SOURCE: Ventura Gold Corp.

May 12, 2008 08:30 ET

Ventura Updates Activities and Progress Implementing Business Plan

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - May 12, 2008) - Ventura Gold Corp. ("the Company") (TSX-V: VGO) continued to make significant progress for the calendar year-to-date in implementing its business strategy, including the following highlights:

--  Closed a non-brokered private placement unit financing in February
    raising US$7.25 million in gross proceeds;
    
--  Commenced a second phase core drilling program in April 2008 totaling
    3,500 meters ("m") planned in eight drill holes at the Inmaculada gold-
    silver property in Peru (after a three-month hiatus for the rainy season)
    to follow up on the exciting results from the initial drill program that
    were announced in the January 18, 2008 news release;
    
--  Invested US$300,000 to acquire 1.2 million shares (approximately 9% of
    the issued shares) of Caribbean Copper and Gold Corporation ("CCGC"), a
    private exploration company with properties in Colombia and Panama,
    increasing Ventura's strategic investment holdings to interests in a total
    of eight companies;
    
--  Witnessed the successful initial public offerings (IPO) for two of
    Ventura's previously private equity investments, which commenced trading on
    the TSX Venture Exchange ("TSX-V") -- Colombian Mines Corporation and
    African Aura Resources Ltd.; and
    
--  Completed the earn-in and acquisition of a 60% interest in the
    Cottonwood Peak gold exploration property in Northern Nevada.
    

Financing

The Company closed a non-brokered private placement raising Cdn$7.25 million in gross proceeds on February 15th, 2008. Under the terms of the financing, a total of 17,269,000 units (the "Units") at a price of Cdn$0.42 per Unit were issued by Ventura. Each Unit consists of one common share (the "Shares") and one half of a share purchase warrant (the "Warrants"), with each whole Warrant entitling the holder to purchase one additional common share at Cdn$0.60 at any time up to February 15, 2010. Finder's fees totaling Cdn$359,500 were paid in respect of the placement. The Shares (together with any shares issued upon exercise of the Warrants) are subject to a four month hold period expiring on June 16, 2008.

Inmaculada Project, Peru

The second campaign of core drilling started in April 2008 at the highly prospective Inmaculada Project, with a planned program of 2,000m to continue testing the Quellopata vein system and 1,500m to test the Minascucho breccia.

Ventura also commenced a ground magnetic and Induced Polarization (IP) geophysical program to test the continuity and extent of the Minascucho breccia.

The first ten-hole core drilling campaign at Inmaculada was completed in January 2008 with the most promising mineralization encountered in four contiguous drill holes which intersected the Angela vein. The best hole intersected 6.3 grams per tonne (gpt) gold and 166 gpt silver over 5.0m (true width). The second campaign of core drilling at Angela will follow-up on these encouraging results with step-out drilling along 300m of strike and a further 100m down-dip.

The Inmaculada Project is a joint venture with Compañia Minera Ares S.A.C., a wholly-owned subsidiary of London-listed Hochschild Mining plc. Ventura can acquire up to a 70% interest by completing a total of 15,000m of drilling over a three-year period (approximately 2,900 m completed to date), issuing 3.0 million Ventura common shares to Hochschild over an eight-year period (300,000 shares have been issued to date) and completing a feasibility study at Ventura's cost. Hochschild retains certain back-in rights when Ventura has earned an initial 51% interest in the project. The detailed terms of the joint venture agreement were outlined in a news release dated February 12, 2007.

Ventura's drilling program is supervised by Qualified Person, Ventura Exploration Manager Mark Cannuli.

Strategic Equity Investments

In April, 2008, Ventura completed a US$300,000 investment in CCGC to acquire 1.2 million shares or approximately 9% of the issued and outstanding shares. CCGC is a private company with gold and copper exploration properties in Colombia and Panama. CCGC owns a 100% interest in the Quinchia gold project, located 40 km south of Colombia Goldfields' Marmato project, in Colombia, which is reported to host a greater than two million ounce gold deposit.

Colombian Mines completed an IPO and commenced trading on the TSX-V on April 2, 2008. Colombian Mines holds several prospective gold exploration concessions in Colombia. In October 2007, Ventura invested Cdn$250,000 in a private placement at Cdn$0.75 per unit (one common share plus a one-half share purchase warrant) for 333,330 units. Each whole warrant may be used to purchase one common share at Cdn$1.00 until March 1, 2009. On May 2, 2008, the market value of Ventura's investment totaled Cdn$333,330. Following the IPO, Ventura holds approximately 2% of the issued and outstanding shares of Colombian Mines (prior to the closing of a recently announced private placement of an additional 950,000 units of one common share plus one share purchase warrant).

African Aura completed an IPO and commenced trading on the TSX-V on March 31, 2008. African Aura holds several gold exploration concessions in Cameroon and Liberia. In June 2007, Ventura invested Cdn$225,000 in a private placement at Cdn$0.45 per unit (one common share and a half share purchase warrant) for 500,000 units. Each whole warrant may be used to purchase one common share at Cdn$0.60 per share until November 27, 2008. On May 2, 2008, the market value of Ventura's investment totaled Cdn$150,000. Following the IPO, Ventura holds approximately 1% of African Aura.

On May 5, 2008, Aurea Mining Inc., one of Ventura's equity investments with exploration holdings in Mexico, announced in a news release that Aurea and Newstrike Capital Inc. have entered into a letter of intent to combine the two companies through a Plan of Arrangement. The plan anticipates that all of Aurea's common shares will be exchanged for Newstrike shares and, that the exchange rate (5.5 Aurea shares for 1 Newstrike share) represents an approximate 57% premium to the May 2, 2008 Aurea share price. Ventura currently holds 1,875,000 shares and 625,000 share purchase warrants exercisable at Cdn$0.35 per share through February 2009 on a cost basis of Cdn$383,448.

Other Exploration Properties, USA

The Company owns a 60% interest in the Cottonwood Peak gold project north of Elko, Nevada, a 100% interest in the Gold Gulch gold-copper project in the Morenci district of eastern Arizona, and has the right to earn-in and acquire a 51% interest in the Del Oro gold project in the Getchell-Battle Mountain trend south of Winnemucca, Nevada. Ventura is actively seeking joint venture partners to advance its gold exploration properties in Nevada and Arizona.

The Company will report its fourth quarter and full year financial results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, by July 29, 2008.

About Ventura

Ventura Gold Corp. is a United States-based precious metals exploration and development company with a business plan to a) acquire, evaluate and develop high-grade, low-cost gold-silver and base-metal deposits with a view to establishing strategic alliances and/or joint ventures with larger companies, and b) acquire strategic investments and/or alliances with pre-IPO exploration companies and listed junior companies where Ventura believes those companies and management have the resources and expertise to optimize the potential value of their asset bases. In addition to exploration projects in Peru, Arizona and Nevada, Ventura has approximately $2 million in strategic investments in emerging exploration companies with exposure to projects in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Indonesia and Africa.

Neither Hochschild Mining plc nor any of its subsidiaries accept any responsibility for the adequacy or inadequacy of the disclosure made in this news release and any such responsibility is hereby disclaimed in all respects.

The TSX Venture Exchange neither approves nor disapproves of the information contained in this News Release.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    Wendy Yang
    Vice President of Investor Relations
    (303) 357-4863

    Eric Edwards
    President and CEO
    (303) 357-4862