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Black Butte Copper Project Update

White Sulphur Springs, Montana – June 5, 2020 – Sandfire Resources America Inc. (“Sandfire America” or the “Company” TSX.V: SFR and OTCQB: SRAFF) provides the following update on its Black Butte Copper underground mining project in Montana, USA.

Stage One Bonding Level Issued

The Company is pleased to announce that on May 19, 2020, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MT DEQ) issued a Phase I bonding number establishing a bond of $4.65 million for the Black Butte Copper Project. The Company must secure this bond before commencing surface construction at the mine site.

The initial bond increment covers only Phase 1 surface construction of the mine site. A second bond increment must be calculated by the DEQ to cover Phase 2 development which includes further underground development, mill construction, and any activities involving beneficial water use.

Commencement of Stage One Surface Earthworks

The Company is currently finalizing a construction contract for the commencement of surface earthworks which are scheduled to commence this summer after the Company secures the Phase I bond amount.

Commenting on the achievement of this milestone, Sandfire America’s CEO and VP of Project Development, Rob Scargill, said: “We are proud to be part of the economic engine which will help us recover from the impacts and hardships we have all felt from the COVID-19 pandemic. Strength in the natural resources sector will help drive recovery across the economy, creating employment and opportunities for the people of Montana.

“This sets a clear path toward completing the Black Butte Feasibility Study and, subject to progressing project funding and making a positive Final Investment Decision, building a showcase mine that will combine local input and expertise with state-of-the-art technology.”

Sandfire America Senior Vice President, Jerry Zieg, stated, “We’re very pleased and look forward to being part of the solution to Montana’s economic revival by providing new jobs and new opportunities. Together with our stakeholders and community we have achieved a permit that protects our waterways and the environment which we all cherish and look forward to providing an important economic driver for our community and for Montana in these challenging times.

Legal Challenge

A legal challenge to the MT DEQ’s Record of Decision was lodged in the 14th Judicial Court in Meagher County, Montana against the MT DEQ and Tintina Montana Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary by Sandfire America, by a number of groups who oppose resource development in Montana on June 4, 2020.  The Company will review the challenge and will seek to work with the MT DEQ to defend this litigation vigorously.

Rob Scargill said, “We are disappointed that this litigation has been filed. No major natural resource project in Montana seems to go unchallenged despite our strict regulations and processes enshrined in Montana law.  Montana DEQ, under Governor Bullock, did an extremely thorough job of evaluating and reviewing the permit application during the past four and a half years, adopting changes to even further strengthen the permit, making it, in the words of the Montana DEQ, “the most protective permit the department has ever issued”. The Montana DEQ conclusively and independently found that all environmental issues have been addressed and that this permit can be granted knowing that the environment which we all value and care for is protected.”

QUALIFIED PERSON

Jerry Zieg, Vice President of Exploration for the Company, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 and has reviewed, verified, and approved the data disclosed and information of a scientific or technical nature contained in this news release.

Contact Information:
Sandfire Resources America Inc.
Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications
Mobile: 406-224-8180
Office: 406-547-3466
Email: nschlepp@sandfireamerica.com

CAUTIONARY NOTE

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain disclosures in this document constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, including statements regarding  the Company’s plans for advancing the Black Butte Copper Project  including  commencement of contracted surface work and expected outcomes. In making these forward-looking statements, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including that the Company will receive required regulatory approvals, that the Company will continue to be able to access sufficient funding to execute its plans,  that the Company’s exploration and development activities on the Black Butte Copper Project will not be materially affected by actions of environmental activists or other special interest groups, and that the results of exploration and development activities are consistent with management’s expectations, and assumptions regarding the impact  of the global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19 on the Company. However, the forward-looking statements in this document are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors, including factors relating to the Company’s operation as a mineral exploration and development company and the Black Butte Copper Project, that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including that results of exploration and development activities will not be consistent with management’s expectations, delays in obtaining or inability to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing,  interference with the Company’s exploration or development activities by environmental activists or other special interest groups,  the  risk that the Company  will be materially and adversely impacted by the global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, the risk of accidents, labor disputes, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, unusual or unexpected geological conditions, ground control problems, earthquakes, flooding and all of the other risks generally associated with the development of mining facilities. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Neither the 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.

