High River Gold Mines Ltd.
TSX : HRG

High River Gold Mines Ltd.

April 24, 2008 08:05 ET

High River Provides Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine Update

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 24, 2008) - High River Gold Mines Ltd. ("High River" or "the Company") (TSX:HRG) is pleased to provide an update on production, exploration, and a revised reserve/resource estimate for the Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine in Burkina Faso, West Africa (owned 90% by High River, 10% by the Government of Burkina Faso).

Taparko-Bouroum Production Update

The Taparko-Bouroum mill was fully operational throughout March, with mill throughput for the month totalling 72,631 tonnes which was 82% of the planned tonnage of 88,600 tonnes. Total recoverable gold processed for the month was 7,910 ounces (72,631 tonnes grading 3.69 g/t with a 91.8% recovery), exceeding the process plan of 6,772 ounces (88,600 tonnes grading 2.50 g/t with a 95.1% recovery) due to higher than planned grade. Of the 7,910 recoverable gold ounces processed, a total of 5,761 ounces were poured as dore alloy during the month, with the remaining 2,149 ounces included in work in process inventory.

Total tonnes milled was below planned levels largely due to a greater than expected impact of ore abrasiveness on cyclone feed pumps and ball mill liners near the mill discharge. Existing pumps will be replaced by higher quality, larger capacity pumps during Q3 2008 and the metal backing of the discharge ball mill liners have already been replaced with larger-sized back plates.

Gold recovery was below plan due to lower than expected carbon reactivity resulting from coating of the carbon with fines present in the ore and process water. More frequent replacement of carbon has resulted in an increase in recoveries to planned levels.

Mill grade substantially exceeded plan due to a higher proportion of hard ore milled during the month.

During the first quarter, 12,637 ounces of gold were poured, which was 9% below the plan of 13,899 ounces yet a positive result considering the downtime experienced during the quarter. Gold sold during the quarter amounted to 14,300 ounces at an average price of US $896 per ounce, for revenue of US $12.8 million. Dore gold inventory decreased from 4,314 ounces at December 31, 2007 to 2,726 ounces at the end of March, and refined gold inventory decreased from 145 ounces to 70 ounces over the same period. Cash cost of production, on a per ounce basis, will be announced together with the release of first quarter results on May 15, 2008.

In 2008, the Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine is expected to produce 91,000 ounces of gold, on a 100% basis. To minimize down-time on any future mill breakdown, the Company is increasing its inventory of critical spare parts and components.

Mining exceeded planned rates for the quarter. Total ore mined of 127,658 tonnes exceeded planned tonnage of 70,536 tonnes by 81%. Waste moved during the quarter of 1,619,190 tonnes exceeded plan by 21%. Mining has recently begun in the Bissinga pit at Bouroum, where the average grade is 6.89 g/t. The Bouroum deposits in total have an average grade of 4.15 g/t and host approximately 106,000 ounces.

As at the end of March 2008, the run-of-mine stockpile near the process plant totalled 188,050 tonnes of ore grading 2.94 g/t, representing just over 2 months of production. Additionally, the mined ore stockpile at the Bissinga pit at Bouroum, which will be trucked 49 kilometres to the Taparko processing plant, contained 14,672 tonnes of ore grading 6.51 g/t.

Taparko-Bouroum Potential Satellite Deposit Exploration

Three potential satellite deposits have been identified within the Taparko mining concession through past exploration work. These potential deposits are located within economical trucking distance of the Taparko processing plant and therefore any resource identified would constitute additional mill feed. The exploration results referred to in the following discussion have been previously released in a press release dated March 25, 1999.

Zemce is located 6 kilometres west of the Taparko 3/5 pit. The two most advanced targets on this potential deposit consist of mineralized outcropping quartz veins actively mined by artisanal miners through numerous pits exceeding 25 metres in depth. These two targets occur on the same structure, the Zemce Shear Zone, which can be traced for at least 2.5 kilometres. Significant RC drill hole intersections include 6.24 g/t over 7.0 metres, 5.11 g/t over 7.0 metres, and 9.01 g/t over 4.0 metres. The planned work programme for 2008 consists of definition drilling on these two targets with an objective of defining a gold resource in the indicated category over a strike length of 1 kilometre, down to a vertical depth of approximately 100 metres.

The two other potential satellite deposits, Goengo and Kangarse, are located approximately 20 kilometres southeast of the Taparko-Bouroum mine. Gold showings on these potential deposits are largely characterized by quartz vein outcrops tested by rock sampling and trenching which yielded some significant results. Of the 657 rock samples taken, 156 had gold assays greater than 1.0 gram per tonne, with a maximum assay of 1,013.1 g/t. Significant results from trenching activity on these deposits include 6.33 g/t over 13.0 metres, 1.49 g/t over 22.0 metres, 10.0 g/t over 5.0 metres, 3.1 g/t over 18 metres, 2.13 g/t over 17 metres, and 53.36 g/t over 2.2 metres. The results of a 12 hole RC drill programme designed to test the down-dip potential of several targets defined by trenching work indicated a high variability in continuity of mineralization and a more complex structural setting than that at Taparko or Zemce. The best intersection was 11.8 g/t over 4.2 metres. A 61.5 line kilometre IP and ground magnetics geophysical survey conducted early in 2008 indicated a strong resistive signature associated with the identified gold zones, and that these gold zones may extend beyond the areas previously trenched and drilled. A drilling programme is currently being planned to extend the known gold zones using these geophysical results, and to define a gold resource in the indicated category.

