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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Brigus Gold Provides Operations Update Feb 21,2012

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia--()--Brigus Gold Corp. (“Brigus” or the “Company”) (NYSE Amex: BRD; TSX: BRD) reports 2011 gold production statistics, including a review of the fourth quarter, and an update on the status of current operations. Management remains focused on increasing gold production at its Black Fox mine targeting steady state output of 25,000 ounces per quarter by year-end.
“Increasing production at Black Fox is our top priority and we are seeing results”
Operational Improvements:
Improvements continue to be made to mining processes and a number of key personnel changes were made at the Black Fox mine in December 2011 and January 2012. These changes have resulted in measurable improvements in the mine’s performance.
  • A new mine General Manager, with over 30 years’ experience mining structurally controlled ore bodies, began working with Brigus in early December. He is focused on maximizing underground production and minimizing dilution.
  • A new mine geology team, including a Chief Geologist, has been assembled and is making significant progress in improving the geologic model of the underground orebody.
  • A new highly experienced Chief Engineer has been hired and will begin with the Company in early March, at which time the interim chief engineer will focus on the development of the 147 and Contact Zone deposits.
  • Additional skilled miners have been hired to optimize mining from the underground operations.
Underground Mine:
  • Grades from the underground mine have materially increased and continue to improve since the beginning of 2012. The average grade of underground ore mined for the first 45 days of 2012 was 5.79 grams per tonne (gpt) compared to 2.99 gpt for the fourth quarter of 2011 and has averaged 6.70 gpt during the first 15 days of February 2012.
  • High-grade tonnes mined from the underground are trending upwards and are expected to reach 800 tonnes per day (tpd) in the third quarter. The mining team plans to open 30 mining stopes so that there are at least 10 to 12 stopes actively mining in ore at all times.
  • A review of the mining equipment and fleet was undertaken. As a result, the Company sold surplus equipment and purchased appropriately sized equipment including several two and three yard scoops.
Open Pit:
  • High-grade tonnage from the open pit will be maintained at an average of 1,000 to 1,200 tpd. Once high-grade tonnage from the underground has reached daily production rates of 800 tpd, limited amounts of low-grade open pit ore will be required to feed its 2,000 tpd capacity mill. The mill continues to operate well with strong recoveries of 92 to 95% and availability of over 90%.
Safety:
  • The Black Fox Mine has a strong safety record with over a 1,000,000 man-hours without a lost time injury. This is an important milestone and the Company is very proud of this achievement.
Mine administration:
  • Certain administration functions at the mine have been restructured to eliminate redundant positions, streamline processes and maximize utilization of all resources.
  • General and Administration expenses at the mine site have been reduced through workforce reduction, renegotiation of contracts and tighter cost control.
“Increasing production at Black Fox is our top priority and we are seeing results,” said Wade Dawe, President and CEO of Brigus. “A number of improvements have been made at the underground mine to facilitate increased production going forward. The open pit is operating as expected, the mill is performing well and we are confident that on-going drilling will continue to expand the gold resource at the recently discovered 147 and Contact Zones. Ore grades from underground have significantly improved and high-grade tonnage from the underground is increasing.”
2011 Operations:
  • The Black Fox Mine produced 14,457 ounces at an average grade of 2.66 gpt in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 55,756 ounces at an average grade of 2.54 gpt for the full year. Quarterly production met Brigus’ revised guidance but was lower than originally anticipated due to a slower ramp up of underground production and higher than expected dilution in the underground.
  • The average grade of ore from the open pit was 2.03 gpt for the fourth quarter of 2011 and 2.56 gpt for the year. The open pit mine is performing as expected, delivering grades and tonnage as per the mine plan. Grades in the open pit are expected to increase later in 2012 as higher-grade ore is mined deeper in Phase 2 of the pit.
  • The average grade from the underground mine was 2.99 gpt for the fourth quarter of 2011 and 3.82 gpt for the year.
  • Cash cost per ounce was $947 for 2011. This is higher than anticipated due to lower production for the year. As production increases in 2012, cash costs are expected to decrease to approximately $700 by the end of the year
Underground Mining Statistics
Period       Average tpd       Average grade
Q4 2011       589       2.99
January 2012       278       5.36
February 1st to 15th 2012       274       6.70
           
