Minera Andes initiates exploration on 100%-owned targets in Argentina

Minera Andes initiates exploration on 100%-owned targets in Argentina

Monday, August 24th 2009

Minera Andes Inc. announce exploration plans for two principal areas in Argentina. 1) Santa Cruz province where the Corporation’s San Jose mine is located and 2) San Juan province, site of the Corporation’s recent Los Azules copper discovery. The target in Santa Cruz province is high-grade epithermal gold-silver mineralization. In San Juan province porphyry-style copper mineralization is the primary target.

Exploration Program

Minera Andes plans to systematically evaluate its portfolio of properties in Santa Cruz and San Juan province. It is anticipated that in the next eighteen months all the properties currently held will be evaluated using satellite image analysis, soil and rock sampling and geologic mapping. We expect to conduct further work, including various geophysical surveys, on 8 to 10 properties in total. Our work plan calls for reconnaissance core drilling on up to five targets (2,500 meters per target).

Santa Cruz Province -Big Potential – Many New discoveries

Since beginning exploration in Argentina in the 1990′s, Minera Andes has one of the most successful exploration teams in Argentina with two discoveries to its credit: the now-producing San Jose mine (a joint venture between the Corporation and Hochschild Mining plc in which the Corporation has a 49% interest) in Santa Cruz province and the Los Azules porphyry copper project in the San Juan province. Santa Cruz is home to several significant precious metal mines and new discoveries. It was not until the 1990′s that the area began to be explored. Now that our mine is built and we have money in the bank, we will be aggressively looking at the discovery potential of our extensive land holdings.

The producing mines in the Deseado massif are: AngloGold Ashanti’s Cerro Vanguardia mine (reserves of 3.5 million ounces (m oz) of gold and a production rate 220,000 oz per year); Pan American Silver’s Manantial Espejo mine (reserves of 75 m oz silver and a production rate of 4 m oz silver and 60,000 oz gold per year); Coeur’s Mina Marta (a reserve of 50 m oz silver and a production rate of 2.7 m oz per year); and Minera Andes’ discovery, the San Jose mine (reserves of 27.3 m oz silver and 412,000 oz gold, measured and indicated resources of 39 m oz silver and 570,000 oz gold with a production of 6 m oz silver and 60,000 oz gold per year).

Exploration continues to yield positive results in Santa Cruz. Notable recent exploration successes include Andean Resources’ Cerro Negro property, close to San Jose, where a resource of 2.4 m oz of gold has been discovered at the Eureka vein and Exeter Resources’ Cerro Moro property which so far has a resource of more that 600,000 oz gold equivalent. These new discoveries attest to the continued exploration potential of the Deseado Massif.

Minera Andes currently controls 35 properties in Santa Cruz province covering approximately 66,000 hectares. The exploration target is gold and silver mineralization in low- to intermediate-sulfidation epithermal systems. Largely acquired on the basis of satellite imagery, geologic setting and proximity to known mineralized trends, these properties run the full gamut from grassroots properties, with little or no work done to date, all the way to targets ready to drill (Martes 13). Several properties have already been the focus of preliminary drill campaigns and will be re-evaluated as part of the planned campaign.

San Juan Province

The Andean cordillera of Chile and Argentina hosts 18% of the world’s copper resources. Alone, the Miocene copper belt of Chile contains 605 billion pounds of copper. Minera Andes has already made a significant copper discovery at Los Azules where 11 billion pounds of copper have been delineated at potentially mineable grades (in an inferred resource of 922 million tonnes of 0.55% copper). Los Azules is subject to an option earn-in agreement with Xstrata Copper

In addition to Los Azules, Minera Andes holds three other porphyry copper targets in San Juan province. One of them, Los Chonchones, has been extensively sampled in a grassroots sense and displays characteristics (alteration etc) typical of productive porphyry copper systems and, consequently, is a strong candidate for further work.

Initial results from the Celestina project, Santa Cruz province

As a precursor to the proposed program, drilling was completed at the Celestina property in early June. A total of 10 core holes were drilled to depths between 140 meters and 240 meters, for a total of 1,731 meters, to test for gold/silver mineralization. Drilling confirmed the presence of a low-sulfidation epithermal mineralized system. Nine of the ten holes cut significant widths of mineralized structures. Mineralized intercepts included strongly altered faults and breccias zones with some zones of gray to crystalline quartz. Identified minerals included abundant pyrite and occasional lead and zinc minerals. Assays revealed only weakly anomalous gold (up to 1.2 g/t over 1.2 meters and 0.40 g/t over 0.3 meters in hole CL09-10) and silver values (up to 106 g/t over 2.4 meters in hole CL09-04). A thorough study of the geologic significance of the drill program will be made before any decision is made regarding further work.

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