TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - ROMARCO MINERALS INC. (TSX: R) (the "Company") is pleased to provide an update of recent activities at the Haile Gold Mine and Kershaw Mineral Laboratories ("KML"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Romarco. In parallel to permitting the Haile Gold Mine project, the Company has been proactively completing several other items necessary to get the site prepared for construction and operations. All dollar amounts in this news release are expressed in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise stated.
The Company continues its ongoing dialogue and weekly meetings with the US Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps"), the lead agency responsible for the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS"), its third-party contractor, cooperating agencies and other interested parties, and significant progress has been made. In a news release dated October 25, 2012 and a conference call held October 25, 2012, the Company noted that two cooperating agencies, the State of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ("DHEC") and the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") are completing their review of the hydrology model on Haile. This review, with the participation of the Company's team and consultants, is continuing and follow-up meetings are being scheduled in connection with this activity.
Once the review and discussions have been concluded, the Corps has indicated it will make adjustments to the EIS schedule, as appropriate, on its hailegoldmineeis.com website.
Lancaster County Council Meetings
The Lancaster County Council rezoned an additional 3,081 acres of the Haile Gold Mine property from Rural Residential/Intense Agricultural to Heavy Industrial. The Council previously rezoned 1,778 acres of land from Rural Residential/Intense Agricultural to Heavy Industrial in 2009. As the project and the Company's land position grew, additional rezoning was necessary and today the rezoning actions have been completed for the proposed mine plan. Lancaster County regulations for rezoning Haile Gold Mine for heavy industrial use required petitioning the Lancaster County Planning Commission to rezone the remaining Haile project area, public notice by way of newspaper, US mail notification to potentially affected neighbours, public notice sign posting, one hearing and three individual formal readings and final vote by the Planning Commission, three individual readings by Lancaster County Council and a final favourable Council vote.
During phase one archeology work conducted on the Haile Gold Mine site, an abandoned cemetery from the late 1800s - early 1900s was discovered within the project boundary. The Company worked with the Sand Hill Baptist Church of Kershaw, who graciously agreed to provide a respectful and final resting place in an area adjoining an existing cemetery. Haile then completed the State of South Carolina requirements for relocating a cemetery, which included posting a notice in the local newspaper for 30 days to relocate the graves. At the end of the 30-day notice period, the Lancaster County Council held a public hearing and favourably voted in formal session to approve the cemetery relocation. The Company contracted the relocation to RS Webb & Associates, an archeology consulting firm that specializes in such work. RS Webb & Associates has successfully relocated 48 gravesites in compliance with state regulations. This project has now been completed.
Kathy Sistare, Chairwoman Lancaster County Council commented:
|Lancaster County is proud to count the Haile Gold Mine as one of our leading corporate citizens. As Chairwoman of County Council, I see firsthand the many benefits that Haile Gold Mine, Inc. and their outstanding staff bring to Lancaster. Obviously they bring jobs to the community but they also make a conscious effort to buy locally and support the economies of Lancaster County and the Town of Kershaw. They are also engaged in numerous philanthropic efforts, ranging from the Haile Gold Mine Playground in the Town of Kershaw to memberships in the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, United Way, and school booster clubs.|
|On any complex project, close communication and a good working relationship is crucial to success. The management team of Haile Gold Mine certainly exhibit these qualities. During 2012 we rezoned a large number of parcels to include them in the Haile Gold Mine operation. The Haile Gold Mine staff worked closely with the Planning staff throughout this process. Their fine work is also displayed in non-governmental areas as well. As part of one recent land acquisition, they had to relocate a number of graves in an abandoned cemetery. The Haile Gold Mine staff worked closely with the local faith community to respectfully and reverently relocate these graves after working with the Historical Commission to determine there were no family members remaining in the area. The receiving church allowed Haile Gold Mine to enhance the church cemetery as a suitable final resting place. They installed a suitable marker when there had not even been a single headstone at the prior site. The Haile Gold Mine staff worked closely with our Historical Commission, our Coroners Office, and the appropriate state agencies, going the extra mile to do the right thing for these departed residents.|
|The caring and concern to do the right thing is exhibited by the Haile Gold Mine staff in their business dealings, work in the community, and concern for the environment.|
Diane Garrett, President and CEO, stated: "As the Company continues to move through the permit process there are dozens of other items being completed which are necessary to commence construction and operations. Our team is working diligently to ensure these items are completed efficiently and on a schedule that coincides with the overall project progress. Providing an update on these activities allows our shareholders to get a glimpse of the types of activities that our team has been able to successfully conclude. As part of its on-going cash conservation efforts, the Company is pleased to report that its November 30, 2012 cash balance stood at $67 million - nearly $3.5 million ahead of the Company's most recent 2012 forecast. Limited drilling continues to be performed at Haile and regionally in addition to permit related drilling activities. The detailed engineering design work is nearing 75% complete which has been the Company's goal for year end."
Kershaw Mineral Lab
KML has successfully passed the accreditation process and numerous round-robin tests over an 18-month period to receive its ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation from the Standards Council of Canada. The Toronto Stock Exchange - Ontario Securities Commission (TSC-OSC) Mineral Task Force recommends in its "Setting New Standards" report that mineral exploration companies use only ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories. The Company is currently considering taking on clients and performing third-party assays for other mining companies. The current plan is to continue to have all Romarco ore assays reported to the public completed by third party, independent assay laboratories as has been the practice in the past. At the present time, KML is preforming assays for the Company and ore holes are then verified by a third-party laboratory before the results are released to the public. Also, KML is proactively conducting metallurgical test work with the goal of improving upon silver recoveries. In the Company's National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report dated March 13, 2012, silver recoveries were reported as 50% and provide an approximate $16/oz by-product credit assuming $18/oz silver.
Jim Arnold, Sr. VP and COO commented: "Certification of our lab is particularly noteworthy because it is so much work and the standards are so high. It is rare that an operations lab shoots for these standards and more rare that they attain them. I'm proud of our team and the quality of work they do. This is one more in a long line of accomplishments that show that the Haile team aims for and achieves the very best in everything they do."
The Company anticipates its Ball and SAG mills will arrive on site early in 2013. Currently, these mills are in route from India and Germany respectively and are scheduled to arrive during December 2012 at the ports of Wilmington, NC and Charleston, SC, respectively.
In early November, the Hitachi shovel arrived from Japan. The local dealer, Flint Equipment Company ("Flint") is storing the shovel in Savannah, GA. In the current agreement with Flint, the Company will take delivery of the shovel not later than February 2013 and the final payment will be approximately $2 million.
As previously announced, the Catepillar mobile mine fleet is currently being held in South Carolina by the local dealer, Blanchard Machinery Company ("BMC"). In the current agreement with BMC, the Company will take delivery of this equipment upon the final payment of approximately $28 million on or before September 30, 2013.
About Romarco Minerals Inc.
Romarco Minerals Inc. is a gold development company focused on production primarily in the US. The Company has completed a positive Feasibility study and is continuing exploration drilling and permitting for its flagship project, the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina.
This entire press release may be accessed via fax, e-mail, Romarco's website at www.romarco.com and through CNW Group's website at www.newswire.ca. All material information on Romarco Minerals Inc. can be found at www.sedar.com
SOURCE ROMARCO MINERALS INC.