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Stratex International Plc, the AIM-quoted exploration and development (‘E&D') company currently developing gold resources and exploring for world-class gold and base metal deposits in Turkey and Ethiopia, is pleased to give an update on its programme at its Inlice and Altintepe projects in Turkey, which the Company is fast-tracking into production with its joint venture partner, NTF Insaat Ticaret Ltd Sti (‘NTF'). These projects contain a current combined oxide gold (‘Au') resource of approximately 570,000 ounces (‘oz') and are targeted to be brought into production within an 18 month and 36 month time frame respectively.
· Scoping study to identify key issues and ensure optimum fast-track development ("Gap Analysis") now complete - recommendations by international consultancy Golder Associates being implemented
· Pit-sampling of the Inlice Project (‘Inlice') talus resource completed and infill resource drilling underway
· Detailed proposals for metallurgical studies of oxide-gold material under review to identify optimum process for recovering gold at Inlice
· Drill programme focusing on high grade zones at the Altintepe Project (‘Altintepe') to commence shortly
· Definitive agreement stipulating terms of the joint venture expected to be signed by the end of November 2009
· NTF continuing to fund $50,000 per month for development work at both Inlice and Altintepe until definitive agreement signed
· NTF to pay US$1 million cash to Stratex on completion of the definitive agreement - thereafter commence Feasibility Study on Inlice to a level of US$2 million and fund US$2.5 million on Altintepe Feasibility study for its equity stake
Stratex and NTF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU') in June 2009 with a view to forming a Joint Venture Company (‘JVC') focussed on fast-tracking Inlice, which contains an oxide resource of 98,000 oz Au, and Altintepe, with an oxide resource of 472,318 oz Au, into production. Prior to signing the definitive agreement a Management Committee was formed by the two companies to oversee a three month development programme from July 2009 to September 2009, which was funded by NTF to a total of US$157,000. Whilst the definitive agreement forming the new JVC is being finalised, NTF is continuing to fund the development programme at both Inlice and Altintepe at a minimum cost of $50,000 per month.
Stratex and NTF have reviewed the Gap Analysis undertaken by Golder Associates and are implementing its main recommendations. These include infill drilling of the in situ oxide zone at Inlice as well as pitting on a 25m by 25m grid of the overlying talus material. Pitting of the Inlice talus area has been completed and infill drilling of the oxide zone is now underway. This drilling, producing large-diameter (HQ) drill core, will also provide material for comprehensive metallurgical studies to identify the optimum process for recovering the contained gold. Proposals from a number of leading metallurgical consultancy groups to undertake the metallurgical test work are currently being reviewed by the Stratex-NTF Management Committee.
At the Altintepe project, initial drilling will focus on the higher grade zones of the mineralisation defined to date. Infill drill programmes to upgrade the resource categorisation are being prepared for the Çamlık East, Extension Ridge, and Kayatepe zones and drilling will commence shortly.
Detailed metallurgical test work will be commissioned on both projects, with test work anticipated to commence at Inlice in January 2010. Costs and suppliers of modular processing plants and equipment have also been identified in anticipation of fast-tracking the move to production following completion of feasibility studies at Inlice.
The draft of the definitive agreement has been reviewed by both parties and no major material differences have arisen. Subject to final review on various legal and taxation points, NTF and Stratex anticipate completion and execution by the end of November 2009.
NTF (www.ntf.com) is a major private Turkish construction and mining company involved in the design and construction of dams, hydroelectric power plants, portable water and waste water networks, as well as mining and quarry operations. NTF has recently licensed its 483 MW Hydro Project which represent 1% of total installed capacity in Turkey. NTF has also been involved in various aspects of many medium to large size private sector mining projects and the company's current project portfolio is over 1 billion USD.
NTF had been considering expand into gold mining in Turkey for some time and identified Stratex and its Inlice and Altintepe projects as an excellent opportunity to do so. NTF's Chairman Fırat Eren commented, "NTF considers the mining industry as a key area to build further core proficiencies and to extend its construction operations. We share a vision with Stratex of creating and growing a substantial gold mining and producing company in Turkey within a short time period. We firmly believe that our combined strengths and commitments to excellency will provide a sound basis for achieving this goal."
Stratex signed a MoU on 15 June 2009 with major Turkish construction and contract mining company, NTF, to undertake pre-feasibility and feasibility studies on the Inlice and Altintepe projects. Positive outcomes of these studies could lead to gold production at Inlice within a projected 18-month timeframe and at Altintepe within 36 months. The definitive agreement, which the two companies are currently drafting, is due to be signed within 90 days from 15 June 2009, with the option of extending for a further 90 days, prior to which NTF is granted exclusivity in return for minimum monthly payments of US$50,000 that will be utilised to commence work on Inlice and Altintepe.
Upon signature of the definitive agreement, Stratex will transfer the Inlice and Altintepe projects into the JVC and allocate 55% of the equity in the JVC to NTF, upon which NTF will pay Stratex the sum of US$1 million. Thereafter, NTF will finance feasibility studies on Inlice up to an amount of US$2 million prior to a decision to move to production, at which point Stratex may opt to contribute or dilute and/or accept a loan of up to US$2 million from NTF to fund its contribution to construction costs.
In parallel with the Inlice studies, NTF will finance the immediate start-up of pre-feasibility studies on Altintepe to a level of US$500,000 and, subject to positive outcomes, will fund a further US$2 million of feasibility studies to take the project to a decision on whether to move to construction and production. At that point Stratex will have the option to contribute or dilute.
An underlying share-pledge scheme will dictate the levels of earn-in to the JVC achieved by NTF through its expenditures, with decisions not to proceed at critical points resulting in the respective projects reverting 100% to Stratex at no cost to Stratex.
The Inlice and Altintepe Projects
The Inlice project contains an open-pittable, in situ oxide resource of 944,495 tonnes grading 2.29 g/t Au for 69,324 oz. It is the intention to fast-track this project into production within 18 months. Metallurgical test work will also be undertaken on the predominantly inferred oxide resource of 28,000 oz of gold contained in talus material at Inlice.
At Altintepe, the oxide resource currently stands at 472,318 oz Au, comprising 13,098,137 tonnes grading 1.12 g/t Au in all categories at a cut-off of 0.2 g/t Au and including 8.3 Mt grading 1.48 g/t Au. Infill drilling will focus initially on the higher-grade Extension Ridge mineralisation - an inferred resource of 1.73 Mt grading 2.17 g/t Au for a total of 120,906 oz Au.
CEO Dr. Bob Foster, FIMM, CEng, is a Competent Person as defined by various international instruments and takes responsibility for the release of this information.
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