Searchlight Minerals Corp. provides update on Clarkdale Slag Project

Company reviews recent achievements, upcoming milestones and plans for

2,000 ton-per day production facility

Jun 18, 2008, 01:00 ET from Searchlight Minerals Corp.

    HENDERSON, NV, June 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Searchlight Minerals
 Corp. (OTC BB: SRCH) (the "Company"), is pleased to provide investors with
 the following update on the development and construction activities at its
 Clarkdale Slag Project in Clarkdale, Arizona.
     Searchlight Minerals today announced that on June 17, 2008, the City of
 Clarkdale, Arizona issued a Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory
 facilities located within the building that is anticipated to house the
 Company's initial 100 to 250 ton-per-day (tpd) commercial production module
 for the extraction of precious and base metals from a 20 million-ton slag
 pile located in Clarkdale, Arizona. The slag pile is approximately six
 miles from the historic United Verde Copper Mine in Jerome, Arizona, which
 produced some of the richest copper ore ever mined in the U.S. Clarkdale
 housed a smelter operation for the United Verde Mine, and when smelting
 activities ceased in 1947, a metal-bearing slag was left at the Clarkdale
 site. Independent engineers, operating under chain-of-custody procedures,
 have estimated that the slag pile is comprised of approximately 20.2
 million tons of material that contains approximately 0.50 ounces of gold
 per ton, along with silver, copper, zinc and a ferro silicate byproduct.
     "We view receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory as
 the achievement of an important milestone in our journey to complete the
 construction, installation, testing and start-up of our initial production
 module in Clarkdale," stated Ian McNeil, Chief Executive Officer of
 Searchlight Minerals Corp. "In coming weeks, we will install
 state-of-the-art analytical equipment in the laboratory that will allow our
 chemists to conduct immediate, on-site analyses of leaching results to
 further optimize the metals extraction process."
     During the first half of 2008, the Company has been involved primarily
 in the renovation of an existing 26,000 sq. ft. building at the Clarkdale
 site. The building will house most of the components of the initial
 full-scale production module, including crushing, grinding, leaching,
 filtering and Ion Exchange (IX) circuits. Concurrent with the building's
 renovation, the Company has been taking delivery of major equipment items,
 such as impact mills, a vibratory mill, leaching tanks, filter presses, ion
 exchange systems and lab equipment. A majority of the critical equipment is
 on site and currently being installed in the building. Remaining items are
 slated for delivery within the next few weeks.
     "The renovation process has been enormously complex," observed McNeil.
 "We have overcome some very challenging engineering issues in order to
 integrate full-scale production equipment into the existing building. In
 the process, the Company has significantly upgraded service utilities and
 installed an operating well that will provide water service to the first
 module. A new electrical room and transformer were added, and underground
 power lines are now coupled to the transformer. The building should
 transition from temporary generators to the Arizona Public Service power
 grid later this week."
     The Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory is one of three such
 occupancy certificates that the Company must obtain in order to operate at
 the Clarkdale site. Additional occupancy certificates will be required for
 the main processing building and a separate building for the electrowinning
     Obtaining an occupancy certificate for the main processing building
 represents the most significant milestone the Company will need to achieve
 in the development program, and the issuance of such certificate is
 anticipated in the third quarter of 2008. At that point, the Company will
 be in a position to commence the equipment testing and start-up procedures
 for full-scale operation of the module. The vast majority of operations
 related to production are expected to occur within the main processing
 building. Several key structural and integrated components, including the
 hopper pit and superstructure for the hammer-impact mill / screens, are
 scheduled for delivery over the next few weeks. Following the installation
 of these items, the exterior of the building will be completed, and a
 Certificate of Occupancy for the entire building should be issued. Process
 engineers and metallurgical personnel can then begin operational testing of
 major equipment components, including the crushing, grinding, leaching and
 filtering circuits. The gold and silver extraction circuit will be tested
 and fine-tuned for optimum performance. Pre-operational systems integration
 and equipment de-bugging are a critical phase in the start-up process.
 During these procedures, the Company will attempt to ensure that the
 precursory steps to metals liberation are achieved with the full-scale
     After extensive deliberations with one of the world's leading
 manufacturers of electrowinning ("EW") systems, the Company elected to
 significantly upgrade such systems, which will be responsible for the final
 extraction of copper and zinc, along with the recycling of chemicals used
 to remove the metals from the resins. The state-of-the-art EW components
 will be housed in a separate building, adjacent to the primary processing
 building. The copper EW equipment has already been delivered to the site,
 and the zinc EW equipment has been ordered. Completion of the newly
 designed EW building, and receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy, represent
 the final milestone that must be achieved in phase-one operations, and this
 is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2008.
