Avion Gold Corporation

Avion Gold Corporation

January 28, 2011 08:30 ET

Avion Appoints James H. Coleman, Q.C. as Independent Chairman of the Board

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2011) - Avion Gold Corporation (TSX:AVR)(OTCQX:AVGCF) ("Avion" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the appointment of James H. Coleman, Q.C. to the position of Independent Chairman of the Board. 

Mr. Coleman is a Senior Partner and former Chairman of Macleod Dixon, Barristers & Solicitors. He has extensive experience in international law with a focus on the energy and resource sectors in addition to corporate finance, banking and securities. He has been involved in banking, corporate, securities, mining and oil and gas transactions throughout the world including Africa. He has also been involved in a number of large divestments and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and major financings. He is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and has authored numerous legal papers on resource law and banking. As a director of various public companies, including mining and oil and gas companies, he has chaired various independent committees relating to corporate governance and securities matters. Mr. Coleman received his LL.B from Dalhousie University in 1974 and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Saint Francis Xavier University in 1971. In 2009 and 2010, Mr. Coleman was honoured as a "Best Lawyer in Canada, Natural Resources".

In conjunction with Mr. Coleman's appointment, Mr. Stan Bharti has resigned from the position of Executive Chairman and will remain on the Board of Directors. Also, to make room on the Board Mr. Don Dudek has agreed to resign from Avion's Board of Directors. Mr. Dudek will continue in his role as Senior Vice President of Exploration for the Company.

Mr. John Begeman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Avion, stated; "We are very pleased to welcome Jim to Avion. The Company had sought to increase the number of independent directors on the Board and to appoint an independent Chairman as part of our graduation to the Toronto Stock Exchange. Mr. Coleman's legal governance and resource expertise will complement our existing board and management team. We also would like to thank Mr. Dudek for his service as member of Avion's Board and look forward to his continued Service as Senior Vice President of Exploration."

Mr. Stan Bharti, Executive Chairman of Avion, stated; "Avion has grown considerably in the last year and the appointment of an Independent Chair is an important first step to achieving a more independent operation within the Forbes and Manhattan Group of Companies, while continuing to work to meet our goal of 200,000 ounces of gold production in 2012."

About Avion Gold Corporation

Avion is a Canadian-based gold mining company focused in West Africa that holds 80% of the Tabakoto and Ségala gold projects in Mali. Gold production commenced at these projects in 2009 with just over 51,000 ounces produced. 2010 production was 87,660 ounces of gold. Production sustainability has been supported and enhanced by an aggressive 2010 drill program over an approximately 500 km2 exploration package that both surrounds and is near to the Company's existing mine infrastructure. The current mineral resources estimate for the Tabakoto project demonstrates several sources of excellent grade open pit and good grade underground mineral resources thus providing significant flexibility for Avion's future mining plans. Additionally, the 1,670 km2 Houndé exploration property in Burkina Faso has returned promising results. These properties have been the subject of an approximate US$ 12 million dollar, approximate 70,000 metre, drill-focused, exploration program in 2010. Avion continues to progress towards its medium term goal of 200,000 ounces of gold per year and a longer term goal of organic growth through development of its exploration properties. The Company is developing an underground mine at the Tabakoto deposit, and is preparing to mine underground at the Ségala deposit. Avion has a highly skilled management team, with a focus on growth and consolidation within West Africa.

Cautionary Notes

The ability of Avion to increase production to 200,000 ounces of gold per year has not been the subject of a feasibility study and there is no certainty that the proposed expansion will be economically viable.

This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding the impact of the appointment on the Company, statements with respect to the development potential and timetable of the Mali projects; the future price of gold; the estimation of mineral resources; conclusions of economic evaluation (including scoping studies); the realization of mineral resource estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production, development and exploration; costs of future activities; capital and operating expenditures; success of exploration activities; mining or processing issues; currency exchange rates; government regulation of mining operations; and environmental risks. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, geopolitical and social uncertainties; the actual results of current exploration activities; ability to successfully integrate the purchased properties; foreign operations risks; other risks inherent in the mining industry and other risks described in the annual information form of the Company which is available under the profile of the Company on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

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