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- JOGMEC increases El Tecolote 2011/12 Exploration Budget to US$2.27 million

- Drilling program increased to 4,000 metres

- Second drill rig mobilised

Mexican focused Azure Minerals Limited (“Azure” or “the Company”) is pleased to report that the diamond drilling program at its 100%-owned El Tecolote Project, located in the state of Sonora, Mexico, has recommenced.

Exploration is being conducted in Joint Venture (“JV”) with the Japanese Government organisation, JOGMEC, which has the right to earn up to 70% of El Tecolote by spending US$13 million. 

Following evaluation of positive results received to date, JOGMEC has informed Azure that it has increased its 2011/12 total budget to US$2.27 million, to include an additional 1,000 metres of diamond drilling within the current stage of the El Tecolote exploration program.  To enable this program to be completed by March, Azure has mobilised a second drill rig to site.

The 2011/12 exploration program has comprised geophysical surveys (airborne VTEM, aeromagnetics, ground magnetics and IP), geological mapping, sampling and diamond drilling.  Targets to be tested by the drilling include Reyna del Cobre (skarn), extensions of the El Tecolote Mine (skarn) and several nearby porphyry copper prospects.

El Tecolote Background
Azure’s 100% owned El Tecolote Project covers 178km² (refer to Figure 1) and contains abundant evidence of base metal mineralisation with potential for both porphyry copper and skarn copper-zinc-silver deposits.

Under the terms of the JV, JOGMEC can earn an initial 51% interest in El Tecolote by spending US$5 million over the first three years.  JOGMEC can then elect to earn an additional 19% stake by spending a further US$8 million during the following three years, taking its total project equity to 70%.  The JV is managed and staffed by Azure out of the Company’s Hermosillo office, with technical assistance provided by JOGMEC.

JOGMEC is a wholly-owned Japanese Government corporation established to assist in the stable supply of oil, gas and mineral resources to the Japanese economy.  JOGMEC seeks to gain entry into high-potential mineral exploration projects through providing funding and technical assistance, with a view to the later introduction of commercial Japanese interests. In line with these objectives, JOGMEC entered into the El Tecolote JV with the aim of discovering significant copper deposits.