  • Historically, the Black Fox underground mine produced 211,000 ounces at an average grade of approximately 6.0 gpt over a four-year period from 1997 to 2001. Brigus’ geological modeling underground confirms the quality and grade of the ore body that has a reserve grade of 5.9 gpt as per the NI 43-101 report released January 2011
Looking Ahead:
Brigus is forecasting gold production of 77,000 to 85,000 ounces for 2012 as follows:
2012       Low       High
Q1       15,500       17,000
Q2       18,000       21,000
Q3       21,500       23,000
Q4       22,000       24,000
Total       77,000       85,000
           
Exploration:
  • Brigus continues to report excellent exploration results at the Black Fox Complex. The Company released its initial NI 43-101 on the Contact and 147 Zone deposits on December 15, 2011 increasing the gold resource on the property by more than 50%. Brigus has an $8.0 million surface exploration budget for 2012. Ongoing exploration is focused on expanding the 147 and Contact Zones as well as converting the inferred resource to the indicated resource category. An updated mineral resource estimate will be released later in 2012.
  • Underground exploration at the Black Fox mine is expected to begin in the second half of 2012. The program is intended to expand the gold deposit along strike and down-dip. The program is designed to offset drill results from the 2004 underground fan drilling program from the last southeast drill station located at the end of the 235 m level exploration drift. This drilling returned significant true width gold results including 31.16 g/t over 6.25m (hole 235-296) and 7.48 g/t over 3.49 m (hole 235-295).
  • The independent 43-101 report on the Company’s Goldfields development project, located in northern Saskatchewan was updated in the fourth quarter of 2011. In October Brigus released a pre-feasibility study for Goldfields that indicated a net present value of approximately $144 million at a 5% discount rate with an internal rate of return of 19.6%. This assumes a gold price of $1,250 per ounce.
  • Brigus remains focused on development activities at the Black Fox Mine and will make a production decision on Goldfields when Black Fox gold production rates are in excess of 25,000 ounces a quarter.
  • Management is pleased with the Company’s progress to improve all facets of operations and is optimistic about 2012 performance.
About Brigus Gold
Brigus is a growing gold producer committed to maximizing shareholder value through a strategy of efficient production, targeted exploration and select acquisitions. The Company operates the wholly owned Black Fox Mine and Mill in the Timmins Gold District of Ontario, Canada. The Black Fox Complex encompasses the Black Fox Mine and adjoining properties in the Township of Black River-Matheson, Ontario, Canada. Brigus is also advancing the Goldfields Project located near Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada, which hosts the Box and Athona gold deposits. In Mexico, Brigus Gold has completed a transaction to sell a 75% interest in the Ixhuatan Project located in the state of Chiapas to Cangold. In the Dominican Republic, Brigus has signed an agreement to sell its remaining interests in three mineral exploration projects.

Cautionary and Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this news release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risk, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. All statements regarding the ability of the Company to achieve targeted gold production at its Black Fox Mine, including underground production, and cash costs, are forward-looking statements and estimates that involve various risks and uncertainties. This forward-looking information includes, or may be based upon, estimates, forecasts, and statements as to management's expectations with respect to, among other things, the issue of permits, the size and quality of the Company's mineral resources, progress in development of mineral properties, future production and sales volumes, capital and mine production costs, demand and market outlook for metals, future metal prices and treatment and refining charges, and the financial results of the Company.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include environmental risks and other factors disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Brigus Gold’s most recent annual report on Form 40-K filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and elsewhere in Brigus Gold’s documents filed from time to time with the Toronto Stock Exchange, the NYSE Amex Equities, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities. All forward-looking statements included in this news release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws.

Contacts

Brigus Gold Corp.
Jennifer Nicholson, CA, 902-442-7186
Vice President Investor Relations
jnicholson@brigusgold.com
or
Katherine Burgess, 902-442-7184
Manager, Stakeholder Relations
kburgess@brigusgold.com

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