Aura Minerals Inc.
TSX : ORA

Aura Minerals Inc.

October 14, 2009 19:35 ET

Aura Minerals Announces 2009 Third Quarter Gold Production and Provides Corporate Update

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2009) - Aura Minerals Inc. ("Aura Minerals" or the "Company") (TSX:ORA) is pleased to announce that third quarter 2009 gold production from its 100%-owned San Andres Gold Mine ("San Andres Mine") in Honduras was 6,925 ounces. The production information provided is preliminary and may differ slightly from the third quarter earnings. Aura Minerals closed the acquisition of the San Andres Mine on August 25, 2009, and as such, third quarter production is for the period of Aura Minerals' ownership only, from August 26 to September 30, 2009.

Third quarter highlights:

  • Closed acquisition of the San Andres Mine in Honduras on August 25, 2009;
  • Gold sales of 7,175 ounces for the period of Aura Minerals' ownership;
  • Gold production of 6,925 ounces for the period of Aura Minerals' ownership;
  • Received the Installation License for the Serrote Deposit at the Arapiraca Project in Brazil, which is the final environmental license required to proceed to construction of the project;
  • Issued the Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the Serrote Deposit showing robust economics; and
  • Continued to advance the engineering and mine development at the Aranzazu Copper-Gold-Silver Mine ("Aranzazu Mine") in Mexico towards a planned re-start of operations in second quarter of 2010.

Aura Minerals has completed the first stage of the acquisition of three producing gold mines as described in its news release of June 9, 2009, being the acquisition of the San Andres Mine in Honduras. An update regarding the second stage of the gold mines' acquisition, being the acquisition of the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente Gold Mines ("SF/SV Mines") in Brazil, is provided below.

With the acquisition of the San Andres Mine, Aura Minerals has immediate gold production and cash flow, and the Company is focused on continuing operational improvements at the San Andres Mine, which will begin to have a positive effect on production and cash flow beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009. Operational upgrades and improvements include:

  • Full integration of the new mining contractor on site, which has led to a substantial increase in mine production month-over-month in September 2009;
  • Continuing the construction on the new primary crusher and conveyor system to significantly reduce haulage distances and to increase throughput – mechanical completion of the crusher is expected by the end of November 2009, with completion of the conveyor system by year-end;
  • Commencement of metallurgical testwork on site to optimize the gold leach cycle and reagent dosage; and
  • Implementation of a new stacking and leaching plan to optimize gold recovery and reduce cash costs.

Patrick Downey, President and CEO of Aura Minerals stated, "We are very pleased with the operational performance of the San Andres Mine, and we will continue to focus our efforts to optimize throughput and recovery in the coming quarters. On this basis, we expect to see ongoing cash cost reductions during the fourth quarter of 2009 and into 2010. The acquisition of the San Andres Mine is the first step toward Aura Minerals achieving its stated goal of becoming a mid-tier gold producer. We anticipate the completion of the acquisition of the SF/SV Mines in approximately four to six months, which will solidify Aura Minerals' position as a +220,000 ounce-per-year producer. We have also accelerated engineering and development efforts at the Aranzazu Mine in Zacatecas, Mexico with the stated goal of recommencing production in second quarter of 2010. Recent drill results and our upcoming resource update lead us to believe that this mine could be developed into a large bulk tonnage underground operation and work will continue through 2010 to determine the full potential of this deposit.

The recently completed PEA for the Serrote Deposit also shows that the Company has a viable fully permitted development project in an area of excellent infrastructure in a mining friendly jurisdiction in Brazil. We plan to continue to optimize the project, including improvements in metallurgical recovery, magnetite marketing studies and additional drilling at the nearby Caboclo target which is still open in all directions."

Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente Gold Mines Acquisition Update

The acquisition of the SF/SV Mines in Brazil is proceeding on schedule, with the application to transfer the mineral concessions now in process. The acquisition of these mines is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010, as planned. In the interim, Aura Minerals will continue to review operational data to facilitate a smooth transitioning of the operations.

