MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2011) - SEMAFO (TSX:SMF) today provided an update on the air core ("AC") drilling program under way on the Massala and Saoura permits located approximately 90 kilometers north of the Mana Mill in Burkina Faso (ref. Figure 2). Air core drilling was carried out during the first half of 2011 following the completion of magnetic and Helitem surveys, which identified regional scale anomalies associated with historical surface sample results ranging up to 13.8 g/t Au. With less than 15% of assayed samples received from the total 28,235 meters drilled, preliminary results already indicate the potential for significant mineralization. Hole MAC11-1613 returned 6.77 g/t Au across 8 meters along what appears to be a regional scale geological contact identified from the airborne magnetic-Helitem survey (ref. Figure 1).

Given SEMAFO's successful year-to-date exploration results at Mana and taking into consideration our growth strategy and increased production objectives at our current facility, we have allocated an additional $8.5 million to Mana's 2011 exploration budget. Exploration is to include more infill and delineation drilling, which will be carried out this year on the different areas such as Fofina, Fobiri, Yaho, Wona SW and Massala-Saoura.

Massala-Saoura Area Air Core Drilling Highlights

DDH No. Section (N) From To Au* / Length **
MAC11-1613 L6 31.00 39.00 6.77 g/t / 8.0 m
MAC11-1615 L6 3.00 4.00 1.58 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1615 L6 33.00 34.00 2.05 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1619 L6 31.00 33.00 1.06 g/t / 2.0 m
MAC11-1619 L6 37.00 39.00 1.30 g/t / 2.0 m
MAC11-1619 L6 43.00 45.00 1.21 g/t / 2.0 m
MAC11-1620 L6 26.00 27.00 4.56 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1620 L6 36.00 38.00 1.20 g/t / 2.0 m
MAC11-1634 L6 11.00 12.00 2.31 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1655 L6 0.00 1.00 1.35 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1669 L6 7.00 8.00 1.04 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1681 L6 24.00 27.00 0.45 g/t / 3.0 m
MAC11-1684 L6 18.00 23.00 0.78 g/t / 5.0 m
MAC11-1734 L5 1.00 2.00 1.10 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1736 L5 13.00 14.00 1.46 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1738 L5 29.00 30.00 1.29 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1738 L5 41.00 42.00 3.59 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1739 L5 24.00 25.00 8.35 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1740 L5 1.00 4.00 1.32 g/t / 3.0 m
MAC11-1745 L5 44.00 45.00 1.28 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1747 L5 6.00 8.00 0.78 g/t / 2.0 m
MAC11-1779 L5 11.00 12.00 1.42 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1805 L5 32.00 33.00 0.84 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1819 L5 26.00 30.00 0.43 g/t / 4.0 m
MAC11-1855 L5 5.00 6.00 0.87 g/t / 1.0 m
MAC11-1858 L5 8.00 9.00 0.98 g/t / 1.0 m
* All assays are cut at 30 g/t.
** All lengths are measured along the hole axis; additional information is required to determine true widths.

The 2011 program at Massala-Saoura consisted of drilling a series of six profiles across our permits (1,001 holes totalling 28,235 meters) covering two main magnetic-Helitem trends, which we believe represent major regional contacts or deformation zones. Both trends cross SEMAFO's permits for a strike length of more than 15 kilometers each. The profiles are covered by short AC holes that are designed to test only the saprolitic horizon to a maximum depth of 50 meters. Both the west and east trends have similar geophysical signatures to that of the Wona deposit area. The magnetic and Helitem surveys suggest a series of magnetic and conductive units with a northeast orientation. Based on IP and magnetic data, these signatures are known to represent volcanosedimentary packages, such as those that host the Wona deposit. At Massala, the East Trend was considered interesting at the onset of the drilling program, considering the associated historic surface sample results, including 13.8 g/t Au. Section L6 is the northernmost section completed and the only section from which all assay results have been received. Near the west end of the line, hole MAC11-1613 returned high grade results including 6.77 g/t Au across 8 meters, as well as with other nearby gold values over short widths. This corridor appears to represent a regional contact and/or deformation zone where evidence of some minor artisanal mining was noted.

Also of significance is hole MAC11-1739 on line L5, which returned 8.35 g/t Au across 1 meter from the West Trend. The West Trend was not clearly visible from the magnetic survey but the Helitem clearly shows a second conductive trend similar in strike length to the East Trend (ref. Figure 1). Although this interval is narrow and requires further investigation to clearly identify its significance, it does demonstrate that the West Trend has potential.

