Minera Andes Inc.
TSX VENTURE : MAI
OTC Bulletin Board : MNEAF

Minera Andes Inc.

July 25, 2005 08:30 ET

Minera Andes Joint Venture Accepts Offer Letter for US$50 Million Project Financing

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON--(CCNMatthews - July 25, 2005) - Minera Andes Inc. (TSX VENTURE:MAI)(OTCBB:MNEAF) is pleased to announce that Minera Santa Cruz S.A. ("MSC"), a company owned 49% by Minera Andes and 51% by Mauricio Hochschild & Cia. Ltda., has accepted a letter of offer from Standard Bank Plc ("Standard Bank") and Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG ("HVB") to provide a limited recourse project finance loan facility of up to US$50 million for construction through production at the San Jose/Huevos Verdes gold/silver project in Argentina. The offer from Standard Bank and HVB was chosen after a competitive tender process and negotiations with several consortiums of international banks all well recognized as having extensive mining finance experience.

The US$50 million debt facility to be provided by Standard Bank and HVB is subject, among other things, to completion of a bankable feasibility study, bank due diligence, documentation and certain regulatory approvals. It is anticipated that the facility will be available for drawdown in the 1st quarter of 2006. The facility is substantially non-recourse to Minera Andes and Mauricio Hochschild. As part of the overall facility amount, there is a stand-by facility of up to US$5million available for unanticipated cost over-runs prior to completion and commercial production. The commercial terms of the loan are customary for a loan of this nature and include certain fees and expenses with interest rates of Libor + 3.0% pa prior to project completion and LIBOR + 2.75 to 3.0% pa thereafter.

Allen Ambrose president of Minera Andes, said: "The highly competitive interest shown by Standard Bank and HVB in bidding for this project financing speaks to the project's quality and underlying economic strength. Based on a positive feasibility outcome the loan facility will allow us to move forward quickly to complete construction and place the San Jose project into production, expected during 2006."

Standard Bank is a major provider of corporate finance, project finance and advisory services in the mining, resources and commodities industries. It has grown from its strong position in South Africa and has developed a leading reputation in emerging markets across Africa, South America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. HVB Group is among the ten biggest banks in Europe and is a leading project & structured finance bank. HVB has built a strong reputation as global mining finance arranger with dedicated mining professionals in all continents. It focuses on arranging and underwriting debt facilities.

Minera Andes is a gold, silver and copper exploration company working in Argentina. The corporation is funded with working capital of about US$4.0 million. Minera Andes holds about 500,000 acres of mineral exploration land in Argentina, including the co-owned Huevos Verdes/San Jose silver/gold project now under construction and feasibility consideration for possible mine production. Minera Andes has also discovered an enriched copper zone at its Los Azules property and is acquiring other exploration targets in southern Argentina. The Corporation presently has 90,549,719 issued and outstanding shares.

This news is submitted by Allen V. Ambrose, President and Director of Minera Andes Inc.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENT- Although Minera Andes believes many of its properties have promising potential, its properties are in the early stages of exploration. None have yet been shown to contain proven or probable mineral reserves. There can be no assurance that such reserves will be identified on any property, or that, if identified, mineralization may be economically extracted. There can be no assurance that the San Jose/Huevos Verdes gold/silver project will be found to be economically feasible or that a mine will successfully be constructed. In addition, Minera Andes' joint venture partner, Mauricio Hochschild & Cia. Ltda., does not accept responsibility for the use of project data or the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE HAS NOT REVIEWED AND DOES NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.

Contact Information

  • Minera Andes Inc. - Spokane Office
    Art Johnson
    (509) 921-7322
    mineraandes@minandes.com
    or
    Minera Andes Inc. - Vancouver Office
    Krister A. Kottmeier
    Investor Relations - Canada
    (604) 689-7017; 877-689-7018
    ircanada@minandes.com
    www.minandes.com
    or
    Minera Andes Inc.
    Spokane Office
    111 East Magnesium Rd., Suite A, Spokane, WA 99208 USA
    or
    Minera Andes Inc.
    Vancouver Office
    410 - 744 West Hastings St. Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1A5