THUNDER BAY – MINING – Benton Resources Inc. (‘Benton’ or ‘the Company’) (TSX-V: BEX) today announced that it has executed two separate binding purchase agreements with Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (‘RTEC’) (the ‘RTEC Agreement’) and Panoramic Resources Limited (‘PAN’) (the ‘PAN Agreement’) (together the “PGM Project”).
Stephen Stares, President and CEO, stated: “Our team has been searching for an exciting PGM project in the market that possesses what we feel are essential project qualities: a high-grade, near-surface deposit containing a historical resource and located near existing infrastructure in a mining-friendly jurisdiction. These projects satisfy those criteria. Coupled with the high-grade discovery drilling completed at Escape Lake, the Company feels that the opportunity to delineate further resources exists. Located only 50 km from the Company’s office in Thunder Bay, the projects are well-situated to aggressively move them forward. In addition, the projects lie approximately 60 km south of North American Palladium’s (NAP) Lac des Illes Mine and 10 km east of NAP/Transition Metals’ Sunday Lake Intrusion”.
Thunder Bay North
The TBN Project contains the Current, Bridge and Beaver zones of which the following Historical Estimates* are defined:
*Historical Estimate from Thomas, D. et al. 2011: Magma Metals Limited, Thunder Bay North Polymetallic Project Ontario, Canada, NI 43-101 Technical Report on Preliminary Assessment
Mineral Resources at the Thunder Bay North project are considered by Benton to be historic in nature. No qualified person as defined by NI 43-101 has done sufficient work for Benton to classify the historical estimates at Thunder Bay North as current. The Company believes that the historical estimates at both deposits can be used as a guide in determining future exploration drilling and the Company will need to undertake a comprehensive review of available data which may include further drilling to verify the historic estimates at either property in order to reclassify them as current mineral resources. The Company’s QP has verified the data but no resampling of core or any other tests on the analytical procedures has been performed by the Company to-date. Verification of results will be a top priority for Benton.
The 220-hectare Escape Lake property is located within the TBN Project claim block and along with the interpreted conduit system which contains/controls the Pt-Pd-Base Metal mineralization on the TBN Project. RTEC staked the Escape Lake block in 2006 and performed successive rounds of limited diamond drilling between 2010 and 2012, the results of which until now had not been released publicly. These programs yielded impressive drill intercepts highlighted by drill holes 12CL0009 and 11CL0005. High-grade intercepts from these programs over a 1 km strike length are presented in the table below:
Note: Reported intercepts are core lengths may not be true widths.
A map of the PGM Projects and drill hole locations can be viewed on the Company’s web site. In addition, the Company has made available its updated corporate presentation covering these prospective PGM Projects on its web site at www.bentonresources.ca.
Pursuant to the RTEC Agreement, Benton will purchase a 100% interest in RTEC’s Escape Lake property for $6 million CAD (the “Escape Lake Purchase Price”), subject to obtaining financing and receipt of regulatory approval. The Company is to obtain commitments for $4 million of the Escape Lake Purchase Price within 90 days of execution of the RTEC Agreement and closing of the acquisition and payment off the $6 million Escape Lake Purchase Price is to take place within 10 days of securing financing. RTEC will retain a 1% Net Smelter Royalty (‘NSR’) on the Escape Lake portion of the PGM Project.
Under the PAN Agreement, the Company will acquire PAN’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, Panoramic PGMs Canada Ltd., which holds the Thunder Bay North Project (the ‘TBN Project’) for $9 million CAD. The Company will have 60 days upon signing to complete a final purchase and sale agreement plus an additional 60 days to obtain financing and receive all requisite regulatory approvals for the transaction. Upon signing the final purchase and sale agreement, Benton will pay PAN a $250,000 deposit which will be offset against the purchase price. The TBN Project has an existing 3% NSR on a number of claims located within the claims package.
Closing of the purchase of the PGM Project is also contingent upon both RTEC and PAN mutually releasing each other from all future obligations from the earn-in with option to joint venture agreement that was in place.
Benton is currently considering several strategic options for financing that best serves shareholders of the Company and aggressively moves the PGM Project forward.
Nathan Sims (P.Geo.), Senior Exploration Manager for Benton Resources Inc., the ‘Qualified Person’ under National Instrument 43-101, has approved the scientific and technical disclosure in this news release and prepared or supervised its preparation.