"The early results at Massala-Saoura have underlined the geological potential of the permits," said Michel Crevier, SEMAFO's Vice-President, Exploration and Mine Geology. "We are in receipt of results from only one and a half of six lines and are already seeing the generation of follow-up targets, with more expected to materialize as the remaining results become available."

As the remaining 85% of the assay results are received, a systematic reverse-circulation ("RC") drilling program will be designed for immediate follow-up to significant results. The RC drilling will be designed to provide an indication of continuity, geometry, and geology of the gold-bearing occurrences identified.

These results and the non-scheduled new targets generated by the Helitem survey have prompted additional unbudgeted exploration. With this in mind and taking into consideration the success of our 2011 exploration activities to date, SEMAFO has elected to increase Mana's exploration budget by $8.5 million. This will enable the extension of the Helitem survey to other permitted areas, and allow for new auger drilling programs and seek extensions of known zones. A significant portion of the additional budget will be allocated to carry out infill drilling with the objective of bringing additional reserves in support of SEMAFO's growth strategy and production increase plans. Among the targets scheduled are: newly expanded blocks over Wona SW as reported in SEMAFO's May 12, 2011 Press Release, completing the Fofina program as reported in SEMAFO's Press Release dated July 18, 2011 and optimizing the potential adding of resources and reserves on the new Yaho zone as reported in SEMAFO's Press Releases of March 10, 2011 and June 28, 2011.

The exploration programs were designed and managed locally by Dofinta Bondé and David Legault, Mana Mineral's Exploration Chief Geologists, David Lalonde, Deputy Exploration Manager, and Richard Roy P Geo, Exploration Manager, and guided and supervised under the direction of Michel Crevier, P.Geo MScA, Vice-President, Exploration and Mine Geology and SEMAFO's Qualified Person who has reviewed this press release for accuracy and compliance with National Instrument 43-101.

For AC drilling, all individual samples represent approximately one-meter in length of rock chips homogenized and riffle-split to an approximately 2 kilogram subsample, which is sent for preparation and gold assaying at the ALS Chemex laboratories in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Each sample is fire-assayed for gold content on a 50-gram sub-sample at the same ALS Chemex laboratory. In addition to ALS Chemex's own quality assurance/quality control ("QA/QC") program, an internal QA/QC program is in place throughout the sampling program, using blind duplicates, blanks and recognized industry standards.


SEMAFO is a Canadian-based mining company with gold production and exploration activities in West Africa. The Company currently operates three gold mines: the Mana Mine in Burkina Faso, the Samira Hill Mine in Niger and the Kiniero Mine in Guinea. SEMAFO is committed to evolve in a conscientious manner to become a major player in its geographical area of interest. SEMAFO's strategic focus is to maximize shareholder value by effectively managing its existing assets as well as pursuing organic and strategic growth opportunities.

Caution Concerning Forward-looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions and accordingly, actual results and future events could differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. You are hence cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include words or expressions such as "indicate", "potential", "appears", "will", "believe", "suggest", "further", "investigation", "follow-up", "targets", "expect", "seek", additional", "strategy", "increase", "plans", "adding", "committed", "evolve", "become", "pursuing", "growth", "opportunities" and other similar expressions. Factors that could cause future results or events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include the ability of less than 15% of assayed results to indicate potential for significant mineralization, the ability of the airborne magnetic and Helitem surveys to identify regional scale geological contact, the ability to carry out more infill drilling and additional exploration and delineation on different areas such as Fofina, Fobiri, Yaho, Wona SW and Massala-Saoura, the ability of magnetic-Helitem trends to represent major regional contacts or deformation zones, the ability of the magnetic and Helitem surveys to suggest a series of magnetic and conductive units, the ability of the 6.77 g/t Au 8 meter corridor to represent a regional contact and/or deformation zone, the ability of a narrow interval to demonstrate that the West Trend has potential, the ability of the additional exploration budget to bring additional reserves, variation in the price of gold and currencies, mining industry risks, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral reserves and resources, delays and other risks described in the SEMAFO's documents filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. You can find further information with respect to these and other risks in SEMAFO's 2010 Annual MD&A, and other filings made with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available at These documents are also available on our website at SEMAFO disclaims any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law.

Figures are available at the following address:

Contact Information:

Benoit La Salle, FCA
President & CEO

Sofia St Laurent