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Capstone 2012 Fourth Quarter And Full Year Production Results Meet Guidance

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, January 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

- 2012 production of 82.8 million pounds of copper in concentrates

Capstone Mining Corp. ("Capstone") (TSX: CS) today announced the operating results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2012 of its two operating mines, Cozamin and Minto. Combined production totalled 19.7 and 82.8 million pounds of copper in concentrates in the fourth quarter and full year 2012, respectively, with additional by-products of zinc, silver, gold and lead.

    2012 Production
              Q1   Q2   Q3   Q4 2012
    Copper in concentrates
    (millions of pounds)
    Cozamin 13.0 12.1 11.0 10.8 46.9
    Minto    5.6  9.8 11.6  8.9 35.9
    Total   18.6 21.9 22.6 19.7 82.8

"We achieved our 2012 production guidance of 80 million pounds ±5% of copper, with both mines performing as anticipated in the fourth quarter," said Darren Pylot, President and CEO of Capstone.  "The flexibility of having two operating mines allowed Cozamin's strong performance to more than compensate for the shortfall experienced at Minto during 2012."

Operational highlights for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2012

  • Production of 19.7 and 82.8 million pounds of copper contained in concentrates, respectively.
  • By-product production of 4.3 and 17.2 million pounds of zinc, 415,060 and 1,759,352 ounces of silver and 0.5 and 2.9 million pounds of lead in concentrates, respectively.  Final gold production is not available since assaying is conducted off-site, but is estimated at 6,785 and 18,599 ounces for the respective periods.
  • Cozamin remained a very steady producer.  Over the past two years recoveries have consistently exceeded 92%, with throughput increasing from an average of 3,000 tonnes per day ("tpd") in 2011 to 3,200 tpd in 2012.  Despite copper grades trending down towards the reserve grade over time, continued exploration success has brought high-grade ore from the Mala Noche Footwall Zone into production and extended the current mine life (before inclusion of 2012 drilling) to nine years.  Grades in the fourth quarter were above the guided 1.7% copper, driven by the ability to selectively mine high grade blocks in the West Zone.
  • At Minto, 2011 and 2012 were transitional years as mining progressed into the Area 2 pit. Throughput has steadily increased at the mill, with 2012 throughput of 1.34 million tonnes up 7% from 2011.  In December, regulatory approval was received to provide the flexibility to further increase the milling rate up to 1.5 million tonnes per year.  Grades in the fourth quarter were at the expected 1.4% copper, and considered the plan changes due to highwall instability, which resulted in processing much more low-grade stockpile materials than long-term plans had anticipated.  The previously announced accelerated pushback that was necessary to improve the stability of the west pit highwall continued throughout the fourth quarter.  Mining in the Area 2 pit resumed in late December and we are working towards achieving the 2013 plan.
     Operating Details
                                  Cozamin                Minto                  TOTAL
                                       Total
                          Q4 2012       2012   Q4 2012   Total 2012   Q4 2012   Total 2012
    Production [(1)]
    (contained in
    concentrates)
          - Copper
          (000s
          pounds)          10,776     46,909     8,971     35,928    19,747      82,838
          - Zinc (000s
          pounds)           4,345     17,221         -          -     4,345      17,221
          - Lead (000s
          pounds)             524      2,891         -          -       524       2,891
          - Silver
          (ounces)        372,460  1,575,816    42,600    183,536   415,060   1,759,352
          - Gold
          (ounces)              -          -     6,785     18,599[2   6,785      18,599[2]
    Mine
          - Tonnes of
          ore mined       285,766  1,170,590   233,547    942,739   519,313   2,113,329
    Mill
          - Tonnes
          processed       285,415  1,172,902   312,325  1,341,584   597,740   2,514,486
          - Tonnes
          processed
          per day           3,102      3,205     3,395      3,666     6,497       6,870
          - Copper
          grade (%)          1.85       1.95      1.43       1.34      1.63        1.63
          - Zinc grade
          (%)                1.08       1.03         -          -
          - Lead grade
          (%)                0.18       0.20         -          -
          - Silver
          grade (g/t)        57.9       58.9       5.0        5.1      30.3        30.2
          - Gold grade
          (g/t)                 -          -      0.79       0.58
    Recoveries
          - Copper (%)       92.8       93.0      91.3       90.5      92.0        91.6
          - Zinc (%)         64.0       64.9         -          -
          - Lead (%)         47.2       55.8         -          -
          - Silver (%)       70.1       71.0      84.1       84.1      71.3        72.1
          - Gold (%)            -          -      85.8       74.0
    Concentrates
    [1]
          - Copper
          concentrate
          (dmt)            18,980     81,305    10,561     43,423    29,541     124,727
                 Copper
                 (%)         25.8       26.2      38.5       37.5      30.3        30.1
                 Silver
                 (g/t)        551        540     125.5      131.5     399.1       397.5
                 Gold
                 (g/t)          -          -      19.7       13.3
          - Zinc
          concentrate
          (dmt)             4,118     16,057         -          -     4,118      16,057
                 Zinc
                 (%)         47.9       48.6         -          -
          - Lead
          concentrate
          (dmt)               415      2,216         -          -       415       2,216
                 Lead
                 (%)         57.2       59.2         -          -
                 Silver
                 (g/t)      2,696      2,324         -          -

(1) Adjustments based on final settlements will be made in future periods. (2) Full-year 2012 gold production includes an upward adjustment for higher assays not reported in the third quarter.

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