Black Butte Copper Crosses the Permitting Finish Line with Positive Record of Decision

Issuance of the landmark Record of Decision for the Black Butte Mine Operating Permit paves the way for construction and production

White Sulphur Springs, Montana – April 9, 2020 – Sandfire Resources America Inc. (“Sandfire America” or the “Company” TSX.V: SFR and OTCQB: SRAFF) is pleasedto announce that the Black Butte Copper underground mining project in Montana, USA has received a Record of Decision for its permit. 

Today, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MTDEQ) released a positive Record of Decision (RoD) to grant a Mine Operating Permit to the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tintina Montana Inc. This will allow development and underground mining of the Johnny Lee deposit at the Black Butte Copper Project to proceed.

Issuance of the RoD now requires the MTDEQ to finalize a financial bond calculation within 40 days. Once the bond is submitted and accepted, it will pave the way for the potential commencement of construction at Black Butte.

The Company’s subsidiary concurrently received its preliminary Air Quality Permit and a Montana Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MDPES) permit.

Commenting on this significant milestone, Sandfire America’s CEO and VP of Project Development, Rob Scargill, said: “The issuance of the RoD by the MTDEQ is a clear indication that the State of Montana is a good place to invest and create new jobs. Our project design robustly meets and exceeds some of the strictest environmental requirements for mining worldwide and demonstrates that 21st Century mining and environmental excellence can go hand-in-hand.

“We are now looking forward to completing the Black Butte Feasibility Study, progressing project funding options and, subject to a positive Final Investment Decision, building what we expect to become a showcase mine with state-of-the-art technology that we will all be very proud of.”

Sandfire America Senior Vice President, Jerry Zieg, said: “Black Butte Copper will represent mining innovation at its best. We are embracing accountability and being responsible custodians of our environment. We are continuing to engage with our communities and creating a new model for sustainable value for all our stakeholders.”

The RoD comes with stipulations consistent with the Company’s planned staged approach to development and environmental protection.  The RoD and stipulations can be found on MT DEQ’s website at http://deq.mt.gov/Public/eis.

The stipulations require an incremental bonding approach allowing for an initial bond increment for Phase 1 development work of surface preparation of the mine site. Followed by a second bond increment to cover all underground development, mill construction, and any activities involving beneficial water use.  There is also a reclamation bond calculation and final design requirement for the agency modified alternative closure plan, before the second increment of bonding and any Phase 2 development work or mining.

In a press release released by the MT DEQ, Director Shaun McGrath said, “DEQ staff thoroughly analyzed this project and applied the best available science. Our job is to ensure a proposed project will meet or exceed the environmental regulations set forth in law. This work has resulted in the most protective hard rock mining permit this agency has ever signed.”

The RoD comes 28 days after the MTDEQ released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (MTDNRC) issued a Preliminary Determination to grant water right owners’ application to modify their irrigation water rights to include leasing water for mitigation and an application by the Company for high flow water rights for the project.

The Johnny Lee deposit represents one of the highest copper grade undeveloped projects in the world with a Measured and Indicated Undiluted Resource of 10.9 million tonnes at 2.9% Cu including a Lower Copper Zone with a copper grade of 6.8%.  

This will be a relatively shallow underground mine accessed by a 1,700m decline to access first the Upper Copper Zone (60-200m or 150 to 600 feet deep) followed by additional development to reach the Lower Copper Zone (300-500m or 900 to 1,500 feet deep).

The Mine Operating Permit includes the environmental framework to design a clean, safe modern mine and processing plant including:

  • Mine entrances and processing plant are positioned to protect the integrity of Sheep Creek and all wetlands.
  • The underground mine will have a portal access above the water table with minimal surface infrastructure with underground primary fans.
  • A drift-and-fill mining method will employ cemented paste backfill eliminating subsidence and placing almost half of the tailings back underground.
  • The other half of the tailings will be safely stored in a HDPE double-lined cemented tailings facility as a dry solid.
  • The operation will utilize a conventional process of crush-grind-froth flotation processing.
  • Sealed containers will be used for transporting concentrate to smelters, removing dust generation points during transit.
  • Mine water is used for process water which is constantly recycled. 
  • Mine closure will include removal of all surface facilities, reclamation of any disturbed land to comparable utility and stability, and sealing of the Cemented Tailings Facility in a double-liner and followed by addition of soil and revegetation.
  • No perpetual water treatment is required.

