MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2011) - SEMAFO (News - Market indicators) today announced that as at December 31, 2010, SEMAFO's proven and probable mineral reserves increased by 90% to 36,147,800 tonnes at an average grade of 2.43 g/t Au for 2,817,300 ounces compared to 1,485,900 ounces in December 2009. SEMAFO's total measured and indicated resources, including reserves, attained 6 million ounces, compared to 5 million ounces the year prior. Inferred resources increased by 108%, to 55,286,300 tonnes at 1.94 g/t Au for 3,459,400 ounces compared to 1,663,800 last year.
Mana, Burkina Faso
Mana's proven and probable reserves increased by 180%. Taking into account the 205,875 ounces mined during the year, our reserves totaled 25,468,000 tonnes at an average grade of 2.64 g/t Au for 2,159,700 ounces as at December 31, 2010, compared to 769,700 ounces in December 2009. As at December 31, 2010, Mana's underground project contained mineral reserves totaling 13,198,000 tonnes at 2.74 g/t Au for 1,163,700 ounces. Measured and indicated resources ("M&I") totaled 23,662,700 tonnes at 1.5 g/t Au, for 1,126,000 ounces, compared to 1,581,900 in December 2009. Mana's inferred resources rose 195% year over year to 36,466,300 tonnes at 2.28 g/t Au for 2,678,000 ounces from 909,100 ounces, due in large part to the new Fofina-Fobiri zones. The Wona-Kona zone hosts 17,872,300 tonnes at 2.02 g/t Au, for 1,158,800 ounces in the inferred resources category and remains open.
The systematic exploration program at Mana that began with a geophysical survey followed by auger drilling geochemical programs enabled the identification of new targets. The Fofina-Fobiri area was selected for more extensive work such as Air Core ("AC"), reverse circulation ("RC") and diamond ("core") drilling, which led to the discovery of new zones: Fofina, Fofina V1 to V7, and Fobiri FOB1, FOB2 and FOB3. Thus far, the area's mineralization aggregates 17,932,200 tonnes at 2.5 g/t Au, for 1,443,300 ounces in the inferred category. Geological work over the area has enhanced our understanding of the metallogenic context that not only opens two extensions of the zones, but other potential lodes such as fold hinges as well.
At Mana, the 2010 exploration program included 11,342 holes representing 78,795 meters of auger drilling, 1,076 holes of AC drilling for 44,513 meters, 556 holes of RC drilling for 82,931 meters and 110 holes of core drilling for 44,880 meters for follow-up exploration to ore body delineation.
"The success of our 2010 exploration program is impressive and, more importantly, our new geological understanding of the property allows us to see Mana's enormous potential, which is greater than anything that we had previously anticipated," said Michel Crevier, SEMAFO's Geology Manager and Qualified Person. "With our new 2011 expanded exploration budget at Mana, the future is promising."
The 2011 Mana exploration program budget has been established at $30 million (refer to SEMAFO's press release of January 27, 2011) with activities to include: an airborne geophysical survey, 60,000 meters of auger drilling, 50,000 meters of AC drilling, 130,000 meters of RC drilling and 69,000 meters of core drilling. Approximately $18 million and $12 million will be allocated to exploration and in-fill drilling respectively, with a portion of the activities to focus on the very promising Massala area where grab samples returned many high-grade values ranging up to 13.8 g/t Au.
Samira Hill, Niger
Samira Hill total reserves stand at 9,472,700 tonnes at 1.67 g/t Au, for 507,600 ounces, compared to 529,700 ounces in December 2009, representing a slight reduction of 4% or 21,900 ounces less than the 69,500 ounces of reserves mined in 2010. M&I resources increased by 10% to 29,024,400 tonnes at 1.51 g/t Au for 1,405,200 ounces, compared to 1,276,200 in 2009, mainly due to the new zones in the Boulon Jounga area.
The 2010 exploration program at Samira Hill consisted mainly of 379 holes for 37,216 meters of RC drilling in the Boulon Jounga area as well around Libiri in Libdorado NW, Libiri NW and Libiri SE.
The 2011 exploration budget for Samira Hill has been established at $5 million with activities to include 16,850 meters of auger drilling, 70,865 meters of combined AC and RC drilling.
As a result of an absence of exploration at Kiniero in 2010, reserves and resources broadly reflect the reduction in ounces mined. As at December 31, 2010, mineral reserves and resources totaled 11,117.400 tonnes at an average grade of 2.21 g/t Au for 790,200 ounces, compared to 829,800 ounces in December 2009.
Kiniero's 2011 exploration budget has been established at $4 million and is scheduled to include 27,200 meters of RC and 4,000 meters of core drilling.
Reserves and resources were estimated using a gold price of $1,100 per ounce.
The mineral reserves and resources were estimated as at December 31, 2010 in accordance with the definitions adopted by the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum and incorporate into National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101). Mineral reserves and resources estimates for the Mana Mine were carried out by Met-Chem Canada Inc. (reserves) and SGS Geostat Ltd (resources), under the direction of Michel Crevier P.Geo MScA, Geology Manager and SEMAFO's Qualified Person who has reviewed this press release for accuracy and compliance. A technical report, prepared in accordance with the provisions of National Instrument 43-101 will be filed within 45 days of this press release.
SEMAFO is a Canadian-based mining company with gold production and exploration activities in West Africa. The Company currently operates three gold mines: the Mana Mine in Burkina Faso, the Samira Hill Mine in Niger and the Kiniero Mine in Guinea. SEMAFO is committed to evolve in a conscientious manner to become a major player in its geographical area of interest. SEMAFO's strategic focus is to maximize shareholder value by effectively managing its existing assets as well as pursuing organic and strategic growth opportunities.
Caution Concerning Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions and accordingly, actual results and future events could differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. You are hence cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include words or expressions such as "potential", "future", "estimated", "evolve", "become", "pursuing", "growth" and other similar words or expressions. Factors that could cause future results or events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include the ability to execute on our strategic focus, fluctuation in the price of currencies, gold or operating costs, mining industry risks, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral reserves and resources, delays, political and social stability in Africa (including our ability to maintain or renew licenses and permits) and other risks described in SEMAFO's documents filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. You can find further information with respect to these and other risks in SEMAFO's 2009 Annual MD&A, as updated in the 2010 First Quarter MD&A, 2010 Second Quarter MD&A and 2010 Third Quarter MD&A, and other filings made with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com. These documents are also available on our website at www.semafo.com. SEMAFO disclaims any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law.
We are presenting 100% of the reserves and resources of the mines in the above table, as they are mostly attributable to SEMAFO in accordance with its financial structure. Regarding open pit reserves, cut-off grades are established with the Ultimate Pit software in consideration of the rock type and haulage distance, regarding underground mining, cut-off are established from calculated operations costs. Cut-off grades vary from 0.6 g/t to 2.0 g/t.
- The Company indirectly owns 90% of SEMAFO Burkina, which directly holds the interest in the Mana Mine reserves and resources.
- Mineral reserves estimated using US$1,100 per ounce of gold.
- Mineral reserves and resources at the Samira Hill Mine represent the combined reserves and resources of SML and AGMDC. The Company indirectly owns 80% of SML.
- The Company indirectly owns 85% of SEMAFO Guinée, which directly holds the interest in the Kiniero Mine reserves and resources.
- Rounding of numbers to the nearest hundreds of tonnes may introduce slight differences in the figures representing the ounces contained.
- The mineral reserves and resources were estimated as at December 31, 2010 in accordance with the definitions adopted by the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum and incorporated into National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101").