Minera Andes announces fourth quarter gold/silver production increases at the San José mine



    
    TSX: MAI
    NASD-OTCBB: MNEAF
    

    SPOKANE, WA, Jan. 23 /CNW/ - Minera Andes Inc. (TSX: MAI and US OTC:
MNEAF) is pleased to announce details of the San José mine production to
December 31, 2008. The San José joint venture is operated by Minera Santa Cruz
S.A. ("MSC") and is owned 49% by Minera Andes and 51% by Hochschild Mining plc
("Hochschild") (HOCM.L: Reuters and HOC LN: Bloomberg - London Stock
Exchange). Total production at the San José mine in 2008 was 4,380,000 ounces
of silver and 54,260 ounces of gold.
    Production at the San José mine in Q4 2008 totaled 1,329,000 ounces of
silver and 17,370 ounces of gold, of which 49% is attributable to Minera
Andes. Mill throughput increased 60% compared to the previous quarter due to
the plant expansion completed in October. Silver production was 34% higher and
gold production was 41% higher than the previous quarter due to higher tonnage
treated which was partially offset by lower head grades.

    
                           SAN JOSE MINE PRODUCTION
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Production(*)         TOTAL       Q4         Q3         Q2         Q1
                           2008      2008       2008       2008       2008
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ore production
     (metric tons)       295,963    107,875     67,589     60,603     59,897
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Average head grade
     silver (g/t)            559        463        547        681        624
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Average head grade
     gold (g/t)             6.69       5.91       6.78       7.56       7.10
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Silver produced
     (ounces)          4,380,000  1,329,000    990,000  1,093,000    968,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gold produced
     (ounces)             54,260     17,370     12,340     12,410     12,140
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net silver sold
     (ounces)(*)       4,626,400  1,173,000    846,000  2,284,400    323,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net gold sold
     (ounces)(*)          58,890     15,100      9,760     28,980      5,050
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*) The Company has a 49% interest in the San José joint venture.
    

    The San José mine entered into commercial production on January 1, 2008,
and a project to double the original design capacity of the processing plant
from 750 metric tonnes per day ("MTPD") to 1,500 MTPD was completed in October
2008. Mill production has now been ramped up to the capacity of 1,500 metric
tonnes per day, and December 2008 marked the first full month of production at
the expanded capacity rate. Approximately half of the concentrate produced by
the mill is converted on site to doré bullion.

    
    Operational milestones accomplished in the fourth quarter include:
    -   Completion of the increase in processing capacity to 1,500 MTPD and
        most of the related ancillary works.
    -   Commissioning problems with the doré furnaces were resolved, which
        allowed the precipitate in inventory to be processed into doré
        bullion.
    -   Improvements in the quality of the doré through improved precipitate
        filtration.
    -   Re-routing the Kospi ramp in order to alleviate difficult ground
        conditions.
    

    The increased production volume and connection to the national power
grid, which is forecast to be completed in the first quarter of 2009, should
enable a significant reduction in unit operating costs in 2009. MSC forecasts
that at the expanded production rate, the San José mine will produce
approximately 95,000 ounces of gold and 7,500,000 ounces of silver in 2009.
    Allen V. Ambrose, president of Minera Andes said, "We are pleased to
report increased gold and silver production at San José. The fourth quarter
results start to show the impact of production that has ramped up to 1,500
metric tonnes per day. We anticipate this increase in production to further
reduce the unit cost per ounce and unit cost per tonne at the mine."
    The San José mine now comprises 18 km of underground workings accessed by
ramps on the Huevos Verdes, Frea and Kospi veins. During 2008, 5,187 meters of
workings were completed on these three veins. The mine is currently staffed
with 734 employees and over 200 contractors.
    Allen V. Ambrose, Minera Andes' President, who is a "qualified person" as
defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for 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 Company holds about 304,000 acres of mineral exploration land
in Argentina. The producing San José silver/gold mine is 49% owned by Minera
Andes through a joint venture. Minera Andes is also exploring the Los Azules
copper project in San Juan province, where an exploration program has defined
a resource and a scoping study is underway. Other exploration properties,
primarily silver and gold, are being evaluated in southern Argentina. The
Corporation presently has 190,158,851 shares issued and outstanding.
    This news is submitted by Allen V. Ambrose, President and Director of
Minera Andes Inc.

    Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements:

    This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements",
including, but not limited to, the statements regarding the Company's
strategic plans, evolution of mineral resources and reserves, work programs,
development plans and exploration budgets at the Company's San José Project.
The forward-looking statements express, as at the date of this press release,
the Company's plans, estimates, forecasts, projections, expectations or
beliefs as to future events and results. Forward-looking statements involve a
number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that such
statements will prove to be accurate. Therefore, actual results and future
events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. In
particular, there can be no assurance that production forecasts, or cost
savings at the San José mine will be successfully achieved, increased, or that
resources and reserves at the San José mine will be increased. Risks and
uncertainties that could cause results or future events to differ materially
from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking
statements include, but are not limited to, factors associated with
fluctuations in the market price of precious metals, mining industry risks,
risks associated with foreign operations, the state of the capital markets,
environmental risks and hazards, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral
reserves and other risks. We refer readers to the risk factors and
uncertainties described in the Company's continuous disclosure record, a copy
of which is available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com. 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.





For further information:

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; Spokane Office, 111 East
Magnesium Road; Ste. A, Spokane, WA, 99208, USA, Phone: (509) 921-7322,
E-mail: info@minandes.com; Vancouver Office, 911-470, Granville Street,
Vancouver, B.C., V6C 1V5, Phone: (604) 689-7017, 877-689-7018, E-mail:
ircanada@minandes.com

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