Feasibility Study

All the technical studies have now been completed for the Black Butte Project Feasibility Study, which commenced in October 2018. The Company released an updated Mineral Resource in October of 2019 for use as the foundation for the Feasibility Study. The timing for completion of the Feasibility Study may be delayed due to the global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19. The Company will provide a further update when better information is available.

COVID 19 Risk Response

Sandfire America Inc. is closely monitoring the current global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19 and actively responding to changing rules and guidelines.  To help protect our workforce and the local community, the White Sulphur Springs, Montana office has been temporarily closed. Our work and all communications continue with staff working remotely as requested by the State of Montana. 

QUALIFIED PERSON
Jerry Zieg, Vice President of Exploration for the Company, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 and has reviewed, verified, and approved the data disclosed and information of a scientific or technical nature contained in this news release.

Contact Information:
Sandfire Resources America Inc.
Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications
Mobile: 406-224-8180
Office: 406-547-3466
Email: nschlepp@sandfireamerica.com

CAUTIONARY NOTE
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain disclosures in this document constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, including statements regarding  the RoD, the completion of the BFS, permitting timelines and the Company’s plans for advancing the Black Butte Copper Project  including financing, anticipated expenditures and expected outcomes. In making these forward-looking statements, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including that the Company will receive required regulatory approvals, that the Company will continue to be able to access sufficient funding to execute its plans,  that the Company’s exploration and development activities on the Black Butte Copper Project will not be materially affected by actions of environmental activists or other special interest groups, and that the results of exploration and development activities are consistent with management’s expectations, and assumptions regarding the impact  of the global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19 on the Company. However, the forward-looking statements in this document are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors, including factors relating to the Company’s operation as a mineral exploration and development company and the Black Butte Copper Project, that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including that results of exploration and development activities will not be consistent with management’s expectations, delays in obtaining or inability to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing,  interference with the Company’s exploration or development activities by environmental activists or other special interest groups,  the  risk that the Company  will be materially and adversely impacted by the global health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, the risk of accidents, labor disputes, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, unusual or unexpected geological conditions, ground control problems, earthquakes, flooding and all of the other risks generally associated with the development of mining facilities. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Neither the 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.

Black Butte Copper Achieves Two Key Permitting Milestones

Release of the Final EIS and issue of Preliminary Determination for Water Right’s Change of Use mark further key steps towards receiving a Record of Decision (ROD)

White Sulphur Springs, Montana – March 13, 2020 – Sandfire Resources America Inc. (“Sandfire America” or the “Company” TSX.V: SFR and OTCQB: SRAFF) is pleased to advise that it has achieved two key permitting milestones for the Black Butte Copper underground mining project in Montana.

Today, two Montana Government agencies have each issued important components of the overall permitting process for the Black Butte Copper project which are key to the Company receiving a Record of Decision (RoD) for its Mine Operating Permit (MOP).

First is the release of Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MTDEQ). The MTDEQ commenced the EIS in September 2017 and released a Draft EIS in March 2019. Issuance of the Final EIS signals that the MTDEQ, and its independent third-party environmental consultants, have completed all environmental reviews related to Black Butte Copper and all issues raised during the public comment period have been responded to.

Second, the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (MTDNRC) has issued a Preliminary Determination (PD) in response to the water right owners’ application to modify their irrigation water rights to include leasing water for mitigation for the Black Butte Copper project.  The proposed water right modification maintains water balance in the Sheep Creek drainage area.

The PD will also address the Company’s request for a groundwater permit and a high flow water right to capture spring run-off and store in a reservoir, which will provide water to replenish stream flows year-round.  The issuance of the PD triggers a comment period for other water rights holders prior to a Final Determination.

The achievement of these key milestones requires the MTDEQ to release a Record of Decision (RoD), whether positive or negative, for Black Butte Copper’s MOP after a minimum of 15 days.   Issuance of a positive RoD would require the MTDEQ to finalize a bond calculation within 40 days- paving the way for the commencement of construction at Black Butte.

In a press release released today, DEQ Director Shaun McGrath stated, “The Final EIS represents a thorough evaluation of the potential impacts of this proposed project. Our review was informed not only by the DEQ scientists working on the project, but also by the thousands of comments submitted throughout the process. It was truly an extensive effort and we appreciate the public’s interest and participation.”

