Alturas Minerals Corp.

Alturas Minerals Corp.

February 17, 2010 09:00 ET

Alturas Earns 100% in Huajoto Project in Central Peru, Confirms Extensive Rare Earth Element (REE) Potential

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2010) - Alturas Minerals Corp. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:ALT)(BVLAC:ALT) announced that it has increased its share in the Huajoto zinc-gold-rare earth element project in central Peru to 100%. Alturas has earned this share after having completed a minimum exploration expenditure of US$1.5 million to earn an initial 65%; Joint Venture partner Teck Cominco Peru S.A. ("Teck") subsequently has opted to pass the remaining 35% share to Alturas in consideration for 1 million Alturas shares plus a 1% NSR royalty on gold and a 0.5% NSR on all other metals extracted from the property. The issue of shares to Teck is subject to approval by the TSX Venture Exchange and the agreement is expected to be closed within one month.

In addition the Company reports on a recently completed geological study that greatly expands the Rare Earth Element (REE) potential of the property.

Paul Pearson, President and CEO of Alturas commented, "Huajoto is emerging as an exciting REE play with considerable bulk tonnage potential. Recent petrological work has confirmed the alkalic chemistry of some of the intrusive rocks at Huajoto, which is very unusual for the Andes. Detailed ground radiometrics completed by the Company has revealed the existence of a radiogenic anomaly approximately 4 x 4 kilometers in size that outlines an alkalic injection sill complex, with associated garnet skarns that are related to the REE concentrations. The radiometrics revealed that the "Caty-Pablo" prospect, where we have focused much of our previous work, lies on the extreme northwestern edge of this large anomaly and there are extensive areas yet to be explored. On July 18, 2008 Alturas previously reported strongly elevated REE values from trenches at Caty-Pablo that included up to 74.5 meters @ 0.49% total REE oxides, with a section of 10.4 meters @ 1.05% total REE oxides. Currently we are in the process of reanalyzing several of our previous drillholes from the Caty-Pablo area for the full suite of rare earth elements and expect results in the coming months."

A recently completed internal study of key samples from Huajoto using Scanning Electron Microscopy, Optical Microscopy, plus Induced Couple Plasma and X-ray Diffractometry whole rock analysis methods, has highlighted a close genetic relationship between alkaline volcanic / intrusive rocks and strong phosphorus and REE anomalies. The alkaline rocks identified comprise alkali trachytes, tephrites and basalts, and in general exhibit high calcium contents. Concentrations of the REE's have been identified within phosphate minerals from the project such as carbonated monazite, dahllite, apatite and fluorapatite genetically associated with the alkalic sill complex.

REE results from trenches at the Caty-Pablo prospect, expressed as total percent rare earth oxides and previously released in 2008, are tabled below. Trenches were cut perpendicular to the strike of lithogic layering in a strongly altered tephrite / skarn breccia sequence and sampled an area of outcrop approximately 180 x 180 meters in size.

Trench Meters Zn (%) Cu (%) Rare Earth Oxides %
Caty 1 114.5 0.05 0.09 0.18
including 12.00 0.03 0.13 0.41
Caty 2 54 0.46 0.09 0.24
including 4.00 1.45 0.13 0.21
74.5 0.19 0.08 0.49
including 10.4 0.27 0.12 1.05
Caty 3 69.6 0.90 0.18 0.29
including 8.00 2.70 0.05 0.17
32.0 0.20 0.05 0.31
Caty 4 40.0 2.00 0.14 0.24
including 4.30 5.26 0.27 0.42
52.0 0.06 0.01 0.19

About the Huajoto Zinc-Gold Rare Earth Element project

The Huajoto Project is situated 22 kilometers northwest of the historical mining town of Huancavelica in Central Peru. The project is comprised of eight contiguous mineral concessions with a totalling 3,700 hectares. Three parties have contributed claims to the project. Teck holds title to Huajoto 3 and 4, while Alturas controls the Conaica 1, 2, 3, 4 and Huajoto 5 concessions. The underlying Esperanza Uno concession is controlled by COMACSA, which is a Peruvian industrial minerals company.

