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AZCO Acquires Option to Purchase Sole Economic Deposit of Benitoite, California's State Gem Stone.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 5, 1997-- AZCO Mining Inc.(TSE:AZC.) (AMEX:AZC) AZCO Mining Inc. is pleased to announce that it has acquired the exclusive option to explore, evaluate and purchase the Benitoite Gem mine in San Benito County, California. Benitoite, the California State Gem since 1985, is colorless to blue, and is noteworthy for its high refractive indices, moderate birefringence, and a strong dispersion equal to that of diamond. The faceted stones are comparable in appearance and price to the finest sapphires and tanzanites. Currently, the average wholesale price for benitoite is approximately US$1,000 per carat for polished goods. The untested mineral potential on the property, both in lode and placer, is estimated to be in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 carats of finished product.

The deposit was discovered in 1907, when the gemstone was originally thought to be an occurrence of blue diamond. However, it was later found to be an extremely rare barium titanium silicate with optical properties and a range of colors which have made it a much sought after gemstone in recent years. There are a number of scientific occurrences with no commercial potential elsewhere in the world, but this locality in the Coastal Ranges of California is the only economic concentration producing a significant quantity of gem- quality stones.

AZCO will pay US$20,000 in cash to the vendors and will have the exclusive right to evaluate the property until February 1st 1999. On or before this date, AZCO may elect to purchase the mine outright for US$1.5 million in cash, unencumbered by royalty. At the time of sale, any stones collected during the evaluation period will be conveyed to AZCO and may offset a considerable portion of the purchase cost. If AZCO elects to relinquish the option to purchase it may walk from the project with no obligations.

AZCO has retained the services of Mr. William Rohtert, an economic geologist and graduate gemologist, to supervise the evaluation of the Benitoite Gem mine. Until recently, Mr. Rohtert was Manager of Gemstones for the Kennecott Exploration Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Rio Tinto organization. Mr. Rohtert will coordinate all of AZCO's interests in the colored gemstone business, including the potential acquisition of additional properties, the evaluation of mineral potential, and the marketing of gemstone products.

Benitoite has recently been featured as the lead article in "Gems & Gemology" (volume 33, number 3, page 166-187), the quarterly journal of the Gemological Institute of America. Anyone interested in receiving additional background information on the gemstone, the mine and its history should contact the company at 1-800-563-7939 to reserve a copy.

AZCO anticipates a successful evaluation of the mineral potential of the known deposit, and intends to explore the surrounding area for extensions of the historic lode. In time, and with the correct marketing, it is expected that the Benitoite Gem mine has the potential to create significant cash-flow for the company.

AZCO is strategically positioned with approximately US$20 million in cash, cash deposits and equivalents and no debt. Further information on the company is available at our website - http://www.azco.com

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Doug Ramshaw, Vice-President Corporate Development, AZCO Mining Inc. -0-

THIS NEWS RELEASE HAS BEEN PREPARED BY MANAGEMENT OF THE COMPANY WHO TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS CONTENTS. THE AMERICAN STOCK EXCHANGE AND THE TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE NEITHER APPROVE NOR DISAPPROVE THE CONTENTS OF THIS NEWS RELEASE.

STATEMENTS CONTAINED IN THIS PRESS RELEASE THAT ARE NOT HISTORICAL FACTS ARE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995.

THIS NEWS RELEASE SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO SELL OR THE SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY, NOR SHALL THERE BE ANY SALE OF THESE SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH OFFER, SOLICITATION OR SALE WOULD BE UNLAWFUL PRIOR TO REGISTRATION OR QUALIFICATION UNDER THE SECURITIES LAWS OF ANY SUCH JURISDICTION.

CONTACT: AZCO Mining Inc.

Jim Paterson, 604/682-7286 or 1-800-563-7939

604/685-4320 (FAX)

http://www.azco.com
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 5, 1997
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