Vista Gold Corp. Announces Results From a Preliminary Assessment of Its Awak Mas Gold Project, Sulawesi, Indonesia



    DENVER, Jan. 17 /CNW/ -- Vista Gold Corp. (Amex:   VGZ; TSX) announces the
results from a preliminary assessment for the Awak Mas Project in Sulawesi,
Indonesia, that was completed on January 16, 2008, by Gustavson Associates,
LLC ("Gustavson") of Boulder, Colorado, under the direction of Mr. John
Rozelle, an independent Qualified Person as defined in Canadian National
Instrument 43-101. Vista will file this preliminary assessment entitled
"Preliminary Assessment, Awak Mas Gold Project, Sulawesi, Indonesia" on SEDAR.

    Gustavson had estimated mineral resources in a report entitled "Report NI
43-101 Technical Report on the Awak Mas Gold Project, Sulawesi, Indonesia"
dated June 6, 2007, the results of which were previously reported by Vista in
a press release dated June 6, 2007. Based on the June 2007 report, the gold
resources for the Awak Mas deposit, reported at a cutoff grade of 0.5 grams of
gold per tonne are:


    
                              Tonnes            Grade           Contained Gold
                              (000s)        (grams per tonne)        Ounces
    Measured resources 1)      7,084            1.30                296,000
    Indicated resources 1)    34,609            1.22              1,360,000
    Measured and
     indicated resources 1)   41,693            1.24              1,656,000
    


    
    1)  Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Measured and
        Indicated Resources: This table uses the terms "measured resources"
        and "indicated resources". We advise U.S. investors that while these
        terms are recognized and required by Canadian regulations, the U.S.
        Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. U.S.
        investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral
        deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves.
    



    
                              Tonnes             Grade          Contained Gold
                              (000s)        (grams per tonne)        Ounces
    Inferred resources 2)     20,425              0.82               39,000
    


    
    2)  Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Inferred
        Resources: This table uses the term "inferred resources". We advise
        U.S. investors that while this term is recognized and required by
        Canadian regulations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does
        not recognize it. "Inferred resources" have a great amount of
        uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their
        economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any
        part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher
        category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of inferred mineral
        resources may not form the basis of a feasibility study or
        prefeasibility studies, except in rare cases. U.S. investors are
        cautioned not to assume that any part or all of an inferred resource
        exists or is economically or legally mineable.
    
    In undertaking the preliminary assessment, Gustavson considered the
economic and technical parameters associated with development of the mineral
resources by open-pit mining.  The study included a process flowsheet based on
three stages of laboratory and pilot plant test programs from 1994 to 1997.
The flowsheet was developed by Minproc Engineers Ltd. in 1997, and reviewed
and approved by Resource Development Inc. of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, for this
study. The flowsheet includes a flotation circuit to recover gold associated
with sulfide minerals, following which the concentrate would be treated in a
carbon-in-leach circuit to recover the gold. The benign tailings from the
flotation circuit would flow by gravity into a tailings impoundment and the
sulfide tailings would be detoxified, filtered and trucked to a small
"dry-stack" sulfide tailings storage facility. MWH Americas Inc. of Denver and
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, prepared the tailings disposal sites layout and
closure plans, and assessed permitting requirements.
    Using a gold cutoff grade of 0.6 g/t, the estimated potentially mineable
resources are as shown in the following table.


    PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT STUDY    Estimated Potentially Mineable Resources
above a 0.6 g/t Au cutoff grade
    January 2008

    
    Class            Mineral  Gold Grade  Contained  Total   Total   Stripping
                     Tonnes     (g/t)       Gold     Waste   Tonnes    Ratio
                    (x 1000)                (oz)     Tonnes (x 1000)   (W:O)
                                                    (x 1000)
    Measured
     resources (1)   4,909      1.40      220,959                        NA
    Indicated
     resources (1)  16,279      1.37      717,033                        NA
    Inferred
     resources (2)   2,595      0.91       75,922                        NA
                                                    104,868  128,651    4.41
    

    
    (1) Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Measured and
        Indicated Resources: This table uses the terms "measured resources"
        and "indicated resources". We advise U.S. investors that while these
        terms are recognized and required by Canadian regulations, the U.S.
        Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize them. U.S.
        investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral
        deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves.
    (2) Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Inferred
        Resources: This table uses the term "inferred resources". We advise
        U.S. investors that while this term is recognized and required by
        Canadian regulations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does
        not recognize it. "Inferred resources" have a great amount of
        uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their
        economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any
        part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher
        category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of inferred mineral
        resources may not form the basis of a feasibility study or
        prefeasibility studies, except in rare cases. U.S. investors are
        cautioned not to assume that any part or all of an inferred resource
        exists or is economically or legally mineable.
    
