SPOKANE, WA--April 23, 2009-- Minera Andes Inc. (TSX: MAI and US OTC: MNEAF) is pleased to announce details of the 2009 exploration program underway at its producing high-grade gold/silver San Jos� Mine in southern Argentina. The San Jos� project is owned by Minera Santa Cruz S.A. ("MSC") and MSC is owned 49% by Minera Andes and 51% by Hochschild Mining plc ("Hochschild") (HOCM.L: Reuters and HOC LN: Bloomberg - London Stock Exchange), the operator. Exploration highlights include the discovery of a new mineralized structure about 845 meters southwest of the producing Huevos Verdes vein. The structure, which does not outcrop on the surface, was discovered in the first hole of a program of several 1,000 meter long Diamond drill holes to be drilled horizontally from existing underground workings. Core hole (SMJ-105) intersected 8.9 g/t (0..26 ounces per tonne - opt) gold and 517 g/t (15.1 opt) silver over 1.00 meters (see link below for maps).
The 2009 exploration program at San Jos� consists of a compilation and interpretation of project data over the entire San Jos� district, comprising approximately 115 km2 (28,400 acres), to identify new targets and follow up on existing targets through exploration drilling. The planned drilling program totals approximately 22,000 meters made up of 17,000 meters of core drilling from the surface and 5,000 meters of underground drilling. The surface drilling will focus on the Kospi, Ayel�n, Odin, and the newly discovered structure. Underground drilling will concentrate on the Kospi, Frea, Huevos Verdes Central veins as well as other veins by drilling from the underground access ramps. In addition to discovering new mineralized veins, the goal of this year's exploration program will be to add to the existing resources at San Jos�.
The new mineralized quartz vein structure was discovered in the first drill hole of the underground exploration program in the San Jos� mine. The first phase of the underground drilling program consists of five 1,000-meter long, horizontal holes to test various geophysical targets outside the current mining areas in order to evaluate possible sub-parallel structures. Drill hole JM-105, directed towards a high-resistivity anomaly to the southwest of the Huevos Verdes vein, intersected the structure at 845m yielding 8.9 g/t Au and 517 g/t Ag over 1.0 meter width. A follow-up surface drilling program to test the continuity of this recent discovery is in preparation. The current five long-hole underground program continues with a second horizontal hole currently being drilled in a northeast direction from the Huevos Verdes vein.
Allen Ambrose, president of Minera Andes said, "We are pleased to see the excellent discovery potential at San Jos� with the first drill hole from this year's exploration program meeting with success. This further indicates the district scale potential of the property to host multiple gold/silver veins. Since the Huevos Verdes vein was discovered on the property four additional high-grade gold/silver veins have been found with a potential fifth vein in the new structure."
To view maps showing the location of the newly discovered vein at San Jose, please click on the following link to today's news release on the Minera Andes Inc. website. The maps can be found at the end of the page:
Link to San Jose discovery maps
Assay results for the drilling were reviewed by Allen V. Ambrose, Minera Andes' President and CEO, who is an appropriately qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. All samples were collected in accordance with industry standards. Assay results disclosed herein are generated from the in-house laboratory at the San Jose mine site. Splits and check samples from the drill core samples were submitted to Alex Stewart Assayers, Argentina, S.A., in Mendoza, Argentina, for fire assay and ICP analysis and assay results are pending. Accuracy of results is tested through the systematic inclusion of standards, blanks and check assays.
Allen V. Ambrose, Minera Andes' CEO and President, who is a "qualified person" as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible the information used in this news release and has supervised the preparation of the information and reviewed all information used in this news release.
Minera Andes is a gold, silver and copper exploration company working in Argentina. The Corporation holds or has an interest in approximately 304,000 acres of mineral exploration land in Argentina, including the properties comprising the 49% owned San Jos� silver/gold mine. Minera Andes is also exploring the Los Azules copper project in San Juan province, where a scoping study has been completed and a 43-101 technical report filed. Other exploration properties, primarily silver and gold, are being evaluated in southern Argentina. The Corporation presently has 230,538,851 shares issued and outstanding.
This news is submitted by Allen V. Ambrose, CEO, President and Director of Minera Andes Inc.
For further information, please contact: Art Johnson at the Spokane office, or Krister A. Kottmeier, investor relations - Canada, at the Vancouver office. Visit our Web site: www.minandes.com.
111 East Magnesium Rd.,
Spokane, WA 99208 USA
Phone: (509) 921-7322
Suite 911 - 470 Granville St,
Vancouver, BC. V6C 1V5
Phone: (604) 689-7017 / 877-689-7018
Non-GAAP Financial Measures:
In this news release, we use the term "operating cash cost." Operating cash costs are defined as the sum of the geology, mining, processing plant, general and administration costs as well as royalties, refining and treatment charges and sales costs applied to dor�, but with respect to concentrate sales do not include refining, treatment charges and sales costs. The operating cash costs per ounce are calculated on a co-product basis by dividing the respective proportionate share of the total costs for the period for each metal by the ounces of each respective metal produced. The proportionate share of the total costs is calculated by multiplying the total cash costs by the percentage of total production value that the respective metal represents. For 2008, approximately 58% of the value of the production was derived from silver and 42% was derived from gold based on the year 2008 average London PM fix for silver and for gold. We use operating cash cost per ounce as an operating indicator. We provide this measure to our investors to allow them to also monitor operational efficiency of MSC's mine at San Jos�. Operating cash cost per ounce should be considered as non-GAAP Financial Measure and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are material limitations associated with the use of such non-GAAP Financial Measures. Since these measures do not incorporate revenues, changes in working capital and non-operating cash costs, they are not necessarily indicative of operating profit or cash flow from operations as determined under GAAP. Changes in numerous factors include, but are not limited to, mining rates, milling rates, silver and gold grades, silver and gold recoveries, and the costs of labor, consumables and mine site operations general and administrative activities that can cause these measures to increase or decrease.
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements:
This news release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable US and Canadian securities laws. Such forward-looking statements or information include expected production at MSC's San Jos� Project. In making the forward-looking statements and providing the forward-looking information, we have made numerous assumptions. Although our management believes that the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements or information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements and information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results to be materially different from that expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include among other things, declines in the price of gold, silver, copper and other base metals, capital and operating cost increases, changes in general economic and business conditions, including changes in interest rates and the demand for base metals, economic and political instability in Argentina, discrepancies between actual and estimated production and mineral reserves and resources; operational and development risk; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and regulatory risks.
Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. We undertake no obligation to reissue or update forward-looking statements or information as a result of new information or events after the date hereof except as may be required by law. See our annual information form for additional information on risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the forward-looking statements and information. All forward-looking statements and information made in this news release are qualified by this cautionary statement. Minera Andes' joint venture partner, a subsidiary of Hochschild Mining plc, and its affiliates do not accept responsibility for the use of project data or the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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