VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – April 9, 2008) – Aura Minerals Inc. (“Aura Minerals” or the “Company”) (TSX:ORA) is pleased to provide the following update on its Arapiraca Project located in Alagoas State, Brazil.
Exploration and Resource Update
There has been excellent progress on in-fill and step-out drilling on the Serrote da Laje (“Serrote”) deposit in 2008 with five rigs on site completing a total of 14,000 metres drilled since the beginning of the year. Assay samples have been prepared and shipped. However, due to a heavy backlog at the main laboratory in Brazil, which is an industry wide issue, results of drilling have been delayed and will be published as they become available. An extensive surface trenching and sampling program has also been completed to better define the area of the deposit that would form the starter production pit. These samples will enhance the confidence in the upcoming mineral resource upgrade.
Certain of the current backlog of drill hole results are awaited in order to finalize the new resource estimate which is expected to be released in Q2/2008, once all these drill assays have been received.
Drilling has also recommenced at the Caboclo target, and drilling to date indicates excellent potential to add to the property resource base with near or at surface material. The Company plans to add a second rig to this area later in the year.
Engineering and Permitting
The Company has retained the services of Brazilian-based consulting companies to conduct scopes of work to advance the Serrote deposit to feasibility level assessment in 2008. In addition, the Company has retained the services of Canadian-based consultants to conduct peer review of critical aspects for the project and to provide necessary due diligence.
The Company’s metallurgical test work programs, following-up on the historic test work completed by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (“Vale”), are being conducted at the Gorceix Laboratory of the University of Ouro Preto and the University of Sao Paulo. The results of the first pass of the metallurgical testwork program have been received and show that the work completed by Vale can be replicated. Separation of copper, iron and nickel was achieved and to date, separate copper and magnetite concentrates were produced to acceptable grades and recoveries. Further Stage 2 work has now commenced to improve recoveries and grades and to commence nickel recovery testwork. A senior Canadian-based consultant has been retained as Qualified Person to review and guide the testwork program.
The Company’s environmental consultants initiated environmental baseline work in Q3/2007 which will proceed through 2008, along with associated follow-up programs. A socio-economic baseline study has been completed and work has now commenced on a structured community relations program and several successful community meetings have already taken place.
The necessary hydrology, hydro-geological, water supply, mine geotechnical, tailings impoundment and waste dump design work is also in progress. The Company’s consultants have reviewed the water-line route and have commenced design.
Preliminary work has been completed with respect to iron ore and copper concentrate transportation and shipment. The Company received a detailed infrastructure report in Q4/2007, confirming port options linked directly by rail to the Arapiraca Project that can be used for iron ore shipments. Of these ports, Suape, appears to be the preferred option as it is capable of accommodating Cape Size (150,000 tonne) vessels and currently ships iron ore from small independent domestic producers to both Europe and China. Copper concentrates from the Arapiraca Project could be trucked or railed to three different ports; the current preference being the port at Maceio (120 km by road) or to the Camacari copper smelter located 550 km to the south, near the city of Salvador. The Company has formally lodged an application for berth space at the port of Maceio.
With respect to electrical supply, the Company’s consultants have identified four viable options for the Arapiraca Project, recommending the nearby 230kV option through a new line and sub-station. This work has confirmed that the Brazilian National Interconnected System has sufficient transmission capacity for the Arapiraca Project and the construction of a new line and sub-station at the Arapiraca area has received full support from the State of Alagoas government. Follow-up engineering work has been awarded to determine the best cost options for the Arapiraca Project, including the design for the construction of a new line and sub-station.
Aura Minerals has submitted a Request for Proposal to South American based engineering companies and expects to award the contract for the Feasibility Study and Engineering at the end of April.
About Aura Minerals Inc.
Aura Minerals is a Canadian exploration company focused on the acquisition and development of mineral deposits in Brazil and the rest of South America with an emphasis on developing the polymetallic Arapiraca Project in north-eastern Brazil. The Arapiraca Project which was originally explored in the 1980’s and 1990’s for copper and gold, also contains magnetite (up to 50%) and nickel which have not yet been evaluated. The Company plans to evaluate the Arapiraca Project for copper, gold, nickel and iron ore, all of which can be readily extracted. The nearby infrastructure is excellent with ready access to electricity, water and shipping ports. Aura Minerals’ other projects are the Cumaru, the Inaja Greenstone Belt and the North Carajas claims in the Carajas Metallogenic Province of north central Brazil.
This news release contains forward-looking statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include those risks set out in Aura Minerals’ public documents filed on SEDAR. Although Aura Minerals believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Aura Minerals disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
The TSX does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release, which has been prepared by management.
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