Rio Novo Gold Inc.
TSX : RN
TSX : RN.WT

Rio Novo Gold Inc.

April 12, 2012 10:17 ET

Rio Novo Gold Announces Start of the Drilling Program at Its Toldafria Gold Project in Colombia

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 12, 2012) - Rio Novo Gold Inc. (TSX:RN)(TSX:RN.WT) ("Rio Novo" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that drilling has started at its 100%-owned Toldafria Gold Project, in Colombia. The Company will be working with a manportable diamond drilling rigs to undertake an initial 3,000 meter drilling program, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012.

The initial drilling will take advantage of the existing knowledge base of the Toldafria Project. An extensive tunnel sampling campaign completed earlier this year provides Rio Novo with an understanding of the existing mineralized structures and the drilling is planned to cut through such existing structures. Seven drilling platforms are planned with multiple holes per platform. Drilling will be on an East-West axis in order to cut through known North-South structures, to depths between 250-400 meters.

A second 5,000 meter follow-up drilling program is planned for later in the year and an updated resource estimate based on the drilling results is planned for the second half of 2012.

Brian Arkell, SVP Exploration, commented: "Our sampling results to date have outlined a very large area of gold mineralization. We are excited about the prospects at Toldafria and this initial drilling program. Major Drilling has provided us with a brand new portable rig, which is perfect for our needs in Toldafria's terrain. We expect to have initial assay results by the end of May or early June and will continue to work on our stated primary objective of updating our resource estimate by the end of the year".

About the Toldafria Gold Project

The Toldafria deposit is hosted within Paleozoic schists of the Cajamarca Formation with both high grade sheeted vein zones and stockworks. The schists lie adjacent to a Tertiary granodiorite intrusive. In the Toldafria area, the rocks are locally altered to Prophylitic and Argillic assemblages. Gold is present as free gold and gold-sulfides within quartz veins.

These gold-bearing veins have been mined by local artisanal miners for at least 100 years. The artisanal miners drove underground tunnels, then cross-cut along the higher grade veins. These mining methods were rather simple, producing only small volumes, and therefore only a very small percentage of the gold has been extracted.

In June 2011, the Company completed the 100% acquisition of the Toldafria property in Caldas State in the central Cordillera of Colombia. Since the acquisition, the Company has conducted comprehensive channel sampling of the former underground workings, continuing a program started by the previous operator. Very precise channel sampling methodology has been employed at regular intervals generally perpendicular to the strike and dip of the veins.

To date, over 3,300 samples have been taken at the Toldafria Gold Project, covering approximately 14km of underground workings as well as limited surface exposures. The results outline both high grade sheeted vein zones and stockworks, covering a total area of about 650m x 700m. The Toldafria Technical Report, which was completed in May 2011 and was based on about 1,600 samples, reported an estimated inferred mineral resource of 12.4 Mt averaging 2.38 g/t Au at a cut-off grade of 0.5 g/t. Since that time, the additional samples have extended the footprint of gold mineralization both laterally and vertically.

Qualified Person

Mr. Brian Arkell, Senior Vice President of Exploration at Rio Novo Gold Inc., is a Qualified Person, as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101, and has reviewed and verified the technical content of the information contained in this release.

About Rio Novo

Rio Novo is focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of gold properties in Brazil and Colombia. The Company has Measured & Indicated resources of 1,143,427 oz and 1,105,201 Inferred oz of gold at two projects in Brazil (Almas and Guaranta) and one in Colombia (Toldafria).

The Company's goal is to become a producer of gold in the short term by bringing into production the Almas Gold Project, located in the State of Tocantins in mid-2013. The Almas Project enjoys both established infrastructure, main grid hydropower in a proven and mining friendly jurisdiction and is permitted for construction.

The Almas Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") by Pinncock, Allen & Holt released recently indicates an M&I resource of 796,000 oz at 1.06 g/t with a planned 10 year mine life producing about 60-75,000 oz. per annum at $729 cash operating cost per oz before royalties and refining costs. The initial capital is estimated at $94.4 million with $34 million of sustaining capital. The Almas Project has a $106 million NPV5% at $1,350 per oz gold price and an estimated IRR of 25%. The processing plant and mill will operate at 2.0 million tonnes per year utilizing the company's 5,800 tpd Metso ball mill in a CIL circuit.

At the Guaranta Gold Project, the company is exploring at its 100,000 ha land package to delineate resources in addition to the existing 347,400 oz at 1.35 g/t Au Measured & Indicated resources of the X1 target. The primary 2012 target in the region is the Matupa target, located about 19km south of X1, which represents a large area of porphyry mineralization, similar to X1, where Rio Novo believes it holds significant exploration potential.

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements, other than of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future (including, without limitation, statements regarding the estimation of mineral resources, exploration results, potential mineralization, potential mineral resources and mineral reserves) are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identifiable by the use of words such as "anticipate", "believe", "plan", may", "could", "would", "might" or "will", "estimates", "expect", "intend", "budget", "scheduled", "forecasts" and similar expressions or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, without limitation, failure to establish estimated mineral resources, the possibility that future exploration results will not be consistent with the Company's expectations, the price of gold and other risks identified in the Company's most recent annual information form filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities on SEDAR.com. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

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