High River Gold Mines Ltd.
TSX : HRG

High River Gold Mines Ltd.

March 03, 2008 10:11 ET

High River Gold Project Update and 2008 Guidance

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2008) - High River Gold Mines Ltd. ("High River" or the "Company") (TSX:HRG) is pleased to provide updates on its two new open-pit gold mines, Taparko-Bouroum in Burkina Faso and Berezitovy in Russia, preliminary operating results for 2007, and its operating outlook for 2008. High River plans to release its 4th quarter and 2007 year-end financial results on March 31, 2008.

Project Updates

Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine - Mill Approaching Design Throughput Rate

During January 2008, the mill processed ore averaging 3.01 g/t with recoveries averaging 95.4%. Throughput rates approached 100% of capacity, however, a planned mill optimization and maintenance shutdown, related to ball mill lifters as well as mill drive-train alignment, resulted in average mill throughput at less than budgeted capacity for the month. Mill alignment work continued in February. The mill is now running at near capacity levels. Based on operating experience over the last several months, mine management is confident in its ability to operate the mill at slightly greater than budgeted throughput rates, and is planning to produce 91,000 ounces of gold in 2008.

High River is preparing the Bouroum site for expected production start-up in March 2008. The Bouroum deposits host approximately 106,000 oz and are located 49 kilometres from the Taparko mill. The average grade at Bouroum is 4.15 g/t, with ore initially to be mined from the Bissinga pit which grades 6.89 g/t.



Taparko-Bouroum Gold Sales Summary

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Period # of ounces sold Average Sale price Revenue
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007 8,650 US $740/oz US $6.4 million
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January 2008 8,600 US $880/oz US $7.6 million
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Of the gold sales in January, 4,458 oz. came from year-end inventory and was related to 2007 production.

Berezitovy Gold Mine - Higher Reliability Filter Cloth Sourced

While mining and the grinding circuit have been fully operational since early summer, work continued throughout the summer and fall on the leach and elution circuits, and on the tailings filtration and storage facilities. The leach circuit was completed and began producing gold in mid-December. At the end of 2007, the commissioning of the tailings filtration plant marked the completion of essentially all components of the mine.

Problems with filter cloth quality in the tailings filtration plant were discovered with production ramp-up, resulting in the sourcing of higher reliability filter cloth from Finland and Canada. Operation of the tailings filtration plant is expected to reach design capacity in April. Commercial Production at Berezitovy is anticipated in Q2/2008.

During January, 808 oz of gold pertaining to December production were sold at US $869/oz for Revenue of US $703,000, and a further 2,163 ounces were shipped.



2007 Preliminary Operating Results and 2008 Guidance

(all 2007 figures below are Preliminary, all 2008 figures are Estimates)

- Production: Total 2008 gold production, on a 100% basis, is expected to
be 309,000 ounces (278,000 ounces on an attributable basis), nearly
double 2007 production.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Mine 2007 (100%) 2008 (100%) 2008 (Attributable)
(000's of oz) (000's of oz)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Irokinda 75,224 72 61
------------------------------------------------------------------
Zun-Holba 69,474 69 59
------------------------------------------------------------------
Taparko- 13,110(a) 91 82
Bouroum
------------------------------------------------------------------
Berezitovy 1,504(a) 77 76
------------------------------------------------------------------
Total 159,312 309 278
------------------------------------------------------------------
(a) includes 2,864 pre-production ounces for Taparko-Bouroum, and 1,504
ounces for Berezitovy


2008 estimated quarter-by-quarter production in thousands of gold ounces
is as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------
Mine Q1/08 Q2/08 Q3/08 Q4/08 2008 (100%)
----------------------------------------------------------------
Irokinda 18 18 18 18 72
----------------------------------------------------------------
Zun-Holba 17 17 17 18 69
----------------------------------------------------------------
Taparko-Bouroum 14 29 24 24 91
----------------------------------------------------------------
Berezitovy 5 19 24 29 77
----------------------------------------------------------------
Total 54 83 83 89 309
----------------------------------------------------------------


- Cash Costs: 2008 Cash Costs are expected to average US $396 per ounce,
down from 2007 levels due to the impact of production from the two new
lower-cost open-pit mines. Taparko-Bouroum cash costs in 2007 largely
reflect elevated costs typical of mine start-ups.

---------------------------------------------------------
Mine 2007 Cash 2008 Cash
Costs(b) Costs(b)
(US $/oz) (US $/oz)
---------------------------------------------------------
Irokinda 367 385
---------------------------------------------------------
Zun-Holba 422 434
---------------------------------------------------------
Taparko-Bouroum 906 416
---------------------------------------------------------
Berezitovy - 351
---------------------------------------------------------
Company Average 430 396
---------------------------------------------------------
(b)includes mining, milling, haulage, mine administration,
stripping and mine development adjustments, third party
refining and transportation costs, net of by-product credits


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 in Q2 2008. Attributable gold production from Taparko-Bouroum for 2008 is planned at approximately 80,000 ounces, increasing to a 100% rate of 140,000 ounces per year in mid-2009, and attributable 2008 production from Berezitovy is expected to be approximately 75,000 ounces. Combined with gold production from two underground mines in Russia, Zun-Holba and Irokinda, High River's attributable unhedged gold production is expected to total approximately 280,000 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