Toronto, Ontario -- Bell Copper Corporation ("Bell Copper" or the "Company") (TSX-V: BCU) announces that the Company has implemented a strategic plan to work through the unprecedented challenges in the capital markets.
Since the closing of the Company's private placement financing in May of 2011, the capital markets in Canada and globally have been generally challenging with limited institutional and investment banking appetite for financing for junior exploration and development companies. In this environment it is imperative that Bell Copper preserve capital and reduce expenditures.
Bell Copper intends to reduce its exposure to non-core project expenditures by exploring potential strategic transactions with respect to the Company's non-core projects.
As part of this strategy, the Company intends to option or enter into a joint venture arrangement in respect of its Sombrero Butte project located in Pinal County, Arizona, which is drill ready. In the event that no option or joint venture arrangement is undertaken, exploration will be placed on hold until the capital markets improve and the Company is able to finance exploration on acceptable terms.
Consistent with this strategy, in April 2012, the Company entered into an option agreement with AKA Ventures Inc. ("AKA") whereby AKA can earn a 60% interest in the Company's Kabba project by expending a total of Cdn$6 million on exploration and other work on the project and issuing to the Company a total of 10 million shares of AKA over a three-year period (see the news release issued by the Company on April 11, 2012).
In the absence of equity financing, management believes that such partnerships make sense based on the upside potential of the projects versus the current market capitalization of the Company.
The Company also intends to eliminate its exposure to the secured term credit facility provided to the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Rogue River Resources Corp., by Macquarie Bank Limited via the sale of the Company's La Balsa project located in Michoacan, Mexico.
In support of this strategy to reduce non-core project expenditures, the Company has also reduced staff on its technical team and has incurred no major expenditures on its projects other than payments required to keep such projects in good standing.
The Company intends to focus on moving forward its core project, the Van Dyke project located in Miami, Arizona (see the news release issued by the Company on March 12, 2012). The Van Dyke project consists of approximately 1100 acres of patented ground and was developed in the early 1900s when a mineshaft was sunk to a depth of 1692 feet. The mine produced 11,800,000 pounds of copper between 1929 and 1945 from azurite, malachite, chrysocolla and tenorite ores grading just over 5.0% copper. Between 1968 and 1980, Occidental Minerals Corporation drilled 70 exploration holes on the property, 62 of which encountered copper mineralization. 46 of these holes were used to estimate a historical mineral resource of 112,000,000 tons at a grade of 0.52% copper. This historical estimate is derived from an internal report prepared by Occidental Minerals Corporation in 1973. This report was not prepared in accordance with currently accepted guidelines for the preparation of mineral resources and mineral reserves and does not comply with National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"). A qualified person, as such term is defined under NI 43-101, has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves. Bell Copper does not consider the historical estimate to be a current mineral resource or mineral reserve estimate and the historical estimate should not be relied upon. Metallurgical test work by Occidental Minerals Corporation indicated that between 70% and 80% of this copper could be recovered by means of in situ sulfuric acid leaching, with 3.8 pounds of acid being consumed per pound of copper produced. In 2010, Bell Copper acquired 35 federal mining claims covering approximately 600 acres contiguous with the southern edge of the Van Dyke property, where additional mineralization may be encountered. Currently, there are two underutilized SXEW plants located near the Van Dyke project.
Management proposes to use equity financing to move the Van Dyke project forward, and believes that a share consolidation on a seven for one basis, which will be proposed to the Company's shareholders at the upcoming annual and general meeting scheduled to be held on June 26, 2012 (see the news release issued by the Company on May 30, 2012), will improve the Company's ability to raise such equity financing. The policies of the TSX Venture Exchange restrict the Company from issuing shares at a price per share less than $0.05, which is a significant premium to the Company's current share price. Management expects the share consolidation to result in a higher price per share, enabling the Company to issue common shares at a price near the then current market price.
Bell Copper Value
Based on current copper prices, management believes that the value of Bell Copper is in excess of its present market capitalization.
Dr. Timothy Marsh, Ph.D., P.Eng., President of Bell Copper and a qualified person as such term is defined in NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information included in this news release.
About Bell Copper
Bell Copper is a public company focused on the development and exploration of its copper assets in the Americas through internal efforts and via strategic partnerships.
More information on Bell Copper: www.bellcopper.net
On behalf of the Board of Directors of
Bell Copper Corporation
Michael Werner, CEO & Director