High River Gold Mines Ltd.

High River Gold Mines Ltd.

February 22, 2008 12:24 ET

High River Gold Acquires Nickel Deposit

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2008) - High River Gold Mines Ltd. ("High River" or the "Company")(TSX:HRG) is pleased to announce that its 85%-owned Russian subsidiary, OJSC Buryatzoloto ("Buryatzoloto"), has acquired a 100% ownership interest in the Chaya Nickel deposit ("Chaya"), as the successful bidder in an auction conducted on February 22, 2008 in Ulan Ude by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources. The cost to acquire this mining license was 260 million rubles (approximately US $10.6 million). Chaya has been subject to nearly 50 years of exploration activity including geophysics, trenching and drilling and hosts historical Russian Classified C2 and P1 resources totaling 121.7 million tonnes containing 1.38 billion lbs of nickel and 314 million lbs of copper.

All "resource" estimates in this press release have been calculated according to standard Russian industry practice and do not conform to the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) standards and definitions for resource estimates, as set out in Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101). These estimates should not be relied upon until fully confirmed by a NI 43-101 compliant independently estimated resource calculation.

High River and Buryatzoloto intend to remain focused on precious metals mining and, as such, plan to identify and involve a base metals focused 3rd party in the project by way of joint venture or spin-out. The acquisition of Chaya, located in the Republic of Buryatia, was seen by High River as an excellent opportunity to capitalize on our local knowledge and expertise in mining and logistics through Buryatzoloto. Buryatzoloto has been operating 2 underground mines in Buryatia for more than 15 years and has the local expertise to strongly support a 3rd party partner to move the project forward quickly. Chaya has excellent logistics, being close to railroad facilities and a power line.

More about the Chaya Nickel Deposit


Chaya is located in the Russian Far East, 70 kilometres north-north-east of the northern tip of Lake Baikal, approximately 300 kilometres west of High River's Irokinda mine, and 100 kilometres by road north of the regional centre of Nizhne-Angarsk. It is 80 kilometres north of the Baikal-Amur railroad line and a 220 kWh power line.


Chaya is a magmatic nickel sulphide deposit. Mineralization is largely confined to a tectonically broken zone parallel to the long axis of the Chayskiy pyroxenite-dunite massif hosted by early Proterozoic gneisses and amphibolites. The deposit strikes approximately 1,500 metres in an east-west direction, dips sub-vertically, and is on average 20 metres thick. Mineralization largely consists of pyrrhotite, as well as pentlandite and chalcopyrite. The deposit dimensions appear to be amenable to open-pit mining.

Russian Classified Resources

The following estimate was done using cut-off grades of 0.5% for nickel, and 0.3% for copper, and was approved by the Science-Technical Council of the State Industrial-Geological Association "Buryatgeologia":

Resource Tonnes Ni grade(%) Contained Ni Cu grade Contained
Category (millions) (million lbs) (%) Cu (million
C2 51.1 0.6% 670 0.19 212
P1 70.6 0.46% 714 0.17 102
Total 121.7 1,384 314

Metallurgical Test-work

Metallurgical testing conducted on five 400-500 kg samples by leading Russian metallurgical laboratories "Gibronickel" and "Mechanobr" indicated recoveries of 80-87.5% for nickel and 81% for copper into a bulk concentrate using a gravity-flotation flowsheet. Nickel recovery increased to 92-94% using a pressure leach process.

Exploration Up-side

The deposit is open at depth. Also, Chaya is located in a highly prospective nickel belt. The Yoko-Dovyrenskiy nickel sulphide deposit is located 40 kilometres west of Chaya. Several known exploration targets exist in the vicinity of Chaya area, including the anomalous Ogiyendo and Yubileynoye properties.

About High River

High River is a gold company with producing mines, mines under development, and advanced exploration projects in Burkina Faso and Russia. High River is bringing two new open-pit gold mines into production. The Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine in Burkina Faso achieved commercial production in October 2007, and the Berezitovy Gold Mine in Russia is expected to achieve commercial production shortly. Gold production from Taparko-Bouroum for 2008 is planned at approximately 100,000 ounces increasing to a rate of 140,000 ounces per year by mid-year 2009, and 2008 production from Berezitovy is expected to be approximately 80,000 ounces. Combined with gold production from producing underground mines in Russia, Zun-Holba and Irokinda, High River's attributable unhedged gold production is expected to total approximately 300,000 ounces in 2008. In addition, the Company has two advanced exploration projects, the Bissa Gold Project in Burkina Faso and the world-class Prognoz Silver Project in Russia. These projects are expected to significantly add to the Company's production profile in the future.

Forward Looking Statements - This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations. These forward-looking statements entail various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected. Risk and uncertainties about the Company's business are more fully discussed in the Management's Discussion and Analysis published in the Company's Annual Report and in the Annual Information Form.

Contact Information

  • High River Gold Mines Ltd.
    Dan Hrushewsky
    Vice President, Investor Relations
    (416) 947-1440
    (416) 360-0010 (FAX)
    Email: info@hrg.ca
    Website: www.hrg.ca