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114 www. bus- ex. com October 08 Metalsofthefuture Founded with a vision to exploit an abandoned nickel mine, Liberty Mines took control of its own destiny with the construction of a new nickel concentrator

N October 08 www. bus- ex. com 115 they planned to reopen the Redstone Mine, put it into production as quickly as possible, and use the cash fl ow for the further exploration and development of McWatters. By the middle of April 2005, Liberty had assembled a technical mining engineering team to bring the Redstone Mine into production. There was quite a bit to do. " There were 150 million liters of water in there," said Nash, " and some rehab work that needed to be done." As it happened, after dewatering the mine was found to be in pretty good condition. Before production could begin, 14 kilometers ( almost nine miles) of power line to the mine had to be cleared of trees and overgrowth before the lines could be inspected and repaired. Permits were already in place for the power line and a generating plant, but step down transformers and other electrical equipment necessary for dewatering and production had still to be assembled. Pre- production began at Redstone in May 2006, a little over a year after the new management took over. Although permitted to produce 400 tonnes a day, the mine operated at reduced capacity until the new nickel concentrator was constructed. Much of the equipment for the mill was purchased new, to secure the latest technology to ensure maximum nickel recoveries and metallurgical control in the crushing, fl otation and tailings circuits. Although new equipment is more expensive than used machinery, management determined that the difference in costs would be quickly recovered through the additional revenue generated by the higher nickel recoveries achievable with the new equipment, and the lower maintenance costs compared with used equipment. The total cost of the mill is around $ 14 million, taking into account winter construction and additional equipment, including the addition of 13 fl otation cells and a gravity circuit earlier this year to enable full production to be achieved with the ability to remove platinum and palladium from the nickel in concentrate to sell as a separate product. By early May 2006, Liberty had completed phase one of its deep drilling program at Redstone to Liberty Mines ickel has been mined in Canada for over 100 years. High concentrations of nickel- copper ore were discovered on the edge of the Sudbury Basin in Ontario in 1883, during construction of the Canadian Pacifi c Railway. Since then, Canada has become the third largest nickel producer in the world after Russia and Australia. Canadian nickel production was dominated for years by the International Nickel Company of Canada ( later INCO), with another giant, Falconbridge, entering the arena in the 1930s. Both were acquired by overseas mining conglomerates in the ' Nickel Wars' of 2006, ( INCO by the Brazilian company CVRD and Falconbridge by Swiss owned X- Strata), but recent years have seen the rise of a crop of junior exploration companies, and not just around Sudbury. In 2005, Gary Nash was an investor in Liberty Mineral Exploration Inc, less than satisfi ed with the company's ( lack of) plans to develop its resources. The Redstone Mine, in particular, 15 miles south east of Timmins, Ontario, had produced 276,700 tonnes of nickel between 1989 and 1996, graded at 2.4 percent. It had been closed in 1996 with an inferred resource of 182,000 tonnes ( grading 3.28 percent nickel) remaining above the 335 meter level. Although the historical resource calculation was not compliant with National Instrument 43- 101, Nash and others believed there was an opportunity to signifi cantly increase reserves below the 335 meter level, too, as a result of down hole studies carried out by INCO in 2003. " These guys didn't want to be miners and we did," was how Nash summed up the situation. So a hostile take- over was organized, and Nash and his fellow investors became the new board on 22 March, 2005. The company was renamed Liberty Mines Inc, at its Annual Meeting on 23 June, 2005, to signify its focus on bringing its nickel/ cobalt properties into production. The new owners immediately announced a reversal of the previous strategy by deciding not to sell the company's McWatters property to Canadian Arrow Mines, a deal that had almost been sealed a mere two weeks previously. Instead,