In an agreement signed on August 24, 2007 Alturas was granted a first option by Teck to acquire an initial 65% interest in Teck's claims by spending US$1.5 million on exploration on the property over 3 years. After earning this equity, both parties were to have had a second option to form a joint venture company between Alturas (65%) and Teck (35%). However, the agreement included a provision that Teck could elect either to contribute pro-rata thereafter or to exit and receive either cash or Alturas shares in consideration for its remaining 35% interest plus an NSR royalty.

Alturas also agreed with COMACSA to acquire the underlying Esperanza Uno property by way of a mining assignment and option agreement in favor of Alturas for five years. Staggered cash payments for a total of US$100,000 would be made to COMACSA over the first four years. No exploration commitments were included in the contract. However, if Alturas, in agreement with Teck, were to exercise the option, COMACSA would receive a 5% net profit interest in the joint venture company formed by Alturas and Teck, in return for the transfer of its Esperanza Uno property to the joint venture company.

About the Rare Earth Elements

The Rare-Earth Elements (REE) are naturally occurring non-toxic materials, whose unique chemical and physical properties make them essential to emerging technologies that contribute to environmental, energy efficiency and health solutions. REE's consist of 16 elements, being the 15 lanthanide-series elements lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium, plus the metal yttrium. The REE's are grouped together as they display broadly similar chemical properties and are indispensable and non-replaceable in many electronic, optical, magnetic and catalytic applications.

China controls an estimated 97% of the world's production of REE's. In 2009, rumours that the China government was considering imposing a ban on rare earth exports caused considerable concern among manufacturers worldwide. Although no prohibition appears to be imminent, the rumour exposed fundamental weaknesses in the supply chain to free-market economies. For that reason, there is strong interest in identifying quality rare earth deposits that will ensure future stable production.

About Alkalic Igneous Complexes, Carbonatites and the REE's

The most significant economic concentrations of REE-bearing minerals are hosted in, or associated with, alkaline igneous rocks and carbonatites.

Alkaline igneous rocks are igneous rocks that form from magmas and fluids so enriched in alkalis that they precipitate sodium- and potassium-bearing minerals not usually found in "normal" rocks. Magmas rapidly chilled to glassy rocks during volcanic eruptions may not actually contain any of these minerals, but contain alkali-rich components in their normative composition, i.e. chemical analysis recalculated to a standard set of components which approximate real minerals: e.g. normative nepheline equals NaAlSiO4. Alkaline rocks may contain several volumetric per cent or more of exotic minerals containing essential Zirconium, REE's, Niobium, Strontium, Barium, or Lithium: many of these minerals are either exceedingly rare or not present at all in other rock types.

Carbonatites are igneous rocks composed of more than 50% carbonate minerals, predominantly calcite and dolomite. Carbonatite usually occur as small plugs within zoned alkalic intrusive complexes, or as intrusive bodies, but can form as dikes or veins in the host rocks. The Mountain Pass deposit in California, United States, is one of the western world's largest economic concentrations of REE's and is hosted by a carbonatite dike.

About Alturas Minerals Corp.

Alturas is a Canadian corporation, and is the parent of Alturas Minerals S.A. ("Alturas Peru"). Alturas Peru has been actively exploring various mineral projects in Peru since January 2004. Alturas' properties include four drill-ready mineral exploration projects located in central and southern Peru, which includes the Chapi Chapi-Utupara Copper-Gold Project, the Sombrero Copper-Gold Project, the Ccaccapaqui Gold-Silver Project and the Huajoto Gold-Silver-Zinc Project. In addition, Alturas Peru has interests in four other exploration projects in Peru. Alturas' exploration strategy is focused on the discovery of large epithermal gold mineralized deposits and copper-gold porphyry/skarn deposits in Peru and Chile. For further information, please visit the Company's website at

As required by the National Instrument 43-101, Alturas's designated Qualified Person for the supervision of exploration of the projects is Dr. Paul Pearson, F. AUSIMM, President and CEO of the Company, who has reviewed the technical information reported in this News Release.

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Cautionary Language and Forward Looking Statements

This press release may contain "forward-looking statements", which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Investors are cautioned that such statements are not guarantees of future performance and results. Risks and uncertainties about the Company's business are more fully discussed in the Company's disclosure documents filed from time to time with the Canadian securities authorities.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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