Sandfire America’s CEO and VP of Project Development, Rob Scargill, said: “We are delighted to have achieved these key milestones, which represent the culmination of a robust and lengthy permitting process. Together with our team of Montana-based environmental consultants, we have demonstrated that a modern underground mine can be developed and operated while fully protecting the environment and water resources.”

Sandfire America Senior Vice President Jerry Zieg, who has managed the permitting process with the MTDEQ and MTDNRC, said: “I’ve devoted much of my career to bringing our copper discovery at Black Bu       tte 35 years ago to fruition for my hometown and community. I look forward to the day that the state issues its Record of Decision for our mining permit, and I commend the MTDEQ and MTDNRC for their professionalism and hard work.”

Bankable Feasibility Study

All the technical studies have now been completed for the Black Butte Project Feasibility Study, which commenced in October 2018. The Company released an updated Mineral Resource in October of 2019 for use as the foundation for the Feasibility Study.

GR Engineering Services, SRK Consulting and others are now completing documentation of the technical sections.  Once the RoD is published, the Company can ensure that the designs and financial modelling in the Feasibility Study are consistent with the permit requirements.

Financing

Following a review of financing options by the Non-Executive Independent Directors, the Company entered into to an unsecured loan with our majority shareholder, Sandfire Resources Limited, to provide US$2 million to cover anticipated expenditures through completion of the Feasibility Study.   This is in addition to the US$3M borrowed in the fall of 2019.  On release of the Feasibility Study, the Board will consider the Company’s mid-term and long-term financing options.

QUALIFIED PERSON

Jerry Zieg, Vice President of Exploration for the Company, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 and has reviewed, verified, and approved the data disclosed and information of a scientific or technical nature contained in this news release.

Contact Information:
Sandfire Resources America Inc.
Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications
Mobile: 406-224-8180
Office: 406-547-3466
Email: nschlepp@sandfireamerica.com

CAUTIONARY NOTE

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain disclosures in this document constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, including statements regarding  receipt of a RoD, the completion of the BFS, permitting timelines and the Company’s plans for advancing the Black Butte Copper Project  including financing, anticipated expenditures and expected outcomes. In making these forward-looking statements, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including that the Company will receive required regulatory approvals, that the Company will continue to be able to access sufficient funding to execute its plans,  that the Company’s exploration and development activities on the Black Butte Copper Project will not be materially affected by actions of environmental activists or other special interest groups, and that the results of exploration and development activities are consistent with management’s expectations. However, the forward-looking statements in this document are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors, including factors relating to the Company’s operation as a mineral exploration and development company and the Black Butte Copper Project, that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including that results of exploration and development activities will not be consistent with management’s expectations, delays in obtaining or inability to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing,  interference with the Company’s exploration or development activities by environmental activists or other special interest groups,  ailure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, the risk of accidents, labor disputes, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, unusual or unexpected geological conditions, ground control problems, earthquakes, flooding and all of the other risks generally associated with the development of mining facilities. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Neither the 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.

Sandfire Resources America completes an Updated Mineral Resource Estimate for the Johnny Lee Deposit, Black Butte Copper Project

Key Points:

  • The Johnny Lee deposit has a Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource of 10.9 million tonnes (Mt) at an average copper grade of 2.9% for 311 thousand tonnes (kt) of contained copper (Cu) at a 1.0 % Cu cut-off grade;
  • The Johnny Lee deposit has an Inferred Mineral Resource of 2.7 Mt at an average copper grade of 3.0% for 80 kt of contained Cu at a 1.0 % Cu cut-off grade;
  • Forty-eight diamond drillholes completed by Sandfire Resources America have been used to update the Mineral Resource estimate for the Johnny Lee deposit;
  • Metallurgical testing of the Johnny Lee deposit has been integrated with systematic mineralogy to develop a copper recovery model;
  • Updated copper cut-off grade of 1.0 % Cu based upon updated recovery studies and price assumptions;
  • The Mineral Resource update for the Johnny Lee Deposit excludes the Lowry Deposit. Mineral Resources for the Lowry Deposit remain unchanged and current as of the effective date listed in the Preliminary Economic Assessment, July 12, 2013.

