Astral Mining Corporation
TSX VENTURE : AA
PINK SHEETS : AAMJF
TSX VENTURE : AA.WT

Astral Mining Corporation
Kootenay Gold Inc.
TSX VENTURE : KTN

Kootenay Gold Inc.

December 16, 2009 07:00 ET

Astral to Acquire 100% Interest in Jumping Josephine, Kootenay to Receive 4,000,000 Shares of Astral

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire – Dec. 16, 2009) - Kootenay Gold Inc. ("Kootenay") (TSX VENTURE:KTN) and Astral Mining Corporation ("Astral") (TSX VENTURE:AA)(TSX VENTURE:AA.WT)(PINK SHEETS:AAMJF) are pleased to announce the execution of an Option Agreement dated December 14th, 2009 (the "Option Agreement"), whereby Astral has the right to earn a 100% interest in the Jumping Josephine Property, located in British Columbia, Canada (Astral currently holds a 60% undivided interest and Kootenay holds a 40% undivided interest). In exchange for the right to increase its interest to 100%, Astral must, subject to TSX Venture Exchange ("TSX-V") approval, issue to Kootenay a total of 4,000,000 shares of Astral and incur exploration expenditures totalling $2,000,000.

Manfred Kurschner, President, comments. "The opportunity to acquire the remaining 40% interest of the "JJ", is a key corporate development for Astral, allowing the company to hold a 100% interest in a new and potentially substantial gold project in a first world country. Many of the key components of an economic gold deposit, such as location, infrastructure and grade are all here. Now the company needs to embark on a comprehensive exploration program to fully unlock the potential of this great early stage gold discovery."

 Highlights of Drill Results at Jumping Josephine include:

• 9.95 grams per tonne gold over 10 metres from hole 001 ....... including 42.61 grams per tonne gold over 2 metres
• 7.01 grams per tonne gold over 19 metres gold from hole 013 ....... including 16.42 grams per tonne gold over 5 metres
• 15.18 grams per tonne gold over 4 metres gold from hole 032 ....... including 56.4 grams per tonne over 1 metre
• 7.74 grams per tonne gold over 5 metres gold from hole 034 ....... including 15.99 grams per tonne over 2 metres
• 13.83 grams per tonne gold over 3 metres gold from hole 043 ........ including 35.6 grams per tonne over 1 metre
• 8.28 grams per tonne gold over 6 metres gold from hole 046 ........ including 43.5 grams per tonne gold over 1 metre
• 12.44 grams per tonne gold over 8 metres from hole 048 ....... including 26.9 grams per tonne gold over 3 metres
• 7.96 grams per tonne gold over 5 metres gold from hole 051 ....... including 32.4 grams per tonne gold over 1 meter
• 10.05 grams per tonne gold over 7.5 metres from hole 070
• 13.23 grams per tonne gold over 4 metres from hole 072
• 7.01 grams per tonne gold over 2 metres from hole 073
• 8.31 grams per tonne gold over 8 metres from hole 074

Planning and permitting is now underway for a focused and comprehensive trenching and diamond drilling program on the Jumping Josephine Project for the spring 2010, as well as the previously-announced bulk sampling at the JJ Main zone. This work will continue to evaluate the two kilometre JJ Main structure, as well as testing a number of other high-priority targets.

Gold encountered over a strike length of 900 metres(m) and to vertical depths of up to 240m below surface and remains open on strike and at depth. A map showing drillhole locations and a longitudinal section are provided on Astral's website at the following links: http://www.astralmining.com/i/misc/Drill_Plan2008.jpg and http://www.astralmining.com/i/misc/JJ_Long_Section2008.jpg.

Terms of Option

Pursuant to the Option Agreement, Astral has the right to acquire Kootenay's 40% interest in the Jumping Josephine Property, thereby giving Astral 100% ownership and control of the project. Kootenay also will include a 61.04km2 package of claim blocks contiguous to the North and on strike with the Jumping Josephine property known as the CP/Midas Claims. To exercise the option Astral must:

  1. issue to Kootenay an aggregate 4,000,000 common shares with 750,000 shares issuable upon receiving TSX-V approval and the balance issuable in stages over 18 months from the date of the Option Agreement and
  2. expend $2 million on exploration over a 2 year period with a commitment to spend $750,000 by the first anniversary and the balance by the second anniversary of the Option Agreement. Astral will also make available to Kootenay one board position.

