Minera IRL Announces Commencement of Ollachea Exploration Tunnel

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2012) - Minera IRL Limited ("Minera IRL" or the "Company"), (TSX:IRL)(AIM:MIRL)(BVLAC:MIRL) the Latin America gold mining company, is pleased to announce that it has commenced the exploration drive at the Ollachea Gold Project in Peru and to give an update on other aspects of the feasibility study.

Highlights:

Excavation of the 1.2km exploration drive at Ollachea has commenced following the establishment of access to the portal site 

The tunnel will enable underground exploration of the eastern strike extent and the down-dip extension of the Ollachea mineralization, as well as provide access to the Minapampa orebody 

Progress is continuing on the Bankable Feasibility Study with study managers AMEC (Peru) SA ("AMEC") and Coffey Mining Pty Ltd ("Coffey Mining") having revisited the project site in January 2012 

Results from recent in-fill resource drilling continue to confirm excellent gold intersections and reinforce continuity of the Minapampa mineralized horizons including 20 meters grading 10.2 g/t gold in DDH12- 190 and 31 meters grading 5.58 g/t gold in DDH12-194 
"The commencement of the 1.2km exploration tunnel marks another important milestone at our flagship Ollachea Project." said Courtney Chamberlain, Executive Chairman of Minera IRL. "This tunnel will provide access to explore approximately one kilometre of highly prospective strike extent to the east of the deposit defined thus far by drilling from surface. In addition, the drive will access the orebody providing valuable practical mining experience and facilitate our objective of commencing production in 2014."

As reported during the third quarter of 2011, the Indicated Mineral Resource thus far defined at Ollachea stands at 10.7 million tonnes grading 4.0g/t gold containing 1.4 million ounces plus an Inferred Mineral Resource of 13.7 million tonnes grading 2.8g/t gold containing 1.2 million ounces of gold. The deposit remains open ended along strike in both directions as well as down dip.

A contract was awarded in August 2011 to JJC Contratistas Generales S.A. (JJC), a well established Peruvian underground mining contractor, to drive a 1.2km long tunnel into the defined Ollachea orebody. To date, work has involved mobilization, site access and establishment of the portal site. Driving of the tunnel is now expected to progress rapidly with completion in approximately 12 months. An important aspect of the project is the exploration of the highly prospective eastern strike extent of the Minapampa orebody as well as the open-ended down-dip extension of the known mineralization by diamond drilling from underground. This drilling is planned to commence when the tunnel, to be developed some 250 meters below the level of surface outcrop, reaches approximately the half way point. Other important objectives of the tunnel are to fine tune underground support and mine design aspects and to position the Company to undertake mine development during the plant construction phase, thereby facilitating the 2014 start-up objectives.

Following the positive results of the pre-feasibility study announced in July 2011, the Bankable Feasibility Study is progressing on schedule with completion scheduled during the second half of 2012. Project managers AMEC and Coffey Mining have again recently visited the site to further study local construction aspects required for detailed engineering and planning.

Part of the feasibility study includes limited final resource in-fill drilling with two diamond rigs which is expected to be complete early in the second quarter. Drill results received thus far continue to be positive and an update of assay logs have today been posted on the Minera IRL website ( www.minera-irl.com). An upgraded resource estimate will be completed by resource consultants Coffey Mining during Q212 as part of the feasibility study. Best true width intersections from the latest infill drilling include:

DDH11-175 - 11 meters grading 9.50 g/t gold 

DDH12-190 - 20 meters grading 10.2 g/t gold and 7 meters grading 3.36 g/t gold, and 

DDH12-194 - 31.0 meters grading 5.58 g/t gold and 11 meters grading 4.71 g/t gold 

True widths for all Minapampa intersections range between 68 to 100% of intersected widths. The weighted average for the true widths of mineralized intersections greater than 5 meters is 93%.

Minera IRL continues to have an excellent relationship with the Ollachea community with many health, education and sustainable programs in progress. The first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) workshop held February 2012 has received overwhelming support from the community.

More information is available on the Company's website www.minera-irl.com and from SEDAR.

Minera IRL Limited is the AIM traded, TSX and BVL listed holding company of precious metals mining and exploration companies focused in Latin America. Minera IRL is led by an experienced senior management team with extensive industry experience, particularly operating in South America. The Group operates the Corihuarmi Gold Mine and the advanced gold projects Ollachea in Peru and Don Nicolas in Argentina. For more information, please visit www.minera-irl.com.