    In the preliminary assessment, Gustavson considered four different
production scenarios, three cases at a production rate of 2.0 million tonnes
of ore per year and one case at 3.5 million tonnes of ore per year. All four
cases assumed contract mining and a base case gold price of US$625 per ounce.
Estimates of projected total gold production ranged from 600,900 ounces to
1,040,000 ounces, with estimated project lives ranging from 7 to 15 years
depending on production rate and the ultimate pit shape considered for the
scenario. Overall gold recovery is estimated at 90.5%.
    Startup capital estimates ranged from US$123.4 million for one of the 2.0
million tonne per year cases to US$177.5 million for the 3.5 million tonne per
year case. Total project capital ranged from US$148.3 million to US$217.7
million. Mining costs are estimated at US$1.60 per tonne of material mined,
processing costs are estimated at US$10.04 per tonne of ore processed for the
2.0 million tonne per year cases and US$9.67 per tonne of ore processed for
the 3.5 million tonne per year case. General and administrative costs are
estimated at US$1.9 million per year for all cases.
    Gustavson prepared cash flow economic analyses and sensitivity studies
for gold prices of US$600, US$625, US$700, US$800, US$900 and US$1,000 per
ounce, as well as sensitivities for operating and capital costs. 
Sensitivities were run to show the positive effect on the project if a lower
cost source of electric power can be obtained and/or if infrastructure costs
can be lowered.
    The following tables summarize the results of the four scenarios. Initial
capital and total capital costs include working capital.


    
              VISTA GOLD CORP. - AWAK MAS PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
          Economic Evaluation Summary of the Four Cases (Before Tax)
             Base Case Power: US$0.21/kwh; Access Road: US$10.2 M
                          Based on US$625 Gold Price
    

    
      Case     Initial   Total   Breakeven   NPV     Gold      Cash Op   Mine
    (Mtpy/MT) Investment Capital  Gold       @ 5%  Production   Costs    Life
               (US$M)    (US$M)   Price     (US$M)  (Koz)     (US$/oz) (Years)
                                 (US$/oz)
    


    
    1 (2.0/24)   123.9   158.4      679     (66.7)    904.8      523       12
    2 (3.5/30)   177.5   217.7      693     (87.3)  1,040.0      521        9
    3 (2.0/14)   123.4   148.3      637     (25.3)    600.9      421        7
    4 (2.0/30)   123.9   165.4      688     (81.7)  1,040.0      545       15
    
    The following table summarizes the impact on the project if lower power
costs can be obtained and if the cost of improving the access road can be
reduced.


    
              VISTA GOLD CORP. - AWAK MAS PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
         Economic Sensitivity Analysis of the Four Cases (Before Tax)
                          Based on NPV @ 5 % (US$M)
    


    
       Case    US$600/oz  US$625/oz  US$700/oz US$800/oz US$900/oz US$1,000/oz
     (Mtpy/MT)
    

    
             Base Case Power: US$0.21/kwh; Access Road: US$10.2 M
    1 (2.0/24)    (81.9)   (66.7)     (21.1)    39.8      100.6     161.5
    2 (3.5/30)    (106.0)  (87.3)     (31.4)    43.2      117.8     192.4
    3 (2.0/14)    (36.6)   (25.3)       8.5     53.5       98.5     143.5
    4 (2.0/30)    (98.2)   (81.7)     (32.3)    33.5       99.4     165.2
    

    
                   Power: US$0.12/kwh; Access Road: US$10.2 M
    1 (2.0/24)    (44.1)   (28.9)      16.7     77.5      138.4     199.2
    2 (3.5/30)    (57.0)   (38.4)      17.6     92.2      166.7     241.3
    3 (2.0/14)    (11.7)    (0.5)      33.3     78.3      123.3     168.3
    4 (2.0/30)    (53.6)   (37.1)      12.3     78.1      143.9     209.8
    

    
                    Power: US$0.12/kwh; Access Road: US$2.0 M
    1 (2.0/24)    (36.5)   (21.3)      24.3     85.2      146.0     206.9
    2 (3.5/30)    (49.3)   (30.7)      25.2     99.8      174.4     248.9
    3 (2.0/14)    (4.1)     7.1        40.9     85.9      130.9     175.9
    4 (2.0/30)    (45.9)   (29.5)      19.9     85.7      151.6     217.4
    