White Sulphur Springs, Montana– October 25, 2019 – Sandfire Resources America Inc. (“Sandfire America” or the “Company”, Trading symbols- TSX.V:SFR and OTCQB:SRAFF) is pleased to provide the following announcement related to an updated Mineral Resource estimate for the Black Butte Copper Project, a proposed underground mine located in Montana, USA.

CEO and VP of Project Development Rob Scargill stated: “The updated Mineral Resource estimate, supported by substantial new drill data and geometallurgical investigation, allows project evaluation to proceed using data in which we have an increased level of confidence that will underpin upcoming studies on the Black Butte Copper Project.”

The updated Mineral Resource statement for the Johnny Lee Deposit is summarized in Table 1. This Mineral Resource statement is based upon the Preliminary Economic Assessment (effective date: July 12, 2013) further supported by additional drilling, analyses, geological modeling, and extensive metallurgical studies to provide updated recoveries.

Table 1: Mineral Resource Estimate for the Johnny Lee Deposit as of October 15, 2019.

Category

Quantity

(Mt)

Cu (%)

Total

Metal (kt)

UCZ
Measured

1.4

2.6

36.2

Indicated

8.3

2.3

191.3

Measured and Indicated

9.7

2.4

227.5

Inferred

2.2

2.2

49.5

LCZ
Measured

0.6

5.7

32.9

Indicated

0.6

7.9

50.5

Measured and Indicated

1.2

6.8

83.4

Inferred

0.5

6.3

30.3

Combined UCZ + LCZ
Measured

2.0

3.5

69.1

Indicated

8.9

2.7

241.8

Measured and Indicated

10.9

2.9

310.9

Inferred

2.7

3.0

79.7

Source: SRK, 2019

  • The effective date for this Mineral Resource is October 15, 2019. All significant figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimates. Copper assay values were capped where appropriate;
  • Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. Inferred Mineral Resources have a high degree of uncertainty as to their economic and technical feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred Mineral Resources can be upgraded to Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources;
  • Metallurgical recovery of copper has been estimated on a block basis in the UCZ, averaging 77.4%, with a consistent 94.0% Cu recovery applied to the LCZ;
  • To demonstrate reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction of Mineral Resources, a cut-off grade of 1.00% copper based on metal recoverability assumptions, long-term copper price assumptions of $3.20/lb, mining costs, processing costs, G&A costs totaling $71/t;
  • There are no known legal, political, environmental, or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the Mineral Resources other than those outlined in the Management Discussion and Analyses of the June 2019 Company Quarterly Report. All Mineral Resources are located within land currently under control or lease to Sandfire Resources America Inc.

The 2019 Mineral Resource update was supervised and reviewed by SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. (SRK) and represents the following notable changes in the defined Mineral Resource from the previously defined Mineral Resource estimate contained within the Updated Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Black Butte Copper Project, Montana (effective date: July 12, 2013) due to the following key factors:

  • Additional drilling, analytical data, geological and structural modeling, and interpretation of geological and mineralization for improved confidence;
  • Extensive metallurgical and geometallurgical studies have allowed for estimates of copper recovery that have a higher level of confidence than previously assumed;
  • Removal of Co, Ag, and Au by-products as recent metallurgical test work has indicated that froth flotation does not produce a copper concentrate with cobalt, silver, or gold in payable concentrations; and
  • Updated cut-off grade used to define the Mineral Resource using recent metallurgical recovery assumptions for copper and updated price assumptions.

Introduction

Sandfire Resources America Inc. (the Company) is pleased to announce that an updated Mineral Resource estimate has been completed using significant additional drill data for the Johnny Lee Deposit, Black Butte Copper Project, Montana, USA. The updated Mineral Resource has been prepared following the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum (CIM) guidelines.

The Mineral Resource estimate incorporates drill data from 140 diamond drillholes completed by its predecessors and, 48 diamond drillholes completed by the Company. The Mineral Resource estimate has been reviewed and approved by SRK of Denver, Colorado, USA under the supervision of Erik Ronald, an Independent Qualified Person under NI 43-101.

Twenty-two metallurgical composite samples, constructed from fourteen drillholes completed by the Company, were used to conduct an extensive metallurgical test work program for the Johnny Lee deposit. The metallurgical test results have been integrated with systematic mineralogy of drillhole samples to develop a metallurgical copper recovery model for the Johnny Lee deposit. Metallurgical testing was conducted at Base Metallurgical Laboratories (Kamloops, British Columbia) under the supervision of Dr. Deepak Malhotra of Resource Development Incorporated, an Independent Qualified Person under NI 43-101.

