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NovaCopper Announces First Quarter Financial Results

April 9, 2013 - Vancouver, British Columbia - NovaCopper Inc. (TSX, NYSE-MKT: NCQ) ("NovaCopper" or "the Company") today announced the results of the first quarter ended February 28, 2013. Details of the Company's financial results are described in the unaudited consolidated financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis which, together with further details on each of the Company's projects will be available on the Company's website at www.novacopper.com, on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on EDGAR at www.sec.gov. All amounts are in United States dollars unless otherwise stated.

First Quarter Financial Results

The following unaudited quarterly information is prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.



in thousands of dollars,
except for per share amounts
  Three months ended
February 28, 2013
$
Three months ended
February 29, 2012
$
Amortization
General and administrative
Mineral properties expense
Professional fees
Salaries
Salaries -- stock-based compensation
Loss and comprehensive loss for the year
Basic and diluted loss per common share
250
548
802
299
549
4,113
6,626
$0.13
118
25
637
2
84
-
865
$0.02


For the three months ended February 28, 2013, NovaCopper reported a net loss of $6.6 million (or $0.13 basic and diluted loss per common share) compared to a net loss of $0.9 million for the corresponding period in 2012 (or $0.02 basic and diluted loss per common share). This variance was primarily due to a non-cash stock-based compensation charge of $4.1 million, salaries of $0.5 million and general and administrative expenses of $0.5 million incurred as a result of NovaCopper being a stand-alone public company in 2013 compared to 2012. The first quarter of 2012 was prior to the spin-out from NovaGold which became effective April 30, 2012 whereby the majority of expenses related to mineral property expenses has been accounted for as if the project expenditures were incurred by the Company from the project's inception.

Total stock-based compensation expense recognized for the period was $4.1 million which included $1.9 million for options granted under the NovaCopper stock option plan, $0.04 million for NovaCopper shares to be issued upon exercise of NovaGold options as a result of the spin-out, and $2.1 million for Restricted Stock Units and Deferred Share Units granted to employees and directors, respectively. As NovaCopper was not a publicly traded entity in the first quarter of 2012, there is no similar charge. Further, as a result of becoming a separate public company, expenses were incurred relating to general and administrative expenses of $0.5 million and salaries of $0.5 million for which there are minimal comparable expenses in 2012 of $0.1 million. The comparable basic and diluted loss per common share for 2013 is significantly higher than 2012 mainly as a result of the increased net loss. Expenses to April 30, 2012, the date of completion of the spin-out, were funded by NovaGold.

For the three months ended February 28, 2013, NovaCopper reported mineral property expenses of $0.8 million compared to $0.6 million for the corresponding period in 2012. Similar expenses were incurred consisting of engineering, project support expenses for the upcoming field season and community initiatives.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

At February 28, 2013, NovaCopper had $18.7 million in cash and cash equivalents and working capital of $16.8 million. We expended $3.5 million on operating activities during the three-month period ended February 28, 2013, compared with expenditures of $1.3 million for operating activities for the same period in 2012. Cash spent on operating activities in 2013 was mainly expended on mineral property expenses, general and administrative expenses, salaries, and reducing current liabilities. A majority of cash spent on operating activities in the three months ended February 29, 2012 was expended on mineral property expenses.

Outlook

NovaCopper has approved a budget of $16.0 million for its 2013 exploration program, technical reviews, formal studies and general and administrative costs. During 2013, we plan to carry out additional diamond core drilling focused on the Bornite Project and complete a preliminary economic assessment study on an open-pit mining scenario at the Arctic deposit during the summer of 2013.

We are continuing to work with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority ("AIDEA") and plan to sign a memorandum of understanding during the first half of 2013 as the next step to advancing the road into the Ambler mining district. The State of Alaska and AIDEA are working on initiating permitting for the road which is expected to provide access to NovaCopper's Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects ("UKMP Projects") which includes the Arctic and Bornite Projects. We are also continuing to focus efforts on community relations and workforce development strategies, working closely with NANA on these efforts.

Qualified Persons

Scott Petsel, P.Geo., UKMP Projects Manager, is a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101 and has reviewed and accepts responsibility for the technical information contained within this press release.

About NovaCopper

NovaCopper Inc. is a base metals exploration company focused on exploring and developing the Ambler mining district in Alaska. It is one of the richest and most-prospective known copper-dominant districts located in one of the safest geopolitical jurisdictions in the world. It hosts world-class VMS deposits that contain copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver, and carbonate replacement deposits which have been found to host high-grade copper mineralization. Exploration efforts have been focused on two deposits in the Ambler district -- the Arctic VMS deposit with ~7% copper-equivalent grades and the Bornite carbonate replacement deposit which contains Indicated Resources of 179 million lbs of copper and Inferred Resources of 3.3 billion lbs of copper at the Ruby Creek and South Reef zones . Both projects are located within NovaCopper's land package that spans approximately 143,000 hectares. NovaCopper has formed a partnership with NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., an Alaskan Native Corporation that provides a framework for the exploration and potential development of the Ambler Mining District in cooperation with the local communities. Our vision is to develop the Ambler mining district into a premier North American copper producer.

More information on the Company, its properties and its management team is available on the Company's website at www.novacopper.com.

 

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