VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, May 6, 2010 (Marketwire) -- International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. ("ITH" or the "Company") (TSX:ITH)(NYSE Amex:THM)(FRANKFURT:IW9) is pleased to announce that Raven Gold Alaska Inc. ("Raven"), a subsidiary of ITH, has signed a key exploration agreement with Ahtna Incorporated, an Alaskan Native Corporation ("Ahtna"), which owns or has selected highly prospective land surrounding the high priority Ahtell porphyry system which forms part of the Chisna Project Joint Venture between Raven and Ocean Park Alaska Corp. ("OPA"), an Alaskan subsidiary of Ocean Park Ventures Corp. of Vancouver, BC (TSXV: OCP). The agreement is the first step in developing a strategic partnership with Ahtna for the exploration and development of mineral resources in the promising Chisna porphyry belt of Alaska. The Ahtna lands add an additional 75,520 acres to the existing 87,940 acres of Alaska State mining claims that make up the Chisna Project (Figure 1: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ith506ma.pdf). Pursuant to the agreement, Ahtna has consented to the transfer of Raven's rights to the Ocean Park/Raven Joint Venture. Further consent will be required if Raven ceases to be the operator under the Joint Venture.
Ahtna Agreement Summary
Ahtna and Raven have signed a Mineral Exploration Agreement with Option to Lease effective March 30, 2010 over a 75,520 acre parcel surrounding existing Alaska State mining claims held by Raven. The key terms of the Ahtna agreement include the following:
-- exclusive right to explore, and the option to enter into a mining lease
to develop and mine, the subject lands for a six-year period
-- annual option payments of US$1.00 - US$1.25 per acre
-- minimum exploration expenditures of US$4 - US$8 per acre, provided that
if the agreement is not terminated at the end of any option year, the
exploration expenditures for the next year become a firm commitment
-- at the end of the third year, Raven will release at least 50% of the
original lands subject to the agreement
-- preferential contracting, hiring and training practices for Ahtna
shareholders or designees
-- scholarship contributions to the Ahtna Heritage Foundation
(US$10,000/year, subject to increase for inflation)
-- all surface work subject to Ahtna archaeological and cultural clearance
Upon Raven having expended an aggregate of US$1,000,000 (including 2,500 feet of core drilling) and having completed a feasibility study over some or all of the land subject to the exploration agreement within the six year term of the exploration agreement, Raven has the option to enter into a mining lease. The key terms of the mining lease include:
-- exclusive mining rights for an initial term of ten years and so long
thereafter as commercial production continues
-- minimum exploration expenditures of US$4.00 - US$9.00 per acre subject
to the lease until commercial production is achieved, escalating over
-- advance minimum royalty payments of US$6 - US$12 per acre escalating
over time (50% deductible from production royalties)
-- net smelter return production royalties for gold and silver scaled from
2.5% (gold price US$550 per ounce or less) to 14% (gold price per ounce
US$1,900 or higher per ounce), 2.5% on base metals and 3% on all
minerals other than gold, silver or base metals
-- in the event Raven acquires rights to minerals within the area subject
to the lease, the acquired minerals lands are subject to a production
royalty in favour of Ahtna of 2% of the gross value of any gold and
silver and a NSR of 1% on base metals
-- Ahtna is also entitled to receive an amount by which 20% of the net
profits realized by Raven from its mining operations on Ahtna minerals
(10% in the case of non-Ahtna minerals) in any year exceed the aggregate
royalties paid by Raven to Ahtna in that year
-- Ahtna has the right to acquire a working interest in the lands subject
to the lease, which is to be greater than or equal to 10% but not more
than 15%, upon Raven having made a production decision, and in
consideration, Ahtna will be required to fund ongoing operations after
such exercise in an amount equal to 200% of Ahtna's percentage share of
the pre-production expenditures incurred by Raven (not including advance
minimum royalty payments to Ahtna). Should Ahtna exercise such option,
it would become a participant in the Ocean Park/Raven Joint Venture
Chisna Project Background
The Chisna Project, located in the Chistochina mining district of south-central Alaska, is a Joint Venture between OPA and Raven. Ocean Park's initial contribution in respect of its 51% interest in the Joint Venture is US$20M in exploration expenditures over a 5 year period. Raven is the initial operator. The 2010 exploration budget is in excess of US$6M.
The Chisna Porphyry belt contains numerous unexplored copper and gold targets with the two most significant being the highly prospective +8 square kilometre Ahtell alkaline porphyry copper-gold system (which has recently been augmented by the Ahtna land addition) and the large 40 square kilometre POW system at the northwest end of the belt.
The project is targeting Cretaceous copper-gold porphyry style mineralization of a similar age to the Pebble deposit, located approximately 600 kilometres to the southwest. The Chisna Project contains a number of grassroots surface discoveries made by ITH in 2006 and 2007 which were the focus of the 2008 follow-up work.
Planned 2010 exploration work will include:
-- regional airborne ZTEM survey over 2,270 square kilometres
-- geochemical soil and silt sampling program
-- regional and property scale geological mapping
-- 6,000 metres of diamond core drilling focussing on the POW and Ahtell
About International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.
International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. is a resource exploration company, focused in Alaska and Nevada, which controls a number of exploration projects representing a spectrum from early stage to the advanced multimillion ounce gold discovery at Livengood. ITH is committed to building shareholder value through new discoveries while maintaining a majority interest in its key holdings, thereby giving its shareholders the maximum value for their investment.
On behalf of International Tower Hill Mines Ltd.
Jeffrey A. Pontius, President and Chief Executive Officer
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 27E of the Exchange Act. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the anticipated content, commencement and cost of exploration programs, anticipated exploration program results, the discovery and delineation of mineral deposits/resources/reserves, business and financing plans and business trends, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as: believe, expect, anticipate, intend, estimate, postulate and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events. The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements by the Company are not guarantees of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, variations in the nature, quality and quantity of any mineral deposits that may be located, variations in the market price of any mineral products the Company may produce or plan to produce, the inability of the Company to obtain any necessary permits, consents or authorizations required for its activities, the inability of the Company to produce minerals from its properties successfully or profitably, to continue its projected growth, to raise the necessary capital or to be fully able to implement its business strategies, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company's Annual Information Form filed with certain securities commissions in Canada and the Company's annual report on Form 40-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), and other information released by the Company and filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies. All of the Company's Canadian public disclosure filings may be accessed via www.sedar.com and its United States public disclosure filings may be accessed via www.sec.gov, and readers are urged to review these materials, including the technical reports filed with respect to the Company's mineral properties.
Cautionary Note Regarding Similar or Adjacent Properties
This press release contains information with respect to adjacent or similar mineral properties in respect of which the Company has no interest or rights to explore or mine. The Company advises US investors that the US Securities and Exchange Commission's mining guidelines strictly prohibit information of this type in documents filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned that the Company has no interest in or right to acquire any interest in any such properties, and that mineral deposits on adjacent or similar properties are not indicative of mineral deposits on the Company's properties.
This press release is not, and is not to be construed in any way as, an offer to buy or sell securities in the United States.