JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Azerbaijan's top gold producer, Anglo Asian Mining, has delivered a 26% year-on-year increase in gold equivalent ounces in what CEO Reza Vaziri describes as an “excellent” first-quarter performance.
Production in the first three months of the year is always the company’s lowest, owing to the winter weather conditions.
Vaziri on Monday Attributed the strong increase in production to the optimisation and expansion initiatives, which Anglo Asian implemented during the course of 2017, as well as the start of production from the new Ugur openpit, at the Gedabek licence in western Azerbaijan.
Anglo Asian boasted a 26% increase to 18 307 oz of gold-equivalent production, comprising gold, copper and silver output.
Gold production jumped 49% year-on-year to 16 479 oz, compared with 11 078 oz in the first quarter of 2017, while copper production decreased to 255 t, from 606 t in the same period of 2017. Silver production totalled 40 583 oz, compared with 39 369 oz in the March 2017 quarter.
Gold bullion sales of 14 965 oz were conducted at an average of $1 328/oz, compared with 8 283 oz at an average of $1 220/oz in the same period in 2017.
First quarter copper concentrate shipments totalled 608 dry metric tonnes with a sales value of $1.7-million.
“The increased production that Anglo Asian is now achieving, coupled with improved metal prices, is flowing through strongly to our cash generation. I am delighted to report that net debt was further reduced by $7.9-million during the first quarter of 2018, down from $33.1-million at end March 2017, with a healthy gross cash balance of $8.6-million at the end of the period,” Vaziri enthused.
He further explained that the discovery of new potential mines, such as Ugur, together with the conversion of already known, but under-explored prospects across the company’s contract lease areas, was crucial to the continued growth and enhancement of the company’s total production profile.
“With this in mind, I look forward to reporting on our exploration and appraisal activities over the coming months as we look to continue and increase the upward trajectory in production that we are now delivering.”
Anglo Asian discovered the Ugur deposit in 2016 and progressed to a producing mine in one year, with output starting in September 2017.