Solitario Exploration & Royalty Corp. “Solitario” (NYSE Amex: XPL)(TSX: SLR) and Ely Gold & Minerals “Ely Gold” (TSX.V: ELY) are pleased to announce significant progress on their advanced Mt. Hamilton gold-silver project located at the southern end of the prolific Battle Mountain gold trend, Nevada. Virtually all work currently being conducted is related to feasibility and permitting in anticipation of making a production decision for the Centennial deposit early in 2012. Completion of the Feasibility Study is expected in the later part of the fourth-quarter 2011, with a Plan of Operations to be filed soon thereafter.

Ongoing feasibility-level engineering has identified several important improvements over the previous mine plan outlined in the Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) completed in July 2010 by Ely. Highlights of these improvements include:
  • Production rate increased from 5,000 to 8,500 tons per day with an estimated mine life of approximately seven years
  • An updated and improved resource model for mine scheduling
  • An increase in the sizing of mining equipment for greater productivity and cost efficiency
  • Improved ore delivery scheme from the open pit to the heap leach pad
  • Enhanced environmental design for ore transportation and heap leach pad location
  • Favorable results concerning water availability and waste rock characterization

SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc., an independent international mine engineering firm, has been engaged by Solitario to manage and complete the Feasibility Study for Mt. Hamilton. The final mine and processing plan is nearly complete. Mining will occur in a single pit with 20-foot mine benches utilizing 100-ton capacity haul trucks. Ore will be hauled approximately 3,500 feet to the primary crusher. Waste will be hauled to a single waste storage area. The life-of-mine waste-to-ore ratio is estimated at approximately 2.5 tons of waste to 1.0 tons of ore.

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