SEMAFO Successfully Completes Phase I of Mana Plant Expansion

SEMAFO TSX-SMF

Throughput Reaches 6,900 Tonnes Per Day or 15% Above Nominal Capacity

MONTREAL, March 3 /CNW Telbec/ - SEMAFO (TSX: SMF) today announced that phase I of the Mana plant expansion program aimed at increasing plant capacity to up to 6,000 tonnes per day in saprolite ore (softrock) has been completed on schedule and on budget.

The main focus of this phase of the expansion program involved enhancements to the plant's carbon-in-leach ("CIL") circuit. The milling circuit was modified to allow the two ball mills to operate sequentially, thereby increasing milling capacity until the completion of phase II. This first phase is now fully operational with the processing plant having surpassed target to attain a capacity of up to 6,900 tpd.

"With the successful completion of phase I, we are now focused on completing phase II and III of the Mana plant expansion," said Benoit Desormeaux, Executive Vice-President and COO. "Phase II, which is aimed at increasing plant capacity to 6,000 tpd for the treatment of the hardrock portion of the deposit is scheduled for completion at the end of the second quarter 2010. The benefits of the plant expansion are further enhanced with underground mineral resources discovered in 2009."

Phase III will extend the leach time to accommodate the increased throughput and optimize gold recovery. The addition of 2 CIL tanks will increase leach time from 22 to 29 hours when processing 6,000 tpd. The total budget for this phase is $5,500,000. Completion of this phase will assure optimal gold recovery. Based on a gold price of $1,000 per ounce, a 1% increase in recovery rate would generate an additional $1,500,000 in operating revenue. Based on extensive metallurgical tests realized in 2009, the improvement in leach time will increase recovery by 1% to 2%. Phase III commissioning is scheduled for the end of 2010.

"The next few years promise to be an exciting time for SEMAFO as our expanded Mana Mine continues to strengthen our production profile," said Benoit La Salle, SEMAFO's President and CEO. "This initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to maximize the Mana's on surface and at depth exploration programs to ultimately increase shareholder value."

About SEMAFO

SEMAFO is a Canadian-based mining company with gold production and exploration activities in West Africa. The Company currently operates three gold mines in Burkina Faso, Niger and 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 in West Africa.

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 "completion", "expansion", "aimed at", "increasing", "scheduled" "will", "would", "additional", "ongoing", "commitment", "ultimately" 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 complete Phase II or Phase III of Mana Plant Expansion, the ability of Phase II Mana Plant Expansion to increase plant capacity to 6,000 tpd in bedrock, the ability of Phase III Mana Plant Expansion to increase throughput and optimize gold recovery, the ability to efficiently manage our assets to ultimately increase shareholder value, the ability to find organic and strategic growth opportunities in West Africa, 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 2008 Annual MD&A, as updated in the 2009 First Quarter MD&A, 2009 Second Quarter MD&A and 2009 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.

SOURCE SEMAFO INC.

For further information: For further information: SEMAFO: Benoit La Salle, President & CEO, (514) 744-4408, Toll-Free: 1-888-744-4408, blasalle@semafo.com; Sofia St Laurent, Communications, (514) 744-4408, Toll-Free: 1-888-744-4408, sstlaurent@semafo.com

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SEMAFO INC.

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