Aurizon Mines announced it likely would produce slightly less gold in 2012 compared to the previous year due to lower ore grades.

The Vancouver-based company plans to produce about 155,000 ounces of gold to 160,000 ounces of gold this year as ore grades will be approximately six percent lower than in 2011 due to mine sequencing. The company produced a record 163,845 ounces in 2011 at its Casa Berardi mine in Quebec, with 45,995 ounces produced in the fourth quarter alone.

We are very pleased with the improvement in gold production at Casa Berardi in 2011, up 16 percent from 2010, and setting a record for annual ounces produced for the corporation, CEO George Paspalas said in a statement.

The company projects that average costs per ounce will be lower than the $535 projected for 2011.

Aurizon said onsite mining, milling and administration costs are expected to go up approximately 12 percent due to higher stope preparation costs and longer haulage distances.

Shares of Aurizon were down 1.12 percent to $5.32 in late-morning trading.