    The results of the preliminary assessment shown in the economic
sensitivity table above indicate that primarily as a result of high energy
prices and infrastructure costs, the Awak Mas project needs sustained gold
prices in excess of US$800 per ounce to justify development.
    The "preliminary assessment" is preliminary in nature and includes
inferred mineral resources (8% inferred gold ounces and 93% measured and
indicated gold ounces) that are considered too speculative geologically to
have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be
categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the
preliminary assessment will be realized.  Mineral resources that are not
mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
    Fred Earnest, Vista's President and COO, commented, "The preliminary
assessment has identified areas of potential improvement which we will
investigate as we proceed into the feasibility study period of the Contract of
Work.  We are optimistic that more detailed studies could potentially enhance
the apparent economics of the project. We control a large, potentially
prospective land package and we believe the discovery of additional gold will
also enhance the project."
    
    About Vista Gold Corp.
    
    Since 2001, Vista has acquired a number of gold projects with the
expectation that higher gold prices would significantly increase their value.
Vista has recently completed a preliminary feasibility study on the Paredones
Amarillos project in Mexico that indicated positive results at gold prices
lower than those now prevailing. Vista plans to confirm these results with
definitive feasibility studies in 2008. Vista is undertaking programs to
advance the Paredones Amarillos project, including the purchase of long
delivery equipment items, so that construction can begin during the second
half of 2008. The results of a preliminary assessment completed in 2007 on the
Mt. Todd project in Australia were encouraging and additional technical
studies are underway with a definitive feasibility study planned for
completion by mid-2009. Vista's other holdings include the Guadalupe de los
Reyes project in Mexico, Yellow Pine project in Idaho, Awak Mas project in
Indonesia, Long Valley project in California, and Amayapampa project in
Bolivia.
    This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and forward-looking information under Canadian securities laws.  All
statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press
release that address activities, events or developments that Vista expects or
anticipates will or may occur in the future, including such things as results
of the preliminary assessment for the Awak Mas deposit including previous and
recently reported resource estimates, economic and technical parameters
associated with possible development of resources at the Awak Mas deposit
including mining and processing methods and design of process flowsheet,
compliance with permitting requirements, estimated capital costs for the Awak
Mas project and estimated operating costs and components thereof, estimated
mine life and estimated production over the mine life, gold price projections,
estimates of net present value and other economic measures for the Awak Mas
project at various gold prices, estimates of breakeven gold prices for various
production scenarios, anticipated costs for power and costs for improving the
access road to the project, areas for potential improvement in connection with
possible development of the Awak Mas project, plans for feasibility studies,
preliminary feasibility study results for the Paredones Amarillos project, and
plans for a definitive feasibility study and for construction and development
activities at the Paredones Amarillos project, plans for evaluation of the Mt.
Todd project including preliminary assessment results and plans, timing and
results for a definitive feasibility study to be undertaken at the Mt. Todd
project, Vista's future business strategy, competitive strengths, goals,
operations, plans, potential project development, future share price and
valuation, future gold prices, Vista's potential status as a producer, and
other such matters are forward-looking statements.  When used in this press
release, the words "estimate", "plan", "anticipate", "expect", "intend",
"believe" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking
statements and forward-looking information. These statements involve known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual
results, performance or achievements of Vista to be materially different from
any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such
statements.  Such factors include, among others, uncertainty of preliminary
assessment results and of feasibility study results and estimates on which
such results are based; risks relating to scheduling for feasibility studies;
risks relating to cost increases for capital and operating costs including
cost of power; risks relating to delays in commencement and completion of
construction at the Paredones Amarillos project; risks of shortages of
equipment or supplies; risks of inability to achieve anticipated production
volume or manage cost increases; risks that Vista's acquisition, exploration
and property advancement efforts will not be successful; risks relating to
fluctuations in the price of gold; the inherently hazardous nature of
mining-related activities; uncertainties concerning reserve and resource
estimates; potential effects on Vista's operations of environmental
regulations in the countries in which it operates; risks due to legal
proceedings; risks relating to political and economic instability in certain
countries in which it operates; and uncertainty of being able to raise capital
on favorable terms or at all; as well as those factors discussed in Vista's
latest Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and other
documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian
securities commissions.  Although Vista has attempted to identify important
factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause
results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended.  There can be no
assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and
future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such
statements.  Vista assumes no obligation to publicly update any
forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, whether as a result
of new information, future events or otherwise.
    For further information, please contact Connie Martinez at (720)
981-1185, or visit the Vista Gold Corp. website at http://www.vistagold.com




For further information:

For further information: Connie Martinez, +1-720-981-1185, for Vista
Gold  Corp. Web Site: http://www.vistagold.com


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