November 21, 2011 Vancouver, BC, Canada - Fire River Gold Corp. and Mystery Creek Resources Inc. [TSX.V: FAU| OTCQX: FVGCF| FSE: FWR] (collectively the Company) are pleased to provide this update for the Nixon Fork Mine.
Dry Stack Tailings Pad - This project was completed including liner installation on schedule by October. It is now ready to be used for tailings once the leach circuit is completed. More excavation was required than anticipated and an exceptionally wet summer hampered productivity. The construction crew did an excellent job working through a very short summer construction period to complete the facility.
Mill Circuit - The current gravity and flotation circuits are fully operational. Most of the planned mill upgrades have been completed with additional equipment installed and processing optimization in progress. Current gold recoveries are in the order of 60-70%. This is lower than expected due to processing an exceptionally large portion of oxidized material in the past few months, which does not respond to flotation. The mill has been tested up to 190 tpd and appears to operate well at that rate.
Doré from gravity concentrate is being refined by, and sold to Johnson Matthey. Copper concentrates are being sold to Glencore.
Mill Leach Circuit - The 250 tpd leach circuit for the mill will be ready for testing in late January. It is slightly behind schedule due to the delivery of some key components. Most of the outstanding work to be completed is mechanical wiring and piping. Commissioning of this circuit will occur in January 2012. Gold recovery will increase to over 90% with the implementation of leaching and will not be affected by oxidation.
Mining - In the 3rd quarter, ore was extracted from one near surface zone, older workings and newly developed stopes underground. Several mining methods are being tested based on historic methods with some modifications to take advantage of lower cost long hole drilling.
Mining during the ramp up in the 3rd quarter produced 8,348 tonnes of ore with an average grade of 17.4 g/t. Total production was 145,000 grams (4670 ounces) of gold in the quarter, an average of 48,400 grams (1560 ounces) per month. Mining grades decreased slightly in October, averaging approximately 14.9 g/t on 5,126 tonnes mined. This is lower than planned, but will improve as new stopes are developed in the unmined parts of the deposit.
The new 3550 Zone could represent a significant new area, and provide the opportunity to considerably increase our resources, head grade, and mine life if it demonstrates the same vertical continuity as the two other zones that have been mined. The 3550 Zone is located 100 m from existing development which is ideal for minimizing the capital cost and time requirement to establish access for mining. The entire vertical extent will be within 150 m of existing development with the grades showing as high as 93.8 g/t.
Mining Equipment - All of the mining equipment is now in place for development and mining. The mine has produced an average of 170 tpd of ore for the last four months.
Exploration - The $3 million surface drill exploration program (see October 27th press release) will occur on the 11,000 acre Nixon Fork property in 2012 and will serve to expand the current resource and identify additional mining targets.
Cost Control - Operating costs in the third quarter were 98% of budget at approximately $2.6 M per month. Capital costs for the same period averaged $594 K per month, higher than the $409 K that was budgeted. This was largely due to the increased costs associated with completing the drystack and modifications to the existing gravity and processing plant. Pre-production capital spending will end in January 2012.
The Qualified Person for this news release is Richard Goodwin, P.Eng, President & C.O.O for Fire River Gold.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
President and COO
Certain information regarding the Company including management's assessment of future plans and operations, may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws and necessarily involve risks associated with mining exploration and development, volatility of prices, currency fluctuations, imprecision of resource estimates, environmental and permitting risks, access to labour and services, competition from other companies and ability to access sufficient capital. As a consequence, actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. A feasibility study has not been completed and there is no certainty the disclosed targets will be reached nor that the proposed operations will be economically viable. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. We seek safe harbour.