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Atna Resources Announces Updated Mineral Resource Estimates at Briggs and Reward Mines

Atna Resources Ltd. (TSX: ATN) (OTC Bulletin Board: ATNAF) has reported updated mineral reserve estimates at December 31, 2010 for the Briggs Mine in Inyo County, California and for the Reward Mine in Nye County, Nevada.

Proven and probable mineral reserves at the Briggs Mine have been revised to 201,000 contained ounces as of December 31, 2010. During 2010, approximately 38,000 ounces of contained gold were mined, while 6,300 ounces were added back to reserves due to the impacts of increased gold price, cost structure changes, and changes to pit slope geometry. No drilling was performed at Briggs during 2010 and results from the 2011 drilling program are not included in this estimate. An increase in mineral reserves and reduction in waste material resulted from steepening the pit slope angle in the eastern sector of the Briggs Main pit as a consequence of strongly improved slope management and operating practices at the mine. The change was approved by a third party geotechnical consultant.  

At the Reward Mine, gold mineral reserves were increased by 7,200 ounces to a total of 180,900 contained ounces. This four percent increase in contained gold reserve was driven entirely by increased gold price and changes in estimated costs. No drilling was conducted at Reward in 2010 but drilling planned for 2011 is expected to add to the reserves.  

"These results display leverage to increase ore reserves with increased gold price. We believe that we will also be able to increase mineral reserves at both Briggs and Reward during 2011 based on our planned and ongoing drilling campaigns. Operations at the Briggs Mine have seen substantial improvement with the mine returning approximately $2.1 million in positive cash flow during the fourth quarter of 2010. This cash flow helped Atna to reduce debt while ending the year with $9.6 million in cash. In addition, Briggs ended the year with an estimated recoverable in-process gold inventory of 13,600 ounces with a year-end market value of approximately $19.1 million. Infrastructure development has commenced at the Reward Mine to prepare the site for construction. Furthermore, we are seeing positive political changes in the State of Montana, which could have a material, positive impact on the development of our Columbia project. Overall, we anticipate a strong 2011 for Atna," states James Hesketh, President & CEO.    

Gold mineral reserves at Briggs and Reward have been updated to account for the following changes:

  • An increase in the three year trailing gold price outlook from $845 per ounce to $1,025 per ounce;
  • 2010 mine production at Briggs;
  • an increase in slope angle in the east sector of the Briggs Main Pit;
  • a five percent increase in estimated direct operating costs at both Briggs and Reward.

Briggs Mine revised gold mineral reserves were estimated using a 0.007 ounce per ton cut-off grade. Revised gold mineral reserves at Reward were estimated using an internal net value of greater than $0.01/ton.

This press release was prepared under the supervision and review of William Stanley, V.P. Exploration of Atna, a Licensed Geologist and Qualified Person. Revised reserve and resource estimates were developed by Michael J Read as Principal Mine Engineer under the supervision of Robert L. Sandefur as Qualified Person, with Chlumsky, Armbrust & Meyer of Lakewood, Colorado.

Source: Atna Resources Ltd.

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