The Mineral Resource was prepared in accordance with CIM Definition Standards and will be supported by a NI 43-101 Technical Report to be published and filed on the Company’s website and SEDAR profile within 45 days.

Johnny Lee Deposit

The Johnny Lee copper deposit is formed by two zones of mineralization: An Upper Copper Zone (“UCZ”) situated at depths of 40 m – 210 m below surface and an underlying Lower Copper Zone (“LCZ”) at depths of 340 m – 520 m below surface. A Mine Operating Plan (“MOP”) Application for the extraction of mineralized rock from both Zones of the Johnny Lee deposit was submitted to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“MT DEQ”) in December 2015 and following revisions was deemed complete and compliant. A draft MOP permit was issued by the Hard Rock Mining Bureau MT DEQ on September 18, 2017 and the Environmental Impact Statement process started soon thereafter. The MOP proposes underground mining of the Johnny Lee Deposit using a drift and fill mining method and production of a copper concentrate by milling and froth flotation. Mill tailings will be used for underground paste-fill support and the surplus deposited in a double lined cemented tailings storage facility.

Resource Estimation Methodology and Parameters

An extensive quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) program was implemented in order to support the Mineral Resource estimate. Diamond drill core sampling intervals were continuously collected from above the mineralization zones to the end of each drillhole. HQ (2.5 inch) diamond core was sawn into half-core samples for copper analyses. Diamond drill core analyses for copper mineralization was performed at ALS Laboratories (ALS) in Reno, Nevada and metallurgical testing at Base Metallurgical Laboratories in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 20% of the submitted samples consisted of QA/QC samples including: duplicates, blanks, and certified Reference Materials (CRM). All QA/QC, sampling, drilling, and analytical methodologies have been deemed acceptable by the QP for use in determination of Mineral Resources as per CIM guidelines.

Geological continuity of up to eight, vertically stacked, shallow dipping >1.2% copper mineralized layers in the UCZ has been demonstrated and modeled as wireframe domains in three-dimensions (3D). The >1.2% copper domains in the UCZ are encapsulated within a zone of >0.25% copper mineralization modeled in 3D as wireframe volumes.

Copper mineralization within the LCZ occurs within three discrete >2.0% copper lenses that occur at approximately the same elevation. Each of these lenses has been modeled in 3D as separate wireframe volumes. Compositing and capping were utilized for copper grade estimated into each modeled domain using Ordinary Kriging for both the UCZ and LCZ. Density was estimated into the block model by domain using Ordinary Kriging of composited data. The block models were used to constrain the tonnage and copper grade estimations for the Mineral Resource estimate.

Copper Recovery Estimation

Metallurgical test work using UCZ composites has shown that copper recoveries, using the optimized recovery process, are highly variable. Mineralogical investigation of UCZ metallurgical composites has demonstrated that this variability is due to differences in copper sulfide liberation characteristics. The estimated copper recoveries determined from copper sulfide liberation metrics have been interpolated into a block model using an inverse distance weighting squared process. Estimated copper recoveries for the UCZ range from 68.2% to 87.9%.

Historic and recent metallurgical test work for the LCZ has demonstrated relatively high recoveries with low variability. Accordingly, a 94.0% copper recovery has been applied to the LCZ model.

Determination of Cut-off Grade for Resource

To demonstrate the prospect of eventual economic extraction of Mineral Resources, SRK applied a cut-off grade that accounts for metallurgical recovery of copper, operational costs, and market-driven copper pricing. The following technical and economic parameters are assumed and accounted for in the determination of cut-off grade:

  • Metallurgical recoveries: Estimated variable copper recovery for the UCZ. Assigned mean 94% copper recovery for the LCZ.
  • Operational Costs: US$71/tonne. This includes mining, processing and general and administrative costs.
  • Copper Price: A long term copper price of US$3.20 per pound (US$7,055 per metric tonne) is based on market consensus forecast for upside copper pricing.

Using these metrics, a cut-off grade of 1.0% Cu based on recovery assumptions was used for the entire Johnny Lee deposit.

