Avion Gold Corporation
TSX : AVR
OTCQX : AVGCF

Avion Gold Corporation

August 04, 2011 07:00 ET

Avion Intersects Significant Gold Mineralization at Betea Zone, Kofi Property, Mali Including 3.50 g/t Au Over 57.0 Metres and 1.85 g/t Au Over 48.0 Metres

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 4, 2011) - Avion Gold Corporation (TSX:AVR)(OTCQX:AVGCF) ("Avion" or the 'Company') is pleased to announce the results from ten reverse circulation drill holes totaling approximately 1,589 metres completed over a 500 metre strike of the Betea Central zone's interpreted strike length of approximately 1,000 metres.

The Betea Central zone contains a historic National Instrument 43-101 compliant estimated indicated mineral resource of 1,154,000 tonnes grading 2.30 g/t Au totaling 111,000 ounces and an inferred mineral resource 981,000 tonnes grading 1.60 g/t Au totaling 52,000 ounces (Roberts, 20081). Note that a qualified person has not carried out the work required to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves for Avion and therefore Avion is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves.

Significant new results include the following:

  • 2.99 g/t Au over 40.0 metres
  • 1.85 g/t Au over 48.0 metres
  • 3.50 g/t Au over 57.0 metres
  • 2.16 g/t Au over 12.0 metres
  • 2.49 g/t Au over 14.0 metres
  • 2.70 g/t Au over 6.0 metres
  • 9.25 g/t Au over 4.0 metres
  • 30.64 g/t Au over 2.0 metres

The Betea Central zone lies approximately 25 kilometres north-northwest of Avion's Tabakoto mine (see figure 1). This zone is part of an approximate 3,000 metre long, up to 200 metre wide, northerly striking gold system (Betea South, Central and North zones) that has been tested by generally widely spaced drill holes down to a maximum depth of 150 metres. Combined these zones host an indicated mineral resource estimate of 1,154,000 tonnes grading 2.30 g/t Au totaling 111,000 ounces and an inferred mineral resource 2,623,000 tonnes grading 1.78 g/t Au totaling 52,000 ounces (Roberts, 20081). The Betea zones are hosted by carbonate-altered, sulphidized and quartz veined silicified and tourminalized greywackes. The Betea zones are believed to be similar in character to Randgold's Gara deposit (reserves of 2.73 million ounces Au grading 3.73 g/t Au and resources of 3.74 million ounces gold grading 4.05 g/t Au – Holliday, 2008), which is also hosted by carbonate-altered, sulphidized and tourmaline-altered rocks. Drill and Au-in-soil sample data indicates that the Betea gold system may extend beyond the currently defined resource area to a total approximate projected length of 5,000 metres along strike. Mapping and drilling will be required to support this theory.

Don Dudek, Avion's Senior Vice President, Exploration, stated: "The Betea zone represents yet another style of gold mineralization on Avion's Properties in the Tabakoto/Kofi project area and the prospectivity of the Western Mali gold belt. As with other Avion gold zones, we see the positive influence of cross structures, which locally enhance the width and grade, of the mineralized zones. We are also encouraged by the zone's similarity with Randgold's Gara deposit and the overall extent of the gold-bearing system and are optimistic that we will be able to increase the mineral resources in this area."

The Betea Central zone consists of at least three parallel lenses (Main, FW1 and FW2) of gold mineralization. The Main zone demonstrates the best continuity along the 1,000 metre strike of the zone. Within the Main zone, Avion has identified five, moderate-north-plunging, higher grade sections that vary from 50 metres to 150 metres in strike length (see figure 2). The secondary FW1 and FW2 zones lie in the footwall of the Main zone, generally adjacent to the higher grade sections in the Main zone. Avion hole BTRC-11-004 intersected all three zones returning 1.95 g/t Au over 10.0 metres (Betea Central Main zone), 3.98 g/t Au over 15.0 metres (Betea Central FW1 zone) and 10.78 g/t Au over 11.0 metres (Betea Central FW2 zone), which when combined, returned a composite intercept of 3.50 g/t Au over 57.0 metres. This hole returned the best grade over width on the zone to date and management believes it demonstrates the strength and potential of the gold mineralized system.

