VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Oct. 31, 2007) – Aura Minerals Inc. (“Aura Minerals” or the “Company”) (TSX:ORA) is pleased to provide the following update on corporate activities at its wholly-owned Arapiraca project (“Arapiraca Project” or the “Project”).
Serrote da Laje Drilling
To date the Company has completed over 13,060 m of diamond drilling at the main Serrote da Laje deposit within 70 holes. This drilling, the majority of which is infill on the previous holes drilled by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce S.A. (“CVRD”), continues to show very good geological continuity. Recent step-out drilling has also shown that the sulphide mineralization extends beyond the main magnetite zone and also at depth. Although this will reduce the overall iron content of the resource, it appears that it will increase the overall resource tonnage and the copper, gold and nickel content. Several holes have been drilled to the north-west and east of the main zone and this drilling continues to encounter mineralization outside of the current resource area. Both zones still appear to be open and the Company is now planning additional drilling in these areas (see the highlighted areas within Drill Plan Map 1).
Drilling has also encountered significant mineralization between the main magnetic north and south highs at Serrote da Laje (see Magnetic Image 1). CVRD had completed minimal drilling in this area. Recent drilling by Aura Minerals has intercepted significant copper mineralization in holes AR-SLJE 141 and AR-SLJE 144 to a depth of almost 300 m (see Core Photo 1 – AR-SLJE 144). Assays are still pending, but it appears that this will extend the zone to the south and at depth. Copper mineralization was contained within breccias with veinlets of chalcopyrite and bornite within minor magnetite. The Company now plans several follow-up holes in this zone.
Drilling has also commenced on the southern portion of the Serrote da Laje deposit to follow-up on widely spaced drilling by CVRD. This drilling is to test the continuity of this zone and to determine the extent of the Serrote da Laje mineralization outside of the southern magnetic high.
The Company, similar to other exploration and development companies, continues to experience significant delays in receiving assay results. To date, the Company has submitted over 65 holes for assay and has only received full results from 14 holes (see News Release #2007-15, dated September 4, 2007). Results are expected for an additional 10-12 holes, including iron assays, later this week and will be released within the next 7-10 days.
In order to help reduce the assay turnaround time, the Company has recently completed construction of an on-site assay preparation laboratory. The facility was commissioned earlier this month under the direct supervision of SGS Geosol Laboratories Limitada (“SGS”) and is now operating under SGS supervision. This will allow the Company to produce assay pulps on site and ship to several different facilities within South America, which should reduce the assay turnaround time (see Laboratory Photo 1 and Laboratory Photo 2).
The Company is also completing a full re-assay for iron of the 89 holes completed by CVRD. These results will be included as part of the upcoming National Instrument 43-101 resource update planned for Q1-2008.
Drilling has commenced at the Caboclo zone located some 15 km to the north of Serrote da Laje. To date, 14 holes have been drilled in the main target to follow up on earlier wide spaced exploration holes by CVRD. The first set of holes are based on geophysical targets. These holes will then be followed up with more closely spaced drilling. Drilling appears very encouraging and several follow-up drill holes are being planned. Initial results from the first phase drilling are expected in November.
Of significance at the Caboclo zone is the recent discovery of a significant new magnetite outcrop to the north of the main target. Follow-up sampling, mapping and drilling is now planned at this outcrop (see Outcrop Photo 1 and Outcrop Photo 2).
The Company has also completed a first phase review of the remaining 38 targets identified at the Arapiraca Project. Based on this review, several high priority targets have been identified. Soil geochemistry sampling has commenced concurrent with geological mapping and ground magnetometry. Once results of this work has been received and analyzed, follow-up drilling will be planned for early 2008. Of particular interest are several coincident magnetic/geochemical targets to the east and south-east of the main Serrote da Laje deposit.
A key component of the Arapiraca Project is the excellent infrastructure located close by the Project. The owner/operator of the nearby rail line, Companhia Ferroviaria do Nordeste (“CFN”), recently commenced a R$80 million (US$40 million) upgrade of the rail line through the state of Alagoas to the northern deep sea port of Suape and to the southern port of Aracaju (see Rail Line Map). This will provide a year-round reliable rail link to either port for shipment of iron ore from the Project as this lines passes within 5 km of the main ore deposit.
The Company also recently received a detailed infrastructure report from the consulting company Planave S.A. in regards to iron ore and copper transportation and shipments. In summary, there are three nearby port options linked directly by rail to the Project that can be used for iron ore shipments. One of these ports, Suape, is capable of accommodating Cape Size (150,000 tonne) vessels and currently ships iron ore from small independent Brazilian companies to both Europe and China.
Copper concentrate from the Arapiraca Project could be trucked or railed to any of the three identified ports, to the port at Maceio (120 km) or to the Camacari copper smelter located 550 km to the south, near the city of Salvador.
The Company has also received a report from ENECEL Energia, Comercializacao e Consultoria Energetica Ltda. in regards to power supply options. There are four viable options to supply power to the Project, with the 550 kV and 230 kV options of most interest. The Brazilian National Interconnected System has sufficient transmission capacity for the Project. The Company now plans follow-up engineering work to determine the best option in terms of cost for the Project.
GRD Minproc Limited, the company’s metallurgical testwork consultant, has now completed a full review of the historical CVRD testwork and has selected a local laboratory to complete follow-up metallurgical testwork. This will commence in November and include the following testwork:
– crushing and grinding work index
– grind vs. recovery for copper, gold and nickel
– detailed flotation
– optimization of nickel recovery
– magnetic separation
The results of this work will then be used to determine the following:
– copper, gold and nickel recoveries
– concentrate’s grades and quality
– iron recoveries, grade and quality
– project flowsheet and power requirements
Environmental & Permitting
The Company recently hired Mr. Andre Germani as Manager, Environmental and Permitting for the Project. Andre previously led the permitting process for the Onca-Puma project for Canico Resources in Para State prior to its purchase by CVRD.
The overall permitting work and ongoing baseline studies have been awarded to Brandt Meio Ambiente, who also completed the same work for Yamana Gold’s Chapada mine and Onca-Puma.
The permitting is well advanced, as much of this work was completed by CVRD in the past with several permits already granted. The Company now plans to update this work and submit its final mine construction license application in 2008.
Several meetings have also been held with local and state government officials and there is very strong support for the Arapiraca Project and its accelerated development. The Alagoas State government has recently appointed a dedicated official to be responsible for the Project and its ongoing development.
Commenting on the foregoing, Mr. Patrick Downey, President and CEO, stated, “We are extremely pleased with the progress to date at the Arapiraca Project. Drilling has shown that there is very good potential to expand the main Serrote da Laje deposit and the regional exploration continues to intercept copper, gold and iron mineralization. We are also very pleased with the strong support shown by local and state authorities for the “fast-track” development of the Project and we will continue to work closely with the relevant government agencies to ensure a smooth permitting process.”
Mr. Carlos H. Bertoni, M.Sc. & P.Geo., who is the Company’s Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the contents of this news release as applicable.
About Aura Minerals Inc.
Aura Minerals is a Canadian exploration company focused on the acquisition and development of mineral deposits in Brazil and 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.
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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.
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