Rio Cristal Zinc Corporation
TSX VENTURE : RCZ

Rio Cristal Zinc Corporation

February 20, 2008 12:40 ET

Rio Cristal Zinc Announces 2007 Exploration Results and Plans for 6,500 Meter Drill Program at Charlotte Bongara Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 20, 2008) -

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO US NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES

Rio Cristal Zinc Inc. (the "Company" or "RCZ") (TSX VENTURE:RCZ) is pleased to report positive results from the 2007 exploration activities and its plans for the 2008 Phase 1 exploration campaign. The 2007 exploration, which focused primarily on the Cristal Project within the Charlotte Bongara property, discovered new zinc oxide and sulphide outcrops grading in the range of 7% to 24% zinc, in what the Company perceives, may be a new district in the emerging Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) zinc-lead district in this area of northern Peru. The Charlotte Bongara property comprises 25,073 hectares of contiguous claims in northern Peru, and is strategically located adjacent to a high-grade zinc oxide mine (Mina Grande) (6km), operated by Cementos Pacasmayo and an advanced high-grade zinc project (Florida Canyon) (3km), controlled by Votorantim Metais & Solitario Resources.

Mr. Charles Ushela, President & CEO of RCZ stated, "The 2007 exploration lays a solid framework for the launch of our drilling program expected to begin in the second quarter of 2008. The number of drill targets has been increased, and our confidence is rising that the Charlotte Bongara property is potentially part of a new MVT zinc-lead district." Charlotte Bongara contains three exploration projects (Cristal, San Jose, and Florida) each containing multiple targets. It is believed that Charlotte Bongara contains all the criteria necessary to host potentially economic MVT-style zinc-lead mineralization (NI 43-101 report dated October 4, 2007 prepared by AMEC and filed on SEDAR).

Exploration Highlights in 2007

1. Outcrop sampling, mapping, and systematic soil geochemistry identified numerous high-grade zinc oxide and sulphide targets over an exploration area measuring approximately 2,500 meters by 1,500 meters.

2. Geophysics and geochemical results indicate the possibility of drill targets at depth and validate the exploration model of a MVT deposit.

3. Assay results of samples from mineralized outcrops contained in six high priority prospects in the Cristal project returned high-grade zinc values ranging between 7% and 24% zinc. The highest value corresponds to a continuous 45 meter rock channel sampling at the Yolanda prospect.

4. An additional anomaly has been identified by geophysics in the Charlita-Aguila areas, consisting of an IP chargeability anomaly measuring approximately 1,200 meters by 300 meters underlying a zinc soil anomaly averaging 3,765 ppm zinc (0.38% zinc) over an area of 800 meters by 170 meters, including a maximum value of 21,700 ppm zinc (2.17% zinc).

5. In total, fourteen drill targets have been identified, with drilling expected to begin in second quarter of 2008.

To view images, with Rio Cristal Zinc's soil and rock geochemistry results, IP chargeability results, and drill targets, please visit the map room on RCZ's website (http://www.riocristalzinc.com).

Exploration work completed in 2007 consisted of outcrop sampling including 235 channel rock samples, geological mapping at 1:2,500 scale and 1: 500 scale respectively, systematic soil geochemistry sampling within 200 by 100 meters and 100 by 50 meters grid, 119 experimental soil gas geochemistry samples applying GORE® technology and 27.4km of ground magnetic and 26.9km of Induced polarization geophysical survey.

Objectives for 2008 Phase 1 Exploration Program

The 2008 Phase 1 Exploration Program will follow the general guidelines and recommendations as established by AMEC in the NI 43-101 and available on SEDAR.

- Drilling is programmed to start in second quarter 2008, including 5,000 meters testing sulphide targets down to 600 meters depth and 1,500 meters testing shallow, near-surface zinc oxide and mixed zinc oxide/sulphide targets down to 100 meters depth.

- Shallow drilling is proposed in order to confirm results of the 1998 Cominco drill hole that intercepted 18% zinc over a 14 meter interval at the Yolanda prospect, and to define the size and grade distribution of the shallow zinc oxide/sulphide mineralization within this prospect.

- Geological mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysics will be conducted at San Jose and Florida projects for drill-target definition.

- The identification of new exploration targets and follow-up of stream sediment anomalies reported from the 2005 exploration program within the Charlotte Bongara claim block will continue. It should be highlighted that only approximately 5% of the Charlotte Bongara property has been explored to date.

RIO CRISTAL ZINC CORPORATION

Charles Ushela - President, CEO, Director

About Rio Cristal Zinc Corporation

Rio Cristal Zinc is a Canadian corporation focused on the discovery and future development of zinc deposits in Peru. The principal asset of RCZ is the Charlotte Bongara claim block located in northern Peru within an emerging Mississippi Valley-type zinc district. Additional information can be found on the Company's website, www.riocristalzinc.com.

Rio Cristal Zinc QA/QC and Sampling Procedures

Strict sample integrity was maintained throughout the geochemical sampling program. Soil geochemistry samples were consistently following "B" soil horizon (US Department of Agriculture taxonomy, 1989). Each sample was sieved on-site under -2mm fraction until minimum of 2kg of sample was obtained. Channel rock samples have been collected from two deep-cleaned perpendicular channels with 1m up to 1.5m length with minimal weight of 3kg per sample and fragments size -2". Panel rock sampling was applied over 1 x 1m up to 2 x 1m areas respectively with minimal sample weight of 4kg and rock fragments size -2". All samples were bagged and sealed under strict supervision of RCZ staff geologists. Three field duplicates, four standards and two blank samples per 100 samples were inserted in each samples batch following QA/QC procedures recommended by AMEC. The bagged samples were transported by RCZ staff to the city of Pedro Ruiz in northern Peru, where they were shipped directly to ALS CHEMEX Labs in Lima, an ISO 9001:2000 certified laboratory. At the lab facility in Lima, all samples were processed using standard commercial methods ICP41, CV41 and AA46 respectively. Detail procedure of each mentioned method is available at ALSCHEMEX web site.

As required by the National Instrument 43-101, Rio Cristal Zinc's designated Qualified Person for the supervision of exploration of the projects is Miroslav Kalinaj, Vice President-Exploration of the Company, who has verified the technical information, reported in this News Release.

This news release includes certain "forward-looking statements" under applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding potential exploration results, future plans and objectives of the Company are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future results, events and objectives could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from Rio Cristal's expectations include exploration and other risks detailed from time to time in the filings made by the Company with securities regulators.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information