     "The complexity of designing the EW systems upgrade has caused an
 unanticipated time delay in completing the initial production module,"
 noted McNeil. "However, I am pleased to report that we broke ground on
 construction of the EW building earlier this week. Construction of this
 building, along with installation of the copper/zinc electrowinning
 equipment and the integration of that system, will represent the final
 milestone in the completion of a fully functioning production module that
 can run as a continuous circuit, from start to finish. The Company will use
 the time during which the EW building is under construction to fine tune
 the grinding, filtering and precious metal leaching and extraction
 circuits. Engineers anticipate that the integration of the EW circuit will
 be a fairly seamless operation."
     While Searchlight Minerals' primary focus is centered on completion of
 the initial production module, the Company has budgeted approximately one
 million dollars for fiscal year 2008 in order to complete key engineering,
 permitting and development prerequisites for construction of a 2,000 tpd
 production facility. The Company is currently completing a large-scale
 demolition and grading project that will clear approximately twelve acres
 of land immediately adjacent to the slag pile. This reclaimed parcel will
 serve as the central location for the improvements that will house the
 Company's full-scale production modules.
     "It is very difficult to simply outline the milestones associated with
 this project," continued McNeil. "The engineering, design and operational
 complexities are enormous, and assembly of equipment modules within the
 confines of renovating a World War I era industrial building has been
 extremely challenging. We have engaged over fifty consultants and equipment
 suppliers from around the world to develop, design and construct the first
 Clarkdale production module, and bringing this facility into operational
 status is a complicated process of systems integration. While there are
 defined milestones along the way, the prediction of time-specific events is
 difficult, because each such event is inextricably tied to so many others.
 The objective of this update, and others that will follow more frequently,
 is to allow our investors to more fully appreciate the significant progress
 that has been made. Most importantly, we want to underscore our continued
 confidence regarding the transition from construction to production later
 this year."
     "We have encountered a number of unanticipated delays in recent months,
 ranging from equipment delivery schedules to our decision to upgrade the
 electrowinning systems, but we consider none of these delays outside the
 scope of acceptable complications for a project of this magnitude. Once the
 metals recovery module is fully tested and optimized, we will retain an
 independent engineering firm to conduct a formal, commercial feasibility
 certification. Completion of that certification will allow us to determine
 critical aspects of our development and expansion strategy."
     About Searchlight Minerals Corp.
     Searchlight Minerals Corp. is a minerals exploration company focused on
 the acquisition and development of projects in the southwestern United
 States. The Company is currently involved in two projects: (1) the
 Clarkdale Slag Project, located in Clarkdale, Arizona, is a reclamation
 project to recover precious and base metals from the reprocessing of slag
 produced from the smelting of copper ores mined at the United Verde Copper
 Mine in Jerome, Arizona; and (2) the Searchlight Gold Project, which
 involves exploration for precious metals on mining claims near Searchlight,
 Nevada. The Clarkdale Project is the more advanced of two ongoing projects
 that the Company is pursuing. The Searchlight Gold Project is an
 early-stage gold exploration endeavor on 3,200 acres located approximately
 50 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada.
     Searchlight Minerals Corp. is headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, and
 its common stock is listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol
 "SRCH". Additional information is available on the Company's website at and in the Company's filings with the U.S.
 Securities and Exchange Commission.
     Forward-Looking Statements
     This Press Release may contain, in addition to historical information,
 forward-looking statements. Statements in this news release that are
 forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties
 concerning the specific factors disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors"
 and elsewhere in the Company's periodic filings with the U.S. Securities
 and Exchange Commission. When used in this news release, the words such as
 "could," "plan", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", "potential",
 "should", and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. The risk
 factors that could cause actual results to differ from these
 forward-looking statements include, but are not restricted to the Company's
 limited operating history, uncertainties about the availability of
 additional financing, geological or mechanical difficulties affecting the
 Company's planned geological or other work programs, uncertainty of
 estimates of mineralized material, operational risk, environmental risk,
 financial risk, currency risk and other statements that are not historical
 facts as disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in the
 Company's periodic filings with securities regulators in the United States.
 Consequently, risk factors including, but not limited to the
 aforementioned, may result in significant delays to the projected or
 anticipated production target dates.
     CONTACT: Carl Ager, Vice President, (702) 939-5247,; RJ Falkner & Company, Inc., Investor Relations
 Counsel, (800) 377-9893,

SOURCE Searchlight Minerals Corp.