Should any portion of the "JJ" or CP/Midas Claims go into commercial production, Astral will pay Kootenay a royalty of 1% net smelter returns (NSR) and will issue to Kootenay an additional 400,000 common shares.

Technical Details

Jumping Josephine is a new gold discovery in southern British Columbia where Astral holds total claims of 338 km2. Mineralisation at the JJ Main Zone was identified by prospectors in 2004, trenched by Astral in 2006 and first drilling was conducted in spring 2007. To date Astral has completed a total of 103 diamond drillholes for a total of 12,800m over the Jumping Josephine claim block. The majority of drilling has focused on the JJ Main Gold Discovery Zone, with 92 holes totalling 11,603m completed since spring 2007.

Gold mineralisation at JJ Main is associated with a quartz stockwork zone within faulted monzonite thought to be of Jurassic age. Mineralisation has been intersected by drilling over a strike length of 900m and to a vertical depth of 240m. The zone has a true width of up to 12.4m as evidenced by hole 013. The hosting structure is demonstrated by geophysics and geological observation to persist for over 2.5km along strike. JJ Main is located within by a circular magnetic feature thought to represent a causative buried intrusive stock. Parallel structures to JJ Main are considered highly prospective; an example is hole104 which intersected mineralised stockwork veining reminiscent of the JJ Main zone some 400m perpendicular to the strike of JJ Main. 

Visible gold is often observed within the stockwork quartz veins and individual metre-wide samples range up to 61.8 grams per tonne gold (hole 048 58-59m). The presence of coarse gold was noted early during exploration and all samples from the stockwork zone were analyzed by the metallic screen fire assay method initially by ACME Analytical Laboratories and later ALS Chemex, both analytical service providers compliant with ISO 9001:2000 for the provision of assay and geochemical services. The metallic screen fire assay method aims to report the total contained gold for a 1,000g sub-sample of each pulverized sample received and is considered more accurate than the routine 30g fire assay analysis when coarse gold is present. Astral included its own blanks and independently-prepared standards into the sample sequence to assure proper quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC). Samples adjacent to the mineralized stockwork zone do not host obvious quartz veining or sulphide mineralization and are sent for 30gm fire assay analysis for gold. 

Exploration work reported in this release was completed under the supervision of Astral's Project Geologist Dale Brittliffe, P.Geo.and a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101.

Astral

Astral Mining Corporation is a Canadian company engaged in the exploration and development of precious metal properties in North America. By focusing on exploration in mining-friendly districts, the Company minimizes the political and social risks encountered in many other parts of the world. With a new gold discovery at the Company's Jumping Josephine Gold Project in Southern British Columbia and an experienced technical team and seasoned management, Astral is poised to leverage this expertise into early exploration success. Further details on Astral Mining Corporation and its high-quality portfolio of exploration projects can be found atwww.astralmining.com.

Kootenay

Kootenay is an emerging exploration Company actively developing mineral projects in the Sierra Madre Region of Mexico and in British Columbia, Canada. The Company is currently drill testing four separate projects. Kootenay's top priority remains the ongoing development of its Promontorio Silver project in Sonora State, Northwest Mexico, which encompasses the former producing Promontorio Silver Mine. Further information can be found at: www.kootenaygold.ca.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Mr. Manfred Kurschner, President & CEO

Astral Mining Corporation

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Mr. James M. McDonald, President & CEO

Kootenay Gold Inc.

Cautionary Note to US Investors: This news release may contain information about adjacent properties on which we have no right to explore or mine. We advise U.S. investors that the SEC's mining guidelines strictly prohibit information of this type in documents filed with the SEC. U.S. investors are cautioned that mineral deposits on adjacent properties are not indicative of mineral deposits on our properties. This news release may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, receipt of property titles, potential mineral recovery processes, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.

2009 Number 15

Kootenay Shares Outstanding – 37,054,600

Astral Shares Outstanding – 5,353,900

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release

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