Three other potential satellite deposits have been identified outside of the Taparko mining concession, one near Taparko and two near Bouroum. These deposits are located within a radius of approximately 65 kilometres from the Taparko mill and may be within economical trucking distance. An exploration programme, including trenching and drilling, is planned during 2008 with the objective of defining a gold resource.

Taparko Deep Drilling Programme

The mineral potential at depth below the current Taparko-Bouroum pit outlines has not been systematically drill-tested, although results of limited past work have hinted at this potential. Three diamond drill ("DD") holes were completed in 2001 to test the continuity at depth of 3 apparent high grade "shoots" within the 3/5 pit at Taparko. These holes intersected the Taparko shear zone at a vertical depth of approximately 200 metres, 100 metres below the ultimate pit floor. Assay results showed moderate to high grade gold intercepts (which included 4.8 g/t over 9.45 metres including 14.59 g/t over 2.15 metres, 3.41 g/t over 4.0 metres, and 1.59 g/t over 26.1 metres including 17.45 g/t over 0.7 metres) indicating the potential for economic mineralization at depth for the Taparko 3/5 ore body. High River plans to implement a systematic drill programme in late 2008 to test this potential. The drill assay results referred to above were originally released in a press release dated November 15, 2001.

Taparko-Bouroum Reserve/Resource Update

An updated NI 43-101 compliant reserve/resource estimate has been prepared by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. ("SRK") as at December 31, 2007, to calculate reserves and resources for the Taparko-Bouroum Gold Mine using current operating costs and a higher gold price. The NI-43-101 Technical Report containing this new reserve/resource estimate will be filed on SEDAR in the near future.

Although the gold price used (US $800/oz) was higher than that used for the previous estimate (US $400/oz), reserves did not increase due to the discrete boundaries between mineralization and waste rock, depletion resulting from ore mined during 2007, the lack of material inside the pit outline below the previous cutoff grade, and insufficient drilling density below the pit floor.

The updated reserves/resources are as follows:


-----------------------------------------------------------
Proven and Probable Reserves (1)
Reserve ----------------------------------------------
Category Tonnage Gold Grade Contained Gold
(tonnes) (g/t) (ozs)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Proven 194,000 2.89 18,000
-----------------------------------------------------------
Probable 8,660,000 2.81 782,000
-----------------------------------------------------------
Total 8,855,000 2.81 800,000
-----------------------------------------------------------



-----------------------------------------------------------
Measured and Indicated Resources (1) (2)
Reserve ----------------------------------------------
Category Tonnage Gold Grade Contained Gold
(tonnes) (g/t) (ozs)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Measured - - -
-----------------------------------------------------------
Indicated 10,940,000 2.81 989,000
-----------------------------------------------------------
Total 10,940,000 2.81 989,000
-----------------------------------------------------------



-----------------------------------------------------------
Inferred Resources (1)
Reserve ----------------------------------------------
Category Tonnage Gold Grade Contained Gold
(tonnes) (g/t) (ozs)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Total Inferred 1,109,000 2.85 102,000
-----------------------------------------------------------

(1) expressed on a 100% basis
(2) resources include reserves


See Appendix 1 for Notes to the Reserve/Resource Estimates containing background information including key methods, assumptions, and parameters used to calculate these estimates.

About High River

High River is an unhedged 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. Annual gold production is planned at 100,000 ounces at Taparko-Bouroum, increasing to a rate of approximately 140,000 ounces during 2009, and is expected to exceed 100,000 ounces at Berezitovy. Attributable 2008 gold production is planned to be approximately 80,000 ounces at Taparko-Bouroum and approximately 75,000 ounces at Berezitovy. 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 three advanced exploration projects, the Bissa Gold Project in Burkina Faso, the world-class Prognoz Silver Project and the Chaya Nickel Project in Russia. These projects are expected to significantly add to the Company's shareholder value 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.

Appendix 1

Notes to Reserve/Resource Estimates

1. The effective date of the updated Taparko-Bouroum Reserve/Resource estimate is December 31, 2007.

2. The Qualified Person responsible for the preparation of these NI 43-101 reserve and resource estimates is Mr. Ken Reipas, P. Eng., Principal Mine Engineer for SRK.

3. The reserve and resource estimate was updated by applying operational data and removing mined ore.

4. The method used for the reserve and resource estimate is the ordinary kriging method (Taparko) and the inverse distance method (Bouroum).

5.Key assumptions and parameters used to estimate the above mineral reserves and resources are as follows:



Reserves:

----------------------------------------
Taparko Bouroum
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gold Price (US $/oz) 800 800
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining Costs (US $/t rock) 2.01 1.73
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Processing Costs (US $/t ore) 16.74 to $16.91(i) 16.74 to 16.91(i)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dilution (%) 11.1 10.8
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mining Loss (%) 3 3
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Density (t/m3) 2.20 to 2.57(i) 2.13 to 2.75(i)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pit slope angle (degrees) 43 to 56(i) 43 to 56(i)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recovery (%) 92.35 to 95.10(i) 92.00 to 96.30(i)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Strip ratio 4.7(ii)
------------------------------------------------------------------------



Resources:

----------------------------------------
Taparko Bouroum
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Block cut-off grade (g/t) 0.97 to 1.02(i) 1.18 to 1.27(i)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dilution 0.5 metre on both the hanging and foot walls
------------------------------------------------------------------------

(i) varies according to ore type
(ii) project total, individual pit strip ratios vary


1. In SRK's opinion there are no significant environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, sociopolitical, marketing, or other relevant issues which could materially affect the mineral reserve and resource estimates above.

2. Mineral resources indicated above do not have demonstrated economic viability.

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