Aranzazu Mine, Mexico

Engineering and project development is well advanced at the Company's 100%-owned Aranzazu Mine in Zacatecas, Mexico, for a mine restart in the second quarter of 2010. The Company has completed 12,200 metres of close-spaced core drilling for resource definition in the BW, Mexicana, and Arroyos Azules Zones, which are the areas targeted for near-term production upon restart of the mine. Results from seventeen additional holes have been received. Highlights are as follows (see Table 1 and Map 1 below):

  • Hole AZC-024 which returned 19.5 metres of 1.40% Cu, 0.69 g/t Au and 3.18 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-027 which returned 7.5 metres of 1.64% Cu, 0.31 g/t Au and 26.92 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-028 which returned 42.0 metres of 1.36% Cu, 0.96 g/t Au and 14.10 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-029 which returned 33.0 metres of 1.21% Cu, 0.82 g/t Au and 10.10 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-031 which returned 9.0 metres of 2.55% Cu, 0.57 g/t Au and 28.0 g/t Ag and a further 12.0 metres of 1.28% Cu, 0.96 g/t Au and 16.51 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-032 which returned 28.5 metres of 2.04% Cu, 0.48 g/t Au and 20.75 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-034 which returned 15.0 metres of 1.44% Cu, 0.76 g/t Au and 13.92 g/t Ag;
  • Hole AZC-037 which returned 9.0 metres of 1.38% Cu, 0.30 g/t Au and 14.98 g/t Ag and a further 6.0 metres of 2.40% Cu, 0.44 g/t Au and 9.61 g/t Ag; and
  • Hole AZC-040 which returned 10.5 metres of 1.93% Cu, 1.35 g/t Au and 17.66 g/t Ag;

Based on results to date, an additional 14,000 metres of drilling has been approved for additional resource definition on several mineralized zones east of Arroyos Azules, which will begin shortly. An underground diamond drill rig is also being mobilized to site in December 2009 and will be used for stope definition work in the near-term mine planning areas of the BW, Mexicana, and Arroyos Azules Zones.

Ramp development into the high-grade resources of the Arroyos Azules Zone underneath the historical open pit is expected to begin in November 2009. In addition, mill upgrades have commenced, with the preparation of as built drawings, process design and procurement of long lead items. Removal of redundant equipment and start of construction will begin later this month. Commissioning is expected in April 2010, targeting initial throughput of 2,600 tonnes-per-day by July 2010. Confirmatory metallurgical testwork is underway for the continued optimization of copper and gold recovery.

The Company is also planning to commence an engineering study in 2010 to investigate the potential to develop the Aranzazu Mine as a high-tonnage, bulk-mining operation. The deposit has excellent mining widths and ground conditions and a 2,200 metre strike extent which is still open at both ends. Furthermore, the deposit is still open down-dip with a number of deep holes showing that there is good potential to expand the deposit in this direction as well as along strike.

Table 1 – Aranzazu Assays (see Map 1 below)





Hole #




East




North


Azi-
muth
(degrees)



Dip
(degrees)


From
(met-
res)


To
(met-
res)
Inter-
val
(1) (met-
res)

Cu
(2) (4) (%)


Au
(3) (g/t)


