Avion Gold Corporation

Avion Gold Corporation

May 03, 2011 08:00 ET

Avion Increases Measured & Indicated Resource by 20% to 1.17 Million Ounces of Gold From 979,000 Ounces of Gold

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 3, 2011) - Avion Gold Corporation ("Avion" or "the Company") (TSX:AVR)(OTCQX:AVGCF), today announced its updated mineral resource estimation for the Tabakoto Project, including exploration drilling completed predominantly in Q1, 2011. Exploration drilling focused on the Tabakoto NW underground zones and the Djambaye II open pit zone. A summary of the current changes to the Tabakoto Project mineral resources are as follows:

  • Open Pit Measured and Indicated mineral resources increase 85% from 136,000 ounces of gold to 251,700 ounces of gold

  • Underground Measured and Indicated mineral resources increase 10% from 842,700 ounces of gold to 928,800 ounces of gold

The current mineral resources estimate update for the Tabakoto project presents updated resources for the Tabakoto NW zones and Djambaye II zone. The mineral resources, for all other zones on the Tabakoto Project, as presented on December 30th, 2010, remain the same. Material changes for this update include the addition of open pit Indicated mineral resources for the Djambaye II zone of 91,300 ounces of gold and additional underground Measured and Indicated mineral resources of 81,200 ounces of gold for the Tabakoto NW zones. The details of the resource breakdown are summarized in the table below.

John Begeman, President and CEO, commented: "The recent exploration drilling at the Tabakoto Project confirms our belief that a significant amount of the Inferred mineral resources can be upgraded to Measured and Indicated mineral resources. As well, the additional open pit mineral resources are especially significant as it provides even more flexibility to our mining operations as we transition to underground mining at Tabakoto and Segala."

Mineral Resource Estimates(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
Tabakoto NW

Djambaye II

(1)Resource estimates based on a gold price of USD$1000 per ounce and a 96% recovery.
(2)Eugene Puritch, P.Eng. and Antoine Yassa, P.Geo. from P&E Mining Consultants Inc., Qualified Persons under NI 43-101 who are independent of the Company, are responsible for the mineral resource estimates presented herein.
(3)Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The estimate of mineral resources may be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, sociopolitical, marketing, or other relevant issues.
(4)The quantity and grade of reported Inferred resources in this estimation are uncertain in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define these Inferred resources as an indicated or Measured mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in upgrading them to an Indicated or Measured mineral resource category.
(5)The mineral resources in this press release were estimated using the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions and adopted by CIM Council.

The updated mineral resource statement was based on 46 shallow reverse circulation ("RC") holes, totaling 3,554 metres of drilling, over the northern part of the Djambaye II zone and 10 core holes, totaling 2,068 metres, into the NW trending mineralized zones under the north end of the Tabakoto pit. All core and RC chip samples were analyzed at Avion's Tabakoto mine lab to ensure quick turnaround. Avion's procedures for handling reverse circulation drill chips were consistent with previous practice as presented in an April 5, 2010 news release.

The updated mineral resource calculations were prepared by Eugene Puritch, P. Eng. and Antoine Yassa, P. Geo. from P&E, Qualified Persons under NI 43-101 who are independent of the Company and have reviewed the scientific and technical information in this document relating to those estimates. Eugene Puritch, P. Eng. and Don Dudek, P.Geo., Senior Vice President Exploration of Avion both Qualified Persons under NI43-101 have reviewed and approved the updated mineral resources and the technical data presented in this press release. The updated mineral resource capped gold assays at 17.5 to 65 g/t Au, depending on the individual zone. A gold price of US$1000 per ounce, a 96% process recovery rate, mining costs of US$34/tonne, process costs of US$20/tonne and G&A costs of US$8 tonne were used to determine the 2.0 g/t underground cut-off grade. For potentially open pittable mineral resources a 1.0 g/t cut-off grade was used. Avion has not completed a feasibility study in regards to the mineral resources presented herein and there is no certainty the proposed operations will be economically viable.

These updated mineral resources and specifically the additional Measured and Indicated mineral resources will have an impact on Avion's maiden reserve report. As such, the delivery of Avion's first reserve report will be delayed until later Q2 2011 in order that this initial reserve statement can incorporate the updated resource data.

Don Dudek, Avion's Senior Vice President Exploration, commented: "As we continue to refine the mineralization models at the Tabakoto Project numerous exploration targets and opportunities to systematically increase the mineral resources, become apparent. In management's opinion, further drilling should continue to unlock the exploration potential of this project over time."

Avion's 2011, approximately 60,000 metre drill focused exploration program is well underway with 199 core and reverse circulation ('RC') holes totaling approximately 24,700 metres of drilling completed. Drilling completed to date is split evenly between Avion's Tabakoto (Mali) and Houndé (Burkina Faso) properties with a core and an RC drill rig on each property. Drilling will commence on the Kofi property in early May. Additional drill rigs are being sought to accelerate and expand the 2011 drill programs.

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 approximately 51,290 ounces produced. 2010 production was 87,630 ounces of gold. Production sustainability will continue to be supported and enhanced by an aggressive 2011 drill program over an approximately 600 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 continues to return promising results. These properties are subject to a preliminary US$ 10 million dollar, approximate 60,000 metre, drill-focused, exploration program in 2011. 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 mineral resource update on the Company and the timing of the NI43-101 compliant report; statements with respect to the development potential and timetable of the Tabakoto, Kofi and Houndé 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 those 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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