Qualified Persons

The technical information contained in this announcement related to the Johnny Lee Deposit has been reviewed and approved by Erik Ronald, M. Eng., P.Geo, RM-SME, Principal Consultant, SRK Consulting (U.S.) Inc. and Deepak Malhotra Ph.D. RM-SME, Resource Development Inc. Messrs. Ronald and Malhotra are Qualified Persons pursuant to NI 43-101 for Mineral Resources and Metallurgical processing respectively. Messrs. Ronald and Malhotra are independent of the Company. For detailed information on the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the mineral resources, along with other information about the Johnny Lee Deposit, please refer to the Technical Report to be filed.

Contact Information:
Sandfire Resources America Inc.
Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications
Mobile: 406-224-8180
Office: 406-547-3466
Email: nschlepp@sandfireamerica.com

Additional information on Sandfire Resources America, Inc. can be viewed on SEDAR under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com or on Sandfire Resources America, Inc.’s website at www.sandfireamerica.com

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain disclosures in this document constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, including statements regarding the mineral resource estimates the completion of the proposed feasibility study, permitting and the Company’s plans for advancing the Black Butte Copper Project and expected outcomes. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, are reliant on future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects”, “potential”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “believes”, “considers”, “significant”, “intends”, “targets”, “estimates”, “seeks”, attempts”, “assumes”, and other similar expressions. In making these forward-looking statements, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including and in addition to those assumptions previously set out in this news release that the Company will receive required regulatory approvals, the Company’s successful advancement of the Black Butte Copper Project toward feasibility, the expected positive results from the Black Butte Copper Project based on the estimates and findings contained in the Preliminary Economic Assessment from July 12, 2013, that the Company will continue to be able to access sufficient funding to execute its plans, that the Company is able to procure equipment and supplies in sufficient quantities and on a timely basis, that the Company’s exploration and development activities on the Black Butte Copper Project will not be affected by actions of environmental activists or other special interest groups, and that the results of exploration and development activities will be consistent with management’s expectations that capital costs and sustaining costs will be as estimated, that the assumptions underlying mineral resource estimates are valid, and that no unforeseen accident, fire, ground instability, flooding, labor disruption, equipment failure, metallurgical, environmental or other events that could delay or increase the cost of development will occur, that the current price and demand for copper and other metals will be sustained or will improve; that general business and economic conditions will not change in a materially adverse manner; and the continuity of economic and political conditions and operations of the Company. However, the forward-looking statements in this document are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors, including factors relating to the Company’s operation as a mineral exploration and development company and the Black Butte Copper Project, that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including that results of exploration and development activities will not be consistent with management’s expectations, uncertainties involved in the interpretation of drilling results and geological tests; delays in obtaining or inability to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, the risk of accidents, labor disputes, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, unusual or unexpected geological conditions, ground control problems, earthquakes, flooding; interference with the Company’s exploration or development activities by environmental activists or other special interest groups; inability to procure equipment and supplies in sufficient quantities and on a timely basis; and all of the other risks generally associated with the development of mining facilities. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Neither the 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.

Black Butte Copper Progress Update

White Sulphur Springs, Montana– October 25, 2019 –Sandfire Resources America Inc. (“Sandfire America” or the “Company” TSX.V:SFR and OTCQB:SRAFF) is pleased to provide the following update related to progress at the Black Butte Copper underground project in Montana.

Permitting Progress

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (MDNRC) recently informed the Company of a matter regarding the overlap between their respective areas of oversight. The Company has developed a robust plan to address this matter that is satisfactory and creates a pathway forward which includes further assurances on the water right modification application which has been in progress since early 2019. The Company is confident that it has addressed the agencies’ concerns. In their fall update, the MDEQ stated, “DEQ is in the final stages of its review and, barring unforeseen issues, anticipates publishing the Final EIS in the final quarter of 2019.”.

CEO and VP of Project Development Rob Scargill stated, “Whilst this short delay is frustrating to all concerned, we are confident that addressing these matters now will deliver a more robust operating permit and mining operation. The Company and our stakeholders continue to be committed to permitting and building a showcase underground copper mine in Meagher County.”

Bankable Feasibility Study

All the technical studies have now been completed for the Black Butte Project Feasibility Study which commenced in October 2018. An updated Mineral Resource has been published and will be used as the foundation for the Feasibility Study. GR Engineering Services, SRK Consulting and others are completing documentation of the technical sections. The study will be finalized once the Final EIS is released to ensure that the designs and financial modelling are consistent with the permit requirements.