Ag
(3) (g/t)
AZC-0232538732724228210-55180.0186.06.00.870.402.38
AZC-0232538732724228210-55238.5249.010.50.620.144.13
AZC-0232538732724228210-55298.5306.07.51.230.3511.54
AZC-0232538732724228210-55313.5319.56.01.380.479.53
AZC-0242538702724230220-46133.5153.019.51.400.693.18
AZC-0242538702724230220-46166.5172.56.00.820.433.28
AZC-0262537612724290218-50159.0162.03.01.830.5344.55
AZC-0262537612724290218-50211.5216.04.50.910.340.15
AZC-0262537612724290218-50223.5229.56.01.030.350.14
AZC-0272537612724290216-58163.5171.07.51.640.3126.92
AZC-0272537612724290216-58232.5235.53.00.570.162.95
AZC-0272537612724290216-58246.0249.03.00.650.075.80
AZC-0282539852724122210-59183.0225.042.01.360.9614.10
AZC-0292539862724123211-64177.0181.54.51.010.7617.20
AZC-0292539862724123211-64210.0243.033.01.210.8210.10
AZC-0312539572724123211-61145.5154.59.02.550.5728.00
AZC-0312539572724123211-61159.0171.012.01.280.9616.51
AZC-0312539572724123211-61180.0183.03.00.971.498.50
AZC-0322539262724169212-63193.5222.028.52.050.4820.75
AZC-0322539262724169212-63228.0232.54.51.220.338.50
AZC-0332539302724125211-54126.0129.03.02.160.7522.05
AZC-0332539302724125211-54151.5157.56.00.810.657.15
AZC-0342539302724125207-63142.5145.53.00.940.254.90
AZC-0342539302724125207-63165.0180.015.01.440.7613.92
AZC-0352539302724125207-63113.0117.54.50.990.406.50
AZC-0352539302724125207-63123.5128.04.50.970.354.93
AZC-0362537932724253219-47198.0202.54.51.060.3114.63
AZC-0372539012724275215-52243.0246.03.00.570.233.30
AZC-0372539012724275215-52300.0306.06.00.810.154.23
AZC-0372539012724275215-52340.5349.59.01.380.3014.98
AZC-0372539012724275215-52358.5364.56.02.400.449.61
AZC-0402540212724132209-6120.523.53.00.560.071.50
AZC-0402540212724132209-61209.0219.510.51.931.3517.66
AZC-0452540032724201208-55123.5128.04.52.010.6711.97
AZC-0452540032724201208-55143.0146.03.03.930.9619.00
 (1)true width has yet to be determined
 (2)using a copper cutoff grade 0.5%
 (3)fire assay and atomic absorption finish
 (4)atomic absorption ("AA")

Qualified Person

Mark Pearson, P.Eng., who is the Company's Qualified Person, as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the contents of this news release, as applicable.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control ("QA/QC") Procedures for the Aranzazu Project

Prior to the suspension of exploration on December 10, 2008, the Company's core and reverse circulation drilling program was conducted by Layne de Mexico. The reverse circulation drill used a bit sized from 5.5 inches to 4.75 inches. The core program utilized HQ-sized core and then stepping down to NQ-sized core as required. Samples were collected on a 1.5 metre sample interval. The reverse circulation drill cuttings are split at the drill rig. The samples collected consist of an approximate 25% split of the total material recovered from the interval sampled. This material is shipped directly to the Inspectorate America Corp. ("Inspectorate") facility in Durango, Mexico and processed utilizing the same sample preparation protocol as used for the core samples discussed below. Assays were completed at the Inspectorate laboratory in Reno, Nevada. Diamond drilling core is logged, photographed and then split in half using a diamond core saw. Half the core is retained off-site in a secure storage facility and the other half is sampled, secured in sealed, labelled bags and then transported to the Inspectorate facility in Durango, Mexico and processed utilizing the same preparation protocol discussed below. Assays were completed at the Inspectorate laboratory in Reno, Nevada. The entire half-core and reverse circulation drill cuttings are crushed to 95% passing 2 millimetres, split and pulverized to 95% passing 150 mesh, split again, and a 150 gram sample sent for assay. Gold assays are determined by fire assay with an AA finish, over limit assays are determined by fire assay with a gravimetric finish. Silver assays are determined by three acid digestion with an AA finish, over limits are determined by fire assay with a gravimetric finish. All samples are analyzed by inductively coupled plasma emission spectrography for multi-element analysis and by AA for copper. The Company systematically inserts certified standard samples, sample duplicates in a non-sequential order and blank samples in all batches of samples sent to Inspectorate as a means of quality control. Additionally, Inspectorate has its own stringent internal QA/QC protocols. Check samples are systematically sent to the ALS Chemex lab in Vancouver, Canada. Chain of custody of drill samples is maintained throughout the process with the use of numbered seal tags closing sample bags and third party professional transportation of samples to the laboratories. Each stage of sample handling is recorded in log sheets and receipts obtained from each party involved.

About Aura Minerals Inc.

Aura Minerals is a Canadian resource company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of mining properties in the Americas. In addition to the Company's San Andres Mine in Honduras and the Aranzazu Mine in Mexico, the Company owns the advanced stage Arapiraca Project in north-eastern Brazil. The Company has also agreed to acquire the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente Gold Mines in Brazil, subject to regulatory approvals.

Cautionary Statement:

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include those risks set out in Aura Minerals' public documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although Aura Minerals believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Aura Minerals disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

To view the map associated with this press release, please click on the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ora1014.pdf

No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.

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