Minera Andes announces outstanding 2010 exploration drill results at the San Jose mine

Minera Andes Inc. (the "Corporation" or "Minera Andes") (TSX:MAI)(OTCBB:MNEAF) is pleased to provide a summary of the exploration results achieved during 2010 at the San José Mine. A total of 7.5 kilometers of new high-grade silver/gold veins were discovered in 2010 representing a 44% increase in the cumulative strike length of all veins known at the mine at the end of 2009. In addition, drilling in 2010 through September 30th produced a doubling of the Inferred Mineral Resources, as previously reported on November 22, 2010. The new veins are located within the area of the existing San José mining operations between the Kospi and Frea veins, and access for the new veins will be developed from existing underground mine workings. The discoveries are the result of a significant increase in the exploration effort at San José compared to previous years.

Rob McEwen, Chairman and CEO of Minera Andes, said:

"These drill results demonstrate that the area in and around the San José mine is extremely prospective. We are eagerly awaiting the results of the ongoing exploration drilling in and outside the mine area. The recent $3.6 billion acquisition of Andean Resources' for its nearby Cerro Negro property by Goldcorp Inc. highlights the world class potential of this emerging gold/silver district."

Exploration Has Become a Priority at San José

The exploration drilling at San José has increased dramatically in 2010 over previous years and met with a high degree of success. A total of 54,476 meters were drilled in 265 diamond core holes during 2010, as compared to 115 core holes totaling 25,094 meters in 2009 and 85 core holes totaling 18,915 meters drilled in 2008.

The success of the current exploration program is in large part a result of extensive surface geophysical surveys conducted during 2009 and 2010 along with a significant increase in drilling. In 2010, a total of 11 new veins were discovered that extended over a strike length of 7.5 kilometers. In October, the company reported nine new veins extending a cumulative total of 5.0 kilometers, and subsequently, two additional new veins were discovered in reconnaissance drilling that project for a cumulative total of 2.5 kilometers in strike length. The location of the new veins is shown in Exhibits 1 and 1A.

An updated NI 43-101 Report was released on December 22, 2010 that included the drill results to the end of September, and it is available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). This NI 43-101 report also includes an interim resource estimate as at September 30, 2010. A new resource and reserve estimate incorporating all 2010 drilling will be released later this month as part of the Company's Annual Information Form.

Drilling from October to December 31, 2010

Exploration success continued during the fourth quarter with the discovery of two additional gold/silver veins called the Susana and Luli veins. The new veins have only widely spaced reconnaissance drilling and more drilling will be required to estimate resources for these veins.

Selected assay results for the new veins are shown below, and highlights from surface drilling during the last three months of 2010 including the new veins are provided in Exhibit 2. All of the drilling reported herein was completed during 2010, and the assays reported below and in Exhibit 2 were analyzed by Alex Stewart Laboratory in Mendoza, Argentina and received through December 31, 2010. All widths shown below are true widths (normal to the dip of the vein). Longitudinal sections of the Susana and Luli veins are provided in Exhibit 3.

Selected Assay Results

  • Susana Vein – 1200 meter strike length inferred, cut by 4 diamond drill holes.
    Hole SJD- 825- 3.10 m (meters) at 22.19 g/t (grams/tonne) Au and 2,318 g/t Ag
  • Luli Vein – 1300 meter strike length inferred, cut by 6 diamond drill holes.
    Hole SJD-484* – 1.27 m at 5.81 g/t Au and 640 g/t Ag
    Hole SJD-825 – 2.70 m at 5.35 g/t Au and 26.90 g/t Ag
    Hole SJD-852 – 0.24 m at 6.81 g/t Au and 569 g/t Ag

* Existing drill hole extended

Drill hole SJD-825 is important because it contains four separate silver/gold vein intercepts, one in the Luli vein and one in the Susana vein and two additional high-grade intercepts north of the Susana vein (see exhibit 1a). This suggests that with more drilling additional veins may be delineated north and parallel to the Susana vein.
The Luli and Susana veins are part of the part of the E-W trending vein systems discovered earlier in 2010. The veins discovered in 2010 are especially important because their orientation is different from the typical northwest trend of all the other veins at San José. The discovery of this system, which does not outcrop, is being used as an exploration guide to open up new exploration opportunities on the property. Other exploration drilling is continuing to expand the resources on the known veins, such as the Ayelén and Odin veins. Exploration is also continuing on other areas of the joint venture property, such as Saavedra West and other target outside the mine workings.
In addition, several reconnaissance exploration holes were drilled at the Saavedra West area 10km south of the main workings at San Jose. Anomalous disseminated silver and also some high-grade silver incepts were encountered in this area (see exhibit 3).

The San José mine is operated by Minera Santa Cruz SA ("MSC"), which is 49% owned by the Corporation and 51% owned by Hochschild Mining plc.

About Minera Andes

Minera Andes is an exploration company exploring for gold, silver and copper in Argentina with three significant assets: A 49% interest in Minera Santa Cruz SA, owner of the San Jose Mine in close proximity to Goldcorp's Cerro Negro project; 100% ownership of the Los Azules copper deposit with an inferred mineral resource of 10.3 billion pounds of copper and an indicated resource of 2.2 billion pounds of copper; and, 100% ownership of a large portfolio of exploration properties in Santa Cruz province, Argentina, including properties bordering the Cerro Negro project in Santa Cruz Province. Exploration and infill drilling is currently underway at the Los Azules project The Corporation had $31 million USD in cash as at February 7, 2011 with no bank debt. Rob McEwen, Chairman and CEO, owns 31% of the shares of the company.

About Hochschild Mining plc

Hochschild Mining plc is a leading precious metals company listed on the London Stock Exchange (HOCM.L / HOC LN) with a primary focus on the exploration, mining, processing and sale of silver and gold. Hochschild has over forty years of experience in the mining of precious metal epithermal vein deposits and currently operates four underground epithermal vein mines, three located in southern Peru, one in southern Argentina and one open pit mine in northern Mexico. Hochschild also has numerous long-term prospects throughout the Americas.

This news release has been submitted by Jim Duff, Chief Operating Officer of the Corporation. For further information, please contact Jim Duff or visit our Web site: www.minandes.com.