contribute through to production if warranted.”
The Votorantim Group is one of the largest private business groups in Latin America, with operations in over 12 countries in the cement, metals, pulp and paper, agribusiness and finance industries with over 60,000 employees. In 2007, Votorantim Group’s revenues amounted to US$15.6 billion. Votorantim Metais is the metals business unit of the Votorantim Group, and is the largest producer of nickel and zinc in Brazil, the second largest aluminum producer in the country and operates steel production capacity of approximately 450,000 tons/year. Votorantim Metais is the world’s tenth largest primary nickel producer with two operating nickel mines, one smelter and one refinery, all located in Brazil. Through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions Votorantim plans to rank 5th in the global nickel business by 2015.
INV is an international mineral resource company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of base and precious metal projects in Brazil and Canada. Currently, INV’s primary assets are: (1) the advanced-stage Santa Fé-Iporá nickel laterite deposits located in Goiás State, Brazil; (2) the Montcalm nickel-copper property located contiguous to Xstrata Nickel’s operating nickel mine in the Timmins, Ontario area; (3) its nickel-copper-precious metals properties located in the ‘Ring of Fire’ area in northern Ontario and (4) its nickel-copper sulphide properties, including Niquelândia, Damolândia, and Taquaral, located in Brazil.
For further information please see INV’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated May 14, 2008 and other technical reports filed on SEDAR and available on INV’s website at www.nickelventures.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to variety of risks and uncertainties beyond INV’s ability to control or predict, which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. In this news release there is no guarantee that any drill targets or economic mineral deposits will be found on INV’s properties. Forward looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievement of INV to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, risks related to the actual results of current exploration activities, conclusions of economic evaluations, uncertainty in the estimation of mineral resources, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, future prices of nickel and other minerals, economic and political stability in Canada and Brazil, environmental risks and hazards, increased infrastructure and/or operating costs, labour and employment matters, and government regulation. For a more detailed discussion of such risks and other factors, refer to INV’s most recent annual information form with Canadian securities regulators available on www.sedar.com or INV’s website at www.nickelventures.com.