Financing

Following a review of financing options by the Non-Executive Independent Directors, the Company has agreed to an unsecured loan facility with our majority shareholder, Sandfire Resources NL, to provide US$3 million to cover expenditures between now and the release of the Feasibility Study.  The funds will be used for permitting, studies and preparatory work for pre-construction earthworks for the portal pad and environmental protection ponds. On release of the Feasibility Study, the Board will consider their mid-term and long-term financing options.

Board of Directors Update

Jason Grace joined the Company’s Board of Directors on September 26, 2019 replacing Bruce Hooper. Mr. Grace is an experienced mining professional with industry spanning Australia to the Asia-Pacific region with experiences ranging across multiple disciplines including general management, operational management, technical leadership, project/studies management, business improvement, mineral resource evaluation, mine planning and mine geology. Most recently, Mr. Grace was Executive General Manager – Iron Ore for the leading diversified mining services group Mineral Resources Limited , where he managed the group’s Australian iron ore business.

QUALIFIED PERSON

Jerry Zieg, Vice President of Exploration for the Company, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 and has reviewed, verified, and approved the data disclosed and information of a scientific or technical nature contained in this news release.

Contact Information:
Sandfire Resources America Inc.
Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications
Mobile: 406-224-8180
Office: 406-547-3466
Email: nschlepp@sandfireamerica.com

CAUTIONARY NOTE

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain disclosures in this document constitute “forward looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, including statements regarding the completion of the BFS, permitting timelines and the Company’s plans for advancing the Black Butte Copper Project and expected outcomes. In making these forward-looking statements, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable, including that the Company will receive required regulatory approvals, that the Company will continue to be able to access sufficient funding to execute its plans, and that the results of exploration and development activities are consistent with management’s expectations. However, the forward-looking statements in this document are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors, including factors relating to the Company’s operation as a mineral exploration and development company and the Black Butte Copper Project, that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including that results of exploration and development activities will not be consistent with management’s expectations, delays in obtaining or inability to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, the risk of accidents, labor disputes, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, unusual or unexpected geological conditions, ground control problems, earthquakes, flooding and all of the other risks generally associated with the development of mining facilities. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Neither the 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.

Why else is copper important?

There are many industrial uses of copper due to its high ductility, malleability, thermal conductivity and resistance to corrosion. It ranks third after iron and aluminum in the amount of quantities consumed for industrial purposes. Copper is the main component of coins for most countries. Everyday uses of copper include electrical conductivity, green energy (windmills and solar systems) doorknobs, household fixtures, frying pans, and even knives, forks and spoons, if they are made from electroplated nickel silver. Read More

Do we need copper to stay healthy?

Copper is an essential nutrient to all higher plants and animal life. In animals and humans it is present in tissues, liver, muscles and bone. The main function of copper in the body is to act as a co-factor in various enzymes and copper based pigments. In fact, due to its reported healing powers, copper has been used extensively in devices known as “Bio-Circuits”. At lower level, all components, (copper, zinc, etc.) are actually needed to sustain life, thus we take multivitamins and mineral supplements.

Do microwaves require copper?

Yes, vacuum tubes, cathode ray tubes and the magnetrons in microwave ovens use copper, as do wave guides for microwave radiation. Wire mesh, woven of commercially pure copper, is used in hundreds of applications ranging from antenna found on planes to RFI shielding.

Do my cell phone and computer have copper in them?

Yes, integrated circuits, as well as printed circuit boards increasingly utilize copper as a replacement for aluminum because of its superior electrical conductivity. Copper is used as a material in the manufacture of computer heat sinks, due to its superior heat dissipation capacity compared to aluminum.

Is copper important for producing renewable energy?

Yes, copper is an important component of solar energy, wind energy, hydropower and electric vehicles. Copper is the highest rated thermal and electrical conductor among engineering metals; all kinds of power systems utilize copper to generate and transmit energy with maximum efficiency and minimum environmental impact. A wind turbine contains 3-4 tons of copper per megawatt. Electric vehicles can use up to 3 times the amount of copper as a conventional car. Copper is also easily recycled and can be reused over and again. Copper is and will remain an important factor in the future of renewable energy development.