Rio Narcea Gold Mines, Ltd.

Rio Narcea Gold Mines, Ltd.

March 22, 2005 17:17 ET

Rio Narcea Joint Ventures Rio Narcea Gold Belt Exploration Properties To Buenaventura




MARCH 22, 2005 - 17:17 ET

Rio Narcea Joint Ventures Rio Narcea Gold Belt
Exploration Properties To Buenaventura

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2005) - Rio Narcea Gold
Mines, Ltd. (TSX:RNG)(AMEX:RNO) ("Rio Narcea" or the "Company") is
pleased to announce that further to the Head of Agreement press release
of December 17, 2004, the Company has signed a definitive joint venture
agreement with Compania de Minas Buenaventura, S.A.A. ("Buenaventura" or
"BVN"). Under the terms of the agreement, Buenaventura has an option to
earn a 51% interest after phase 1 and an additional 19% interest after
phase 2 in all of Rio Narcea's exploration stage properties within the
Rio Narcea Gold Belt in northern Spain, with the exception of the El
Valle-Boinas and Carles mines and the related infrastructure. Rio Narcea
will continue to develop these deposits as well as its exploration
properties located in the other Asturian gold belts.

To earn the 51% interest, Buenaventura must make expenditures totaling
EUR 2.2 million (US$2.9 million) within two years time. These funds will
be used to fund an underground exploration and development program on
the Santa Marina property, situated two kilometers north of the El Valle
mine. Once BVN has earned a 51% interest, it will have the option to
earn an additional 19% interest by incurring a further EUR 2.4 million
(US$3.2 million) of exploration expenses at Santa Marina, which would
include additional underground development work and drilling.

The Santa Marina gold mineralized area, discovered in a previous
exploration program in 2000, is a deep, mineralized breccia zone that
closely resembles the style of mineralization at the El Valle mine. The
best hole intercepted a total grade thickness of 90 grams x meters /
tonne in a breccia with three intervals including 22 g/t over 1.0 meter,
16.1 g/t over 2.5 meters and 2.0 g/t over 8.2 meters between 170 and 210
meters below surface.

John W.W. Hick, Chief Executive Officer of Rio Narcea, commented: "We
are very pleased to have Compania de Minas Buenaventura, a
well-established precious metals mining company, as a joint venture
partner. Buenaventura has proven track record of exploring for,
developing and producing precious metals in Latin America and we expect
that this joint venture will further unlock the potential of the Rio
Narcea Gold Belt in the near future. This joint venture will enable Rio
Narcea to focus efforts on increasing its reserve base at the El
Valle-Boinas and Carles mines, the exploitation of Aguablanca nickel
mine and continuing to advance its other projects."

Rio Narcea is a growing mineral resource company with operations,
development projects and exploration activities in Spain, Portugal, and
Mauritania. The Company produces gold at its El Valle and Carles mines
and has started producing concentrates at its Aguablanca
nickel-copper-PGM mine in southern Spain. Rio Narcea is expecting to
start the construction of its permitted Tasiast gold project located in
Mauritania, West Africa, in the second half of 2005 and is also
completing a full feasibility study of its Salave gold deposit in
northern Spain.

Forward-looking Statements: Some statements in this press release
contain forward-looking information. These statements address future
events and conditions and, as such, involve inherent risks and
uncertainties. Actual results could be significantly different from
those projected.


Contact Information

    Rio Narcea Gold Mines, Ltd.
    John W.W. Hick
    Chief Executive Officer
    (416) 956 7470
    (416) 956 7471 (FAX)
    Rio Narcea Gold Mines, Ltd.
    Steve Dawson
    Manager, Investor Relations
    (416) 956 7470
    (416) 956 7471 (FAX)