During 2011, Avion completed 24 reverse circulation drill holes totaling 6,467 metres over the Betea Central zone and plans to drill at least another 12 holes totaling 2,160 metres, weather permitting, over the next month. In addition, Avion plans to take advantage of a new metallurgical laboratory set up at the Tabakoto mine site to complete preliminary metallurgical tests of the Betea zone mineralization. A summary of assay composites for the first ten holes is appended to this news release.

Avion's procedures for handling reverse circulation drill chips comprise initial splitting of the rock chips from one metre drill length samples into 2.0 kilogram samples, as well as description and logging into a database. These samples were delivered to the SGS-Xral laboratory in Kayes, Mali. Assay standard samples are inserted every 25th sample and duplicate reverse circulation from every 20th sample are sent in as a separate sample to double check the assays from these intervals. This sampling procedure was initiated and periodically reviewed by Avion's Senior Vice President, Exploration, Don Dudek, P. Geo. The assay samples are then crushed to 3 millimetres with a riffle split if required, to 1.5 kilograms and the entire sample milled in a LM2 mill to a nominal 95% passing 75μm. All the preparation equipment is flushed with barren material prior to the commencement of the job and all sample bowls are scraped clean with a scratch pad. Gold values were determined by Fire Assay and AAS with a 50 gram nominal sample weight. In order to ensure that local, exceptionally high grade assays are not overly represented in assay composites, Avion is also presenting assay composites, with high grade samples capped at 30.0 g/t Au as per Roberts (2008) resource report that included the Betea zone.

Avion's 2011 approximately 75,000 metre drill focused exploration program is well underway with 308 core and reverse circulation ('RC') holes totaling approximately 44,600 metres of drilling completed. Drilling completed to date is split evenly between Avion's Mali projects (Tabakoto and Kofi) and Avion's Burkina Faso property (Houndé) with a core and an RC drill rig active on the Kofi property and two core rigs active on the Houndé property. Two additional core drill rigs have been requested for the Tabakoto property.

Don Dudek, P.Geo., the Senior Vice President, Exploration of the Company and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101 has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release.

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. On July 5, 2011 Avion announced its initial proven or probable mineral reserve estimate of 7.24 million tonnes grading 3.92 g/t Au totaling 913,100 ounces of gold at the Tabakoto Project. Additionally, the 1,670 km2 Houndé exploration property in Burkina Faso continues to return promising results. These properties are subject to a preliminary US$ 13 million dollar, approximate 75,000 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

1 Avion has reviewed Dr. Roberts 2008 report titled 'Mineral Resource Estimation for the Kofi Project, Mali'. This report, as stated, was prepared as per NI 43-101 and Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) guidelines. Accepted methodology includes construction of a section set near-perpendicular to the zone trend, the calculation of composites using a statistical Au top-cut, the construction of wire frames using a 0.5 g/t Au cut-off grade, modeling of the saprolite, transition and fresh rock contacts, the collection of a satisfactory amount of specific gravity data and then block modeling the zone using ordinary Kriging with a 1 g/t Au cut-off grade. The distinction between indicated and inferred mineral resources was determined statistically by the available data. Avion accepts this methodology and has completed drilling over both the Betea Central and Kofi C zones that generally confirms the location, the shape and grades of the mineralized zones at the Betea Central zone. However, at this point it is too early to comment on the accuracy of the resource study completed by Roberts so the reader must be cautioned that the stated indicated and inferred mineral resources are only for overall reference and still need to be validated and re-stated by Avion. Stated simply, a qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserve and Avion is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves.

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 drill results on the Company; 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.

For additional information, please visit our website at www.aviongoldcorp.com and follow us on Twitter: AvionGoldAVR.

