Aurizon Mines Ltd.

Aurizon Mines Ltd.

March 08, 2005 09:01 ET

Aurizon Awards Shaft Contract at Casa Berardi; States Reserves and Resources Growth Strategy


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: AURIZON MINES LTD.

TSX SYMBOL: ARZ
AMEX SYMBOL: AZK

MARCH 8, 2005 - 09:01 ET

Aurizon Awards Shaft Contract at Casa Berardi; States
Reserves and Resources Growth Strategy

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 8, 2005) - Aurizon
Mines Ltd. (TSX:ARZ)(AMEX:AZK) is pleased to announce that the shaft
contract at the West Mine area of the Casa Berardi Project has been
awarded to Ross Finlay 2000 Inc., subject to procurement of financing.

A positive Feasibility Study delivered in January of this year indicates
that shaft raising, rather than conventional shaft sinking will
significantly reduce the shaft construction schedule.

Alimak raising of the shaft, from the 550 metre level up to the
rehabilitated 280 metre level, and from the 280 metre level to surface,
was completed in early January. The 42 metre deep shaft collar was
constructed concurrently.

The alimak raise will be slashed to a 5.5 metre diameter from the
surface down to the 550 metre level. Conventional sinking will then be
performed down to the shaft bottom at 810 metres.

In addition, related underground infrastructure such as shaft stations,
loading pockets and drift access will be completed.

Reserves and resources growth strategy

A C$7 million budget has been planned for exploration on the Project
this year. A total of 47,000 metres of drilling is scheduled from
underground and 19,000 metres of drilling from surface.

The Feasibility Study presents a start up scenario at Casa Berardi based
on 867,000 ounces, which represents only 33% of the known gold inventory
on site. Aurizon anticipates increasing the reserve level significantly
over the next 18 months, concurrently with the preproduction development
required to advance the project to commercial production.

Aurizon is working on an updated Feasibility Study which will integrate
the high grade indicated mineral resources located below the 700 metre
level in Zone 113, which currently total 838,000 tonnes at 13.7 grams of
gold per tonne, or approximately 368,000 ounces, into the current mining
plan. Aurizon intends to deliver a revised mineral reserve estimate in
the second quarter of 2005 and a revised Feasibility Study in the third
quarter of 2005.

Exploration and infill drilling of Zones 118 to 120 will be conducted
from the 550 metre level track drift, which will be extended east for a
distance of approximately 1 kilometre. Aurizon intends to increase the
confidence level of the inferred mineral resources, defined by the
previous surface exploration program, with infill drilling so that they
can be integrated into an extended mine plan.

Deep drilling of Zone 113's high grade extension is currently being
conducted from a crosscut on the 550 metre level to depths between 900
and 1,100 metres.

The 2005 surface drill program consists of 17,000 metres of drilling,
following up last years exploration successes at Zones 140 and 157 in
the vicinity of the East Mine. Some of the drilling of Zone 140 may take
place from the 280 metre level drift.

West of the West Mine, a geophysics and geochemistry program is planned
to identify new drill targets. An additional 2,000 metres of drilling is
planned for this area.

Aurizon has assembled an experienced technical team who have had
previous mining experience with major mining companies such as Barrick,
Placer Dome, Falconbridge, Noranda, Inco, Agnico Eagle,
Aur Resources and Cambior. Their experience has been invaluable
throughout the feasibility study process, as they are experienced in
both start-up situations, and in mine operations.

Aurizon's future growth strategy will focus primarily on the development
and ongoing exploration of Casa Berardi, together with the pursuit of
other growth alternatives. A small corporate development group has been
established to evaluate opportunities to increase the Company's gold
reserve base and future production profile.

Casa Berardi Continuous Development Program

Aurizon's Continuous Development Program was designed to bring Casa
Berardi to commercial production in as short a period as possible, while
reducing the pre-production capital costs and lowering the technical and
financial risk of the Project. With this in mind, the Company initiated
some pre-production work in 2004 which is anticipated to have a positive
impact on the cost and the timeline of the Project.

On surface, the shaft collar and surface foundations have been
completed. The hoist installation is currently in progress.

Underground, the ventilation network has been modified to support
pre-production work. A ventilation raise, which will connect the 550
metre level ramp access with the 280 metre level track drift, is in
progress and will be completed in the first quarter of 2005.

The Feasibility Study presents an eighteen (18) month timeline to
complete all the remaining surface and underground development required.

"Aurizon has presented a four year growth plan which will see corporate
annual gold production grow from 33,000 ounces in 2004 to 190,000 ounces
in 2008. We are pleased to see that the start up scenario presented in
the Feasibility Study will enable us to continue the preproduction work
in progress, while at the same time increase the value of the asset with
underground and surface exploration drilling and gold reserve growth."
said Michel Gilbert, General Manager, P.eng. "We are confident that by
the time commercial production commences, Casa Berardi will have a
reserve base that supports a longer mine
life."

Additional Information

Aurizon is a Canadian gold producer with operations and exploration
activities in the Abitibi region of north-western Quebec, one of the
world's most prolific gold and base metal regions. Aurizon owns fifty
percent (50%) of the Sleeping Giant Mine and one hundred percent (100%)
of the Casa Berardi property, both of which are located in the Abitibi
region. Aurizon shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the
symbol "ARZ" and on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol "AZK".

This News Release contains "forward-looking statements", including, but
not limited to, statements regarding the Company's expectations as to
the market price of gold, strategic plans, future commercial production,
production targets and timetables, mine operating costs, capital
expenditures, work programs, exploration budgets and mineral reserve and
resource estimates. Forward-looking statements express, as at the date
of this report, the Company's plans, estimates, forecasts, projections,
expectations, or beliefs as to future events or results. Forward-looking
statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be
no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate. Therefore,
actual results and future events could differ materially from those
anticipated in such statements. Factors that could cause results or
events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or
implied by the forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited
to, factors associated with fluctuations in the market price of precious
metals, mining industry risks and hazards, environmental risks and
hazards, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral reserves and
resources, requirement of additional financing, risks of delays in
construction and other risks more fully described in Aurizon's Annual
Report on Form 20-F filed as an alternative form of AIF with the
Securities Commissions of the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and
Quebec, with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and
with the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Cautionary Note to US Investors

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission permits mining
companies, in their filings with the SEC to disclose only those mineral
deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce.
We use certain terms in this news release such as "mineral resources"
and "inferred resources" that the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us
from including in our Form 20-F, File No. 0-22672 available from us at
Suite 900, 510 Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6C 3A8. You can
also obtain this form from the SEC by calling in 1-800-SEC-0330 or visit
Aurizon's page on SEDAR, where all of the Company's public documents are
filed, including the Form 20-F (reference Annual Information Form).

U.S. Registration: (File #0-22672) Form 20-F

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Aurizon Mines Ltd.
    David P. Hall
    President
    (604) 687-6600 or Toll Free: 1-888-411-GOLD
    or
    Aurizon Mines Ltd.
    Patrick Soares
    Manager, Investor Relations
    (604) 687-6600 or Toll Free: 1-888-411-GOLD
    (604) 687-3932 (FAX)
    info@aurizon.com
    www.aurizon.com