SEMAFO updates Mana gold reserves and resources

SEMAFO TSX-SMF

Mana's Total Resource Ounces (M&I) Increase by 55% - Inferred Increase by 79%

MONTREAL, March 1 /CNW Telbec/ - SEMAFO (TSX - SMF) announced today that as at December 31, 2009, Mana's measured and indicated mineral resources increased by 55% to 21,602,000 tonnes at an average grade of 2.3 g/t Au for 1,581,900 ounces of gold compared to 1,021,400 ounces in December 2008. Inferred resources increased by 79% to 12,745,000 tonnes at 2.2 g/t for 909,100 ounces compared to 508,200 ounces in December 2008.

As at December 31, 2009, the Mana Mine's mineral reserves and resources (M&I) totaled 2,351,600 ounces, representing a 30% increase relative to the 2008 reserves and resources estimate of 1,929,800 ounces, after taking into account ounces produced. Reserves and resources were estimated using a gold price of $950 per ounce.

Proven and probable mineral reserves for the Mana Mine totaled 8,320,000 tonnes, containing 769,700 ounces of gold at an average grade of 2.9 g/t Au. This represents a 3% increase in overall ounces compared to 2008 year-end estimates, after having produced 153,543 ounces (161,556 ounces before mill recovery).

"Mana's 2009 exploration program, which began in April, added more than one million ounces to our resources estimate at a discovery cost of $7 per ounce," said Benoit La Salle, SEMAFO's President and Chief Executive Officer. "This increase is a testimony to the success of our organic growth strategy and attests to this property's potential to become a mining district. Mana's initial 2010 exploration budget has been set at $9M."

Intensive exploration and definition drilling was conducted throughout 2009 exclusively proximal to the Wona pit, and particularly on the Wona Deep structure. A total of 35,011 meters of core drilling was completed on the Wona Deep structure. Among these, seven holes were completed south west of the main zone to test for a second parallel zone. Gold mineralization encountered in every hole confirmed the existence of the SW Zone. In September 2009, hole WDC130 crossed a new gold bearing zone located more than 500 meters north of the northern limit of the Wona structure. A total of 2,363 additional meters of core drilling were completed during 2009 to test the extension of this new zone called the Kona Zone.

During the interpretation of these zones preceding the reserves/resources estimation, the Wona structure was subdivided into the four different parallel zones plunging shallowly to the north. Of these four zones, the Wona Main Zone which holds the bulk of the defined mineralization dramatically increased in size and proved quite predictable in continuity and grade. Furthermore, additional drilling on the Kona Zone returned near surface gold mineralization over a strike length of more than one kilometer, supporting the potential for a new open-pit operation. Finally, results from the Wona South West Zone ("Wona SW") indicate that it could become as significant as the Wona Main Zone.

"When we launched the two-year exploration program in April 2009, our objective was to add between 1 million and 1.5 million ounces to our resources," said Michel Crevier, SEMAFO's Geology Manager and Qualified Person. "With 40% of the exploration program completed, the level of success is remarkable and a testimony to the property's outstanding potential."

The mineral reserves and resources were estimated as at December 31, 2009 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 SGS Geostat Ltd., 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.

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: 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 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 "initial", "become", "potential", "could" 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 our 2010 exploration program in Mana and to have a better understanding of the entire 90 km of geology, the realization of Mana's potential to become a mining district, the ability of the Wona South West Zone to become as significant as the Wona Main Zone, 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.

    
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                                              As at               As at
    MINERAL RESERVES                    December 31,        December 31,
                                               2009                2008
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Proven Mineral Reserves
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                7,228,000           8,447,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                              2.9                2.95
    Ounces                                  668,900             802,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Probable Mineral Reserves
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                1,092,000           1,171,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                              2.9                2.83
    Ounces                                  100,800             106,600
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL MINERAL RESERVES
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                8,320,000           9,619,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                              2.9                 2.9
    Ounces                                  769,700             908,400
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MINERAL RESOURCES
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Measured Resources
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                1,038,000           1,610,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                              2.0                2.06
    Ounces                                   68,300             106,700
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indicated Resources
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                20,564,000          11,297,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                               2.3                2.52
    Ounces                                 1,513,600             914,700
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL MINERAL RESOURCES
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                21,602,000          12,907,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                               2.3                2.46
    Ounces                                 1,581,900           1,021,400
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL MINERAL RESERVES & RESOURCES
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                29,922,000          22,526,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                               2.4                2.65
    Ounces                                 2,351,600           1,929,800
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    INFERRED MINERAL RESOURCES
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tonnes                                12,745,000          7,211,000
    Grade (g/t Au)                               2.2               2.19
    Ounces                                   909,100            508,200
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

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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