Betea Central Zone Gold Assay Composites

Hole ID From (m) To
(m)
Width (m) Estimated* true width Grade (g/t) Capped** grade (g/t) Zone
BTRC-11-0001 0 5.0 5.0 0.83 0.83
BTRC-11-0001 29.0 46.0 17.0 14.1 0.69 0.69 Main
Includes 29.0 32.0 3.0 2.5 0.99 0.99
Includes 34.0 39.0 5.0 4.2 0.86 0.86
Includes 42.0 46.0 4.0 3.3 0.94 0.94
BTRC-11-0001 64.0 65.0 1.0 8.21 8.21
BTRC-11-0002 2.0 3.0 1.0 1.61 1.61
BTRC-11-0002 80.0 116.0 36.0 26.7 3.25 2.52
Includes 80.0 94.0 14.0 10.4 5.13 3.20 Main
Includes 102.0 116.0 14.0 10.2 3.11 3.11 FW1
BTRC-11-0003 0.0 4.0 4.0 1.25 1.25
BTRC-11-0003 53.0 101.0 48.0 31.5 1.85 1.85
Includes 53.0 76.0 23.0 15.1 2.53 2.53 Main
Includes 81.0 101.0 20.0 11.4 1.51 1.51 FW1
BTRC-11-0003 145.0 146.0 1.0 1.75 1.75
BTRC-11-0003 153.0 154.0 1.0 1.37 1.37
BTRC-11-0004 126.0 183.0 57.0 40.0 3.45 1.94
Includes 127.0 137.0 10.0 8.3 1.95 1.95 Main
Includes 145.0 160.0 15.0 8.0 3.79 2.43 FW1
Includes 172.0 183.0 11.0 8.2 10.78 4.83 FW2
BTRC-11-0005 98.0 101.0 3.0 3.0 7.71 5.81 Main
BTRC-11-0005 106.0 108.0 2 0.67 0.67
BTRC-11-0005 150.0 151.0 1.0 1 0.51 0.51 FW1
BTRC-11-0006 22.0 23.0 1.0 2.88 2.88
BTRC-11-0006 40.0 42.0 2.0 1.5 30.64 9.37 Main
BTRC-11-0006 51.0 52.0 1.0 1.57 1.57
BTRC-11-0006 79.0 86.0 7.0 7.0 1.10 1.10 FW1
BTRC-11-0006 106.0 107.0 1.0 1.40 1.40
BTRC-11-0006 113.0 125.0 12.0 12.0 1.02 1.02 FW2
Includes 113.0 115.0 2.0 2.0 1.37 1.37
Includes 118.0 125.0 7.0 7.0 1.27 1.27
BTRC-11-0006 136.0 145.0 9.0 9.0 1.19 1.19
Includes 136.0 140.0 4.0 4.0 1.99 1.99
BTRC-11-0007 44.0 57.0 13.0 13.0 1.18 1.18 Main
BTRC-11-0007 75.0 76.0 1.0 1.52 1.52
BTRC-11-0007 86.0 93.0 7.0 7.0 2.52 2.52 FW1
BTRC-11-0008 62.0 77.0 15.0 13.0 2.16 2.16 Main
BTRC-11-0008 82.0 88.0 6.0 5.2 1.55 1.55
BTRC-11-0008 94.0 99.0 5.0 4.4 2.84 2.84
BTRC-11-0008 124.0 125.0 1.0 1.24 1.24
BTRC-11-0008 128.0 129.0 1.0 1.14 1.14
BTRC-11-0009 1.0 3.0 2.0 8.16 8.16
BTRC-11-0009 33.0 37.0 4.0 3.1 1.72 1.72 Main
BTRC-11-0010 47.0 94.0 47.0 37.2 2.08 1.82
Includes 49.0 81.0 32.0 25.3 1.75 1.75 Main
Includes 90.0 94.0 4.0 3.2 9.25 6.19
BTRC-11-0010 156.0 157.0 1.0 1.19 1.19
BTRC-11-0010 180.0 183.0 3.0 0.87 0.87
* True width estimated where there is sufficient information
**Au values capped at 15 g/t Au as per Roberts, 2008

To view Figure 1: Tabakoto & Kofi Projects, please view the following link:

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/avion2.pdf.

To view Figure 2: Long Section Betea Central Main Zone, please view the following link:

http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/avion1.pdf.

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