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Western Areas Updates on its Nickel Projects

Western Areas (TSX:WSA)(ASX:WSA) has announced the following results from a range of the Company's nickel projects and interests in Australia, Finland and Canada.

This follows the Board's decision to increase the rate of exploration and acquire new projects within well defined nickel provinces, in areas with low sovereign risk and with well established mining related infrastructure.

Western Areas' Board has a very positive view on future nickel prices and as a result, the Company's exploration budget has been increased 30% to A$20M for CY 2011. This budget excludes FinnAust Mining Plc (WSA 75%), which is intended to become self funded from March Q 2011. This increase in exploration activity is part of a clear strategy to develop Western Areas towards becoming a major global nickel company.

The primary focus remains the Forrestania Nickel Project where the Company already has substantial production and mining infrastructure. The main objectives at Forrestania are to:

  1. Sustain >25,000 tpa nickel mine production from Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll mines
  2. Increase ore reserves and mine life at Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll to over 10 years
  3. Develop a third mine which can benefit from utilising the existing infrastructure
  4. Generate significant dividend returns to shareholders from low cost operations

Western Areas was recently awarded second place for 'Producer of the Year (2010)' in an Australia wide review of mining companies by Resource Stocks magazine. This recognition follows previous awards for mining and exploration and is a great credit to the excellent team of staff, consultants and contractors who work in all areas of the Company's operations.

On the exploration front, drilling is in progress at the Spotted Quoll, North Endeavour, New Morning and Sandstone projects in Australia and at the Rautavaara Project in Finland. In addition, substantial geophysical surveys have either recently been completed or are in progress at Sandstone, and at the East Bull Lake and Mayville projects in Canada. This announcement summarises some of the recent exploration results and developments at these projects.

Mr Adrian Black from geological consultants Newexco Services Pty Ltd ("Newexco") is responsible for the verification and quality assurance of the Company's exploration data and analytical results from the Forrestania Nickel Project. Mr Bill Amann from geological consultants Newexco Services Pty Ltd ("Newexco") is responsible for the verification and quality assurance of the geophysical data used in this release. Surface diamond drill hole collar surveys used differential GPS, down hole surveys employed a north seeking gyroscopic instrument; comprehensive density database; high assay confidence with systematic QA/QC procedures; and validated database. Samples of quarter core from the drill holes described in this release are prepared and analysed by ALS Chemex Ltd laboratory in Perth for nickel, copper, cobalt and other elements. Core samples are crushed and pulverised to 90% passing 75 microns then analysed for nickel by ore grade determination using the ALS OG–62 method. Assays standards are routinely inserted in the sample stream by Newexco for quality control.

The information within this report as it relates to exploration results or mineral resources is based on information compiled by Mr Julian Hanna and Mr Charles Wilkinson. Mr Hanna and Mr Wilkinson are members of AusIMM and are full time employees of the Company. Mr Hanna and Mr Wilkinson have sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which they are undertaking to qualify as a Competent Persons as defined in the 2004 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.' Mr Hanna and Mr Wilkinson consent to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on the information in the context in which it appears.

Source:

Western Areas

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