May 12, 2008 – Vancouver, British Columbia. Merit Mining announces that it has signed an Impacts and Benefits Agreement (“IBA”) with the Osoyoos Indian Band (“OIB”) with respect to Merit exploring, developing and operating its Greenwood Gold Project in south central British Columbia. The Council of the OIB has support of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the political organization of member First Nations of the Okanagan (Syilx) aboriginal peoples, to enter into this agreement.
The IBA benefits to the OIB include potential employment and business opportunities, education and training assistance, and revenue sharing in consideration for the OIB’s support of Merit’s Greenwood Gold Project. The OIB will be sharing revenues received under the IBA with the Okanagan Nation Alliance.
As part of this consideration, Merit has committed to contributing to the OIB’s Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre Endowment Fund. The agreement provides the framework for Merit and the OIB to work together and to support each other in a spirit of mutual respect, cooperation, openness and friendship in relation to the Project and the resources. The OIB supports the exploration, development and operations affiliated with the Project including its current and future permitting.
An Environmental Management Committee will be established to provide a forum for open dialogue between Merit and the OIB with respect to the environmental impacts and potential impacts on the Project area, to review these matters on a regular basis and to provide the OIB the opportunity to make recommendations to Merit respecting environmental matters concerning the Project.
“We are pleased to be entering into this landmark agreement with Merit Mining Corp.,” said Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie. “From the beginning we have seen this as a good business opportunity, as well as recognizing and protecting our Aboriginal rights. It will create more job opportunities and revenues for the OIB to invest in community development, health, training and education.”
Fred Sveinson, President & CEO of Merit states, “The signing of this agreement with the OIB culminates a year of consultation and negotiations. It has been a pleasure working with Chief Clarence Louie and his negotiating team and meeting with OIB members, as well as other Chiefs and members of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. We are particularly pleased that the Osoyoos Indian Band has shown confidence in Merit management and the Greenwood Gold Project. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the OIB and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, while working on the Greenwood Gold Project and other future projects”.
The Company is currently processing a 10,000 tonne underground bulk sample from its Lexington-Grenoble Mine at its newly constructed Greenwood gravity-flotation mill and, as previously announced on May 9, 2008, has received its mine and mill operating permits to operate at a production rate of 72,000 tonnes per annum (~ 200 tonnes per day) for the life of mine. The first shipment of gravity gold concentrate was made three weeks ago to an offsite refinery and the first shipment of flotation copper concentrate to an off shore smelter is targeted for the end of May.
Merit Mining Corp.
Signed “Fred Sveinson”
Fred Sveinson, President & CEO
For further information please contact:
Fred Sveinson at (604) 694-2344
For Investor Relations information contact:
MarketSmart Communications (604) 261-4466
(Toll Free 1-877-261-4466)
For further information from the OIB contact:
Bill Eisenhauer, Good Relations Inc. (250) 383-5605 or (250) 744-4748
The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
The statements made in this News Release may contain certain forward-looking statements. Actual events or results may differ from the Company’s expectations. Certain risk factors may also affect the actual results achieved by the Company.